Manage epics

This page collects instructions for all the things you can do with epics or in relation to them.

Create an epic

Version history
  • The New Epic form introduced in GitLab 13.2.
  • In GitLab 13.7 and later, the New Epic button on the Epics list opens the New Epic form.
  • In GitLab 13.9 and later, you can create a new epic from an empty roadmap.

Prerequisites:

  • You must have at least the Reporter role for the epic’s group.

To create an epic in the group you’re in:

  1. Get to the New Epic form:
    • Go to your group and from the left sidebar select Epics. Then select New epic.
    • From an epic in your group, select New epic.
    • From anywhere, in the top menu, select New… () > New epic.
    • In an empty roadmap, select New epic.
  2. Enter a title.
  3. Complete the fields.
  4. Select Create epic.

The newly created epic opens.

Start and due date inheritance

Introduced in GitLab 12.5 to replace From milestones.

If you select Inherited:

  • For the start date: GitLab scans all child epics and issues assigned to the epic, and sets the start date to match the earliest start date found in the child epics or the milestone assigned to the issues.
  • For the due date: GitLab scans all child epics and issues assigned to the epic, and sets the due date to match the latest due date found in the child epics or the milestone assigned to the issues.

These are dynamic dates and recalculated if any of the following occur:

  • A child epic’s dates change.
  • Milestones are reassigned to an issue.
  • A milestone’s dates change.
  • Issues are added to, or removed from, the epic.

Because the epic’s dates can inherit dates from its children, the start date and due date propagate from the bottom to the top. If the start date of a child epic on the lowest level changes, that becomes the earliest possible start date for its parent epic. The parent epic’s start date then reflects this change and propagates upwards to the top epic.

Edit an epic

After you create an epic, you can edit the following details:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Start date
  • Due date
  • Labels

Prerequisites:

  • You must have at least the Reporter role for the epic’s group.

To edit an epic’s title or description:

  1. Select Edit title and description .
  2. Make your changes.
  3. Select Save changes.

To edit an epic’s start date, due date, or labels:

  1. Next to each section in the right sidebar, select Edit.
  2. Select the dates or labels for your epic.

Reorder list items in the epic description

Introduced in GitLab 15.1.

When you view an epic that has a list in the description, you can also reorder the list items.

Prerequisites:

  • You must have at least the Reporter role for the project, be the author of the epic, or be assigned to the epic.
  • The epic’s description must have an ordered, unordered, or task list.

To reorder list items, when viewing an epic:

  1. Hover over the list item row to make the drag icon () visible.
  2. Select and hold the drag icon.
  3. Drag the row to the new position in the list.
  4. Release the drag icon.

Bulk edit epics

Introduced in GitLab 12.2.

Users with at least the Reporter role can manage epics.

When bulk editing epics in a group, you can edit their labels.

Prerequisites:

  • You must have at least the Reporter role for the parent epic’s group.

To update multiple epics at the same time:

  1. In a group, go to Epics > List.
  2. Select Edit epics. A sidebar on the right appears with editable fields.
  3. Select the checkboxes next to each epic you want to edit.
  4. Select the appropriate fields and their values from the sidebar.
  5. Select Update all.

Delete an epic

Prerequisites:

  • You must have the Owner role for the epic’s group.

To delete the epic:

  1. Select Edit title and description .
  2. Select Delete. A modal appears to confirm your action.

Deleting an epic releases all existing issues from their associated epic in the system.

caution
If you delete an epic, all its child epics and their descendants are deleted as well. If needed, you can remove child epics from the parent epic before you delete it.

Close an epic

Prerequisites:

  • You must have at least the Reporter role for the epic’s group.

Whenever you decide that there is no longer need for that epic, close the epic by:

Reopen a closed epic

You can reopen an epic that was closed.

Prerequisites:

  • You must have at least the Reporter role for the epic’s group.

To do so, either:

Go to an epic from an issue

If an issue belongs to an epic, you can go to the parent epic with the link in the right sidebar.

containing epic

View epics list

In a group, the left sidebar displays the total count of open epics. This number indicates all epics associated with the group and its subgroups, including epics you might not have permission to view.

