Handy Reminders, Smart Page Diffs and Easy-to-use Timestamps in Confluence

November 22, 2022
#Project management#Task Management#Confluence
15 min

It can be tough to find a person who knows every single Confluence macro and, especially, uses all of them. Usually, you choose 4-5 favorite macros and add them to your content depending on your needs.

In this blog post, we will show you the capabilities of the Handy Macros for Confluence app that improves your user experience in Confluence. It is a set of 12 macros that add more interactivity to your content. The Data Center pricing of this app for up to 500 users is 1,400$ per year.

Handy Macros for Confluence is a must-have solution for teams that keep a lot of project information like dates and statuses on one page. And what if they need to update this information regularly?

Let’s dive deeper to see how to use different macros of this app and what our customers think of each of them.

Handy Page Diff

Every time you update the content of the page, Confluence creates a new version of this page. To check the page history, go to the page and choose > Page History. You can preview any version or restore any of them.

tracking page changes in Confluence

Handy Page Diff helps you quickly see what changes were made to the Confluence page that you have visited more than once. Starting from the second view of the same page you’ll be informed of all the changes made on the page, the count of changes and users who made them. It’s very useful for large and frequently edited pages.

The diff between the current and the last seen revision is just one click away from you. You can always be aware of all page updates since the last visit. You can confirm that you have seen all the changes after viewing the diff. Next time you’ll be informed of only the changes made since your last acknowledgement.

contributors to Confluence content

To acknowledge the changes, just click the tick icon.

You can easily disable this feature in case you do not need to track changes to your content.

Here is what our customers think of Handy Macros.

The Handy Macros are an extremely helpful suite of powerful macros. Especially in combination with the page properties and page properties report macros you can use them as a kind of workflow engine – very nice!

by  Mirko Schäfer

Handy Timestamp in Confluence

It’s hard to believe but Confluence users have been waiting for the timestamp feature since 2008. However, Atlassian decided not to implement it.

You can only quickly insert the date by typing double slash (//) and either typing the required date or selecting one. However, for some activities, it’s crucial to fix the exact time. Confluence misses this functionality.

The good news is that you can use the Handy Timestamp macro. The macro is quite simple and can be used when you need to insert the current time. For example, you can insert the start and finish dates and time for your tasks/releases or track when exactly you installed a new software version on your server.

Insert it on the page and select the appropriate timestamp format. The timestamp format is saved and the next time when you insert the timestamp you’ll get the same format for it.

timestamps in Confluence

You can always change the timestamp format and the date. In this case, the timestamp remains the same. This allows you to protect the timestamp from unwanted changes.

Confluence timestamp settings

Our customers are just happy that the timestamp feature exists in Confluence.

Yay! a timestamp feature. Just what I needed.

by Stuart Bowman

Handy Reminder

By default, Confluence doesn’t have reminders. However, we should remember a lot of things in our everyday life:

  • We play volleyball on Fridays, so we need to book a volleyball court.
  • We purchase software and want to remember the dates of repeated payments.
  • When we plan events, we need to keep up with our schedule.
  • We want to meet the deadlines for our tasks.

You can come up with tons of situations when a reminder comes in handy. That’s why the Handy Reminder macro is among our Handy Macros family. Now you can add reminders to any content on the page be it text, table, or task list.

Add reminders in the page edit mode, and there you can type the text of the message and choose to show it next to the reminders icon or not. Also, you set the date, time, and recipients.

reminder in Confluence

Edit reminders in the page view mode. You can set reminders for your own needs or for your team, and use periodic reminders.

Set the frequency for getting notifications and define the time period for reminding. For example, you can remind your colleague to check your tickets in the Helpdesk every day while you’re on vacation. You’ll get an email notification.

notification from remider in Confluence

You will also get a notification in the Confluence workbox when the reminder’s time comes.

reminder notidication in Confluence workbox

Here is what our customers say about Handy Macros and reminders.

Adds function and fun 🙂

We love using Handy Macros to make sure, we check up on certain pages in a periodic cycle, handy reminders makes this super simple and straight forward for all types of users (not just advanced and admins).

by Merle Fischer

We have many lists with expiration dates for keeping track of maintenance and inspections. To keep track of these more easily we wanted to have the date shown for reminders (with coloring on expiry). This way we can very quickly see which positions are due and have a reminder at the same time.

by Alex Scheele

Handy Status

By default, you can add Status Macro in Confluence by typing {status}. After that write the title for your status and pick its color. The native Confluence status can be changed in the page edit mode only.

status macro in Confluence

Handy Status is an interactive status macro you can change right from the page view mode.

