Tips & Tricks for using labels in Confluence

Hi All,

Labels in Confluence can often be overlooked, but they are fundamental to Confluence. This old blog I wrote explore why we should use labels and how to get the best for them. You can view the blog HERE.

 

Confluence is a wiki and collaboration product that allows a company to create, store, manage and share all knowledge in a single tool, with connections to the rest of the Atlassian suite like Jira at your fingertips. It becomes incredibly powerful when trying to create a more complete picture and deliver transparency. However, like any system, without proper management, the correct knowledge can become difficult to find, presenting opportunities for duplicating the content which only further breeding the challenge. The use of labels & searching can help with this, but they also have to be properly managed. This blog will give you, as an admin, tips and tricks for managing labels within your Confluence and boost search results.

Confluence searching is built on a tiered solution. When a user enters a phrase, Confluence will search every page available to the user for labels, page titles, and then page content that matches the search criteria. It will then prioritise the results for how many times those points are met on every page to return the list of results. With Confluence choosing labels as it’s first searching point to match to, it is of vital importance you label your pages with the topics on the page. To search successfully in Confluence, your company have to make this a top priority to get right.

Labels themselves are system wide. When you start typing, Confluence will search the entire site for possible label matches.

Something to consider:

Labels do not work with spaces. If working with multi word labels, create a standard of - or _ to help with words.

Labels are not only important for search results, but can be extremely beneficial when dealing with certain macros. Since your labels provide Confluence with another way to group topic related information, you can use macros like the ‘Content by label' macro or the 'Labels list’ macro to give additional functionality to the pages and to easily navigate between content. For example, by looking for a topic in general or for possible other articles if the current one may not perfectly fit your requirement.

When it comes to labels and getting started, the best way is with a good old fashioned mind map. Mind maps allows collaboration from the team across all the relevant topics. Start with your large chunks of work, then all possible sub-topics underneath. Keep going until you have covered all sub-topics. You can use cloud bubbles for particular topics that could sit across multiple areas but are beneficial for searching etc. Below you will find an example mind map for a legal and legislation department.

Please note: If possible, store the mind map in Confluence, so that it’s easy to reach for all users at any time. Using apps like Draw.io or other diagramming tools, you could even do all the editing directly from the Confluence page.

These label diagrams for each space are working diagrams, and should be constantly evolving with you and your team. By ensuring this diagram is always up to date, your team are provided the best guidance on making pages easier to search for and providing meaningful knowledge to the business. The aim of this exercise is not to big brother content creation, but to guide your users of possible topic labels to add to pages and help provide consistent and accurate search results and navigation. When using the mind map to work out what labels are required for a page, you can go along the different branches including every bubble you hit as a label. This helps with content appearing in the correct place no matter the level the label is looking at.

When it comes to adding labels to a page, look for the little tag icon at the bottom of the page when in view mode. When in edit mode, click the ellipsis in the top right corner, then click add labels. Once on the labels pop out, just add labels by typing or remove them by clicking the 'X'.

8 comments

Dana A July 28, 2023

Thank you, I needed this today. 

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Dan Tombs
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
July 28, 2023

I'm glad it could help @Dana A. Is there anything in particular you are struggling on?

Like Eric Czirr likes this
Dana A July 28, 2023

I was using Word and just was not working for me , I did not know this was an option in Confluence, I will play with today and I will ask questions once I put my toes in the sand. 

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Dan Tombs
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
July 28, 2023

If you have access to it @Dana A, You may even be able to use the new Confluence whiteboard functionality too. This may save you a marketplace app.

Mike Rink - draw_io
Marketplace Partner
Marketplace Partners provide apps and integrations available on the Atlassian Marketplace that extend the power of Atlassian products.
August 2, 2023

Thanks for the draw.io shout-out, @Dan Tombs - much appreciated! As a label-lover myself, this is a great article for people looking to add more organization and structure to their wiki (which is probably all of us!). 

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Eric Czirr November 29, 2023

Thank you for the article, @Dan Tombs. Is there a workaround to make labels "roll through" from top to bottom from a space to a sub-space, or is this a hard-and-fast separation without a workaround?

I would like to better utilize tagging, but I am working on a Confluence Space that has +800 users and +300 sub-spaces within. 

The solution I see is that I can create a master list at the main space, and audit to make sure all sub-spaces conform to the same usage for like terms. However, this still seems a bit limited and somewhat "clunky." 

Andy Gladstone
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
January 10, 2024

I've had this bookmarked for the past (5) months and finally found the time to consume this today. Very useful post about a very underutilized and misunderstood feature in Confluence. The information presented about how the search looks at labels BEFORE page content is golden. Thanks for sharing @dan

Like Eric Czirr likes this
Diandra Victor January 30, 2024

Thanks @Dan Tombs .

I love labels and use them to enhance my search!
We're working on a project to declutter our labels and the 'Labels list’ macro is particularly useful.

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