Creating queries in the web client

You can create a query that retrieves a set of work items that meet specific conditions.

About this task

When you create a query, you specify the conditions and the work item properties to show in the query results. You can create a query for personal use or for shared use with a team.


  1. On the main menu, click Work Items, and then click Create Query.
  2. If you plan to save the query, in the query editor, type a name for the query.
  3. On the Conditions tab, click the plus sign icon, and then select an attribute to use as a query condition. For example, to query on all work items without a Parent link, from the attributes list, select Parent. Then, in Step 4, set the attribute condition.
    Tip: You can also create queries for archived attributes and attribute values. By default, archived attributes are not included in the attribute list. To display archived attributes, click the Show archived values icon.
  4. Click Add condition, and then specify the value or condition that must be met for the attribute. For example, to query on all work items without a Parent link, set the attribute condition for the Parent attribute to do not exist. As another example, for the Due Date attribute, you can specify a relative date, such as 15 days from now, or a specific date. If you select or specify multiple values, the values are joined by OR statements, which means that the condition is true for any of those values. You can add groups of conditions by clicking Add OR Condition. For each group, click All must match or Any can match. Use AND when all of the conditions you specify must be met for the query to return a work item. Use OR when any one of the conditions must be met. Queries for string-based fields, such as Summary and Description, are not case-sensitive.
  5. Optional: To specify input variables for an attribute condition, in the upper-right corner of the attribute condition area, click the Enable Input of Condition Values when Query is Run icon. When you run the query, the Assign Values to Query Parameters wizard opens. In the wizard, select the values for every input variable and run the query.
  6. Click the Details tab. Enter a description of the query so that other users can understand which work items the query returns.
  7. By default, new queries are private. To share a query with members of a team, click Add Team or Project Area and then select a team. To share a query with a specific user, click Add User and then select the user.
    Tip: If you change a shared query, the changes apply to other users who you share the query with. If you delete a shared query, that query is no longer available to users who you shared the query with.
  8. Click the Column Display tab. In the Result Columns section, use the Add Column and Remove controls to specify the attributes to show as column headings in the query results. To rearrange the columns, use the Up and Down controls. To specify the order that results are shown in, click Add Sort Column and then select an attribute. You can set the sort direction to ascending or descending for each attribute.
    Note: You are able to create a query that includes empty fields: for example, text fields without content can be included in your query.
  9. Optional: To show parent and child relationships in query results:
    1. On the Column Display tab, click Add Column.
    2. In the Select Attributes window, click Show Links.
    3. Navigate to and select the Parent or Child attributes, and then click OK. The next time that you run the query, the query results table contains the parent and child work items.
  10. To run the query, click Run.
    Tip: In the filter text field, you can filter the query results by ID or Summary.
  11. To save the query, click Save. To save a copy of the query, click Save Copy.


If you do not share the query, it is in your My Queries list only. If you share the query with a user, the query is in your My Queries list and in the user's Individually Shared folder in the Shared Queries folder. If you share the query with a team, the query is in the team area folder in the Shared Queries folder.

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