Create personal statuses with no need to contact your Confluence administrator. At the same time, Confluence administrators can configure some default sets of statuses available to all Confluence users.

You can browse through all available status sets and choose the one that fits your case.

changing status in Confluence

You can track status change history by hovering over the status. Handy Status is essential for teams that work with Page Properties Reports because changing a lot of statuses on different pages becomes an easy task. Moreover, you can link the status to the page label which will be updated every time you switch the status.

changing statuses with page properties report in Confluence

Learn about the best practices of status management in Confluence.

Here is how one of our customers uses Handy Status.

I use Handy Status macro in my project workbook template for all my project pages. It’s a very useful macro to use especially when I’m using page properties report as it allows updates to the Handy Status from the page properties report view. I really appreciate the quick responses to my inquiries.

by Dailin Young

Handy Date

You can rapidly add dates to your Confluence pages. Just type // and choose the required date in the page view mode. However, you can change dates only when you edit the page.

Handy Date works great together with statuses in reports or task lists. You can change Handy Date on the fly while viewing the page.

changing date in Confluence

This macro can help you be more productive when it comes to scheduling tea, activities, and events, or tracking deadlines and project statuses.

Here is how a bundle of Handy Status and Handy Date can work for you.

This is a cheap and handy add-on, especially if you do a lot of status or schedule in Confluence. We keep one page with LOTS of projects’ status and dates, many of which change a LOT.  Use this add-on to STOP dropping into Edit mode, finding your spot on the page again, making your status/date change, and then saving.  With this add-on, those 4 steps become ONE – just click and edit your status or date, directly in page view mode.

All changes are saved to the page history, and the Status changes even provide a handy change-log by just hovering over the status itself.

by James Tuttle

Try Handy Macros for free

Try Handy Macros for free and improve your workflow with the help of this app. Get some inspiration on how to use this app from reviews of our customers.

The great thing is that in this blog post we described only a part of macros from the Handy Macro family.

If you have any questions, feel free to add comments below.

Best Practices for Status Management in Confluence

October 19, 2022
#How To#Confluence Tutorial#Confluence#Project management
14 min

Confluence is flexible. It can meet the requirements of teams of all sizes and industries. You can use Confluence for content marketing, project management, or documentation. Whatever your goal is, Confluence is ready to meet your needs. In this article, we’ve collected the best practices for status management in Confluence.

Status is an easy and powerful tool for workflow setup . Teams love it for data transparency, consistency, and order that come with statuses.

If you want to learn how to work with statuses in Confluence Cloud, check our blog post Confluence Tips and Tricks: Using Interactive Statuses.

Learn the basics of status management in Confluence

The Status macro is a native macro built in your Confluence from the start.

The Status macro appears on your Confluence pages like a rounded colored box highlighting the text inside of it. Use it to point up:

  • workflow stages and progress on tasks
  • brief pieces of information that require readers’ attention
  • problematic items you got stuck with
  • items that require action

You can insert the Status macro from the editor toolbar or the macro suggestions after entering the { symbol in the page edit mode. Look for Status in the Confluence macro list and configure it the way you need.

native confluence status

Use an advanced status tool for complex cases

The default status macro is a quick solution for simple cases. It works great when you need to create statuses in Confluence once in a while but can be challenging for complex workflows with many statuses and frequent updates.

To add the Status macro to the page, you need to start from scratch. Each time you need to update the status value, you will enter the page editor and type in a new text manually.

If you have many content creators, this may result in status inconsistency. They will probably create statuses with different options and colors for the same use cases.

For advanced status management, we suggest customizable solutions available on the Atlassian Marketplace. Handy Status from the Handy Macros for Confluence is one of them. Handy Status looks like the default Status macro on a page , but it has an extended functionality:

  • custom status dropdowns organized in sets
  • quick status updates without page editing
  • status history
  • status connection with page labels

Handy Status becomes indispensable when you need to ensure data consistency across content creators, enter data quickly, update data on several pages automatically, and search for particular statuses across Confluence pages.

See the list of ideas for inspiration down below to learn how our users leverage their workflows in Confluence. You can adjust them to your use cases and follow the best practices for status management.

Indicate the page status

Your Confluence must have lots of pages . Some of them are sound and good-to-go. Others are outdated and can cause misunderstanding. You will probably have unfinished pages where authors are still working on the content.