Prerequisites:

  • You must be a member of either:
    • The group
    • A project in the group
    • A project in one of the group’s subgroups

To view epics in a group:

  1. On the top bar, select Menu > Groups and find your group.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Epics.

Cached epic count

Version history

The total count of open epics displayed in the sidebar is cached if higher than 1000. The cached value is rounded to thousands or millions and updated every 24 hours.

Filter the list of epics

Version history

You can filter the list of epics by:

  • Title or description
  • Author name / username
  • Labels
  • Milestones
  • Confidentiality
  • Reaction emoji

epics filter

To filter:

  1. On the top bar, select Menu > Groups and find your group.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Epics.
  3. Select the field Search or filter results.
  4. From the dropdown menu, select the scope or enter plain text to search by epic title or description.
  5. Press Enter on your keyboard. The list is filtered.

Sort the list of epics

You can sort the epics list by:

  • Start date
  • Due date
  • Title

Each option contains a button that can toggle the order between Ascending and Descending. The sort option and order is saved and used wherever you browse epics, including the Roadmap.

epics sort

Change activity sort order

Introduced in GitLab 13.2.

You can reverse the default order and interact with the activity feed sorted by most recent items at the top. Your preference is saved via local storage and automatically applied to every epic and issue you view.

To change the activity sort order, select the Oldest first dropdown menu and select either oldest or newest items to be shown first.

Issue activity sort order dropdown button

Make an epic confidential

Version history

If you’re working on items that contain private information, you can make an epic confidential.

note
A confidential epic can only contain confidential issues and confidential child epics. However, merge requests are public, if created in a public project. Read Merge requests for confidential issues to learn how to create a confidential merge request.

Prerequisites:

  • You must have at least the Reporter role for the epic’s group.

To make an epic confidential:

  • When creating an epic: select the checkbox under Confidentiality.
  • In an existing epic: on the right sidebar, select Edit next to Confidentiality, and then select Turn on.

Manage issues assigned to an epic

This section collects instructions for all the things you can do with issues in relation to epics.

View issues assigned to an epic

On the Epics and Issues tab, you can see epics and issues assigned to this epic. Only epics and issues that you can access show on the list.

You can always view the issues assigned to the epic if they are in the group’s child project. It’s possible because the visibility setting of a project must be the same as or less restrictive than of its parent group.

View count of issues in an epic

On the Epics and Issues tab, under each epic name, hover over the total counts.

The number indicates all epics associated with the project, including issues you might not have permission to.

Add a new issue to an epic

You can add an existing issue to an epic, or create a new issue that’s automatically added to the epic.

Add an existing issue to an epic

Existing issues that belong to a project in an epic’s group, or any of the epic’s subgroups, are eligible to be added to the epic. Newly added issues appear at the top of the list of issues in the Epics and Issues tab.

An epic contains a list of issues and an issue can be associated with at most one epic. When you add a new issue that’s already linked to an epic, the issue is automatically unlinked from its current parent.

Prerequisites:

  • You must have at least the Reporter role for the epic’s group.
  • You must be able to edit the issue.

To add an existing issue to an epic:

  1. On the epic’s page, under Epics and Issues, select Add.
  2. Select Add an existing issue.
  3. Identify the issue to be added, using either of the following methods:
    • Paste the link of the issue.
    • Search for the desired issue by entering part of the issue’s title, then selecting the desired match (introduced in GitLab 12.5).

    If there are multiple issues to be added, press Space and repeat this step.

  4. Select Add.

Create an issue from an epic

Introduced in GitLab 12.7.

Creating an issue from an epic enables you to maintain focus on the broader context of the epic while dividing work into smaller parts.

Prerequisites:

  • You must have at least the Reporter role for the epic’s group.

To create an issue from an epic:

  1. On the epic’s page, under Epics and Issues, select Add.
  2. Select Add a new issue.
  3. Under Title, enter the title for the new issue.
  4. From the Project dropdown list, select the project in which the issue should be created.
  5. Select Create issue.

The new issue is assigned to the epic.

Remove an issue from an epic

You can remove issues from an epic when you’re on the epic’s details page. After you remove an issue from an epic, the issue is no longer associated with this epic.

