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How to Create A Specific User Guide in Confluence

Hi! I would like to incorporate my user guide into Confluence, so we can share this with our users. I would like to build this in confluence rather than just upload my user guide, as I know I will be making revisions going forward.

Has anyone built their specific user guide in Confluence? Thoughts and tips on how I might design mine? Thank you!

6 comments

Hi Barbara, 

Not sure if it will be relevant, but I'm currently translating several user guides for software used inside our company from Powerpoint to Confluence, and I'm happy to share what's worked so far.

To get a better sense of what you're working on, what is your user guide about? Who is it for, and when do they use it?  What format is it in now?  

Will it exist in a Confluence space along with other content?  If so, what other kinds of content will be there?  Is all the content for the same audience?

 

Like # people like this

Hi Barbara,

We use Confluence to author the user documentation for our product SMARTset at 4NG.

We have a space for each manual and an extra space where we store all our shared excerpts (we use the Multiexcerpt Macros plugin).

The Confluence content is also the context sensitive help and we achieve that by adding in 'special' tags into the Confluence content that we want to be linked to a web location in SMARTset. Each space is exported to a single, static HTML package (all the pages, images and CSS) as part of the build process using the Confluence API.  The document builder also creates a full PDF of the each manual.

This all sounds like a shed load of work and you would be right!  

The Confluence API isn't that easy to follow, the extracted HTML needs a LOT of cleanup and the page hierarchy is very difficult to replicate.
We end up with something pretty decent and coupled with the context sensitive aspect, it fits our needs but it is far from perfect.

If I were doing it all over again, I would probably not use Confluence at all, it's just too limitiing and cumbersome. I'm sure there are better documentation tools out there that produce first class manuals and online docs and have a decent, structured search mechansim. In fact that's one of our biggest issues, finding stuff in Confluence.

If you intend to just provide users anonymous access to your Confluence site then a lot of these issues won't be a problem for you I guess.  This is certainly the Atlassian approach so they have a vested interest in improving the tool.

Hope that helps,

Steve

Like Jacob Cerda likes this

Hi Steve.

Thanks for sharing.

My experience is that confluence (cloud) has its strengths elsewhere than exposing documentation in a public domain, as where internet users can access how-to-documents or other knowledge-base documents.

When receiving a document, the user is not only presented of the content of the document, but all the visual aids, that goes with confluence, such as navigation etc. Menus are rendered for users to interact, as if they were maintaining the documentation. I am aware of other solutions, including custom coding and accessing the content over API, where you get an highly customized experience, which is the point - not all want to go down that road.

We are kind of missing the ability to expose the content through a simple and customized portal - Equivalent to JIRA exposed to the support product at Atlassian.

For now, we have moved forward with Intercom (intercom.io), where the ability to expose documentation focuses on the document/content, and not all the visual clutter - it is a really calm down-toned user experience.

 

Cheers!
Theodor.

Like ian_f likes this

We have built our User Guide for ParkMyCloud in Confluence. We have had a lot of positive feedback from our customers on the ease of finding what they need through the search feature. You can find the guide here.

Like # people like this

HI, your user guide looks very nice! We are also considering building our guide in Confluence. May I ask how you created it? When you click 'Create' Confluence provides several options, including 'Create a new blog post', 'Create a marketing plan' "Create a file list' etc - none of if suits our needs. Did you simply start from a blank doc?

 

Thanks in advance!

Ravit 

Like Phyllis Palmer likes this

Thanks for sharing your guide.  Question for you--how did you get bullets indented under bullets?

Hello - Thanks for the feedback!

To do an indented bullet, I just go to the next line and hit the Tab key (or Shift-Tab to remove the indent.

  • Bullet
    • Tab and then keep typing
  • Either shift-tab, or just hit enter and it will automagically remove one level of indent

@PMC Admin I would request you to let me know the process to get such a link for the user guide developed in Confluence. I have prepared a user guide and now I want to share it with the Public but I am unable to generate such a link for my user guide. 

Thanks, looks great! My question is more hands-on - how do you technically start a guide in Confluence? Like if you can instruct me to the actual 'start a project' or 'start a guide'  button (assuming these exist)...Thanks in advance! 

Hi Ravit, did you find the answer for this? How to start your user training guide in Confluence? please share if you know.

 

Many thanks

If you are asking about what @PMC Admin posted, what you need to do is create a new space and you will find more options where you can create a user guide space.

Hi!

We created a user manual on Confluence Cloud for external users. This is a great platform to do this this, BUT(!!!!!) unfortunately, there is no possibility to hide the users lists (Last Updated, Created by,..) for external users. 

In Europe we have the legal requirement to protect any personal data and Atlassian does currently not offer any possibility for Confluence Cloud to follow EU legal restrictions. And not only for legal purposes - we don't want externals to know the names of our staff!!

We are really very much hoping that this will be implemented very soon by Atlassian.

Like # people like this

Maybe you can just use a pseudo-user like "Documentation" as a work-around.

Like Sofia Ljungmark likes this

We are in the process of moving our documents to work with Refined for Confluence cloud

We will create and edit our documents in the main Cloud server

Then we will transfer the document to a Outbound server using a Pseudo-name and then in Refined the user id will be the same for all documents

Refined gives us the look and feel we want and Confluence Cloud Outbound also helps us keep all user information away from the online/customer users

My question is about how to update an existing page? Do you have to work on a new page and just copy it over once it is "complete" or is there a way to stage the new version and move it to a published status? Also, how do you handle version control?

Hi @Lisa Scheuplein 

At Comalatech we use our apps Comala Document Management and Comala Publishing to enable us to work on our documentation in a Draft space and then publish it to a Public space in https://wiki.comalatech.com/ when the content has been approved and the release shipped. 

This approach allows us to have all the page versions in our draft space, but only the published page versions in our public space.

Please note that I work at Comalatech and there are other Atlassian apps on the Marketplace that may also suit your requirements

Kind regards

James 
Senior Product Manager at Comalatech

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