Upcoming changes to the way you write in Confluence Cloud

Phil Oye Atlassian Team Sep 26, 2017

Hello,

I’m a product manager with Confluence Cloud and I wanted to let the Community know about some upcoming changes to the way you write in Confluence.

 

#1 — A new design that matches the new Confluence look.

We recently rolled out a new design for Confluence, with a focus on creating a more intuitive and simplified experience. We're now extending the new design to the editor – for pages, blog posts, and comments.

editor.png

Notice that we’ve simplified the toolbar by moving a few items from the toolbar into the insert (+) menu. For images, most of you are using copy/paste or drag n' drop, and for links, we see often see pasting a URL or using keyboard shortcuts. The Undo/Redo buttons are also gone, just use your standard keyboard shortcuts.

 

#2 — Updated keyboard shortcuts

Great news! We’re updating keyboard shortcuts to avoid conflicts with some browser defaults as well as align with other tools you might be used to.

One change to watch out for is headings, which will now use Command+Option+1-6 (Mac) or Control+Left Alt+1-6 (PC), since the previous shortcuts conflicted with tab switching in all browsers. You might ask, why "Left Alt"? Well, non-English customers need Right Alt (or AltGr) for accessing extended characters.

Another one to keep in mind is that we changing the shortcut to publish the page to prevent accidental publishing. Now use Command+Enter (Mac) or Control+Enter (PC).

Also, Mac users rejoice! Command+Shift+Z will now Redo, though we're also keeping around Command+Y for those that know it.

Chrome users on both Mac and Windows will now be able to “Paste and Match Style” by using Command+Shift+V (Mac) or Control+Shift+V (PC).

 

#3 — Auto-formatting: Wikimarkup is out, Markdown is in

Auto-formatting is the term we use for inline formatting. For example, on a new line typing an asterisk then a space instantly creates an unordered list. We’ve been using “Wikimarkup” for years, but the world has standardized on Markdown, and now, so have we. 

autoformatting.gif

 

Some key gotchas are that _word_ and *word* are italics and **word** and __word__ are now bold. Another is that “# “ will create a Heading 1. To get a numbered list, use 1. or 1) .

More details about the above mentioned updates on shortcuts and Markdown can be found in the documentation.


We are gradually rolling out the updates to our editing features so expect to see those on your Confluence instance in the coming weeks. If you have any questions or feedback feel free to comment here.


Happy editing!

Phil

14 comments

Please make the "Revert to last published version" button visible directly and not hidden inside the "..." menu. It is already confusing for users not to have a Cancel button. In fact there's enough place a the bottom right of the window to have all options available immediately, no need to have a "..." menu most of my users do not use as for them, Close = Cancel

Phil Oye Atlassian Team Sep 27, 2017

Thanks for the feedback @Bruno Miretti. Previously, "Cancel" was indeed permanently visible in the toolbar, but people believed that it only canceled only their own changes, not everyone's changes (due to our shared draft model). This resulted in lots of data loss. We've found that the language "Revert to last published version" has fixed this issue.

Hi Phil, I really do not understand why you are shortening the toolbar. Are you working on narrow screens ?

It is now very difficult to promote Confluence in my company since you implemented the new UI. Each time we discuss about this, people are complaining they waste time to find the options they could easily find with the old UI and you continue to remove important information for basic users. This is not an improvement, please keep these options visible. I think none of my users click on "..." to "revert to the last published" version because they all think when they close, they are cancelling their job. Hiding options inside hidden menus or using keyboards only does not make the editor user friendly, it is no more intuitive. Please think about "basic" users.

Thanks

Not a fan of you eliminating the Undo option from the toolbar, not everyone uses shortcuts for everything, used to using that toolbar option in Word.

Also noticing a bug when pasting copied text from Word: the editor is stripping out any text after a bolded word at the end of a list item.

For example, the original list item in Word would be "Click the Submit button," but only "Click the Submit" appears in the editor.

