Confluence 101 Videos
Maggie Modersohn | February 2, 2015
Build a Corporate Design with Confluence
As you may know, you can adjust the look and feel of Confluence (out-of-the-box) at the site or space level. Generally speaking, you have three ways to implement a corporate design:
- simple adjustments with built-in themes like Default or Documentation
- complex modifications using Confluence’s decorator (layout) files
- simple and complex modifications using add-ons like Brikit Theme Press
Let’s look at these solutions in detail and finally compare each.
Adjust the Theme
Many features in Confluence are relatively easy to design. You can set color schemes, change site and space logos, add stylesheets, and slightly adjust headers and footers. Built-in themes allow you to refine and override standard configurations, set the default layout and roll out themes to departmental spaces.
Themes allow you to personalize the 'look and feel' of Confluence. You can apply a theme to your entire Confluence site or to individual spaces. Choose a specific theme if you want to add new functionality or significantly alter the appearance of Confluence. –Atlassian Documentation
Making changes in this manner works well in some cases; however, you may quickly notice certain limitations. If you want the flexibility to design features like page hierarchy or other ways to fine-tuning your environment, the pure Confluence solution is not for you.
Don’t forget to document your changes. Doing so allows you to easily manage subsequent changes, upgrades and content imports. Documenting also helps you establish test criteria for Confluence upgrades.
Adjust the Decorator
If you want to change navigation, search or login features, you need a deeper understanding of the Confluence layout. Currently, Confluence uses the following framework for page layouts:
Confluence is built on top of the open source SiteMesh library, a web-page layout system. ... To edit the layout of Confluence, you will need to modify these decorator files. A decorator file is a.vmd file and is written in a simple programming language called Velocity. You can learn more from the Velocity User Guide. – Atlassian Documentation
To make these manual adjustments, you'll need technical expertise along with a separate environment for development and testing. Depending on your requirements, the result may be your own Confluence theming plugin which would require constant maintenance. Atlassian advises against manually customizing the layout:
If you are using custom layouts based on defaults from a previous Confluence version, you run the risk of breaking functionality, or worse, missing out on great new features! – Atlassian Documentation
Use Brikit Theme Press
Are you unable to meet your corporate-design requirements using Confluence’s built-in themes? Are you reluctant to train someone to understand Confluence’s layout structure?
In that case, Brikit Theme Press may be the right tool for your organization. When Brikit designed this add-on, they had non-technical users in mind. They aim to make the design process easy and intuitive when it comes to layouts, navigation, menus and overall branding.
Transform Confluence to make it easy for anyone to share information and ideas. – Brikit Theme Press
Check out the showcases below, all built using Brikit Theme Press. You may find it difficult to imagine these as Confluence pages.
Brikit Theme Press completes and simplifies the management of Confluence’s look and feel. Here are some very useful features:
- drag and drop layout elements
- create and organize page structures and elements based on the WSIWYG principle
- adjust page and column sizes
- (de)activate page elements (breadcrumbs, page titles, labels, comments, etc.)
- administer page layouts, logos, color palettes, icons, fonts, etc. in a simple, central and consistent manner
- download, copy and adjust themes
- deploy themes to production
Theme Press also adds the following features to Confluence:
- drop-down and panel menus
- macros specific to design and images effects (Rotate Content, Action Button, Open Links in New Window)
- responsive and adaptive page layouts for mobile devices
You can also control access to layouts, thereby separating authors from designers.
If you want a site with the basic appearance of Confluence's default theme, you can continue to use that theme, making adjustments as needed. Once your requirements shift and increase in complexity, you'll need to gear up.
If you decide to create your own design infrastructure, you'll need to manage it long-term and deal with compatibility issues as you upgrade. Otherwise, you can invest in an external plugin, one that carries the burden for you.
With Brikit Theme Press, your average Confluence user (even those without web development skills) can create and manage great-looking layouts. Technical and non-technical users can help implement and administer your corporate design.
By Maggie Modersohn | November 20, 2015
Every organization needs to move faster, be more agile, work less, and get more done, and adopting a culture of collaboration is an important step in that direction. While deploying an enterprise collaboration tool such as Atlassian Confluence is a start, employee engagement is not automatic. We all know that behavioral change takes effort.
In this article, we'll look at ten strategies you can adopt to create and nurture a culture of collaboration.
