Customize a web form for a process

Last Update: 4/5/2017

Team Services (Inheritance)


This topic applies to team project and process customization for the Inheritance process model. For the Hosted XML process model, you customize your team project by importing a custom process template; and for the On-premises XML process model, you customize by importing modified XML definition files.

For an overview of process models, see Customize your work tracking experience.

Work items are the work horse for planning and tracking work. As such, you'll want to make sure that each work item type (WIT) is tracking the data that your team needs.

To support your tracking requirements, you can customize each WIT to add custom pages to group additional custom fields. You can organize your forms by placing logically related groups and HTML fields on separate pages within a form to minimize clutter on any one page within the form.

For example, the following form shows that two custom pages have been added, Impact and Mitigation. In addition, several new groups and fields have been added to the Details page.

Customized user story form

What you can customize

You customize the web form for WIT to which you want to add fields, groups, or pages. Each web form consists of a non-editable header, and a set of inherited pages and inherited groups.

A custom page appears on the form as a tab to the right of the Details page. Groups are used to organize a set of fields within a page. You can specify the column within a page where a custom group or field should appear.

Page and group types Customization options
Inherited pages Inherited pages Add or remove custom groups | Relabel groups | Add or remove custom fields | Add or remove custom control groups or fields
Custom pages Add, modify, reorder, and delete a custom page | Add or remove a custom control page | Add or remove custom control groups or fields
Inherited groups Inherited groups Move, reorder, and relabel an inherited group | Add fields to the group | Hide fields | Add or remove a custom control field
Custom groups Add, modify, reorder, relabel, and delete groups within a page | Add or remove a custom control group | Add or remove a custom control field
Inherited fields Inherited fields Relabel a field | Show/hide field on form
Custom fields Add, modify, reorder, relabel, and delete fields within inherited or custom pages | Add or remove a custom control field | Move a field on the form | Show/hide field on form

To perform any of these actions, you must be a member of the Project Collection Administrators group or be granted explicit permissions to edit a specific process.

What you can't customize

  • Name, color, or description of an inherited WIT (Overview tab)
  • Layout or field options assigned to these WITs:
    • Shared Steps and Shared Parameters
    • Code Review Request and Code Review Response
    • Feedback Request and Feedback Response

Layout and resizing

The web form layout is organized into three columns and several groups. You define the layout by selecting the column--first, second, or third--for each group or field you add.

3 column page layout

If you only add groups and fields to the first two columns, then the layout reflects a two column layout. Likewise, if you only add groups and fields to the first column, then the layout reflects a one column layout.

The web form resizes depending on the width available and the number of columns in the layout. At maximum width, in most web browsers, each column within a page will display within its own column. As the display width decreases, each column resizes proportionally as follows:

  • For three columns: 50%, 25%, and 25%
  • For two columns: 66% and 33%
  • For one column: 100%.

When the display width won't accommodate all columns, columns appear stacked within the column to the left.

Open Process>Work Item Types in the admin context

  1. To open the admin context from the user context, click the gear Settings icon and choose Account settings.


    If you don't see the Account settings option, then you are working from an on-premises TFS. The Process page isn't supported. You must use the features supported for the On-premises XMl process model as described in Customize your work tracking experience.

    Default Collection Overview, Projects reference processes

  2. Click Process.

    Web portal, Account menu, Turn on new navigation selection

  3. Choose the inherited process you want to customize, and then click Work Item Types. If you haven't yet created an inherited process, do that now. See Create an inherited process.

    Here we open Work Item Types for the MyAgile process.

    Process page, WITs


Add a custom page when you have several custom fields that you want to group within that page. You can add and reorder custom pages.

Add a custom page

  1. From the Work Item Types tab, choose the Layout tab for the WIT to which you want to add a custom page, and then choose New page.

    Process, Work Item Types, Bug: Layout, New page option

  2. Label the page.

    Add a page to bug dialog

  3. To edit a page, simply double-click the page you want to edit while in the Layout tab. Within this context, you can add groups or fields to the page.

    Note: If you select Edit from the page context menu, you'll only receive a dialog to change the page's name. This behavior will change in future releases.
    Edit custom page
  4. When you've finished adding groups and fields to the form, check the layout. Refresh your browser and open a work item of the type you just customized.

    Edit custom page

Reorder pages

Custom pages appear listed in the order you create them to the right of the system inherited Details page.

You can reorder custom pages using drag and drop.

Re-order custom pages

Delete a page

Before you delete a page, you'll want to move any fields that your team still uses to another page.

Choose the Delete option from the custom page action menu.
Reorder custom pages

Confirm that you want to delete the page.

Delete custom page dialog

Note: Deleting a page doesn't delete any data. Once data has been defined for a field, it's maintained in the data store and work item history, even if you remove it from the form.


You can add your own custom groups to both inherited pages and custom pages.

Add a custom group

  1. Choose the Layout tab for the WIT to which you want to add a custom group, and then choose New group.

    Process>Work Item Types>Add custom group to user story layout

  2. Label the group and choose the column it should appear in.

    Add custom group to user story layout

  3. (Optional) Once you've added the group, you can move it within the column you selected. Optionally, you can drag and drop the group into any column.

    Move group

Remove a custom group

To remove a custom group from a form, first either move all fields defined in that group to another group or hide them from being displayed on the form. From the Layout tab for the WIT from which you want to remove it from, choose the Remove option.

Here we remove the Customer Tracking group.

Hide field

Tip: The Remove option isn't available until all fields are removed from the group.

Move a field

To move fields to a different page or group, choose the Edit option from the field's menu and click the Layout tab.

Here we move the Customer ticket field to the Customer data page and the Customer tracking group.

Move field to custom group

Optionally, you can drag and drop a field into a different group within a page.

Remove a field from the form

To remove a field from a form, open the Layout tab for the WIT from which you want to remove it from.

Here we remove the Original Estimate field from appearing on the task form.

Hide field

Removing a custom field from a form removes tracking data for the WIT. You can re-add a custom field to a WIT by adding it to a form as an existing field.

Removing an inherited field from a form simply hides the field from displaying on the form; it remains defined for the WIT. Hidden fields display on the admin layout page with a strikethrough. You can re-add these fields to the form through their context menu.

Once you've added a custom page or group, you can add custom fields to those pages or groups.

As you add custom pages or groups, all team projects that reference the inherited process that you're customizing will automatically update to contain the new pages or groups.

To customize a single team project, always start by creating an inherited process and migrating the team project to that process. Then, all the customizations that you make to the inherited process automatically appear for the team project you migrated.

Additional topics of interest:

Web layouts versus client layouts

The customizations you make only impact the web forms. The work item forms displayed in Visual Studio won't reflect any of the customizations you make.

Return to the process overview

From the Process tab, you can choose another process to customize or return to the Process overview page.

Return to process overview page

Feedback and support

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Or, see our comprehensive feedback and support page.

Need additional help?

Email VS Team Services Customization Help and we'll be happy to help you out!