Handy Status is a user-friendly way to mark the document status and avoid confusion. You add Handy Status to the top of the page to notify readers about the information relevance. For many cases options Actual, Needs Update, Draft, Outdated, and Archived will work perfectly. But you can create a custom set of options to indicate the status of your Confluence pages.

If your Confluence data is time-sensitive, think of creating a neat table above the page content to mark the page status and update the date. If synchronized with the page label, Handy Status allows to quickly create content reports and search for outdated or archived pages in a few seconds.

page status in Confluence

Review Confluence documentation

Your Confluence content can require approvals from many people. To make this process transparent and controllable, try to organize a smooth review process in Confluence with Handy Status.

You can add statuses indicating the review stages and reviewers’ names to the Confluence page. Add the Awaiting review, In review, Approved, or Requires work statuses depending on the approval stage. For several reviewers of the same Confluence page, we suggest creating a table with two columns for:

  • the reviewer (use Handy Status for dropdowns here)
  • the document status

review in Confluence

A quick tip: use the Page Properties Report macro to boost your document review process in Confluence. With its help, you can create automatically updated tables to track documentation approvals.

report in Confluence

Track progress of action items

Track progress in any team process – from daily tasks to product launches. Whenever you have clear steps, use statuses for clarity and team synchronization.

You can easily keep track of your team progress by creating a list of project tasks. Adding Handy Status and Handy Date to each task will make task updates a breeze. You can change the status or date without entering the edit mode and save time for minor updates. Once you need to see the task progress, hover over the status. The Handy Status history indicates who and when changed this particular status.

tasks in Confluence

To add new tasks without page edit, try our Handy Tasks. You will get an additional empty line under the task list automatically. The Handy Tasks feature is a quick way to create tasks when viewing the page.

Add the Task Report macro to collect tasks from multiple pages and filter them by certain criteria. Handy Status will keep the information about the task statuses valid across several pages. As soon as you update the status or date on a source page, the same change takes place in the Task Report. No need to navigate to several pages for status or due date updates. You can save time and deliver more.

task report in Confluence

Use templates to keep Confluence structured

Start using Confluence templates to their fullest. This will bring a systematic approach to your content creation in Confluence. Create Confluence templates for any repeated activities or pages with similar content. You’ll be surprised by the benefits you’ll get:

  • fast content creation
  • well-structured Confluence pages
  • time-saving processes
  • happy employees creating content with clarity

Let’s see how to combine templates with Handy Status while working on product requirement specification. First, you need to create a template for a new requirement and add it with the Create from Template macro. After that, your teammates can click a button and start with a ready-to-go page instead of creating product descriptions from scratch.

Create from Template in Confluence

Handy Status is a perfect fit for this use case as you will choose a value option from a dropdown menu to fill out the information and publish the page. This approach is a win-win as you solve three problems with one solution:

  • avoid manual typing for data entry
  • ensure content consistency
  • ensure that the obligatory information is present

Page from template in Confluence

Visualize data with interactive dashboards

You may need to create interactive dashboards in Confluence for data overview and live updates. If you have multiple pages related to one project and need to quickly manage them, try the combination of the Page Properties and Page Properties Report macros with Handy Macros for Confluence.
Follow the steps below to power up your project management in Confluence.

Step 1

Create tables with detailed descriptions of particular project-related events or items on single Confluence pages. Don’t forget to add Handy Status and Handy Date for advanced status and date management.

equirement in the view mode Confluence

Step 2

Put these tables in the Page Properties macro and add a specific label to all your project-related pages. You’ll need this label to create a dashboard later, so keep it unique.

requirement in Confluence editor

Step 3

Add the Page Properties Report macro to create an overview page. Now you have an interactive project-related dashboard to track progress. You can quickly make changes from the dashboard page or any page with details by clicking Handy Status or Handy Date without editing. These updates appear on both pages keeping the information across Confluence pages up-to-date.

requirements list in Confluence

Step 4

You can go even further and use the advanced settings of the Page Properties Report for data filtration. The Handy Status connection with the page label ensures you have all the required labels on your Confluence pages.

page properties report in Confluence

For example, you can create separate tables for requirements with different priorities. As soon as you change the priority, the dashboards get updated.

interactive dashboards in Confluence

If you want to dive deeper into status management in Confluence, check how to improve team’s workflows with the help of dynamic statuses.