It's no coincidence that Trust is the number one strategy. Putting trust in your employees automatically creates a culture of openness and shared responsibility. Allow everyone to contribute in as broad of a context as possible. Encourage participants to include positive feedback along with constructive criticism. Recruit team members from around the organization to lead by example: seeding conversations, posting feedback, and liking content. Include a platform for crowd-sourced questions and answers (such as Confluence Questions) to let subject matter experts decentralize the flow of information.
Just as important as trust, organizations need to learn how to be more transparent. Ambiguity and secrecy kill collaborative behaviors. Make a habit of informing all employees of decisions, successes and failures. Go beyond announcing decisions after they are made by explaining the reasoning behind them, and by opening a dialogue. Whatever knowledge you accrue or project you manage, share it with everyone.
Leadership behavior naturally sets the tone for other employees. Embracing trust and transparency is a key first step. Then welcome and publicly acknowledge feedback, and remember that great leaders take credit for both good and bad. Recast negative feedback as an opportunity to engage the community in creating solutions.
This might seem trivial, but setting a light tone at work helps contributors open up, especially those new to your company or team. Humor connects people and collaboration puts emphasis on people. Managers who can make a meeting room laugh will be more approachable and will learn more about what makes their people tick.
5. Rewarding The Right Behavior
People don't like change and will naturally try to do things the old way. Find small ways to reward anyone who shares knowledge, asks questions, or connects with colleagues across borders or departments in meaningful ways. Rewards can be anything from a virtual collaborator medal to a small gift, or simply a public shout-out. These will encourage other employees to follow their lead.
Technology will always just be a means to put strategy into practice. But picking the right collaborative tools (such as Atlassian Confluence or HipChat) can help your team become more collaborative. With the right tools, it won't matter where people are, or in which time zone. You will always be able to connect, discuss ideas, and make collaborative decisions.
Your organization has a distinctive personality and culture. Does your collaboration platform reflect that, or does it look and feel like a foreign body? If your culture celebrates successes or personal events such as birthdays, make sure that's part of the online conversation. Think of ways to connect people and show that your people come before the product or the corporation. Collaboration is all about people, so add the human touch wherever possible.
8. Invite And Master Conflict
Collaboration doesn't automatically mean consensus. There is always room for disagreement or conflict. Encourage respectful and constructive dialog to get the most from everyone and create the best possible outcomes. Criticizing ideas is easy but blocks progress, so ask that negative feedback be given with ideas for possible solutions to keep things moving.
If you collaborate for the sake of collaboration, you're doing it wrong. Efforts should be aligned with your overall business objectives and values. Are people earning bonus points for for simply liking and posting trivial comments on blog posts, or posting funny cat pictures? Challenge teams to find new ways to produce results or connect people. Decentralize this activity, and then socialize those ideas that have an impact.
Chances are your people feel too busy to learn new tools that promise a better way of working. So find ways to make using them inevitable. Instead of sending emails with information, email links to content in your collaboration platform. Change the way your team works to make one weekly activity possible only by logging in, and be sure that task is easier on the new system than the old way. Then engender a culture of moving conversations into the tool, regardless of where they start.
Changing behavior isn't easy, but taking small steps, enlisting your people, and adding a dose of creativity will go a long way to make your teams work better, faster, and smarter.
By Darryl Duke | November 11, 2015
Follow Ideas and Topics instead of Pages and Spaces
So you've got Atlassian Confluence and you're all sharing pages and publishing posts. But do you really know what's trending with your team and your organization? Can you easily see what's trending, and who's engaged?
Now with Brikit Pinboards, our new software add-on for Confluence, you can. Just like Pinterest, Pinboards gives you a bird's eye view of what your company or your team has been up to and what it finds interesting. Instead of watching spaces or following people, with Pinboards you follow topics or ideas to quickly find out who's doing what and who knows the most based on each board's activity stream.
How does it work?
Brikit Pinboards gathers content from personal, department, or project spaces — creating social forums that cut across space boundaries.
- Start by placing a Pinboard macro on a page.
- Configure the scope — identify the labels and spaces to review.
- The Pinboard will render matching blogposts and pages, images, or links to other file types. No worries if your content isn't image-rich. Pinboards will render what you've got nicely.
- As users engage with the content – by sharing, liking, or commenting – that activity also becomes part of the visually engaging, infinitely scrolling boards.
With Pinboards, you can easily share anything. Confluence lets you share pages and blogposts. Pinboards adds image, file, and comment sharing. It turns Confluence into a truly social intranet.
