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Turning pages into templates Edited

droo Atlassian Team Jan 17, 2019

Hi there, this is a designer on Confluence curious to hear your opinion. Feel free to respond here or reach out to me personally.

---

If you could turn any existing page into a template, what's an example of a page you'd use?

What would motivate you to start with the existing page instead of from scratch?

What would change about this page to make it a template? (Eg. what would you keep, get rid of, or add?)

---

Thank you!

6 comments

Make the template text(headings, etc), page properties table headings read only! Anything that exists initially on the template page at creation time. 

To me, having the entire page editable after creating from a template, defeats the purpose of a template. I want a template to have static, unchangeable content. 

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droo Atlassian Team Jan 17, 2019

Thanks @Dia, that's helpful!

If you don't mind sharing, what have you made templates for? (It sounds like you've already made some :) )

Sure! I've made some in a test space.

I created a monthly sales report template. All regional managers would create a page each month. I included the page properties in it to sort the reports by salesman, region, month, year on the Page Properties Report page. There are several different sections they need to fill out: market conditions, activities, target accounts, opportunites, etc.

I also then created a template for each region in order to keep them separate on the Page Properties Page...like I said, I was testing =)

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@Dia Could you add a little detail about how you lock the headings in your template? Thanks.

Hi @Stephen Gilson You can't lock headings on a template. Sorry, for the misunderstanding - I was stating how I would like to have locked headings and other items you add to a template.  Or at least an option to lock them down!  

Dia, thanks very much for the quick reply. And +1 on your suggestion, by the way. 

James Dellow Community Leader Feb 28, 2019

@Dia & @Stephen Gilson out of interest, are you using Confluence on-premise or cloud? And have you considered using user macros (on-premise) or your own custom add-on macros (cloud) to create fixed elements on your templates? This wouldn't stop people from deleting the user macros, but it would give you a bit more control.

We use cloud. I don't have time to learn about/create custom add-on macros. =(

But I will keep it in mind! Thanks

@James Dellow we're on Server 6.4.2. Haven't considered user macros for this purpose. It's not actually a strong priority as yet. 

James Dellow Community Leader Feb 28, 2019

No, that's what I was thinking. Creating user macros in cloud isn't difficult, but the barrier to entry is higher than on-premise as you can't do it through the UI.

An alternative I've used on Cloud are the Include Page and Excerpt Include macros to put "templated" content into other pages. This is particularly useful if you want to change it later, as it will apply to all the pages where it is used. Not perfect or a solution for all situations, but can help.

Personally I would like to a feature in cloud (and maybe on-prem, as user macros are too powerful to give everyone access) where people can create content macros in the same way we create templates - i.e. if you can create a page or a template, you can create your own content macro.

James Dellow Community Leader Feb 28, 2019

@Stephen Gilson if not being able to lock down content is an issue, you might like to look at the potential of user macros. For simple use cases (e.g. minimal or no configuration options in the macro), it is often a case of creating the template as a page initially and then copying the storage format code into the user macro. However, you need admin access to your confluence instance. As I mention above, I wish it was a bit more user friendly in terms of creating simple content macros.

As part of my work involves research, I use Confluence to collate observational research and other material I collect.

For the observational research I capture notes and photos. Other desk-based research includes reviewing materials provided (typically as files) or collating other material I find.

I would love to have a template that would allow me to make better use of labels in Confluence so I could better explore the relationship between all the materials and notes I collect.

I also use the Share a link template, but I don't like the way the "Comment" ends up as a comment, not part of the body of the page. The Share Links list page doesn't make it easy to browse links, as it is based on the Page Properties Report macro (which is paginated and doesn't show the labels assigned to a link).

The Labels List macro is helpful, but doesn't provide an additional information, like the number of pages using the label.

BTW unfortunately the Gallary macro is being obsoleted, so the process of sorting photos attached in pages into groups is going to become much harder as I currently use labels on the images to do this.