Find your recipe

All teams are unique, with their best practices and workflows. We believe you can take some of these tips, experiment with them, and find the workflow that suits you best . Keep your Confluence status management efficient and unique. Handy Macros for Confluence can help you achieve your goals.

Confluence Tips and Tricks: Using Interactive Statuses

September 15, 2022
#How To#Confluence Tutorial#Confluence
12 min

In this blog post we’ll dive deeper into the process of status usage in Confluence Cloud. If you use another Confluence hosting type, the corresponding functionality with slight platform-related differences exists in Confluence Data Center and Server.

Engineering or finance, healthcare or IT – whatever their industry is, all data-driven companies need a powerful tool for document management and collaboration. Atlassian Confluence is an advanced wiki for teams that need a secure and reliable way to collaborate on mission-critical projects.

With project diversity, one thing remains unchangeable for all projects. Effective status management is vital to achieve goals faster and find the bottlenecks in the current processes quicker.

Ideally, every team member can learn about any project or document status on request. That’s why many companies organize workflows with attention to status management. They create dashboards, track page statuses, and look for better ways to update information across pages.

Adding statuses to Confluence pages

In Confluence, you can highlight statuses with the native Status macro. Just type /status when editing a page to add a colorful rounded box to it. You can select one of five colors to customize its look. Once you save the page, the Status macro will appear on a Confluence page to highlight the status for documents, tasks, or project requirements.

add status in Confluence

The Status macro is also great for tables highlighting priority, risk, feasibility, or progress. You can always change the status value in the edit mode if needed. Start editing the page, click the status that needs an update , pick the new color, and enter the new status text.

Status macro in Confluence

Pro tip: try to add labels identical to statuses.

If that sounds like a useless activity , think of the time you needed to find all pages in Confluence that were in the Critical status (or any other you use in your company regularly). Not a trivial thing to do, indeed. For page labels, it suddenly becomes a two-second action. Just click the Critical label, and here you have all the pages in front of you. This trick can save time on searching for other efficiency-related activities on your task list.

add labels in Confluence

Creating dynamic status dropdowns in Confluence

If you use Confluence statuses a lot or plan to bring this enhancement to your company processes, you’d love to have an advanced tool for status management like Handy Macros for Confluence. It comprises a set of macros for content creation and formatting.

Let’s take a closer look at the Handy Status and Handy Date macros. Their key features ensuring better project management in Confluence are:

  • status and date switching in the page view mode
  • custom sets of statuses corresponding with your needs
  • unlimited number of dropdown statuses for each set
  • enriched functionality for faster status tracking

Managing status sets

Once you start using Handy Status, you get a place for centralized management of status lists. Here you can create sets with custom options. Later on, your teammates can reuse these sets in Confluence whenever needed instead of creating statuses each time from scratch.

While managing statuses, you can add or modify sets and status values, choose from a wide range of background and text colors for your statuses, and delete them if needed.

create status set in Confluence

Working with Handy Status and Handy Date

When you have your status sets set up, it’s high time to add them to your Confluence pages. You can do it like with any other macro in Confluence. So you can either select from the Insert menu or enter the macro name on the page via the /macro name. Use the Handy Date and Handy Status macro names to insert interactive dates and statuses correspondingly.

inserting status into Confluence content

You can change statuses and dates on the fly when viewing a page by clicking them. This functionality brings optimization to your Confluence data update process. You and your team will get rid of time-consuming edits for minor page changes.

interactive status in Confluence

You can still be sure that your data is safe as only users with edit permissions for the current page have access to this functionality of Handy Status and Date.

add interactive date into Confluence content

Moreover, you can track all the changes via the page versions.

tracking page version in Confluence

Bonus tips and tricks for using statuses in Confluence

Track status changes

With Handy Status, you can immediately monitor the history of changes. Click Handy Status in the page view mode to see who, when, and how updated statuses. This functionality allows you to monitor the process workflows in Confluence easily. Now you can always reach out to the right person to get an update on the project task or see whether the task got stuck.

tracking status change history in Confluence

Track progress of teams

You can easily keep track of your team progress by creating a table for project tasks. Adding Handy Status and Handy Date to each task will make task updates a breeze. To visualize the progress even better, try using Handy Slider next to the task list.

add slider in Confluence

Create interactive dashboards

You can collect and organize information across many Confluence pages for data overview and live updates. If you have multiple pages related to one project and need to quickly manage them, try the combination of the Page Properties and Page Properties Report macros with Handy Macros for Confluence.

