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Confluence as documentation and content management system

I have many design and interface documents in MS word Document format and we started a POC to migrate to Confluence, we are using it for the first time and here is the issues i found:

- the rich word documents when migrated i found following problems:

  • missing Heading numbering
  • all deep nested paragraph numbering are corrupted
  • there is no rich auto numbering
  • for tables i tried to find paging feature for big simple tables ~ around hundreds rows 
  • huge effort to adjust web page to reach acceptable level and not word level

i found paid plugins to solve such issues. but i have the following concerns:

  • why this basic editor features does not exist in confluence out of the box? 
  • if confluence is really meant for word like web pages documentation or not?
  • anyone succeeded to migrate MS Word rich documents to Confluence before?
  • if Documentation is not a use case for confluence what confluence can be used for?
  • is there atlassian product for rich documentation web pages?

i was happy and had high hopes when i found "import word document" option out of the box feature in Confluence but after i saw the result i am really surprised that i have to buy more new plugins to adjust basic editor features!!!

1 comment

Bill Bailey Community Leader Feb 10, 2021

Hello Mohamed, first a disclaimer. I hate Word. ;-)

You cannot compare the the two because they have some fundamental differences. With Confluence, you are basically editing in HTML. And Confluence wisely separated out the format from the content. All the formatting is controlled via CSS at the space and global level. This separation ensure a consistent corporate look and feel.

Numbering is an issue in HTML, so you have to live with what Confluence can do.

I have used Confluence for documentation for a decade (I am a technical writer), and came from a FrameMaker background. I love Confluence because it makes it so much easier to get SMEs to edit content and get reviews. Nearly all our customer facing documentation is generated using Confluence (exported to PDF), Yes there are limitations, but the speed of generating documentation outweighs the limitations.

To successfully import Word docs, you must first clean up the Word source, knowing what Confluence can and can't do. And then using the source editor in Confluence, I have a number RegEx routines I use to clean things up.

And not sure what you mean by rich documentation web pages. They are pretty rich if you through in your own CSS, user macros, and some plugins.

Take a look at this article that gives an indepth view of importing Word docs: Michelle-s-quot-Five-Stages-of-Word-Import-quot-Survival-Guide.

She doesn't talk about using the source editor and Regex, which I highly recommend as it can save A LOT of time.


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