Everything to know about Jira bulk edits

How do you keep thousands of Jira issues updated and in sync with reality? Does your team struggle to ensure all fields contain accurate data? Are there too many issues in the backlog to sort through? The key to effectively managing Jira issues at scale is to use bulk edit capabilities.

What Jira bulk changes are possible?

There are lots of options for bulk edits in Jira.

  1. Use Jira’s built-in bulk change function to update multiple issues at once
  2. Update issue details by importing information from a .CSV file
  3. Export user, project or issue list as a .CSV file
  4. Add a post function to a workflow transition to change multiple issues at a time
  5. Use an app from the Atlassian Marketplace
  6. Use automations, scripting, the REST API, or a connector to sync information from other software

How to perform Jira bulk edits

Here are some methods for bulk changes in Jira to try in your test application.

Note: Always back up your data before making any big changes in Jira.

Simple example: Built-in bulk change function

Jira’s built-in bulk edit function

When there are multiple issues to update, start with Jira’s built-in bulk change function. Use this feature to edit, move, transition, delete, watch, or stop watching multiple issues at once. This is helpful for project managers, team leaders, Scrum masters, and admins doing a clean up.


To use this method, you’ll need the following:

Global Permissions

Jira bulk change global permission in Cloud

The global permissions page in the system admin area determines abilities for the entire application. Users (and apps) must have the “Make bulk changes” global permission in Cloud or the “Bulk Change” permission in Server and Data Center. You may want to limit this ability for external or temporary users.

Jira permissions scheme

Users need specific project-level permissions. For example, to bulk assign issues the user needs the “Assign Issues“ permission shown in the screenshot. That ability is currently granted to Atlassian apps and any logged in user, but the membership list is configurable. To bulk change the assignee for issues in multiple projects, the user must have the “Assign Issues” permission in all applicable projects.

These project-level abilities are managed by permission schemes. Application administrators can modify project permissions from the issues admin area.

Advanced example: Import or export users from/to a CSV

Following an acquisition or due to team growth, you have many users to add to your Jira instance; or you need to export your existing user list for reporting, auditing, or compliance reasons. 

With Jira CLI you can bulk-import or bulk-export a large number of users using text-based commands. Bulk updates can also be applied to projects, issues, workflows, permissions, and more, making the Jira CLI a vital tool for admins who manage large instances.

Learn how to bulk-add hundreds of users in this step-by-step demo.

Jira bulk update or change limitations

Users and admins can bulk edit up to 1,000 issues at a time in Jira Cloud. That means if you have 5,000 issues to update, you’ll need to do the update 5 times – or work with an app like Jira CLI which can help you perform unlimited bulk edits. In Jira Server and Data Center, this limit is configurable.

Jira permissions scheme

Let’s take another look at global permissions. Who has permission to delete issues in the previous screenshot? No one! In the example, the “Delete Issues” permission has an empty “Grant To” column.

The “Delete Issues” option is disabled

Here’s the implication. If you attempt to bulk delete issues without the required permission, the option is unavailable, as shown.

Multiple issues in multiple projects

In this example, the issues to delete are in three projects: DEV, IDEA, and REBRAND. The user has the delete permission in DEV and IDEA only. As such, the entire Jira bulk operation can’t move forward. The user must either ask for additional permissions or they can exclude issues in the REBRAND project from their bulk change in Jira.

Tip: Add the application admin group to every permission in every permission scheme. Without proper project-level permissions, it’s hard for the admin team to make bulk changes, especially across multiple projects.


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Last updated: 2023-06-05

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