- Project labels and group labels
- Assign and unassign labels
- Label management
- Scoped labels
- Subscribing to labels
- Label priority
As your count of issues, merge requests, and epics grows in GitLab, it’s more and more challenging to keep track of those items. Especially as your organization grows from just a few people to hundreds or thousands. This is where labels come in. They help you organize and tag your work so you can track and find the work items you’re interested in.
Labels are a key part of issue boards. With labels you can:
- Categorize epics, issues, and merge requests using colors and descriptive titles like
feature request, or
- Dynamically filter and manage epics, issues, and merge requests.
- Search lists of issues, merge requests, and epics, as well as issue boards.
There are two types of labels in GitLab:
- Project labels can be assigned to issues and merge requests in that project only.
Group labels can be assigned to issues and merge requests in any project in
the selected group or its subgroups.
- They can also be assigned to epics in the selected group or its subgroups.
Unassigning labels with the X button introduced in GitLab 13.5.
Every issue, merge request, and epic can be assigned any number of labels. The labels are managed in the right sidebar, where you can assign or unassign labels as needed.
To assign or unassign a label:
- In the Labels section of the sidebar, click Edit.
- In the Assign labels list, search for labels by typing their names. You can search repeatedly to add more labels. The selected labels are marked with a checkmark.
- Click the labels you want to assign or unassign.
- To apply your changes to labels, click X next to Assign labels or anywhere outside the label section.
Alternatively, to unassign a label, click the X on the label you want to unassign.
You can also assign a label with the
/label quick action,
remove labels with
/unlabel, and reassign labels (remove all and assign new ones) with
Users with a permission level of Reporter or higher are able to create and edit labels.
Showing all inherited labels introduced in GitLab 13.5.
To view a project’s available labels, in the project, go to Issues > Labels. Its list of labels includes both the labels defined at the project level, and all labels defined by its ancestor groups. For each label, you can see the project or group path from where it was created. You can filter the list by entering a search query in the Filter field, and then clicking its search icon ().
To create a new project label:
- In your project, go to Issues > Labels.
- Select the New label button.
- In the Title field, enter a short, descriptive name for the label. You can also use this field to create scoped, mutually exclusive labels.
- (Optional) In the Description field, you can enter additional information about how and when to use this label.
- (Optional) Select a background color for the label by selecting one of the available colors, or by entering a hex color value in the Background color field.
- Select Create label.
You can also create a new project label from within an issue or merge request. In the label section of the right sidebar of an issue or a merge request:
- Click Edit.
- Click Create project label.
- Fill in the name field. Note that you can’t specify a description if creating a label this way. You can add a description later by editing the label (see below).
- (Optional) Select a color by clicking on the available colors, or input a hex color value for a specific color.
- Click Create.
Once created, you can edit a label by clicking the pencil (), or delete a label by clicking the three dots () next to the Subscribe button and selecting Delete.
Introduced in GitLab 13.6: promoting a project label keeps that label’s ID and changes it into a group label. Previously, promoting a project label created a new group label with a new ID and deleted the old label.
If you previously created a project label and now want to make it available for other projects within the same group, you can promote it to a group label.
If other projects in the same group have a label with the same title, they are all merged with the new group label. If a group label with the same title exists, it is also merged.
All issues, merge requests, issue board lists, issue board filters, and label subscriptions with the old labels are assigned to the new group label.
The new group label has the same ID as the previous project label.
To promote a project label to a group label:
- Navigate to Issues > Labels in the project.
- Click on the three dots () next to the Subscribe button and select Promote to group label.
To view the group labels list, navigate to the group and click Issues > Labels. The list includes all labels that are defined at the group level only. It does not list any labels that are defined in projects. You can filter the list by entering a search query at the top and clicking search ().
To create a group label, navigate to Issues > Labels in the group and follow the same process as creating a project label.
You can create group labels from the epic sidebar. The labels you create belong to the immediate group to which the epic belongs. The process is the same as creating a project label from an issue or merge request.
If a project or group has no labels, you can generate a default set of project or group labels from the label list page. The page shows a Generate a default set of labels button if the list is empty. Select the button to add the following default labels to the project:
Scoped labels allow teams to use the label feature to annotate issues, merge requests and epics with mutually exclusive labels. This can enable more complicated workflows by preventing certain labels from being used together.
A label is scoped when it uses a special double-colon (
::) syntax in the label’s
title, for example:
An issue, merge request or epic cannot have two scoped labels, of the form
with the same
key. Adding a new label with the same
key, but a different
causes the previous
key label to be replaced with the new label.
- An issue is identified as being low priority, and a
priority::lowproject label is added to it.
- After more review the issue priority is increased, and a
priority::highlabel is added.
- GitLab automatically removes the
priority::lowlabel, as an issue should not have two priority labels at the same time.
Suppose you wanted a custom field in issues to track the operating system platform
that your features target, where each issue should only target one platform. You
would then create three labels
Applying any one of these labels on a given issue would automatically remove any other
existing label that starts with
The same pattern could be applied to represent the workflow states of your teams.
Suppose you have the labels
workflow::deployed. If an issue already has the label
applied, and a developer wanted to advance the issue to
would simply apply that label, and the
workflow::development label would
automatically be removed. This behavior already exists when you move issues
across label lists in an issue board, but
now, team members who may not be working in an issue board directly would still
be able to advance workflow states consistently in issues themselves.
This functionality is demonstrated in a video regarding using scoped labels for custom fields and workflows.
You can create a label with a nested scope by using multiple double colons
:: when creating
it. In this case, everything before the last
:: is the scope.
workflow::backend::development are valid
scoped labels, but they can’t exist on the same issue at the same time, as they
both share the same scope,
workflow::frontend::review are valid
scoped labels, and they can exist on the same issue at the same time, as they
both have different scopes,
From the project label list page and the group label list page, you can click Subscribe to the right of any label to enable notifications for that label. You are notified whenever the label is assigned to an epic, issue, or merge request.
If you are subscribing to a group label from within a project, you can select to subscribe to label notifications for the project only, or the whole group.
Labels can have relative priorities, which are used in the Label priority and Priority sort orders of issues and merge request list pages. Prioritization for both group and project labels happens at the project level, and cannot be done from the group label list.
From the project label list page, star a label to indicate that it has a priority.
Drag starred labels up and down the list to change their priority, where higher in the list means higher priority.
On the merge request and issue list pages (for both groups and projects) you
can sort by
Label priority or
If you sort by
Label priority, GitLab uses this sort comparison order:
- Items with a higher priority label.
- Items without a prioritized label.
Ties are broken arbitrarily. Note that only the highest prioritized label is checked, and labels with a lower priority are ignored. See this related issue for more information.
If you sort by
Priority, GitLab uses this sort comparison order:
- Items with milestones that have due dates, where the soonest assigned milestone is listed first.
- Items with milestones with no due dates.
- Items with a higher priority label.
- Items without a prioritized label.
Ties are broken arbitrarily.
In specific circumstances it was possible to create labels with duplicate titles in the same namespace.
To resolve the duplication, in GitLab 13.2
and later, some duplicate labels have
_duplicate<number> appended to their titles.
You can safely change these labels’ titles if you prefer. For details of the original problem, see issue 30390.