This solution allows you to add dropdowns to Confluence tables and update them without editing the page. Use Handy Status for text dropdowns and Handy Date for date pickers with the Page Properties macro. Once you choose new values for these dropdowns, you’ll get an update on both pages (with the Page Properties and Page Properties Report macros).

status change in Confluece with dropdown menu

Update page labels automatically

Did you like the idea of status and page label connection for search optimization? You can automate this process with our Handy Status feature.

Link each Handy Status to the page label. This label will be updated every time you switch the status. You need to enable this feature when you insert or edit Handy Status. Try using prefixes for labels for better traceability. For example, prefix can help you differentiate between projects having identical statuses.

update page labels in Confluence

The label changes after each status update automatically. With this functionality, you avoid the risk of outdated page labels in case of status changes.

automatic update of labels in Confluence

You can benefit from this status connection with labels even more if you use Handy Status synchronized with the page label in the Page Property macro. In this case, you can create an interactive Confluence dashboard with the help of the Page Property Report macro for each status you use in your workflow.

dasboard in Confluence

Now you’re all set to boost your status management in Confluence. Use the best practices provided, brainstorm new ideas with your teammates, and experiment to achieve better results. You can try Handy Macros for Confluence on the Atlassian Marketplace.

 

Best Practices for Сreating External Documentation Site in Confluence

February 24, 2022
#How To#Confluence Tutorial#Confluence
22 min

We all love Confluence so much for the ability to have the information at hand, open and well-organized. It makes cooperation easy as a pie and saves us a lot of time. But when it comes to creating external documentation in Confluence for our products, we can get stuck.

The good news is that all we need is already in Confluence, and documentation for our products can be ready in a few hours.  However, it can be challenging to quickly find the required information since it can be scattered across multiple Confluence pages and spaces. External users need to have limited access to all these pages and see only the relevant information. Moreover, an inexperienced user can easily be lost in Confluence. The interface we all love and find so convenient can appear not so intuitive for those who see a Confluence page for the first time.

You can be a little bit overwhelmed with all that given, however, the solution is simple yet powerful. Keep reading for the best practices for creating an external documentation site in Confluence Cloud.

Create a separate space for your documentation

For security and common sense reasons, we can’t let external users browse our whole Confluence instance. So let’s create a separate space for our product documentation and collect the information for our users there.

Confluence allows flexibility in access restrictions for separate spaces. You easily define what particular users or user groups can do across Confluence pages within a space.

As we create product documentation, we need all users worldwide to access it. Anonymous access works great for that. Navigate to the Confluence sidebar, locate Space settings > Space permissions, and click General.

space access restrictions in Confluence

Scroll down to Anonymous Access. Here you can choose the permissions for all external users of your Confluence Cloud documentation site. Be mindful that you can grant broad permissions to anyone outside your organization. Limiting anonymous access to viewing and commenting is reasonable to ensure information consistency and quality. You can read more about space permissions in the Atlassian Support documentation. We suggest enabling only viewing permission for a documentation site.

space permissions in Confluence Cloud

In this case, you can be sure that your product documentation pages remain clean and concise. Commenting is a great thing, but it can be distracting on informational pages. There are other better ways to communicate with your users, and we’ll cover them later in this article.

Organize the information in your Confluence documentation space

Once you’ve created a separate space for your documentation site in Confluence and given access to anonymous users to it, you need to think about the page structure. Even the most valuable information can become useless when readers can’t reach it effortlessly.

It’s a good idea to start your documentation site with the page tree in mind. Spend some time thinking about the logical structure of your space. You can go even further and create a quick draft on a sheet of paper to consult it while creating Confluence pages.

An apparent solution here is to create a home page with general information, parent pages for the main features of your product, and child pages for minor functions or details. You may also want to create separate sections for FAQs, releases, and other technical information. As a result, you’ll get a well-organized documentation site in Confluence that is easy to browse even for inexperienced users.

page tree in a Confluence Cloud

Other things to keep in mind

The devil is in the detail. All product owners know it for sure. When it comes to your product, you need to always be on top of things. Many great products remained unnoticed because of nuances like an irrelevant logo, title, or bad documentation.

Have you already created a product documentation space in Confluence? Presumably, you were even accurate enough in a space structure. It’s time to leverage your product documentation site with our tips.

Keep your page tree neat and skimmable

Create Confluence pages according to the chosen structure. Don’t make a complex structure where users can get lost. Believe it or not, 2-3 levels of child pages can be complicated enough for your readers. Don’t go overboard.

