A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Create an Issue in GitLab

Creating and managing issues in GitLab is essential for efficient project management and collaboration. This guide will walk you through the steps to create, assign, and manage issues within GitLab, ensuring your team stays organized and on track.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding GitLab issues is crucial for effective project management.
  • Navigating to the issue tracker is the first step in issue creation.
  • Filling in detailed information and using the markdown editor enhances clarity.
  • Assigning labels, milestones, and team members ensures proper categorization and accountability.
  • Utilizing advanced features like issue templates and quick actions can streamline the issue management process.

Understanding GitLab Issues

What is a GitLab Issue?

The GitLab platform lets you use Issues to collaborate on ideas, plan workflows, and solve problems. You can also share and discuss proposals with your team members and with stakeholders and outside collaborators. Issues are always associated with a specific project. If you have multiple projects in a group, you can view all of the projects’ issues at once.

Why Use GitLab Issues?

GitLab Issues are versatile, serving many purposes customized to your needs and workflow. This includes:

  • Collaborating on ideas
  • Planning workflows
  • Solving problems

Issues are defined in the scope of a project and not a group. In other words, they only exist in projects. Groups have boards that manage Issues and a list of Issues, but the Issues are always stored in a project that is subordinate to the group. In reality, GitLab Groups have Epics.

Using GitLab Issues effectively can streamline your project management and enhance team collaboration.

Navigating to the Issue Tracker

To start creating an issue in GitLab, you first need to navigate to your project. This is the initial step where you ensure you’re in the right workspace. Navigate to your project by selecting it from the GitLab dashboard. If you have multiple projects, use the search bar to quickly find the one you need.

Once you’re in your project, the next step is to locate the Issue Tracker. In the primary navigation menu, look for the ‘Issues’ tab. Clicking on this tab will take you to the issue tracker where you can view all existing issues and create new ones. If you can’t find the ‘Issues’ tab, ensure that you have the necessary permissions to view and create issues in the project.

Creating a New Issue

Clicking the ‘New Issue’ Button

To create a new issue, navigate to the GitLab Issue pane and click on the ‘New Issue’ button. This will open a form where you can provide details about the issue.

Filling in Issue Details

In the form, you will need to fill in several fields:

  1. Title: Provide a concise and descriptive title for your issue.
  2. Description: Use the comment body field to describe the issue in detail. You can also use Markdown to format your description.
  3. Labels: Add relevant labels to categorize your issue.
  4. Assignees: If you are a project maintainer, you can assign the issue to a team member.
  5. Milestones: Associate the issue with a milestone if applicable.

Ensure that all necessary information is provided to facilitate efficient issue resolution.

Using the Markdown Editor

The Markdown editor allows you to format your issue description effectively. You can use various Markdown elements such as headers, lists, and code blocks to make your description clear and structured. This is particularly useful for complex issues that require detailed explanations.

Assigning Labels and Milestones

Assigning labels and milestones to your GitLab issues is crucial for effective project management. Labels help categorize issues, while milestones allow you to track progress towards specific goals. Here’s how to do it:

Adding Labels

To create each label:

  1. On the left sidebar, select Search or go to and find your project.
  2. Select Manage > Labels.
  3. Select New label.
  4. In the Title field, enter the name of the label. Start with type::bug.
  5. Optional. Select a color by selecting from the available colors, or enter a hex color value for a specific color in the Background color field.
  6. Select Create label.

Repeat these steps to create all the labels you’ll need:

  • type::bug
  • type::feature
  • type::maintenance
  • priority::1
  • priority::2
  • priority::3
  • priority::4
  • severity::1
  • severity::2
  • severity::3
  • severity::4

Prioritize the new labels to ensure that the most important issues show on top of the issue list if you sort by priority or label priority.

Setting Milestones

Milestones are a great way to track progress towards specific goals. To create a milestone:

  1. Navigate to your project and select Milestones from the left sidebar.
  2. Click on New milestone.
  3. Enter a title and description for the milestone.
  4. Set the start and due dates.
  5. Click Create milestone.

Properly labeling and setting milestones for your issues can significantly improve your milestone planning and overall project management efficiency.

Assigning the Issue to Team Members

Choosing Assignees

Assigning the right team member to an issue is crucial for efficient project management. In GitLab, you can assign issues to one or multiple team members. This is particularly useful for complex tasks that require collaboration. To assign an issue, simply select the assignee(s) from the dropdown menu in the issue creation or editing screen. Multiple assignees can be particularly beneficial in larger projects where tasks overlap.

Notifying Team Members

Once an issue is assigned, GitLab automatically notifies the selected team members. Notifications can be customized based on user preferences, ensuring that everyone stays informed without being overwhelmed by alerts. For teams using GitLab Ultimate, additional notification options and integrations are available, providing even more flexibility in managing team communications.

Efficiently assigning and notifying team members can significantly enhance your project’s workflow and ensure timely issue resolution.

Using Quick Actions for Faster Issue Creation

Quick actions in GitLab are a powerful way to streamline the issue creation process. These commands allow you to make changes to an issue quickly and efficiently, without navigating through multiple menus. Essentially, quick actions or commands help users easily change an Issue.

What are Quick Actions?

