Grouping Work Item Types into Categories

You can group one or more work item types into a category. By using categories, an association is made between a work item type and the category. Categories are useful when your team projects contain similar work item types that are named differently. Also, you can use the In Group operator to filter a list of work items based on the category to which they belong.

Some of the reasons why you would want to create and use categories are as follows:

  • Names for work item types can vary and are locale-dependent. When you assign a category to work item types, it enables different applications to easily access all work item types within the category, or accept the default work item type.

  • For tracking purposes, it may be useful for you to create custom work item types that perform similar functions. For example, three work item types might be used to track code defects. The names, forms, and fields may vary, but they belong to a category that can be tagged as a bug category.

  • By defining a default work item type for a category, you can help use the correct field population when you work in other Team Foundation clients, such as Microsoft Test Manager. By selecting the default work item defined for a category, many other fields can be auto-populated with default contents.

Categories of work item types are maintained for a team project as an XML file that you can import and export from the project collection server.

Project administrators and Team Foundation administrators are authorized to modify categories.

Common Tasks



Understand how categories are defined and used. You define categories to support flexible reporting and simplify certain aspects of cross group work item tracking.

Define a category for a team project. You create a category by defining a categories XML file and importing it to a team project.

Reference the syntax structure of category elements. Lookup the definitions of the CATEGORIES, CATEGORY, DEFAULTWORKITEMTYPE, and WORKITEMTYPE elements that are used to define categories.

Import or export categories defined for a team project. You can modify and remove categories for a team project by using the witadmin importcategories and witadmin exportcategories command line tools.

See Also


Customizing Project Tracking Data, Forms, Workflow, and Other Objects