Keep page names simple

Don’t give readers a reason to quit. Create Confluence pages with short names. The ugly truth is that people are lazy by nature. Who would love to open the page with an academic name like “A technical documentation covering the engineering implementation, functionality, and out of scope issues of a Confluence inline macro for status tracking”? And what if you place the same information under the “Handy Status” title? It looks like this option has a much higher chance of getting read.

Be consistent

Choose the principle of page naming and follow it throughout your documentation. We love to see something known and traditional. No need to vary your page names from section to section. For example, you have a page “How to use Handy Status.” Once you create another one about Handy Date, you may write “Using Handy Date.” The idea is the same, but this inconsistency would distract readers. Stick to one model throughout your Confluence space.

Create a beautiful Confluence page for your documentation overview

Documentation sites in Confluence are easy to set up, but they can be plain and look boring for external users. A landing page with the Children display macro for navigation seems intuitive for you, but it can turn out to be unattractive in your readers’ eyes. In the end, the primary purpose of our documentation site is the satisfaction of our end user. They refer to our documentation expecting to get quick answers to their questions. Their customer journey on our public Confluence site depends on us so let’s make it a smooth adventure.

Highlight the key features of your product

You’ll be surprised, but the visitor of your documentation can know little about your fantastic product. Many users start the evaluation of the product with its documentation. They will walk through the functionality you describe deciding whether your product is worth a trial period. Use this insight to your advantage – create a top-notch documentation site demonstrating the best of your product.

The main page should be concise but informative. Create an attractive page with a brief product description, point out the key features with the bullet list, and add links to the detailed technical description.

Embed video in Confluence

We’re pressed with time and want to proceed with daily tasks as quickly as possible. Add a short demo video to help users learn more about your product. 

In Confluence, you can insert links to your Youtube videos in several ways.

First, you can insert the link to your video directly into the Confluence page. Choose the way the link is shown on a page. For better visibility, we advise the Display embed option.

Choose the way links look on a Confluence page

If public links are disabled for your Confluence instance and you want anonymous users to see them, use the Widget Connector macro. It allows you to embed Youtube videos, Flickr slideshows, Twitter streams, Google Docs, and other content from the web into Confluence pages in a few clicks. You can choose the source address and the preferrable size of your media. With this method, you can be sure that even anonymous users will reach the content on your page once you allow the public access to it.

Widget Connector macro to embed multimedia in Confluence Cloud

Add a call to action to your Confluence page

Our documentation is another touchpoint with our users. Let’s benefit from it. Add an effective call to action to your main page to trigger additional contacts between you and your site visitors. This could result in long-term relationships in the future. The only thing here is that your call to action needs to be appealing and easy to locate on Confluence pages.

At Stiltsoft, we use the Handy Button macro for that. It’s a part of the Handy Macros for Confluence app. It allows you to create Confluence-like buttons and customize their color and size. Another great thing is that you can easily reuse your Confluence content as Handy Button can lead to an external address or an internal Confluence page.

Handy Button to create clickable links in Confluence

We suggest creating noticeable links somewhere on top of your documentation page so that users can see them without scrolling the page.

external documentation in Confluence

Show the product roadmap

Your customers could be interested in the information about upcoming releases. The features you are working on can become your strength when your users know about them. Don’t go deep here, a short plan overview will be enough.

You can show a table with the product development progress from your product dashboard. Here’s an example that we suggest.

Create product roadmaps in Confluence

Simple as it is, this table gives an overview of what to expect from the product in the next few months. The user sees the feature itself, its status, and progress. To ensure that the information is always up-to-date, put the content from your product space into the documentation page using a combination of the Excerpt and Excerpt Include macros. This way, you can rapidly reuse the existing table on several Confluence pages. Once the values of the original table change, reused tables will be updated automatically.

Use Excerpt Include to reuse information in Confluence

You can effortlessly create these dashboards in your space. Your team will benefit a lot from focusing on the essential things. To start with, add the Excerpt macro to your page, create the table with statuses, add sliders for progress management.

Use Excerpt to reuse the information in Confluence

You can add the native Confluence Status macro. Type /Status to add it to the page.

Add statuses in Confluence

Another solution is Handy Status, a macro allowing you to create a custom set of statuses and easily switch them in the page view mode.

Create dropdowns in Confluence with Handy Status

Handy Slider is another macro from the Handy Macros for Confluence app. It can transform your table into an interactive infographic in a second. Just type /Handy Slider, insert it to the page, and set the value. The macro coloring changes based on its value, making progress tracking even more accessible.

