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Search like a pro with the new advanced search experience Edited

Elaine H. Atlassian Team Sep 19, 2019

Update as of 11 Nov 2019:

The new experience has been made available to all Confluence Cloud customers. After monitoring the usage of the old experience, we will be removing the Switch to the old experience link in the next couple of days.

We have plan to enable support for operators such as AND, OR, and NOT in search query in the new experience in the next couple of weeks. In the interim, you can use the following link to go to the old experience in case you need:

https://yoursite’sname.atlassian.net/wiki/dosearchsite.action

Please continue to post your questions and feedback here. Thank you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Hi everyone,

It’s Elaine again, your Marie Kondo for finding information in Confluence. We know that locating the materials you need can be a challenge – especially if your organization lives and breathes Confluence pages. Our goal is to help you get what you need fast, so you can search and go!

To that end, we’ve revamped advanced search to give power searchers a better experience. Advanced search uses an improved search ranking algorithm that boosts search success by 22%. We’ve also made it faster to load the page after you click on a search result. If you aspire to be a power searcher, the new experience is easy and intuitive – a quick and simple way to get your feet wet. Now everyone can search like a pro.

 

Advanced search demo.png

Advanced search helps you find anything and everything in Confluence so you can be more productive. We’re not just talking pages and spaces, but also blogs, comments, and attachments.

You can get to advanced search with the quick search drawer:

 

Quick Search drawer.png

Power users wannabes listen up! Here’s another way to find it: go directly to the URL yoursite’sname.atlassian.net/wiki/search.

We’ve given you many ways to jog your memory, so you can find what you’re looking for in seconds. The new experience has all the filtering power you know and love, but now filters are easier to discover and use. Narrow down your searches with comprehensive search filters like:

  • Space: search in particular spaces (with a painless drop down menu)

  • Contributor: search for content published by specific people

  • Content type: search for specific kinds like page, space, attachment, blogpost, etc.

  • Last modified: search for content last updated in a particular timeframe

  • Label: search for content that contain particular labels

  • Only search for page titles

You’ll know that you’ve found what you’re looking for right away when you see rich information in search results. You can spend more time focusing on what matters when you don’t have to visit pages that aren’t relevant. Search results also show you the space where the page lives and when it was last updated. With advanced search, you’ll know when you’re hot on the trail to finding what you need.

All told, we’ve streamlined the experience to make your search nimbler. Please let us know if we’ve managed to do that. Our team is listening.

P.S. - We’re working on a simpler and more powerful quick search experience that we hope you love. We’ll share more when it’s ready, so hang tight.

14 comments

Like # people like this
Elaine H. Atlassian Team Oct 04, 2019

Hi @Viktor

Thank you for your reminder. Did you mean this: https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/CONFCLOUD-14910? If so, this issue is on our radar. Please note that this announcement is for Confluence Cloud specifically.

As part of our investigation, we'd love to hear your thoughts on what advanced search operators you consider essential, besides this particular suggestion. I look forward to your input.

 

Regards,

Elaine

Like # people like this

@Elaine H. Will the new (advanced) search find text within pdf files? That one missing feature made one customer leave Confluence for a different option.

Like # people like this
Elaine H. Atlassian Team Oct 10, 2019

@Trevan_Householder , did you mean PDF files attached to Confluence pages?

@Elaine H. , yes, exactly.  Not just pdfs but other attached file types as well: Doc, txt, etc.

@Elaine H. the https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/CONFCLOUD-14910 issue you mention above is still a problem for us and not addressed by the latest Advanced Search options. 

We use Confluence Cloud for our software System Administration Guides so being able to search for exact text is important. Currently I have to export a portion of the Confluence pages as a PDF so that our users can at least do an exact search in the PDF files that I attach to one of our pages. This is laborious and not exactly the best look for an IT company like ourselves to be doing!

Like Dan_Winkler likes this
Elaine H. Atlassian Team Nov 09, 2019

Thank you for the reminder, @Lucy Minato . I can see how frustrating it can be without functionality like exact word match.

This is in our backlog. I'll keep you all posted as we solidify our plan.

What about being able to search in "Favourite Spaces" only under "Spaces"?

