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Confluence basic functionality without plugins, is it usable?


So we've just started a refactoring of our documentation in Confluence. Moving all the relevant documentation to a new space and building that space with templates and labels.

For example, We use Content by label to generate lists on what we expect different people to work on, this is built with labels and AND statement possible in Content by Label

What we've found out is that Confluence macros are a mess. There are multiple label macros built in for Confluence, and they all work in different ways.

  • Graphical styling of these macros are different
  • Some auto complete, labels and spaces, some don't.
  • Some allow for AND conditions most don't.
  • Some can be forced to check a specific space, some not.
  • Create page from template can't add labels
  • Pages are unable to be redirected. Need a plugint
  • Page includes are limited to One Excerpt and One Excerpt only
  • @Mentions in instructional text doesn't work 
  • Unable to move a whole tree of pages (only Copy seems to include child pages)

When we're looking on how to solve this, most of the threads found here in the community links to plugins in the Atlassian Marketplace. If not, there are bugs that are 7 years old that never seem to be implemented.

As a government entity, we can't pay for a documentation system only to be told to pay for for 3-5 3rd-party plugins (that might break things when upgrading) to solve things that should have been in the product from the beginning.

Also I guess support would be a pain since I now have 4-6 different entities to raise support questions to depending on what breaks.


I'm beginning to doubt Confluences usefulness for documentation and longing back to DokuWiki (which BTW also required multiple plugins).


So, my question is this.

Confluence basic functionality without plugins, is it usable?



1 comment

Nic Brough -Adaptavist-
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
Jun 11, 2020

Yes.  I know a lot of places that work with Confluence "off the shelf" and are highly effective and productive with it.

With most of your complaints about macros, you'll find that there are good reasons that they don't support functions you've named - it's when they don't have any real use for doing it.  (And as for the last one of being unable to move a tree of pages, um, that's wrong, as it works fine)

Explain to me how not having the ability to do AND between labels is of "no real use".

Content by label macro for instance, has AND.

You can therefore make two labels, say infrastructure and servicedesk,  that Content by label macro can then show only pages matching those two labels and ONLY those labels.
Every other page that has servicedesk isn't listed.

The Content Report Table can't do that. "No real use" is not an answer here.

How is Auto-Completing a Space name in one Macro label "of use" and in another "no real use".

What Im getting at is this:

It's as if each separate Label Macro was programmed by a different programmer and they didn't communicate or set up a standard for how Label macros should behave.

Which makes me question the quality of the product.

Like Michael Stella likes this


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