Pair Pinboards with Brikit Targeted Search to make labeling and finding stuff on Atlassian Confluence a breeze. Create boards for your company, your team, or yourself. Capture topics of interest, fresh content, or ideas you want to share. Ask folks to pin pictures of places they'd like to go for a team offsite or great examples of product UIs for inspiration. Add a Pinboard to create a team photo contest. Then watch your team feed the content stream with their likes, shares, comments, and new content.
With Pinboards, there are no page loads, no training. Just dive in. It's addictive, social and always current — so you can stay current as well.
By Kathy Duke | October 7, 2015
Now Finding Your Stuff is as Easy as Buying Shoes on Zappos
Atlassian Confluence has a powerful search engine. It instantly combs through thousands of pages and attached files to retrieve search results. But if you're in a large or fast-growing organization that generates a large amount of content, you know that Atlassian Confluence search results aren't always 'on target'. And while Confluence's advanced search syntax is powerful, building complex queries can be time consuming and intimidating.
Brikit Targeted Search harnesses the power of the Atlassian Confluence search engine to bring users instant gratification: relevant, targeted search results—fast.
Point-and-Click Filtered Searching
In a nutshell, faceted search reduces complex search queries to a few simple mouse clicks, giving users immediate, on-target results without the need to master query syntax. Take Zappos.com as an example: their NavWow sidebar presents product features as lists of search options on the left side of the screen (under "narrow your choices"). With women's running shoes: you see options for size, performance, brand, color, price and weight. Color options include values such as gray, black, blue, and pink. The user instantly narrows down the results with each facet they click.
Brikit Targeted Search gives users the same experience when searching for content in Atlassian Confluence. It presents a similar sidebar, but with options defined by you, and relevant to your organization, content, and user needs.
Create Relevant Options: You Define the Search Filters
Atlassian Confluence's built-in site search feature provides a limited set of filters: search by Confluence content type (pages, blog posts, etc), author, and others.
Brikit Targeted Search allows you to add search facets (or filters) that are relevant to your organization, your content, and your users' needs. For example, let's say you maintain product documentation in Confluence. You might use product names as search filters, and define your own content types that are more relevant to your users, such as: competitive analysis, marketing plan, budget, tutorials and customer success stories. You might specify filters for a department subset, geographic location, or type of user, such as managers.
Under the covers, Brikit Targeted Search converts user selections to Atlassian's advanced search syntax, generating sophisticated queries that retrieve highly targeted content. And it allows users to browse more widely (and alter their queries) with the same ease. And because Brikit Targeted Search relies on Confuence's highly performant search indexing, a fast response is assured, avoiding user frustration and making Confluence search as simple as online shopping.
Make Content Easily Discoverable: You Define the Search Scope
Brikit Targeted Search gives you the tools to make content easily discoverable – in even the largest and most dynamic Confluence sites. With Targeted Search macros, you can add preconfigured search fields and one-click search links to Confluence pages. Targeted Search fields, which resemble the Confluence site search field, are highly configurable: you can restrict search scope by space or space category, by custom search filters, by content types, or leave the search entirely open. Targeted Search link macros allow you to present a preconfigured search as a button or link, taking the user to highly targeted yet dynamically updated content with a single click.
On the content-creation end, Brikit Targeted Search takes the guesswork out of organizing your content for maximum discoverability. The Targeted Search Labels Editor lets content-authoring users choose from the same pre-configured search filters you define for faceted searching and browsing. When users are finished with a page or ready to share content, they simply click to add search-relevant labels with the same ease as faceted browsing, ensuring consistent discoverability from the content creation stage. Pre-configured labels automatically organize pages, blogposts, files, and images so users don't have to waste time guessing at relevant search terms. And labels can be added as the team or project grows. Over time, the Targeted Search Labels Editor streamlines the content creation process and improves search quality.
Brikit Targeted Search can optionally replace the built it Confluence Search field so users across your corporate intranet have a consistent 'Zappos-like' search experience. And with Brikit Targeted Search, there's no need to wait for the UPS delivery. Try Brikit Targeted Search: instant gratification for information-hungry users.
By Robbie Lee | August 3, 2015
After installing Confluence and adding spaces, you'll notice a common look and feel across the site. This site-wide design provides a fluid user experience and ensures new spaces adhere to a standard.
Behind the scenes, a theme establishes design elements like color, feature location and layout. You can alter this appearance using built-in or third-party themes. Either allows you to change the entire site, specific spaces or individual pages.
The latest versions of Confluence provide two built-in themes: Default and Documentation. The Default is a standard Confluence theme that presents content using a simple page layout. The Documentation theme adds a page tree to the left of page content. Your administrator can select either of these as the site or space theme.
