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We want to know what templates you're using in Confluence!

Kesha Thillainayagam Atlassian Team Mar 05, 2018

Hi Community! 

My name is Kesha (kay-sha not Ke$ha) and I'm on the Confluence Product Marketing team. We are trying to understand and improve template use cases in Confluence, and are interested in learning about the templates that you and your teams are using (i.e marketing plans, PRDs, technical doc, etc.).

We'd love to hear about what templates you have created on your own? Which ones are your favorite? We want to know it all! 

15 comments

Daniel Eads [non-monitored account] Community Leader Mar 05, 2018

Hi Kesha!

We've created a few templates, but I think the most useful to us (and thankfully not heavily used) is our Incident Report template. The purpose of this is gathering info about a problem (example: Jira was down for 2 hours), who was affected, and what we did to correct it.

Our blank template:
image.png

And here's one filled out from a past incident:

Screen Shot 2018-03-05 at 4.12.11 PM.png

What I like best about doing this in Confluence is that it has all the formatting and content tools that are needed to fill something like this out properly. I can create a draft of this in a few seconds and share out the link to edit. My teammates can start filling out the pieces of info we have while I troubleshoot the issue, and I can jump in as time permits to add details. Once we've published, it's easy for people to take a look at our page or make comments on it. I've used Seibert's Mail Page plugin to send the report to VPs in the past (so they don't have to open Confluence to read the details, if required). All the reports are collected into a particular subtree in our space, but if others were using the template as well it would be easy to use labels to filter which reports we wanted to search for.

The template ensures we're asking all the questions we've agreed on as a team and formats the results in a useful manner. If we decide more questions are needed, we can just modify the template!

benjamin jurg Mar 10, 2018

Nice, you are roughly following the 8D analysis approach here. Check out Toyota who worked out the model in detail. 

Kesha Thillainayagam Atlassian Team Mar 19, 2018

@Daniel Eads [non-monitored account] - wow this template is awesome! so detailed and organized. How do others take this template and create their own? Did you make it into a blueprint/make it accessible in the "create" dialogue, or do they just copy the original page and make their own page?

Very cool! @Shannon Winter, this template may be interesting to you! 

Shannon Winter Atlassian Team Mar 20, 2018

This is awesome @Eaniel Deads! I work on Statuspage so we are always super interested to see how teams are handling incident response. Thanks so much for sharing. 

Jan Mar 06, 2018

Hi Kesha, 

We are having loads of custom templates - global templates are rarely used. The most used custom ones are for open points / topics which  are then used with "create from template" and contain "page properties". We are using pages with "page properties report" for an overview of these pages as a a parent page whic also contains the button "create from template". For us this is an almost perfect combination of macros with individual template for dynamic open points and issues lists where we can use the single pages created from template for detailed documentation, 

However, we learned in the last three years that users which are not working with Confluence too much are often confused with templates containing macros and layout styling. Even though you can add instructional text in templates. For us the perfect solution would be having the templates filled out similar to a form, where you have a structured entry and also dropdown lists for fields where fix values should be entered - such as Priority = high / medium / low. Maybe creating blueprints could be the solution here, but we tried and were not really happy with the results. 

benjamin jurg Mar 10, 2018

I recognize the combi mentioning, I do the same thing ;) 

 

The struggles with having People in your team who are less tech savvy indeed does bring up the topic of more fixed version of a template where fields are filled in. 

Kesha Thillainayagam Atlassian Team Mar 19, 2018

hi @Jan! It looks like you found the perfect combo of page template + macros. We've found the page properties macro to be super useful from a lot of our customers so great to hear you're using it too!

I hear you on the complexity - right now we are just trying to understand the template use cases, but this is great feedback to pass on to my team. Do you mind expanding more on why you were unhappy with the blueprints solution?

Adil Nasri May 08, 2018

There is a new app on the Atlassian Marketplace which does exactly what you described, Jan:

For us the perfect solution would be having the templates filled out similar to a form, where you have a structured entry and also dropdown lists for fields where fix values should be entered - such as Priority = high / medium / low. 

The app is called Blueprint Creator (Advanced Templates) and lets you create forms that show up in the create dialog. Basically it saves you the time and effort of creating blueprints because you don't need programming skills. 

Marc Dvorschak Mar 07, 2018

Hi Kesha,

Actually we aren't using the Confluence templates that much. Instead we use the Page Tree Creator because the normal Confluence templates lack the functionality to create page hierarchies. Moreover the add-on provides a form during page creation much like @Jan suggested for Confluence templates. 

Sorry to say that, but the Confluence templates aren't good enough for us. But who knows? Maybe that will change in the future. ;)

EPS Software Engineering AG Mar 07, 2018 • edited

Hi Marc,

Thank you very much for your compliment. We did miss multi page templates, the versioning of templates and the collaboration on templates. Therefore we developed the Page Tree Creator. It also supports the Comala Workflows App and makes Confluence ready for the pharmaceutical industry. Version 5 is in planning. It will provide better integration into the Confluence create dialog and provide help with tag/variables selection during editing.