Phil Oye Atlassian Team Oct 22, 2017

Thanks for the feedback @Eric Hausen, we're closely monitoring that change.

I couldn't reproduce that paste behaviour (Word 15 for Mac). What version of Word are you using? If you can reliably reproduce the issue, you may want to log a ticket.

 

Phil,

I agree with Eric. Please put the undo back. I use this regularly and don't even know what the shortcut for this is.

Sandy

Just using markdown to trigger a WYSIWYG editor is not good enough. I have hundreds of hours invested in my Stack Exchange answers and questions because it works. I have numerous hours of unpublished/draft documentation in confluence because I cannot get it presentable.

You must give us (cloud/hosted customers) the ability to edit the Markdown. The #3 auto-formatting animation in your post looks horrifying. It combines the worst aspects of both "markup" and WYSIWYG. To avoid what you are doing is why John Gruber invented Markdown.

What you show in that animation is "immutable markdown" that requires you to type it perfectly the first time because you cannot edit it afterward.

I will gladly test your new editor and record screen capture video (with audio) of me trying to use it.

Phil Oye Atlassian Team Oct 23, 2017

Thanks for your perspective about this.

We introduced the rich-text editor as the only way to edit content back in 2011. Our goal then, which is unchanged today, is to ensure Confluence is suitable for everyone in an organisation. We found that editing markup was the number one barrier to adoption.

Before we maintained a dual-editor experience (rich text vs markup) and it caused huge issues for our customers, had even more bugs, and prevented us from introducing advanced editing features.

We still believe we made the best decision based on the feedback we received from the majority of our customers over the years. The rich-text editor is our path going forward.

We know that it our editor isn't perfect, but we are committed to improving it to ensure all teams can collaborate in Confluence.

Phil

I responded to a similar post recently. Please stop telling us that you removed some functionality because it had bugs. No user wants to hear that the company that they are paying is either unable or unwilling to fix bugs.

Also, please note as I said before, removing the dual editors (to paraphrase your comment) caused huge issues for this customer. It has added many, many extra hours of development time for our content.

Thanks for listening.

Sandy

I actually stopped a migration from TWiki to Confluence after wiki syntax was removed several years ago (IIRC Confluence 3.5 was the last version with wiki syntax support). The rich editor is just slow and clunky to work with. Having a markdown to rich editor convertor seems to be the worst of both worlds. Confluence should optionally allow editing of markdown syntax. 

For example, just today I was trying to create a nested bullet lists (i.e. a bullet list that had an item that itself had a bullet this). It took me about 15 minutes to finally convince the rich-editor to accomplish this. This takes no thought and just a few seconds with markdown. It would be nice to be able to edit via markdown to so I don't have to fight the editor if I want add to the bulleted list.

Every time I have to edit confluence pages for other groups that have adopted Confluence I am reminded why I stuck with Twiki. It is a shame because Confluence's search is amazing and blows Twiki out of the water. But Confluence's editor is just too awful in confluence.  The new markdown support seems half-baked.

Maybe I am not understanding your issue, It is not hard to created sublists. Either highlight and hit tag, or click the indent icon on the editor ribbon. I did the below in 10 seconds.

  • Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.
    • Praesent malesuada dui fermentum nulla accumsan, eget pretium sem finibus.
    • Aliquam viverra sem vitae neque malesuada, a tristique odio faucibus.
  • Cras mattis est et nisi venenatis sagittis.
    • Morbi laoreet nisl sollicitudin eros ullamcorper, in sollicitudin mi ullamcorper.

And building tables with markdown is really time consuming.

@Bill Bailey and Michael, I struggle with bullet points too... Sometimes really bizarre things happen but I wouldn't be able to reproduce as it is sporadic! But what consistently cause a problem is if you have a bullet point with nested bullets, and then you want some more text within the parent bullet after the nested bullets!