I don't see that in the new search & it was one I used all the time, to only search ones I'd favorited.

Please consider adding this to the new search experience.

Thanks!

Like # people like this
Elaine H. Atlassian Team Oct 10, 2019

@Brian Dale , thank you for letting us know you're not seeing the functionality you find useful in space filter.

We are open to continuous iterations. Depending on the interest level on this functionality, we'll consider it for our roadmap accordingly.

Elaine H. Atlassian Team Oct 10, 2019

@Jeanne Howe , thank you for brining this up. We don't have this on our roadmap at this point. I'll share the ticket with my colleague who's closer to the area of content export.

We need a way to search a page tree. We used to be almost able to do this with ancestor, but this doesn't appear to be in the new search interface.

Elaine H. Atlassian Team Oct 10, 2019

@David_Gregory , thank you for your feedback. This is on our plan for later iterations. We understand it's important for many to be able to search within the entire breadcrumb including ancestor and parent titles besides the page title itself.

Rather than offering it as a filter, we are considering incorporating ancestor and parent titles in our general search indexing and search results ranking. We'll keep you posted.

Does this address your feedback?

I hope it does. As long as I can restrict searches to the page tree so that I don't see results in other pages within the space (outside of the page tree) then that works for me.

Ideally, it would be good to restrict results to a page tree initially with the ability to open the search up to other areas of the space or all spaces with the click of a button.

Like Angela_L_ likes this

@Elaine H. What the hell!

You took away the old search before addressing the ability to search within a page tree!

Do not remove old methods before providing the new way of doing things or it negatively impacts your customers!

Like # people like this

As an update on this, Atlassian has since provided a (largely unpublished) way of searching in a page tree.

  • Use "ancestorIds:[page_id]" in CQL

@Elaine H. , @Balazs_Nagy , @Shrey I have requested and not received a reply for the full list of CQL queries available and how to use them (see my message on Nov. 21 below). I have searched for this to no avail. Please provide a link for what is available and how to use.

Will the new search functionality search inside comments and replies to questions? (when the Question module is installed)

Just double checked and it doesn't. Something really needs to be done to make searching questions and answers a lot easier.

Like Olle likes this
Elaine H. Atlassian Team Oct 10, 2019

@Ben Vautier the Type filter includes Answer and Comment. You can search inside comments and answers with these two content type filters. Could you confirm they're available to you?

@Elaine H.  Right I need to select type == Answer for the search to look into Answers. That is a good start but I think "Question and Answers" should be combined (or Answer should be implicit in the Question type.)

I feel having so many types to select is super confusing. 

Elaine H. Atlassian Team Nov 09, 2019

@Ben Vautier , got it. I'll share this feedback with the team. Thank you for your suggestion.

Without any malice, Atlassian needs to understand how your decisions affect your customers behaviours. We uninstalled the Questions module yesterday and decided to go with StackOverflow for teams. I really wanted "Questions for Confluence" to work but there are way too many problems with it including searching. My own team pushed back on me and after trialing StackOverflow it was overwhelmingly clear which system best met our needs. When I uninstalled the questions module I left feedback that I would be willing to spend a whole day with one of your team members (I live near Sydney) to discuss all the issues we came across. Will see if Atlassian takes me up on my offer.

Like # people like this
Shrey Atlassian Team Nov 13, 2019

Thanks Ben. I am the Product Manager for Confluence Cloud ecosystem and would love to spend a few mins learning about your experience with Questions for Confluence. Is it possible to have a video meeting next week for the same?

@Shrey Sure, I am pretty free next week let me know what time/day works best for you.

Like Shrey likes this
Shrey Atlassian Team Nov 14, 2019

Let me know your email address and I will send you an invite.

Provided email address

Shrey Atlassian Team Nov 14, 2019

Done. You can remove

@Shrey Thanks for making the time to discuss the issues this morning. Hope Confluence and JIRA continue to get better and better.

In the past it was possible to use AND, NOT, ... between key words, or between labels in Advanced Search. Currently it is not possible. Any plan to install again this functionality ???

