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Improving file editing in Confluence with the Atlassian Companion app and Edit in Office Edited

Hi Community 👋🏼

You may have seen my previous posts in relation to editing attachments in Confluence. We have been looking at options to best meet your needs and we wanted to let you know more about the direction we're heading in, so you can plan ahead.

In August 2018, we released Confluence 6.11 and replaced the Edit in Office feature with the Atlassian Companion app. The Companion app overcame a number of issues related to Edit in Office, including the ability to edit and upload changes to any type of Confluence attachment, not just Microsoft Office files.

Although the Companion app was being used in Confluence Cloud, a number of issues came to the fore as we rolled this out in 6.11 to our Server/Data Center customers. We have been reviewing feedback and have had in-depth conversations with a number of you to better understand the limitations of the Companion app in your operating environment. 

One of the biggest hurdles for adoption of the Companion app is the ability to get this application installed on individual computers/workstations. Unfortunately, there isn't an alternative workaround for this, as browsers sandbox websites and Confluence on its own doesn't have the ability to access a user's file system and desktop applications.

For this reason, we have revisited our original decision and will be bringing back support for Edit in Office. Many of you are only interested in working with Office files, do not need the extended capability of the Companion app and are happy with what exists. We will start with reintroducing Edit in Office as a dark feature in Confluence 7.1, similar to its implementation in 6.15.6/6.13.6. Admins can choose to retain the Companion app functionality in 6.11+ or enable the Edit in Office dark feature for editing files.

 

Confluence version

Edit in Office dark feature compatibility
6.13 Enterprise Release versions (from 6.13.6) Compatible
6.15.6, 6.15.7, 6.15.8, 6.15.9 Compatible
7.1.x Compatible
All 6.14.x and 7.0.x versions Not compatible

 

Going forward, we are continuing to look at how the experiences of using Edit in Office and Companion app can be improved. We want to increase your ability to collaborate and be productive in Confluence and we've been digging into the pain points many of you have had with the Companion app installation process. This includes tackling some of the access issues and ensuring the Companion app can access the correct session in a terminal services environment. For Edit in Office, we are retesting some of its previous limitations; Edit in Office will be compatible with recent versions of Firefox. We will be including these updates in an upcoming release and in time for the next enterprise release (coming in early 2020). Admins will then be able to select which of these two options for editing files best suits their instance and user base. 

Thank you for your patience as we find the best ways to support your use of Confluence. I'll provide a further update closer to the time of release to provide more detail around the updates, which should make editing files a more seamless experience. Please continue to share your feedback with us (and enable analytics on your instance) as it helps us to move Confluence forward with you.

5 comments

TomC Community Leader Oct 23, 2019

@Makisa Appleton Thanks for this welcome news and your detailed update. We are massive fans of Edit in Office, as our Confluence instance is used by many departments outside of IT such as Sales, Marketing and Operations. Edit in Office helps casual users to participate in Confluence-centric processes that might otherwise be challenging to adopt (Fortune 500 company). 

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@TomC Thanks for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it!

Would appreciate it much more, if you would release an integration to sharepoint online. Conntect a Confluence space with a o365 group and store all files automatically there would be the best.

We do not want our user to store files in confluence at all... this feature ist not helping in that case :-(

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Fully agree with @TomC here.

Also, deploying the Companion App to more than 1200 workstations is really not a good solution for us.

Thanks for the detailed update info.

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This is a welcome announcement.   We have upgraded our Confluence installation to a version requiring use of the Atlassian Companion.   The companion seems to have caused more troubles than it has solved problems.   We have had users that have had problems getting the tool installed and functioning correctly, and never had problems with "edit in office" previously.

However, the mode of opening and editing attached files is a lesser concern than the lack of ability to accommodate multiple concurrent editors of attachments in Confluence.

Currently, if you have multiple individuals editing the same document attached to a confluence page, it's "last one wins", where the last save overwrites all changes.

Sharepoint has a far superior capability in this space, and allows multiple users to effectively collaborate on a single document, making changes from other users visable and mergable into a single document version.

This is really unfortunate for Confluence, since editing office files is unfortunately still an important function in daily work life, and this feature is about the only thing that Sharepoint does better than Confluence, from a user experience perspective.

Hi @Allan Flatoff ,

In terms of the last-one-wins problem when saving a document, the Cenote Lockpoint app was designed to address that issue by permitting attachments to be checked out while they are in use. Lockpoint is also integrated with both Edit in Office and the Atlassian Companion, meaning that attachments are checked out automatically and without any additional user intervention when using either of those two features. (Disclaimer: I work for the company that makes Lockpoint.)

Scott @ Cenote

It is good to hear the Atlassian team is reviewing the companion app.

Our organizations biggest issue/concern with the companion app is that users need to keep the Confluence tab open and go back to upload their updates. If a user edits a file, saves it, then doesn't return to the Confluence page and hit to upload the edits are lost. Most applications that allow editing of files in "the cloud" (Box, OneDrive, SharePoint) have the file saved directly to the repository when saved without the extra step.

My recollection is this is how the edit in office functionality worked (edits saved directly to confluence when saved in the office application without needing to return to Confluence to upload) and I'd love to see that come back! 

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