I’ve been a JIRA Software administrator for some time now and have worked with hundreds of customers’ instances. I’m often asked, ‘How can I get more out of JIRA Software?’ I always give the same answer: learn the keyboard shortcutsNothing will improve your speed throughout JIRA Software more than keyboard shortcuts. From creating issues, assigning work, and even administering the product, keyboard shortcuts will make you faster and more confident throughout JIRA Software.

0. Getting started

key_?Keyboard shortcuts work throughout JIRA Software (and Confluence) outside of text fields. The most important keyboard shortcut is the ‘?’ key. The question mark brings up the help for all keyboard shortcuts. Open up your JIRA Software instance, press the ‘?’ key, and confirm you get the dialog below.

JIRA Software_keyboard shortcuts list

Tip: if you don’t see the above dialog, ensure the cursor is not in the text field. If you see the ‘?’ character when you press the key, click outside of the text field and try it again.

Now that you can see the power of keyboard shortcuts, let’s take a look at four areas in which we can optimize our time when using JIRA Software.

1. Work with individual issues

Issues are the central concept of JIRA Software. The faster we can work with issues, the more we optimize our time. Wherever you are in JIRA Software and have an issue highlighted, you can take action on that issue.

JIRA_keyboard_shortcut_key_a – Assign

JIRA_keyboard_shortcut_key_c– Create

JIRA_keyboard_shortcut_key_m– Comment

JIRA_keyboard_shortcut_key_e– Edit

JIRA_keyboard_shortcut_key_s– Share

JIRA_keyboard_shortcut_key_period– All issue operations. Use the ‘.’ key to transition an issue.

Try it!  Select an issue in list view or on a board and press one of the keys above.

2. Handle sets of issues

The next step in mastering keyboard shortcuts is working with sets of issues. When searching in JIRA Software using standard search or with JQL, JIRA Software will return a list of issues. The two most important keyboard shortcuts are ‘J’ and ‘K’.

JIRA_keyboard_shortcut_key_j – Previous

JIRA_keyboard_shortcut_key_k– Next

You’re probably thinking, how do ‘J’ and ‘K’ represent next and previous? The roots go back to the early days of UNIX where J and K mapped to previous and next before the advent of arrow keys. Many web applications like Gmail, Twitter, and Tumblr also use the same keyboard shortcut.

If we combine the ‘J’ and ‘K’ keys with the shortcuts in the previous section, we can quickly triage a list of issues in JIRA Software. Using list view, we can quickly assign issues using the ‘K’ and ‘A’ keys. Rather than using the mouse to click through each issue, we can remain on the keyboard.

Try it!  Search for a list of issues and press the ‘K’ key. You’ll see the selection go to the next issue. Press one of the keyboard shortcuts in section 1 to work on the selected issue.

3. Navigate across JIRA Software

The ‘G’ key is your passport to navigate across JIRA Software. The ‘G’ key pairs with another key to select the destination screen. Let’s take a look at how the ‘G’ key works:

JIRA_keyboard_shortcut_key_g then JIRA_keyboard_shortcut_key_d – Go to the dashboard

JIRA_keyboard_shortcut_key_g then JIRA_keyboard_shortcut_key_a – Go to JIRA boards

JIRA_keyboard_shortcut_key_g then JIRA_keyboard_shortcut_key_i – Go to issue search

JIRA_keyboard_shortcut_key_g then JIRA_keyboard_shortcut_key_g  – Administrative search

Wherever I am inside of JIRA, the ‘G’ key gets me where I need to go!

Try it!  Press ‘G’ and then ‘D’ (not at the same time) to go back to the JIRA Software dashboard.

4.  Boost agility

The three most important shortcuts for agility are unsurprisingly ‘1’, ‘2’, and ‘3’.

JIRA_keyboard_shortcut_key_1 – Go to backlog

JIRA_keyboard_shortcut_key_2– Go to active sprints or kanban board

JIRA_keyboard_shortcut_key_3 – Go to reports

And you can do even more. Just like ‘J’ and ‘K’ move between issues, ‘N’ and ‘P’ move between columns in active sprints or the kanban board.

JIRA_keyboard_shortcut_key_p – Move to the previous column

JIRA_keyboard_shortcut_key_n – Move to the next column

If you’re working on a smaller screen or a projector during sprint planning, the ‘T’ and ‘Z’ keys help optimize screen space.

JIRA_keyboard_shortcut_key_t – Hide and show detail view to conserve screen space

JIRA_keyboard_shortcut_key_z– Enable presentation mode

While you’re planning sprints, move issues to the top of the sprint or backlog with ease.

JIRA_keyboard_shortcut_key_s then JIRA_keyboard_shortcut_key_t – Send the selected issue to the top of the list

JIRA_keyboard_shortcut_key_s then JIRA_keyboard_shortcut_key_b – Send the selected issue to the bottom of the list

Try it!  Press ‘G’ and then ‘A’ and then press ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’ to rotate through the different views of JIRA Software.
Pro Tip: Pressing ‘Z’ twice will enable a high contrast mode when projecting JIRA Software on an external screen during issue triage sessions.

So, ditch the mouse and get more out of JIRA Software by staying on the keyboard. I’m curious to know, what’s your favorite keyboard shortcut?


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