Like # people like this
Elaine H. Atlassian Team Oct 10, 2019

@Joan Trias , we're considering this. As part of our investigation, we'd love to hear your thoughts on what advanced search operators you consider essential, besides AND and NOT. I look forward to your input.

As long as there is no easy to maintain ontology/thesaurus (to my knowledge there is not anything like this) for larger spaces we definitely need

a) the boolean OR and

b) brackets

to search for an abbreviation and the spelled out name at once:

 ("DDOS" OR "distributed denial of service") AND ("Abbreviation2" OR "Spelt out name 2")

Note that if you are doing a search for n of these combinations, you will have to make 2^n queries to capture the result space. 

Like Jeanne Howe likes this

Hi Elaine, I am using Confluence cloud for 3 months right now, so I can not suggest lots of searching needs, but at least for key words and for labels, we would like to have NOT, AND,

James Dellow Community Leader Nov 08, 2019

@Elaine H. are you thinking of putting in some kind of search builder? I think in the immediate term just allowing a user to override the filter and use any valid CQL search query would be fine. It is useful for doing things not otherwise supported in Cloud's out of the box features, like looking for pages that don't have a label assigned.

Like Shaun_Sheehan likes this

Thank you for everyone's input. In the near term, we want to bring the commonly used operators back to parity with what had in the old experience. Based on what we've heard, it'd be AND, OR, NOT, wildcard, exact word match for keywords and labels.

There's currently no plan for a more sophisticated search builder. As I mentioned in another reply, besides getting closer to feature parity on operators, we will focus on improving search results relevancy without heavy reliance on operators.

Balazs_Nagy Atlassian Team Nov 21, 2019

👋Everyone, engineer on search experience is here. We've just released support for AND, OR and NOT operators. I hope it will reduce the friction you have had.

Let me know what you think and thanks for your patient.

Like Dan_Winkler likes this

With the "old experience," searching for partitioned AND table returns three pages, searching for "partitioned table" returns zero.

With the new experience, both return hundreds of pages that have only one of the two words.

How is this "advanced"? Seems more like useless. I can't find what I'm looking for.

Like Joan Trias likes this

@Robert_Lauriston ,

Thank you for taking the time to voice your concern. I hear you that the new experience hasn't provided the full set of advanced search capabilities that you need.

We don't have support for operators in search query yet in the new experience. Currently the new advanced search doesn't interpret operators such as AND as operators. This is why you observed a much larger set of research results.

We have plan to support operators e.g. AND and OR in search query in the new experience. For the time being, please go to the old experience (https://yoursite’sname.atlassian.net/wiki/dosearchsite.action) so that you can continue to use this feature. If you have any particular thoughts on what operators are most important to you, we'd like to hear about them.

Meanwhile, we have other initiatives to improve search results relevancy without heavy reliance on operators.

We'll keep everyone posted on our progress.

If you change the search so that I can't find pages containing partitioned AND table, Confluence will be pretty much unusable.

So long as there's a usable search engine available, no problem. Except for the more general problem that Atlassian needs its customers to tell them such basic things about usability.

Elaine H. Atlassian Team Nov 11, 2019

Point taken, @Robert_Lauriston. Thank you for keeping us on our toes.

Here's an update:

We just confirmed our plan to bring back support for basic search query operators including AND, OR, and NOT in the new search experience. We plan to release it in the next couple of weeks. This is a known limitation that we have planned to address shortly after completing the full rollout.

We'll also look into the issue you mentioned that searching for "partitioned table" yielded noisy results, as part of our initiative to improve search results relevancy.

I'll post updates on the top of the original announcement.

James Dellow Community Leader Nov 12, 2019

@Elaine H.  you said:

"we will focus on improving search results relevancy without heavy reliance on operators"

Hopefully you aren't just relying on tweaking search ranking algorithms to achieve this. The software industry serving the enterprise is shifting to natural language and graph-based search solution.

Is this what you have in mind? 

If not, filters and operators remain an important tool. But I completely agree that the UX needs to encourage novice and new users to stop them from giving up and walking away from Confluence. But don't forget you power users either.

In terms of parity - what is described in the help should be possible, shouldn't it?