  • Bullet one
    some text within bullet one BEFORE nested bullets
    • bullet 1a
    • bullet 1b
      some text within bullet one AFTER nested bullets
  • Bullet two

So I can't get it to work now. I can usually EVENTUALLY trick Confluence into letting me put 'some text within bullet one AFTER nested bullets' in the right place (at the same level of indenting as 'some text within bullet one BEFORE nested bullets') but it takes a lot of swearing, deleting, tabbing, copying and pasting. I challenge you to get it working and if you do, tell me and I'll be grateful forever!

Ah, that is a different issue. For unordered lists (bullets). There are two tricks, one easy, and one more complex:

  1. At the end of the bullet text, just insert a soft return (shift+Enter). Yes this is cheezy, but it does work (but also works for ordered lists).
  2. If you are on Cloud, this is not a solution. I modified my CSS, so that indented text align with the text of bullets. So just indenting the text, causes it to align. An easy solution for users, but only works for unordered lists, For ordered, I still resort to solution #1

Mixing hierarchical numbered lists, bullet lists with other elements - especially tables or other macros such as excerpt includes - or having multiple 'paragraphs' at an indent level has always been fragile.  This has quite frequently caused user expletives...

We've usually used the soft-return technique to make it work but when users edit pages and inadvertently delete them it messes things up.

The underlying xml is easily flexible enough to describe all that, it's the editor limitations that cause suckage.

In our usage, we often document complex procedures as hierarchical lists and the steps may be multiple lines of text with embedded tables, images, draw.io drawings or even excerpt includes from other pages.   To mitigate the list problems I encourage our folks to use numbered headings, but they prefer the indentation provided by numbered lists...

The CSS hack hadn't occurred to me, but we use a lot of ordered lists so it's probably not worth it.

Hi @Bill Bailey - yes, the shift+enter works, that's fine. BUT my problem is if I want the final line outdented. In my example, I want "some text within bullet one AFTER nested bullets" in line with "some text within bullet one BEFORE nested bullets"... THAT's the tricky thing.

@Phil Oye

> #2 — Updated keyboard shortcuts

I can only say that it is a teething problem for me as CTRL+1 now defaults to the browser behaviour of moving to the first tab.

I lose focus of what I am doing since I accidentally flick between tabs.

My fault for developing a habit using a software for years.

I guess there was someone that liked to swap tabs using the default browser hotkeys while editing that made this suggestion.

> #3 — Auto-formatting: Wikimarkup is out, Markdown is in

Bold no longer works for space separated words, e.g. **Table of Contents** and __Table of Contents__ don't bold.

Also, I can no longer create links by just typing.

If indeed this now uses the standard markdown format, why doesn't [Go Search It on Google](https://www.google.com) convert to a link?

Phil Oye Atlassian Team Oct 31, 2017

Hi @Jason Tolotta

I can only say that it is a teething problem for me as CTRL+1 now defaults to the browser behaviour of moving to the first tab.

Yes, that was intentional. Our old shortcuts overrode the browser default tab-switching behaviour which frustrated many customers. These new shortcuts aligns with Google Docs.

Bold no longer works for space separated words, e.g. **Table of Contents** and __Table of Contents__ don't bold.

That is strange, because it definitely should (and does for me).

Also, I can no longer create links by just typing.

Are you referring to the [linkname] shortcut which brings up the inline link dialog, so you may have run into a bug that we've not seen before.

If indeed this now uses the standard markdown format, why doesn't [Go Search It on Google](https://www.google.com) convert to a link?

You are correct that this does not auto-convert to a link because it conflicts with the [linkname] shortcut I referred to above. To enter a link via URL, I recommend the Command+K / Control+K shortcuts.

For the two bugs you've mentioned, have you by chance disabled autoformatting / autocomplete in your profile? Go to your profile > settings > editor to check.

If that's not it, can you please reach out to support at https://support.atlassian.com/contact/ ?

Thanks,

Phil

@Phil Oye

Thanks for the reply.