Your Own ThemeConfluence allows you to create your own theme. However, to do so, you must know how to create a Confluence add-on. After creating this add-on, you'll have two other obstacles to overcome:
- no Confluence support for your add-on
- code issues after a Confluence upgrade
The Atlassian Marketplace offers several third-party theming add-ons. Each provides different levels of customization. Many allow you to:
- create your own theme
- change design elements
- adjust page layouts
- add menus and footers
Some add-ons require wiki markup and CSS knowledge.
By Robbie Lee | March 19, 2015
One of the most important parts of a content collaboration tool is its ability to connect people and content. With Atlassian Confluence, you can:
Although collaboration of this sort begins with an email notification, all content lives within Confluence.
As a logged-in user, you can share pages with internal or external users, including anonymous viewers.
In order for anonymous users to view shared content, an administrator must grant them access.
Share AttachmentsConfluence 5.7 introduces the ability to share attachments (PDFs, Office documents, images). Logged-in users can share this type of content with users and anonymous viewers.
When you add a comment, the author and all watchers receive an email notification. To target a specific user, include an @mention in your comment.
Comment on the Page
Confluence 5.7 introduces the ability to add in-line comments. When highlighting regular text, an icon () appears at the beginning. After adding your comment, Confluence highlights the commented text.
Deleting Commented Text
If you delete commented text, the comment does not persist; Confluence stores it with the previous page version.
All versions of Confluence support commenting at the bottom of the page.
Theme Press Site
If using Theme Press, your designer may have hidden the commenting features available at the bottom of the page.
Comment on an AttachmentAlso new to 5.7 is commenting on attachments (images, PDFs, Office documents). When you insert this type of file on a page, a preview image appears. Clicking this image causes the previewer to open. From here you can add comments.
Updating Commented Attachments
When you replace a commented attachment, the comment does not persist; Confluence stores it with the previous file version.
Confluence provides various ways to track content changes. You can:
You can keep an eye on specific pages and blog posts. You can also watch all content in a space. As a watcher, you receive emails related to new, updated or deleted:
- blog posts
When do I receive an email?
If your mail server is functioning properly, you will receive an email after a user performs an action.
You can view a list of watches and remove any unwanted pages or spaces.Additionally, space administrators can view, add and remove watchers.
Another method of tracking content is to follow user activity. Confluence uses the term "network" in relation to following users. Think of this action as creating your own social network within the site.
Depending on your settings, you may receive an email when the user adds, updates or deletes:
- blog posts
You also receive notifications when followed users update their status.
Subscribe to Updates
Aside from watching content and following users, you can subscribe to (1) daily updates, (2) all blog posts and (3) recommended updates.
The daily report summarizes changes for every page you have permission to view. When you subscribe to all blog posts, you receive an email notification for each new post. For recommended pages, Confluence emails a list of pages and blog posts relevant to you.
How does Confluence determine relevant pages to recommend?
Confluence bases its recommendations on recent page additions, likes and comments.
By Robbie Lee | January 16, 2015
A common complaint about wikis is the difficulty in finding relevant content. Often, you can attribute this issue to excessive amounts of duplicated, inaccurate, empty, poorly-constructed or poorly-written content.
To create and maintain Confluence as a reliable source of information, you need knowledgable people to periodically review and update your site. If your company lacks these resources, each user must learn how to find accurate and relevant information. One catch though, how do you find that same information repeatedly and quickly? Check out the Mark Content for Later tab for ideas.
A simple search is text-only, no special characters or prefixes. Within the search box, type any word or phrase, and Confluence returns results that contain content matches for one or more of the words.
Advanced SearchLike most, the search engine behind Confluence accepts advanced query syntax for:
- Boolean expressions
- exact phrases
An added bonus is the ability to search against fields in the database. You can search for:
- types of content
- page titles
- space keys
Examples of Advanced Queries
Here are a few examples of advanced search queries.
|Boolean and Exact Phrase|
|Boolean and Label|
|Exact Phrase and Label|
|Wildcard, Exclusion, Grouping and Boolean|
Once you enter text in the Confluence search box, you have two avenues for viewing results: quick navigation and standard (full). As you populate results, pay attention to the icon in front of each item. These icons inform you of content type.
|Content Type||Icon||Quick Navigation||Standard (Full)|
Do search results include the content within attachments?
Yes, Confluence indexes and searches content in the following attachments:
- Adobe PDF
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Microsoft Word
New and Updated Content
The Confluence indexer runs every minute. Therefore, you may need to wait before seeing new or updated content in search results.