Add interactive sloders to track and visualize changes in Confluence

You can change Handy Slider in the page view mode. But no worries here. Anonymous users won’t affect your data as they can’t change the Handy Slider value on a page.

Highlight the relevant content

Even though you have created an excellent documentation structure, it’s reasonable to put links to the pages frequently read by your users on the main page.

Use button lists to highlight information in Confluence

Keep these bullet lists short. Too many highlights can affect your readers in an opposite way leading to distraction from the key points.

Provide additional navigation

Your readers are newbies to your Confluence site. It’s your role to help them look around. Why not add some more navigational tools? Add the Labels list macro to create a list of labels used in your Confluence documentation space. If you’re accurate enough to update labels for your pages, you’ll get quick navigation by topic, like this one:

Users can browse Confluence content by topic with the Label list macro

A search bar is a must-have for an external Confluence site. It’s probably the best way to locate the necessary information in a few seconds. Use the Livesearch macro to embed a search box into your Confluence page to show search results as you type.

Search for information in Confluence with a search bar

You can customize its look in the settings to satisfy your needs better.

Share the event agenda

If you organize webinars, meetings, or other events related to your product and best practices, you can promote them on your Confluence documentation site. The audience coming to read about your product is presumably interested in your educational content.

You can put an announcement of upcoming events in a table generated with the help of another Confluence native macro, Page Properties Report. When combined with Page Properties, it collects the tabular data across multiple Confluence pages based on the selected criteria.

Page Properties Report in Confluence

As a result, in our example, we get a brief table overview of the webinars described on three different Confluence pages.

With Handy Macros for Confluence, you can go even further and add some dynamic macros to this table.

Handy Date is a great way to highlight the dates of future events for our use case. This macro enriches your experience with date operations in Confluence. You can change the date in the page view mode and choose the date coloring.

Add Handy Buttons to create clickable buttons on your Confluence page. Once you do it and provide the links to your webinar registration or stream record, your users will be able to enroll and take part in your events right from the documentation site.

links on Confluence pages in Page Properties Report

Move on to your external documentation

Confluence empowers its users with great tools for any need or purpose. Now you see how to organize an external documentation site without any additional development or engineering skills. Just use the native Confluence macros in combination with Handy Macros for Confluence. You can try the app for free on the Atlassian Marketplace to see how you can benefit from it. If you still have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

3 Ways to Make Your Confluence Links Effective

January 18, 2022
#How To#Confluence Tutorial#Confluence
9 min

Confluence is a powerful collaborative tool for companies of all sizes. Bringing teams together in this new post-COVID-19 reality, Confluence makes it easy to stay tuned, share opinions, and exchange information.

Why Confluence?

When many team members still try to eliminate social contacts, organized Confluence pages become a single source of truth. What’s the key? Simplicity and speed. You can work without switching between messages in Slack or Yammer, documents in Google or Microsoft Office, and tons of emails in your inbox. The Confluence page is a great place to create, edit, and share content. What makes it even more valuable is the ability for inline discussion and collaboration. But is the situation so clear-cut? 

What can go wrong?

As with any field of our life, it all differs. Confluence pages are great; some problems can still arise. Have you ever experienced frustration looking at endless pages piled with multiple text fragments from various authors? Trying to find something usually turns to be pick-and-shovel. 

Or remember the last time you worked on some page in a space shared by the whole company. You’ve done a great job performing deep analysis, adding lots of insights, and sharing valuable links with your colleagues. You’ve even shared a Confluence page with this information to make sure it won’t stay unnoticed. What happens next? Your team just looks through your work in a minute to never get back to this page again. All your ideas remain overlooked, no links are followed, no improvements happen. Sounds not so cool, right? 

The reason is as easy as pie: we are overwhelmed with information, so it should be well-organized to get noticed. Collecting and analyzing data is not enough. Organizing information and delivering it in small chunks is key. 

How to add noticeable links to Confluence pages?

At Stiltsoft, we love to create neat Confluence pages with valuable sources for internal use. Even if initially written as a personal draft with a flow of thoughts, any new page can become a masterpiece as it progresses. So it’s our common practice to structure information on pages in an easy-to-read manner. We often use links to internal and external sources on our pages.

Check out our top three ways to organize links in Confluence. With them, you can be sure your team never misses a thing on a page or skips a vital link.

