[Product update] Moving Shortcuts to the content tree as Smart Links

UPDATE: THANK YOU TO OUR INCREDIBLE COMMUNITY FOR THE FEEDBACK. IT'S CLEAR WE MISSED THE MARK HERE, SO WE'RE GOING TO ROLL BACK THIS CHANGE & CONTINUE ITERATING. I WILL REACH BACK OUT IF AND WHEN WE HAVE ADDITIONAL IDEAS AND INVITE ANY & ALL OF YOU TO LET US KNOW IF WE'RE ON THE RIGHT TRACK!

 


 

Hi everyone,

In an effort to make creating, organizing, and finding simpler in Confluence, we have made the decision to deprecate the Shortcuts feature. As a part of this deprecation, we will transform existing shortcuts to Smart Links in the Content Tree.

Here is our timeline for making these changes:

  • June 6th, 2024: Space Admins will begin seeing an option to move their Shortcuts to Smart Links in Content Tree
  • September 27th, 2024: Atlassian will auto-move all remaining Shortcuts to Smart Links in Content Tree

Background

Shortcuts

Shortcuts are a feature in Confluence that allow users to link to content that that tends to live outside of their Space. This can be other Confluence content or content external to Atlassian. For example, a user can create a Shortcut to a Google Sheet:

image-20240513-134710.png

When the user clicks on the Google Sheet link, they will be directed to the Sheet in a new tab.

Smart Links in the content tree

Confluence recently rolled out a new feature called Smart Links in Content Tree which allows users to centralize and structure content from disparate tools, reducing the time users team spend on app-switching while also enhancing collaboration across platforms.

With this feature, users can now add their external content directly to the Content Tree, allowing for far more flexibility than Shortcuts currently offer.

Let’s walk through the same journey we went through with Shortcuts. To add a Smart Link to a Google Sheet, a user will click on the + create icon, then click on “Smart Link” from the list of options:

bd971435-0187-4e46-ada7-e9ec23c5aae9.png

Next, the user will paste the link to the Sheet that they want to link and click “Add Smart Link”:

fcded2bb-0cca-4dc6-9ada-2fbcaac2a029.png

That’s it! Once the user has added their Smart Link, it shows up in the Content Tree alongside native Confluence content. Unlike Shortcuts, when the user clicks on the Google Sheet Smart Link, they’ll be able to interact with that content from within Confluence:

025101b7-2c91-4727-90e3-769f7365e4e7.png


What's changing?

Starting on June 6th, 2024, space admins will begin seeing an option to move their Shortcuts to Smart Links in the content tree:

5f40702c-eced-4e64-8cd8-a6a3629bb99d.png

You will not be able to create additional Shortcuts at this point; however, you can still delete and edit the names of existing Shortcuts:

b21b4f18-46f3-4e6b-8d9d-437a920b4cfe.png

When you click “move now,” you’ll see a modal tracking progress:

3d8d5603-0e7d-4295-ad09-9986ff274664.png

Once complete, you’ll be prompted to refresh the page. At this point, you’re Shortcuts will show up in the content tree under a parent Page called “moved Shortcuts”:

2c93422b-aa31-4c2e-894f-41973aa87f2b.png

On September 27th, 2024, we will force move all remaining Shortcuts. The downside to not moving Shortcuts prior to this date will be that many Shortcuts will lose their titles and instead will just show up as URLs. If you move the shortcuts manually before this date, then the Shortcut name will be preserved during the move.


Why are we making this change?

We’re making this change for a couple of reasons:

  • Shortcuts are used by a relatively small number of Confluence users.

  • Smart Links match and improve upon Shortcuts, leading to redundant functionality.

  • Deprecating the Shortcuts menu in the side navigation allows us to move content up a bit farther, meaning less scrolling for users.

Other notes

  • Shortcuts with names longer than 60 characters will be truncated as a part of this change.
  • We will create a migration log for users so they can track exactly what happened with each Shortcut to Smart Link transformation.
  • The downside to not moving Shortcuts prior to this date will be that many Shortcuts will lose their titles and instead will just show up as URLs. If you move the shortcuts manually before September 27th, 2024, then the Shortcut name will be preserved during the move.

42 comments

Barbara Szczesniak
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May 17, 2024

Will these Smart Links affect PDFs of a space or my output to Scroll Viewport?

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Laura Parraga -K15t- May 22, 2024

@Barbara Szczesniak I'm Laura, product manager for Scroll Viewport!