Based on what we've seen and the new UI and your comments, we are going only get back:

  • Exact phrase search
  • OR search
  • AND search
  • NOT search
  • Title search
  • Searching for labels
  • Single character and Multiple characters (Wildcards)

How will you solve for the following or are you saying these won't be supported?

  • Excluded term search
  • Grouping search
  • Searching for macros
  • Proximity searches
  • Fuzzy search
  • Combined search

What would be great is also to have an option to enter a pure CQL search query.

Or are you expecting marketplace vendors to step in a fill the gap?

Like Jeanne Howe likes this

If there were a "Hate" button, I'd click it. Atlassian has pushed out a lot of ill-conceived changes but this is the worst yet.

Like Tom_Crowley likes this
Elaine H. Atlassian Team Nov 09, 2019

Does my reply above address your concern, Robert? Please let me know if there's anything else you see undesirable about the new advanced search. We're all ears.

In all openness, we're making some major transformations to our search stack beyond this user experience update. The end goal is to make your search more successful and faster. On our way there, we try to strike a balance between advancing our stack for the greater good and ensuring customer needs can be met continuously. We'd love community's input to help us keep the right balance.

I hope this bit of extra context helps. Thank you.

Like Shaun_Sheehan likes this
Balazs_Nagy Atlassian Team Nov 21, 2019

Hi @Robert_Lauriston I'm an engineer on search experience. These changes were planned to address the speed and look&feel of search, and as @Elaine H. mentioned there is active work on changing our search infrastructure. I would be happy to learn what's missing for your and get your input, so we can prioritize what's more important for our customers.

See my post above. I'd tag you in a reply with an @ but that appears to be broken, your name does not show up.

@Balazs_Nagy it would be really useful for me if we could use CQL fields within search the advanced search. In this way I could include search terms like Ancestor in an Advanced Find.

Balazs_Nagy Atlassian Team Nov 21, 2019

Hi @David Gregory! Ancestor syntax was also recently brought back, you can use it as previously, e.g. "ancestorIds:[page_id]".

Like # people like this

That's great news @Balazs_Nagy! This one feature will save us a ton of time!

I would also be interested in what other CQL attributes are available.

Hello, Atlassian - what is the status of CQL - is that going away?  See: https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/CONFCLOUD-67495 

Elaine H. Atlassian Team Nov 09, 2019

@Shaun_Sheehan , CQL is not going away:

  • CQL as in operators in you can include in the advanced search query: we plan to bring them closer to parity with old search. We're considering AND, OR, NOT, wildcard, exact word match for keywords and labels.
  • CQL as in APIs you can use to build extended capabilities on Confluence: it will continue to work as is.

Hope this helps.

Like James Dellow likes this

We use a lot of machines named 'dev-username' or the like. Pretty much annoying that when needing to search for them, dev and username matches as returned as results, that is, all "dev" matches are returned, or all username - in the hundreds. Totally useless.

Typical operators that would work in search engines since the invention of search don't work.

Very frustrating.

Hi, the Cloud documentation (https://confluence.atlassian.com/confcloud/search-confluence-and-find-recent-pages-724765412.html) still says that you can click a link to navigate to the old search experience, but here you say you've removed it. The documentation page was updated after this page mentioned the removal of the link. 

The out of date docs are a real issue with all these "new experiences".

Our software uses Gantt charts a lot. One feature we've just added is an "in-Gantt Scheduling" tool, along with other "in-Gantt" features. People are searching for these as "In-Gantt". 

Because "In" is a stop word (I assume?), and you don't search for special characters, this effectively turns into a search for "Gantt", which returns an entire segment of our documentation.

Are there plans to be able to override stop words and special character rules? It's currently not very user-friendly.

Like David_Gregory likes this

with the "new" search I am not able to search questions anymore. It's a major regression

looks like the problem is that by default searching for "All Content" does not include questions. I have to manually go to advance search and switch to "Questions". Searching for "Questions" also doesn't search comments unless I explicitly switch to "Comments" in search type.

The old advance can search all 3 (wiki, questions, comments) at the same time and it's badly needed

I would like to have an advanced search with custom options to drop down from and sit on body of page, rather than having to go into confluence search, then advanced search.

Is this at all possible?

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