Highlight your link for better visibility

This advice sounds like a joke, but it works. Use bold type or italics, change the font size or color. It may seem like extra work, but the result makes it different. Which part of the page do you like more?

highlight link in Confluence

Just a few mouse clicks can change the way your Confluence links look across pages. Best practices can be easy but effective in creating beautiful Confluence pages.

Add link previews for higher engagement

When you need to draw attention to particular links, their content previews work excellent. At Stiltsoft, we use Handy Cards for this purpose. It’s one of many macros available in Handy Macros for Confluence. You can create clickable links to Confluence pages or any external URLs using intuitive macro settings.

Handy Cards are highly customizable and allow to add links with previews for Confluence child pages or pages by labels, choose column or size layout, sort generated cards by creation or update, and many more. The rich functionality of Handy Cards makes it possible to link any web address to them and define its preview.

You can use Handy Cards as an alternative to the native Children Display macro. It’s a quick way to get an organized overview of all pages linked to the parent page. In a few clicks, you get a structured and engaging Confluence page.

create page previews for links in Confluence

Use buttons for CTA

Once you have a link all page readers need to follow, Handy Button is a great idea. It transforms your link to a clickable Confluence button with the text you define. Handy Button is also a part of Handy Macros for Confluence (now also available in Cloud), and it works out-of-the-box. All you need to do is to choose the color and name for your URL. After that, you’ll get a Confluence style button on your page that is noticeable even while skimming the page.

insert buttons into Confluence pages

What else?

Feel free to share your best practices of working with links in Confluence. Remember, the more we improve, the more effective our processes become.

If you are interested in any other macros from Handy Macros for Confluence, contact us by clicking the button below (and yes, this is a Handy Button (smile) ).

Two-Minute How-To: Creating Buttons in Confluence

September 1, 2021
#Confluence Tutorial#Confluence#How To
7 min
Add more interactivity to your pages in Confluence Cloud for instant switching of statuses in the view mode with Handy Macros for Confluence

If you have read our previous how-to blog posts, you know that the ‘look and feel’ of Confluence is way more flexible than it seems to be. In this article, we’re going to explore how the Atlassian User Interface (AUI) library can help with improving Confluence usability. AUI allows you to do a lot of things, but for now, we will focus on buttons. Creating buttons in Confluence is a cool way to make links more visible on your pages. Atlassian doesn’t recommend using buttons as links, however, as we will see further, sometimes you can deviate from this rule.

Let’s see an example of how buttons can be used. On the home page of our documentation, we have several icons of our apps. We wanted to place a link that would take users to the support request form in case they don’t know how to proceed or need more information.

Since we wanted to make this link easier to find on the page, we thought it would make sense to put a button, because, first it would be easier to find the link on the page. And second, the button would be in line with the product icons.

button in confluence documentation

Creating buttons in Confluence

So how exactly can you place a button?

Open the administration panel and click the User Macros tab. Let’s create a user macro called aui-button with the following code:

## Macro title: AUI Button
## Macro has a body: N
## @param Title:title=Title|type=string|required=true
## @param URL:title=URL|type=string|required=true
<a href="$paramURL">
    <button class="aui-button aui-button-primary">
        $paramTitle
    </button>
</a>

Then save the macro and make sure it appears in the macro list.

creating buttons in Confluence

Our macro is now available in the macro browser. Click Insert More Content in the page edit mode and open the Other Macros tab. Enter the name of our custom macro and insert it to any page. All you need to do is to set its name and URL.

add button to Confluence page

You can also add a small question mark icon to the Get Help button, it’s enough to take the default code for the icon button and replace the default code with the following:


    <button class="aui-button">
        <span class="aui-icon aui-icon-small aui-iconfont-help">
            Help
        </span>
        <span>
            Icon button
        </span>
    </button>

You can immediately see the result of your experiments.

creating buttons with AUI

Making your pages engaging and interactive

You can try Handy Macros for Confluence to create buttons of different colors and make sure that the link opens in the new tab.Handy Button in Confluence

Moreover, this app provides various ways of how you can diversify your content in Confluence Data Center and Server with the help of such macros as:

  • Handy Status: create custom status sets and changes statuses on the fly in the page view mode
  • Handy Reminder: add reminders right to Confluence pages
  • Handy Carousel: organize your images and videos and create dynamic media galleries
  • Handy Heading: copy link to any page heading in one click
  • Handy Cards: preview your Confluence pages as a card grid
  • and many more macros

Add more interactivity to your pages in Confluence Cloud for instant switching of statuses in the view mode with Handy Macros for Confluence.