I can live with the change with the headers.

I confirm the "Disable Autocomplete" and "Disable Autoformatting" are "unchecked", when the bold and link issues occur.

EDIT: I just found the bug, when the word ends with the character "s" it does not auto-bold the enclosed string.

So it does not work for **Table of Contents** and __Table of Contents__

but works for **Table of Content** and **Table of Content**

 

Same for single words that end with "s" such as **Snakes** and __Snakes__ will not bold.

 

Bold weight will apply when an additional asterisk is added, e.g. **Snakes*** will result in the bold string "Snakes*". This will create a suffix with an asterisk.

 

EDIT 2: The bold formatting also affects strings that start with "s" such as **scope** and __subject__

Phil Oye Atlassian Team Nov 01, 2017

Wow, great pickup @Jason Tolotta, follow along here: CONFCLOUD-58073

Atlassian has been doing some pretty dumb things lately with the user interface and making assumptions about how the users use it – but seriously, this is the dumbest to date. If your users don’t use keyboard shortcuts, how on earth are they ever meant to work this out? I can’t believe someone thought it was a good idea to remove a single button and replace it with a back-in-time keyboard character-combination.

It seems every UI change Atlassian makes is degrading this product further and it’s becoming EXTREMELY difficult to keep up with my users asking how to do things that were previously reasonably intuitive.

The good news for me is that Atlassian is making so many of its loyal customers unhappy that many are looking for alternative products, and I’m hoping that there will be a good alternative shortly. That being said, I don’t trust that any feedback provided to Atlassian has been appreciated or shared with anyone who can actually make a difference to salvaging this product as the detrimental UI changes have been going on for months and no-one has done anything about them.

If you're up to it, take a look at the comments on https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/CONFCLOUD-56841 - and the lack of response.

New motto for Atlassian - don't listen / don't care

Very agree with you Bonnie Humphries. Would @Philread the comments in case  #56841 and understand the anger of the voters there? Probably there are many more who are upset with what you called "changes". It's time for Atlassian to hear, or/and find a new product manager who knows how to listen.

Give us a time frame on when your team will response to the issue ASAP!! We're not your testing staff but your users!!

Phil, I have to say that the new toolbar change is really, really bad. The icons were sharp and easy to recognize before. Now, they are small and fuzzy. And why would you want to hide buttons??? Most of the people are now using wide screens, so, USE THE SPACE!

And the worst decision ever by a company: Completely remove the undo, and force users to use keyboard shortcuts... Well, this proves that you guys are TOTALLY disconnected from our reality. We have geeks in our organisation too, who do not care about buttons because they use keyboard shortcuts. But we are also sharing Confluence with our customers, who are NOT at this level at all. Some of them do not even know what a keyboard shortcut is! So, how on earth can it be a good UX if there is no button, and the only alternative is using something they don't know exists??? Never heard about the word "intuitive"?

Don't get me wrong here. I am the person who brought Atlassian products in our organisation several years ago. I have always been an Atlassian advocate for years because I thought (at that time) that JIRA/Confluence were great products. But the fact that Atlassian is making so many dumb decisions recently, and their total lack of respect for their customers is making me doubt now about the future of your products in our organisation. For JIRA, this is done, we cancel our licensing next month, and we found an alternative, connected to our real world needs.

For Confluence, I can't tell yet, as the migration is more complex. But the removal of the left tree was your last move that makes me hate working in Confluence now. Worst, the total lack of empathy from Atlassian from thousands of people commenting and saying that this new "No Tree" UX is a non-sense. You guys are right, we are all wrong... Let's see how fun you will have messing up with the UX without customers.

Why are you guys destroying a great product like Confluence with new "features" that no one has asked for?

The "old" Confluence was great - the new Confluence feels like it is in a never ending BETA phase that offers way less than before or then one has suddenly to pay for a feature like color spaces (in order to seperate them). Is this really the way Atlassian wants to keep their users happy?