Quick actions are keyboard shortcuts that trigger key actions in an issue, merge request, or epic. They are designed to save time and improve productivity by allowing you to perform common tasks with simple commands.

Common Quick Actions

Here are some of the most commonly used quick actions in GitLab:

  • /label followed by the label name will add a label.
  • /assign followed by a user ID will assign the issue to a person.
  • /close will close an issue.
  • /duplicate followed by an issue number will close the current issue as a duplicate and link to the given (open) issue.
  • /epic followed by an epic ID will assign the issue to an epic.

If you know the values you want to assign to an issue, you can also use quick actions to make the entry process faster.

Creating Issue Templates

Creating issue templates in GitLab can significantly streamline your workflow and ensure consistency in issue reporting. Let’s dive into the benefits and the steps to create these templates effectively.

Tracking and Managing Issues

Viewing Issue Status

To keep track of your project’s progress, it’s essential to regularly check the status of your issues. GitLab provides various filters and sorting options to help you quickly find the issues you need to address. You can view issues by their status, assignee, milestone, and more. Regularly monitoring issue status ensures that nothing falls through the cracks.

Updating Issue Details

As work progresses, you may need to update the details of an issue. This can include changing the description, adding comments, or attaching files. Keeping issue details up-to-date is crucial for maintaining clear communication within the team. Use the Markdown editor to format your updates for better readability.

Closing an Issue

Once an issue has been resolved, it’s time to close it. This can be done manually or automatically through merge requests. Closing issues promptly helps keep your issue tracker clean and organized. If you’re using GitLab Premium, you can also automate this process with custom workflows.

Keeping your issue tracker up-to-date is a key part of effective project management. Regularly review and update issues to ensure smooth progress and clear communication within your team.

Advanced Issue Features

Creating Issue Relationships

Creating relationships between issues can significantly enhance your project management. By linking related issues, you can track dependencies and ensure that all related tasks are completed in a logical order. This is particularly useful for complex projects with multiple interdependent tasks.

Using Service Desk for Issues

Service Desk in GitLab allows you to manage external requests efficiently. By setting up a Service Desk, you can receive issues via email and handle them directly within GitLab. This feature is invaluable for teams that need to manage customer or client requests alongside their internal tasks.

Pro Tip: Utilize Service Desk to streamline your customer support and integrate it seamlessly with your development workflow.

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Best Practices for GitLab Issue Management

Standardizing Issue Types

To master GitLab documentation for efficient project management, it’s crucial to standardize issue types. This means defining clear categories for different kinds of issues, such as bugs, feature requests, and tasks. Standardizing issue types helps in maintaining consistency and makes it easier for team members to understand the nature of the issue at a glance.

Prioritizing Issues

Prioritizing issues ensures that the most critical tasks are addressed first. Use labels and milestones to indicate the priority level of each issue. This not only helps in organizing the workflow but also in aligning the team’s efforts with the project’s goals. A well-prioritized issue tracker can significantly streamline deployments and automate testing processes.

Documenting Issue Criteria

Documenting issue criteria involves clearly outlining the requirements and acceptance criteria for each issue. This step is essential for ensuring that everyone involved understands what needs to be done and how success will be measured. Use the markdown editor to format these details, making them easy to read and follow. Collaborate effectively with labels, milestones, and issue tracking to keep everyone on the same page.

Consistent documentation and prioritization are key to effective issue management in GitLab.


Creating an issue in GitLab is a straightforward process that can significantly enhance your project’s workflow and collaboration. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can efficiently log and manage issues, ensuring that your team stays on track and addresses any problems promptly. Whether you’re a seasoned developer or new to GitLab, mastering issue creation is an essential skill that will streamline your project management efforts. Remember, the key to effective issue management is clear communication and detailed documentation, so take the time to provide comprehensive information in each issue you create. Happy coding!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a GitLab Issue?

A GitLab Issue is a tool used to track tasks, enhancements, and bugs for projects within GitLab. It allows team members to collaborate and manage project progress efficiently.

How do I create a new issue in GitLab?

To create a new issue, navigate to your project’s Issue Tracker, click on the ‘New Issue’ button, and fill in the necessary details such as title, description, labels, and assignees. You can also use the markdown editor for formatting.

What are the benefits of using GitLab Issues?

GitLab Issues help in organizing and prioritizing tasks, facilitate team collaboration, and provide a clear overview of project progress. They also allow the use of labels, milestones, and issue boards for better project management.

Can I assign multiple team members to a single issue?

Yes, you can assign multiple team members to a single issue. This helps in collaborative efforts and ensures that all responsible parties are notified and involved in resolving the issue.

What are Quick Actions in GitLab Issues?

Quick Actions are shortcuts that allow you to quickly update issue details using specific commands. They help in speeding up the process of issue creation and management.

How do I create an issue template in GitLab?

To create an issue template, navigate to your project’s settings, find the ‘Templates’ section, and create a new template. Templates help in standardizing issue creation, saving time and ensuring consistency.

What are labels and milestones in GitLab Issues?

Labels are tags that help categorize and prioritize issues, while milestones are used to group issues that share a common goal or deadline. Both features aid in better project management and tracking.

How can I track the progress of an issue in GitLab?

You can track the progress of an issue by viewing its status in the Issue Tracker. You can also update issue details, add comments, and close the issue once it is resolved.

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