Defining enumerations in the web client

An enumeration is work item attribute type that describes a list of values. For example, in the Scrum process, the Priority and Severity attributes are enumerations. You can use enumerations to define new attributes, and you can add and modify values for existing attributes.

About this task

Enumerations consist of a set of literals in a specific order. These values, called "literals," serve as the available values when the enumeration is displayed in the work item editor. You must designate one literal as the default literal, which is set by default when a user creates a work item.

You can use the same enumeration in multiple custom attributes. For example, an enumeration named priority has these literals: Unassigned, Low, Medium, and High. The default literal is set to Unassigned. The Defect work item type has an associated attribute named Priority that uses this enumeration. When a user creates a Defect work item, the Priority field is displayed with Unassigned selected by default.


To define an enumeration using the web client:

  1. In the project's work item customization pages, open the Enumerations page.
    Attention: To avoid losing unsaved changes, do not use your browser's back and forward buttons to navigate among Work Items pages. If you leave the Enumerations page to edit elements on another page, click on the Enumerations link in the Work Items page menu to continue editing.
  2. Select the enumeration that you want to edit, or click Add to define a new enumeration. Once the enumeration is selected, click Add in the Literals section to add a literal to the enumeration.
  3. In the Add Literal window, enter a name for the value. Select an icon from the list or, if you want an icon that is not in the list, click Browse and navigate to a graphics file to use as the icon. Click OK.
  4. Select a literal and click the Up or Down arrows to adjust the order in which the values appear in the Work Item editor.
  5. After you have created one or more literals, in the Default literal field, select one literal to be the default.
  6. To make an enumeration attribute a required field, define an Unassigned literal and select this literal in the Unassigned Literal menu of the Details section.
  7. When you finish adding and editing enumeration literals, click Save to save your changes.
    Important: Enumerations defined as Database Enumerations are not exported as part of a project template. After creating a new project area by importing such a template, you need to create the database enumeration field again in the new project area