Smart Links will for now not show up in your Scroll Viewport site or PDF outputs. This also goes for any pages nested under the Smart Links in the content tree. If you would like to use Smart Links, we can evaluate what alternatives you have to display your content. Just reach out via help@k15t.com and we'll see how we can help!

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Barbara Szczesniak
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May 23, 2024

@Thank you, @Laura Parraga -K15t-. I was more concerned that they would suddenly show up without my wanting them to

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Matt Reiner _K15t_
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June 6, 2024

This is a great step forward: https://youtube.com/shorts/5SiCxUDcmvc
Thanks @Ned Lindau

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Ned Lindau
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June 10, 2024

@Matt Reiner _K15t_ incredible hype video — thank you so much!

 

Rob Bl June 12, 2024

As far as I'm concerned, the whole point of shortcuts is that they're separate from the content tree.

Shortcuts are for getting key documents more quickly.

Removing shortcuts and forcing users clutter up the content tree with Smart Link defeats the whole purpose of having shortcuts in the first place.

Now I'll be forced to create a page called "Shortcuts," with my former shortcuts as sub-pages.

It would be great if Confluence would focus on fixing issues users have been complaining about for literally years instead of removing user-friendly features that help us work.

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Lynne Wilton June 13, 2024

Is this still on track? I don't recall seeing the space admins msg on 6th June

 

John Armstrong
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June 13, 2024

I use shortcuts for quick navigation to other related Confluence spaces and pages without having to use browser bookmarks or star spaces. When using smart links for this purpose, instead on opening the linked Confluence space or page, it displays the smart link page. showing the link as a card, which you then have to click to open the linked space or page.

Therefore, it is now two clicks instead of one to launch a linked Confluence space or page, so we have effectively lost simple shortcut behaviour. 

It would be good if a smart link was configurable so it can be configured to behave like a regular bookmark or as a smart link.

Shortcuts should not have been removed, as they can be configured by admins to be shown or hidden as required.

Seems to me that the design of smart links serves a very different purpose.

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Rick Boggs
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June 13, 2024

I just tested the switch and now it's going to take multiple clicks instead of one to go to separate spaces / applications outside of Jira. This is a step back IMO and should have only been done when smart links are more fully fleshed out. I also agree with the above commenters that shortcuts being separate is ideal. This has just cluttered up my space and I wish I could revert. 

 

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TonalityQuin
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June 14, 2024

Smart Links are not perfect and only support a very limited number of pages. It will also be difficult to support Smart Links on all pages in Confluence in the future. Smart Links will not be able to coexist with regular links.

This update has caused an issue where we unnecessarily have to open additional pages to navigate.

We request a rollback of this feature. This is likely to resonate with many users.

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Roser T
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June 14, 2024

Honestly, I don't see how this is useful for those of us who use shortcuts to have quick access to particular pages in the page tree.

Couldn't smartlinks remain separate from shortcuts?

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Andreas Reinold
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June 14, 2024

What's needed is some kind of manual how shortcuts at surface level can be recreated. My users don't care whether links are smart or not. What is important to them is that they find their stuff on the shortest route.

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Piotr Zawada
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June 14, 2024

I am really interested in your analytic data as you wrote that the shourtcuts "are used by a relatively small number of Confluence users". What does it mean "relatively small number"? 5% of users? 10% of users? What I know is that 90% of our spaces had shourtcuts and now we have to struggle with those so called "smart" links that looks excatly the same like a regular pages

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kimberly_roarkloveland June 14, 2024

Please please please don't take away shortcuts. It seems like many here, and my entire team(!), use the shortcuts to quickly access important pages that are already part of containers within the content tree. This new smart link has a different purpose and functionality. :(

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Tracy Moffat June 14, 2024

I absolutely do not like this move at all.  Smart Link is so different than Shortcuts. Now I need to create a page called "Shortcuts" and have to embed the children macro so that I don't have an empty page. These do not belong under the Content tree. 

Please bring back "Shortcuts", the use case for Smart Link is not the same as a "Shortcut"

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Jeff Hoover June 14, 2024

I agree with others here stating Shortcuts are useful as is, meaning a separate section for quick access to specific links.  This change reminds me of when you started forcing "mode=global" on our main space resulting in the navbar being removed, which was a terrible change that caused lots of confusion.  Can you please stop removing useful navigational features?

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Bri June 14, 2024

Just want to add another voice requesting this change be scrapped. The reasoning for the change doesn't make sense.

