We want to hear how your teams are using Confluence with other tools!

Ada Chen Atlassian Team Jan 04, 2019

Hello Community  👋 My name is Ada, and I’m the Product Marketing Manager for Confluence Server & Data Center at Atlassian. 

Can you share some examples of how your teams are using Confluence with other tools? Some examples include: 

  • Google Docs
  • Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint)
  • Sharepoint
  • Evernote
  • Dropbox
  • Box
  • Asana

What do they use Confluence for vs. some of these other tools? When do they use Confluence and when do they use another tool? The more details the better!

4 comments

almost all the clients I follow use confluence as a sort of container for microsoft office files. with the same number of users, confluence is much less expensive and much more effective than sharepoint. I know both products, for the other I also have certifications on sharepoint and then I think I can speak badly without fear of saying nonsense. actually, slowly, if I explain to users how a wiki works, many of them often abandon the format of the microsoft office files and they directly use the confluence functionalities, perhaps with some specific macro, often I am asked for an extension for tables to simulate a minimalist spreadsheet. in some other cases theIT directors have made a very expensive choice, as well as wrong taking sharepoint and then ask to interface sharepoint with confluence but often do not take the best of confluence because they imagine this product as if it were sharepoint, a 15 year old product , compared to confluence.

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Ada Chen Atlassian Team Jan 04, 2019

Wow, thanks @Kalos Bonasia! What do you mean when you say it's used as a container for Office files? Are users attaching files to pages or directly copying content into pages? 

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@Ada Chen

up to now I have done 75 Confluence installations (in the past 4 years) and I have done about 900 hours of training for both small groups or distributed teams. If the user is only left to explore confluence, he tends to put a word or powerpoint file as it is inside a page. If instead you do some training, then explain how to use the macro to manage the attached files for example, then start uploading files as if it were a sort of "directory" in the old windows 98 style. When you show that they can import a Word files inside a confluence page, most of these users do NOT go back any further, because they start to understand the value of having a container for liquid information as I call it. as if it were water, the information is liquid and takes the shape of its container. this is Confluence. That is, users are no longer tied to a special file format, for example word, but that can view content regardless of whether they are using a computer, a tablet, or a phone and then show that they can work in real time together at the same time as on google docs, they love even more confluence.

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Ada Chen Atlassian Team Jan 07, 2019

Liquid information - I love it, what a great descriptor. Thanks @Kalos Bonasia!

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Davin Studer Community Champion Jan 07, 2019

We use Confluence with Word and Excel docs in a number of places. As much as possible I encourage my users to create native Confluence pages ... especially in place of attaching Word documents.

However, there are many instances where my users want a single sourced/versioned Excel document and to achieve that I typically recommend attaching the Excel document to a Confluence page as opposed to editing it from a file share. The "Edit in Office" link that opens up the document right in Excel and lets the user save it right back without having to do the whole download a local copy -> edit the file -> re-upload the document mess is super handy. And every time it is saved it gets versioned so we don't have to worry about the spreadsheet getting messed up somehow. We do this in conjunction with  Cenote Lockpoint to make sure that only one person at a time is editing the document. It works great.

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Ada Chen Atlassian Team Jan 07, 2019

Thanks, @Davin Studer! Do you usually teach users about Edit in Office when they're first onboarded to Confluence or is it more of a power user feature for your team?

Davin Studer Community Champion Jan 07, 2019

I typically have to teach people about it. So, it's probably more of power user feature that I suggest to people when they ask about how they can centrally manage an Excel document.

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Ada Chen Atlassian Team Jan 07, 2019

Gotcha, thanks for the detail! 

We use Confluence together with Office 365 as well as with our AutoCAD application.

For CAD we created a social CAD block library inside Confluence. When clicking the preview in Confluence the block is inserted into the actual AutoCAD drawing. We use a User Macro as well as a DLL for AutoCAD for this. 

For Office there are different approaches. Some attach files, link to files on servers or in SharePoint Cloud and recently with increasing usage of MSTeams often Confluence pages and spaces need to be linked to / included in Teams. Unfortunately there is still no Teams add-in for Confluence server. Having Confluence spaces automatically in a Team would be much better than the use of OneNote for this at the moment.

The Office365 SharePoint connector by Communardo would be great but needs too deep integration in O365 so our central IT didn't allow it  

Ada Chen Atlassian Team Jan 10, 2019

Thanks for sharing @Magnus Rode - pretty cool to hear about how you use AutoCAD + Confluence. 

Do you (or your IT team) provide any sort of best practices around attaching files vs. linking to SharePoint files? Or do folks figure out workarounds on their own? 

Can you elaborate on why your central IT team was opposed to a "too deep integration in O365"?

I work in the division of a large academic library responsible for acquiring library resources and creating/curating catalog data for those resources. We have hundreds of pages of technical procedural documentation that guide our workflows. These used to live in Word documents, Google documents, and in a Drupal web page. It was quite a mess! This approach made it difficult for staff to find the info they needed, and difficult for managers to keep information updated and reliable. We chose Confluence as an alternative (and better!) tool for documentation. Now our procedures are organized in one user-friendly place, and creating/updating is much more routine. We occasionally attach a Word doc or link to a Google doc from a Confluence page, but these are outliers and we require almost all procedures to be housed in native Confluence pages.

I know other technical services divisions of libraries at research institutions have chosen Confluence for similar reasons. We all used to use wikis, but Confluence has way more useful features like labels, macros, templates, and other page design elements that make it easy to keep documentation clean and easy to navigate and read, but without a huge time commitment on the documentation editor's part.

Ada Chen Atlassian Team Jan 10, 2019

Wow, thanks @MSU TechServices! What was the transition process like? Was there a plan for moving everything to Confluence?

Yep. We knew our documentation needed a major overhaul. We investigated several options and chose Confluence. We took some time to set up the Confluence space exactly the way we wanted, and then we followed a systematic migration plan to move all our content into it.

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