Hello Phil,

I have a about 15 years of experience writing documentation. Technical, marketing, functional, etc. I am also a senior programmer and I lead a small team of people. We chose Confluence many years ago, and we were relatively happy with it. It's not perfect and some choices are wrong (markdown should be there, its crystal clear, especially that the rich text editor is plagued with problems that are still not solved after years; never too late to admit a mistake and make a U turn) but in general, one could produce nice looking documentation with some effort. 

Recently you have introduced, in a very weird manner, your last update (with a half working opt out that is not an opt out). I am must tell that we were shocked by:

1- How much worse it got.
2- How little knowledge the Confluence designers have about what matters in a documentation. 
3- The zero improvements in the rich text editor, bug wise (it's the big elephant in the room).

I know it sounds harsh but its the case. Two side bars (?!), useless meta-data information right there at the beginning of each text ( "Last modified" with a faceless icon!), page tree not available in the root of the space, colour schemes gone, confluence logo everywhere, confluence home accessible from the left bar (?!), etc!

I understand how tiresome it must be to hear all this. We get such reports from our clients for our own product, and it's not nice. But we act on it.  

You have a lot of work ahead of you to fix everything that has been broken. Reverting all your changes would actually be a huge step forward ! You can even market it as an improvement. Sadly, it's not even a joke. 

Aghiles

Amen again... well put.  We have several server instances that at this point I've recommended we never "upgrade" so as not to break our user's experience and expectations.  The cloud site we have, that is being blighted by these hosed-up changes is hardly in use.

For the server instances that are getting so old as to be a problem I'll recommend changing to a different tool.

Well put @3Delight.

 

And like @Helen Griffith below (and many others on this posting) I’ve posted on different community threads and JIRA tickets (over and over again). But I’m not hearing much from Altassian. Are any of our suggestions/complaints being taken into consideration? Can you please let us know so we can decide if Confluence is still going to be the product that meet our needs? Or am I just being naive and I should accept that lack of responses equals no changes to the product or product direction?

Hi Phil,

These latest changes/improvements don't bother me much but, in general, the new UI is diabolical. Not being able to customize the side bar (other than show/hide the calendar/blog etc.) is terrible. I had struggled with it before but had overwritten the default side bar with an include page so that I could add 'headings'—I have a large customer-facing product documentation space that covers several products which needed some kind of separator. ANYWAY, the comment from 3Delight ^^^ covers pretty much all of my main issues...

I have posted tirelessly of late about my extreme hate of the product in various different community threads and JIRA tickets but I doubt that anything will change...

I might count today how often I swear at Confluence while I use it!

I wish I could be more positive about your new changes, but the best I can say is 'Markdown is a nice addition, but you can't polish a ....'.

Helen

I've invested a huge amount of effort over several years into making Confluence + assorted plugins as useful for our teams as possible.  Recently, I developed apps that enable automations through the REST API.

With the Comala Workflows providing traceable CM we have all our CMMI and AS9100 stuff in Confluence as CM'ed artifacts.

But at this point I've already recommended to one team to move on to another solution that is more configurable, scriptable and to leave Confluence behind.

Last night I decided I'd try Confluence again. I spent 4 hours trying to draft the document I wanted my team to use. I finally gave up and created a Google Doc in 10 minutes and emailed it out.

It's insane how needlessly difficult Confluence is to use. If Google had a Jira alternative, it'd be lights out for Atlassian. Luckily, you haven't destroyed that product. But that's not going to float you much longer.

Steven Behnke Community Champion Nov 07, 2017

O.o That is ridiculous and feels facetious; are you landing a orbital booster on your document? This isn't rocket science.

Steven, you should apply to work for Atlassian. You would be a perfect fit in their company values as you show the same disrespect for customers without having any idea what they do in their day to day work and the huge range of user skills using the product.

Steven Behnke Community Champion Nov 20, 2017

Please, explain? 