  • "Shortcuts are used by a relatively small number of Confluence users."
    • Even without knowing what "relatively small" means, it is clearly an important feature for those users. It's also a standard feature for any page tree / nested file type of organization structure, because it is so necessary to be able to pin important pages that would otherwise get buried.
  • "Smart Links match and improve upon Shortcuts, leading to redundant functionality."
    • The two features have completely different use cases. Removing Shortcuts removes functionality, period. There is no "redundancy" because there is currently no equivalent alternative (certainly not Smart Links that live inside of the Page Tree with everything else).
  • "Deprecating the Shortcuts menu in the side navigation allows us to move content up a bit farther, meaning less scrolling for users."
    • The Shortcuts menu is collapsible, so this is a matter of a few pixels. If unused and empty, you don't even have to click to collapse it. If those few pixels are so precious, Admins can hide the menu. This reason for the change is a stretch, at best. 
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Ned Lindau
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June 14, 2024

Hey everyone — thanks for all the feedback. We want to make sure we get this right, and I'd love to chat with whoever's willing to share more about our broader vision, where we thought this change fit in, and how we can preserve some of the use-cases you've mentioned above. To schedule time with me, please use this link. Thanks!

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Michele
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June 14, 2024

Just another vote for keeping them. I agree that it's different functionality. I like the smart links but it's completely different than what we use the shortcuts for which is featuring important/frequently used content from the space that may be nested inside other sections. Even the name "shortcuts" implies this whereas smart links are a way to embed external content. Thanks!

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Rob Bl June 16, 2024

@Ned Lindau , I hope some others are setting up times to talk with you. Personally, I'm not because of time constraints and the fact that I think others here use shortcuts far more extensively than I do. I just articulated the problem early enough in the thread, and with enough detail, that my comment is getting a lot of votes.

The upshot here is that removing shortcuts and replacing them with some other feature in the content tree is like taking all the shortcuts off someone's computer desktop, and telling them to use a folder in their C drive instead, but worse because Smart Links don't work the same way, are more work to create, and are more work to access, among other clear shortcomings. Smart Links do not, in any way, "improve upon Shortcuts." They are worse by every metric.

I'd say the problem is fairly self-evident, but apparently that's not the case for the Atlassian dev team. Did anyone ask for this?

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Ned Lindau
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June 17, 2024

@Rob Bl question for you:

> The upshot here is that removing shortcuts and replacing them with some other feature in the content tree is like taking all the shortcuts off someone's computer desktop, and telling them to use a folder in their C drive instead

When you create shortcuts, are they normally 1) to Confluence pages that exist somewhere within that same space; 2) to Confluence pages that exist in another space; 3) to content that lives outside of Confluence?

 

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Julie Smith
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June 17, 2024

From an organizational perspective, Shortcuts allowed for quick access to a key page within a robust, info-filled space. How do you recommend highlighting those pages for easy access once this feature is removed? The value of the feature and the functionality seem to bigger than just linking to a google sheet based on other's similar comments.

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Ned Lindau
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June 17, 2024

@Julie Smith Appreciate the feedback — question for you: 

When you create shortcuts, are they normally 1) to Confluence pages that exist somewhere within that same space; 2) to Confluence pages that exist in another space; 3) to content that lives outside of Confluence?

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Michele
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June 17, 2024

@Ned Lindau for us we use it for 1.

For pages that exist in another space or externally, i've been using smart links to embed them into our space as well.

If any of them were super important for us to access quickly, then we would also add them to short cuts but it would point to the page in our space that we added via smart link.

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Allie Deleon
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June 17, 2024

@Ned Lindau Appreciate you gathering feedback! I'm adding my two cents as another user who appreciates the current functionality of shortcuts, and is unsatisfied with the changes made. Here's background on my team and our use case. 

Context: Mobile software engineering team with product, engineering, BSAs, and QA all using & contributing to the overall space. We have a BUNCH of pages.

Primary shortcut use case: A quick, one click way to navigate to another confluence page in the same space for viewing AND editing. 

Examples:

  1. We actively frequent sprint documents in confluence. I update the shortcut to the sprint doc each sprint so it's easy for the team to get to - rather than scrolling through pages, clicking on our sprint tracker header page, and then finding the particular sprint doc page for the current sprint. 
  2. I shortcut requirements documents for active quarterly priorities, since those are frequented while we are actively tackling those efforts. 

Hope this is helpful feedback. 

 

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