Prerequisites:

  • You must have at least the Reporter role for the epic’s group.
  • You must be able to edit the issue.

To remove an issue from an epic:

  1. Next to the issue you want to remove, select Remove (). The Remove issue warning appears.
  2. Select Remove.

List of issues assigned to an epic

Reorder issues assigned to an epic

Introduced in GitLab 12.5.

New issues appear at the top of the list in the Epics and Issues tab. You can reorder the list of issues by dragging them.

Prerequisites:

  • You must have at least the Reporter role for the epic’s group.

To reorder issues assigned to an epic:

  1. Go to the Epics and Issues tab.
  2. Drag issues into the desired order.

Move issues between epics

Introduced in GitLab 13.0.

New issues appear at the top of the list in the Epics and Issues tab. You can move issues from one epic to another.

Prerequisites:

  • You must have at least the Reporter role for the epic’s group.
  • You must be able to edit the issue.

To move an issue to another epic:

  1. Go to the Epics and Issues tab.
  2. Drag issues into the desired parent epic in the visible hierarchy.

Promote an issue to an epic

Version history
  • Introduced in GitLab 11.6.
  • Moved from GitLab Ultimate to GitLab Premium in 12.8.

Prerequisites:

  • The project to which the issue belongs must be in a group.
  • You must have at least the Reporter role the project’s immediate parent group.
  • You must either:
    • Have at least the Reporter role for the project.
    • Be the author of the issue.
    • Be assigned to the issue.

You can promote an issue to an epic with the /promote quick action.

note
Promoting a confidential issue to an epic makes all information related to the issue public as epics are public to group members.

When an issue is promoted to an epic:

  • If the issue was confidential, an additional warning is displayed first.
  • An epic is created in the same group as the project of the issue.
  • Subscribers of the issue are notified that the epic was created.

The following issue metadata is copied to the epic:

  • Title, description, activity/comment thread.
  • Upvotes and downvotes.
  • Participants.
  • Group labels that the issue already has.
  • Parent epic.

Use an epic template for repeating issues

You can create a spreadsheet template to manage a pattern of consistently repeating issues.

For an introduction to epic templates, see GitLab Epics and Epic Template Tip.

For more on epic templates, see Epic Templates - Repeatable sets of issues.

Multi-level child epics

You can add any epic that belongs to a group or subgroup of the parent epic’s group. New child epics appear at the top of the list of epics in the Epics and Issues tab.

When you add an epic that’s already linked to a parent epic, the link to its current parent is removed.

Epics can contain multiple nested child epics, up to a total of seven levels deep.

Add a child epic to an epic

Prerequisites:

  • You must have at least the Reporter role for the parent epic’s group.

To add a child epic to an epic:

  1. Select Add.
  2. Select Add a new epic.
  3. Identify the epic to be added, using either of the following methods:
    • Paste the link of the epic.
    • Search for the desired issue by entering part of the epic’s title, then selecting the desired match (introduced in GitLab 12.5).

    If there are multiple epics to be added, press Space and repeat this step.

  4. Select Add.

Move child epics between epics

Introduced in GitLab 13.0.

New child epics appear at the top of the list in the Epics and Issues tab. You can move child epics from one epic to another. When you add a new epic that’s already linked to a parent epic, the link to its current parent is removed. Issues and child epics cannot be intermingled.

Prerequisites:

  • You must have at least the Reporter role for the parent epic’s group.

To move child epics to another epic:

  1. Go to the Epics and Issues tab.
  2. Drag epics into the desired parent epic.

Reorder child epics assigned to an epic

Introduced in GitLab 12.5.

New child epics appear at the top of the list in the Epics and Issues tab. You can reorder the list of child epics.

Prerequisites:

  • You must have at least the Reporter role for the parent epic’s group.

To reorder child epics assigned to an epic:

  1. Go to the Epics and Issues tab.
  2. Drag epics into the desired order.

Remove a child epic from a parent epic

Prerequisites:

  • You must have at least the Reporter role for the parent epic’s group.

To remove a child epic from a parent epic:

  1. Select Remove () in the parent epic’s list of epics. The Remove epic warning appears.
  2. Select Remove.