Steven, unless I totally misunderstood your point, and if this is the case, my apologies, please look at the answer you made to Bruno, who had a very valid point. Seemed to me like a condescending answer, and I was referring to the fact that this is often how Atlassian make us customers feel: THEY know what WE need to work. Unfortunately, they are missing everything about the nature of UX.

So, in summary, you may disagree with other people, this is perfectly valid, but insulting them will not help here. Seek to understand their reality, and after that you will have more information to judge.

Thanks, Normand

I think Steven may have been replying in the spirit of the question.  4 hours to create a document in Confluence is either the user being facetious or saying that they don't know how to use a computer.

Nic, that's cute. No. It was really 4 hours. I "know how to use a computer". What I cannot do is work around the shortcomings of TinyMCE. If you think they do not exist, you should research the complaints. They are numerous. This is not isolated to me. No one should ever force TinyMCE on an engineer. Offer it for people who need simplicity (can't use a computer). But if your product is going to be used by people who use LaTeX to lay out their resume, you have to give them more precise control.

Thankfully there *is* a solution. Switch from Confluence Cloud to some worse software. We already switched from HipChat to Slack.

It blows my mind that as the rest of the world is realizing that there is Maker potential in everyone and we need to empower people to innovate solutions for their individual use cases, Atlassian is moving in the exact opposite direction. They are deciding the customers' needs for them and ridiculing them if they are reluctant to crawl into the tiny box made for them.

 

Thank you for the laugh, it's always fun seeing people try to justify their failings when they've already realised they don't know what they're doing. 

Seriously, have another read.  If it's taking that long to write a page, you either have a broken system (and are wasting your time writing instead of taking it up with your admins), or you don't know what you're doing.  Different software isn't going to help you if your admins have messed it up, or you don't know what you're doing.

I'm not fond of TinyMCE, but claiming its unusable like this just tells me you don't know what you're doing.

I wish you luck with whatever software you choose to move to.  I'm glad I won't have to do any support for that.

Is there a way to preserve the Markdown syntax or export the Markdown of a page for round-tripping/sharing Markdown between Confluence and other applications?

Phil Oye Atlassian Team Dec 27, 2017

There is not. There are, however, a couple of markdown add-ons for Confluence Cloud:

Thanks! We're currently using Render Markdown but I was hoping this switch would streamline things.

Steven Behnke Community Champion Jan 16, 2018

Why aren't people's complaints being addressed here? Is there any point in adding feedback to this thread? Or does it just die here?

@Phil Oye has been addressing a lot of the comments and complaints above.  I'm sure he's not the only one reading the thread and taking in the feedback. 

We're also working on a new collection dedicated to Confluence Cloud so it's easier for you to submit feedback on individual features and make sure the right team sees them. 

Steven Behnke Community Champion Jan 16, 2018

I just struggle to understand the hiding of buttons and the shrinking of workspace that seems to be in play within both Jira Cloud and Confluence Cloud's recent updates. To be honest, the shrunk workspace affects us too here in the community,  I believe I have mentioned.

I have a 15" laptop, 1440p resolution, and fr some reason here I am typing into a a box that is 416px x 95px. The reality is that lots of power users are dissatisfied with with switching the UI and losing features. Switching the UI, okay, maybe that's just a learning experience and growing pains. But dropping features, moving buttons behind elipsis menus (the PREVIEW button ffs), and shrinking workspace are just going to sway people away.

I just hope it doesn't come to Server products. I work with a userbase of thousands of technical people and they will NOT stand for it, so either they come with the product ootb or I have to develop them before I can roll it out, which hurts IT buy in. I don't want to have a bunch of custom plugins just to make it work. Those UI complaints specifically seem pretty unaddressed here and I apologize for making a sweeping statement. Some feedback has been clearly taken and the tickets linked are updated.

Feedback for the Founders

Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes are ready to believe you.
https://www.atlassian.com/company/contact/contact-ceos

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