The quick navigation aid appears as a dropdown list below the search box. These results may include pages, spaces, administrative options, user profiles and other items. As you enter text in the search box, the results update to show possible matches.
Confluence matches your query against page titles. Therefore, you will not see results when your query matches content within pages.
A standard (or full) search involves matching your query with content in spaces, user profiles, attachments and space descriptions. You initiate this type of search by hitting the Enter key or clicking the magnifying glass at the bottom of the quick navigation results. Results appear on a separate page.
Once you view the results of a standard (full) search, you can filter your results by:
- last modified date
- content type
If locating good content is a challenge, you have a few options for re-discovering it easily.
You can mark any page you have permission to view as a favorite. You can also access your list of favorites. One down side to this list is the inability to categorize it. As you add items, you may begin to lose track of the most important pages. With this issue in mind, try to minimize the number of pages you mark as a favorite.
List of Links by Category
Another option for tracking pages is a categorized list of links on your personal space. This list requires upkeep but grants you the ability of customization.
If your company allows you to add page labels, take advantage of this time-saving option. Each time you find a page of interest, add a label that is specific to you or your job. Later on, search for those pages using the advanced
labelText: syntax. Here are some label examples.
By Robbie Lee | December 26, 2014
Looking for guidance on basic Confluence functionality? Take a look at some of the most common tasks.
Create a PageConfluence simplifies page creation. With an easy-to-access Create button, you can create a blank page, a blog post, or a page from one of the built-in templates.
Organize PagesConfluence organizes content into pages that live within spaces. This structure is similar to a file system in an operating system where pages exist in a hierarchy.
As you create pages, you may need to change their order. You can do so by dragging and dropping them when viewing the page hierarchy. You can also move a page while viewing it.
Once you initiate a page edit, a rich-text editor opens. From here you enter and format text. Generic formatting options include:
- font properties
- ordered lists
You can also insert tables, tasks, links, attachments, images and macros.
As you explore, you'll discover many other features in the editor.
You can upload files from your computer to a Confluence page. Once attached, you can:
- add text that links to a file
- show a list of page attachments
- insert content from a file into the page
Insert Content from an AttachmentAfter uploading image or office files, you can insert them as page content. Confluence can display Microsoft Office (97-2013) and Adobe Acrobat files. File types include:
- .doc and .docx
- .xls and .xlsx
- .ppt and .pptx
- .bmp (depending on browser support)
Copy a Page
You can easily copy pages. When doing so, be mindful of any pages in the destination space that have the same title as your copy.
Restore Previous Page Version
An important function of Confluence is page versioning. This feature is key for content collaboration. When multiple users have the ability to edit a page, the need to restore a previous version increases.
Restrict a Page
As you develop content, you may need to restrict certain pages within a space. The content may relate to a particular group or exist for personal use only. Restrictions involve limiting who can view or edit the page.
Delete and Restore a Page
If your space administrator has granted you permission, you can delete pages within a space. Don't worry though. Your administrator can restore these pages as long as the space exists.
Monitor Orphaned Pages
As you delete or move pages, you may accidentally create orphaned pages. How do pages become orphaned? Two ways occur most often:
- You delete a parent page and the children no longer have a home.
- You move a page and do not select a parent page.
Luckily, you can easily define a parent page for orphaned pages.
By Robbie Lee | December 26, 2014
Confluence provides much of what you'd expect in a content-collaboration tool. Your organization can centralize content and grant access to groups like employees, customers and vendors. Through a web browser, users can search for and add content. While most content-collaboration tools provide these features, the usability of Confluence makes this web app a pleasure for writing and sharing content.
In an series of articles, we'll look closely at the following features.
Generally speaking, you manage Confluence content at the page level. You can re-arrange, edit and copy pages. You can also upload attachments and restrict the ability to view and edit pages. To learn the basics of managing content, review our User Experience - Atlassian Confluence 101 article.
As your site grows, searching for relevant content may become cumbersome. To help you, take a look at our Atlassian Confluence 101 - Search for Content article to learn a few tips about narrowing search results and targeting relevant content.
Share, Discuss and Track
Confluence provides features for:
- sharing a page
- adding comments to a page
- watching one or more pages
In our next Confluence 101 article, we'll discuss the specifics of these features.
Configure and Design
If you're looking for more than Confluence out-of-the-box, we'll show you how add-ons and macros help you change the functionality and appearance of Confluence.