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We've tried to standardize parts of our spaces, so we have the same parent pages existing in each space and we want to have a similar look for our main Space page and each parent page. Once we get a page that is functional and working great, we'd love to use that existing page as a template for others. I'd want to keep all headings/column layouts/tables/macros/images and remove all the paragraph text from the page.

I disagree with Dia, in that i would still like the flexibility to always customize the page headings afterwards.

 

We've also created templates that are based on the standard meeting notes template. However, we can't quite recreate all the functionality of the standard meeting notes template, so we sorta have to choose between our poor man's version for notes or use the standard but modify it every time. 

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droo Atlassian Team Feb 07, 2019

Thanks @RaeRo! It's great to hear the specifics of how you work with pages. Out of curiosity, what functionality are you finding not possible to recreate from the standard meeting notes template?

James Dellow Community Leader Feb 28, 2019

Love the point about being stuck between using the provided notes template vs the "poor man's version". Not sure how this might work, but it would be good if the standard templates could be configured so you can access the additional blueprint functionality they provide but make them a better fit for your own needs.

yes exactly. many of our teams use meeting notes, but they all have slightly different standard sections that they'd like (so we can't just edit the global template). The standard comes with the automatic parent page that includes the new meeting notes button, task report, and content report section that would be handy for all meeting notes sections. 

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Not sure if this thread is still alive. I'm hoping so, and I'll chime in.

One use case I've found in working with companies is that a Confluence user will (naturally) create a page and work on it, and then discover that it would make a good template.

Creating templates is, arguably, a more advanced feature. Many users might not have even heard of templates, or know about them but be afraid to explore them.

It's also quite easy to just copy a page in Confluence, which can feel like about the same thing to a user with basic Confluence skills. So a related use case is "graduating" a page that's been copied/reused in the past to become a template.

(Let's ignore for the moment the issues that complicate all this between the Legacy Editor and the New Editor)

Given this background, let me respond now to the question in the original post: what's an example of a page you'd turn into a template?

One I've recently seen is a checklist for an internal process. The bulk of this page was a simple table with 3 columns (excluding the numbered rows): Action, Owner, and Notes. Action cells contained text with one or more checkboxes; Owner cells had text (not tags) indicating the Role that was responsible for the action; and Notes cells usually started out blank.

At the top of this page was a Participants table, which used tags assigned a specific User to each Owner Role (e.g. "Supervisor"). This allowed the main table to be a true template, and a page created from this template would need the Participants table at the top filled in with a few tags (e.g. identifying the Supervisor for this checklist).

A number of template-specific features could be helpful here. So using a template, rather than copying a page, would be a win.

However, not being able to convert the original page to a template is a blocker. Sure would help to have a "Copy from existing page..." option when creating a new template!

@droo  I have a few of use cases for templates I would like to run by you

1. As a team lead using confluence with permissions to create templates, if I come across a page created by someone else in the organization that I feel would be a great template for future needs, I would like to take that page and promote it to a template so I do not have to recreate (copy/paste/fix formatting) the page using the existing template workflow. With editing access I can then maintain the template moving forward. 

2. As a team lead using confluence with permissions to create templates, I want to ensure my team is adhering to documentation standards by minimizing the individual templates they need to create and rearrange in hierarchy manually but instead would like the ability to create a series of predefined parent/child templates that can be created at once in preset hierarchy defined by me. This would assist with ensuring every new functionality we document has all our required parent/child pages across the board for consistency. 

3. As a team lead using confluence with permissions to create templates, I would like to be able to add/edit any type of attachment into a template without issue so it is available when a template is being created. 

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@Charles Ribeiro i agree with you there, and i'm also new here.. and would like to ask have you created a template from these pages then ? and if so how do you do that ? as we in the same boat there are a few pages that we like and we need to create templates from, so the information in them (pages and structure) will be applied and the users can just populate all the info that is relevant etc.

[~mricharte] I have not, I have to do it manually (copy and paste)

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