Regards,
Stephan (CEO of EPS Software Engineering AG, the vendor of the Page Tree Creator)

Kesha Thillainayagam Atlassian Team Mar 19, 2018

hi @Marc Dvorschak! No need to apologize, the feedback is very helpful! Even if you're not using Confluence templates, do you mind sharing what type of pages/templatse you create with the Page Tree Creator? 

Marc Dvorschak Mar 20, 2018

Hi @Kesha Thillainayagam!

For example we developed a template to help our ops teams to document their daily work and to share this knowledge across the teams. The template contains of a starting page and multiple sub pages. 

We create page titles, labels and page properties out of placeholders like the name of the system the documenting ops team is responsible for. Page tree creator also enables us to use placeholders inside macros like the page properties report what proofed to be very useful.

Moreover we offer multiple templates to document such things like automated jobs, how to connect to the system, how it is monitored and so on. All these templates use page properties and labels (all automatically generated) so that we can create nice overviews inside the documents for our ops teams.

Kesha Thillainayagam Atlassian Team Mar 22, 2018

thank you for sharing this @Marc Dvorschak!

Adil Nasri May 08, 2018

@Marc Dvorschak

There is a new app on the Atlassian Marketplace which does exactly what Jan just described:

For us the perfect solution would be having the templates filled out similar to a form, where you have a structured entry and also dropdown lists for fields where fix values should be entered - such as Priority = high / medium / low. 

The app is called Blueprint Creator (Advanced Templates) and lets you create forms that show up in the create dialog. Basically it saves you the time and effort of creating blueprints because you don't need programming skills. 

Brian Biswas Mar 08, 2018

We used the Documentation theme in version 5.10, but, apparently it has been removed in 6.7.1 (which we just upgraded to). Looks like the list-child-pages-by-default functionality is gone, then (which we really liked; it was in the documentation theme).

Is there another way to turn this on by default (so we don't have to go into every page and add that Children Display macro)?

Thanks,

Brian Biswas (UNC- Chapel Hill)

Kesha Thillainayagam Atlassian Team Mar 23, 2018

Hey @Brian Biswas

You are correct, versions of Confluence Server that are 6.0 and above no longer support the Documentation Theme (FAQs can be found here).

Unfortunately, there isn't another way at this moment than to use the Children Display macro, but I'll definitely pass on your concerns to our team. Thanks Brian! 

benjamin jurg Mar 10, 2018

For this topic useful to have some context. We are a service company, helping customers with software professionals at customer site.

We use the meeting template a lot, the blog post and how to also. And in addition we created some very company specific templates. If you want to know more about those PM me. 

Kesha Thillainayagam Atlassian Team Mar 19, 2018

@benjamin jurg would love to hear more about the company specific templates and how you use them! Will follow up with you this week :)

benjamin jurg Mar 20, 2018

Cool, looking forward to it.

Jeff Scattini Mar 12, 2018

Confluence Cloud here.

We are customizing a number of the blueprints templates, specifically Meeting Notes and Indexes. Due to the severe limitations of the blueprints templates, however, we are turning them into global templates. 

We also are creating documentation templates, but without an easy way to create multi-page templates, it's a very manual and tiresome process to assemble all of the templates needed to create a cohesive documentation set. 

Kesha Thillainayagam Atlassian Team Mar 19, 2018

hi @Jeff Scattini! Do you mind telling me more about how you're customizing the Meeting Notes and Indexes (i.e are you adding fields that are missing, etc.)?

And good feedback regarding multi-page templates, I'll be sure to pass it on to my team!  

Jeff Scattini Mar 19, 2018

Sure, I'd be happy to discuss in depth if you'd like, but a brief summation:

For team meetings, I added a page property macro to bubble up "Decisions" and "Dependencies" that were made for each meeting to the index page.

We've also removed the Discussion table as it wasn't terribly useful for us and added free form text area that can be rapidly updated and where notes for the meeting can be taken by multiple people during the meeting.

For our project meetings, we customized the meeting note templates for the projects. To make it easy on our PMs, we create a space template with each project's specifics (JIRA epic, Jira pie chart, team members, etc). They use the Create from Template button to create specific updates for each project. We have an unfortunately manual and painful clean up process when projects complete, but not having to re-create each project's specifics from scratch for a weekly update is worth it. 

I'm happy to provide more specifics.

Kesha Thillainayagam Atlassian Team Mar 22, 2018

oh I like how you've added decisions and dependencies to the index page - very useful. 

Do you know if there was an explicit barrier to multiple people taking notes in the discussion table, particularly in the "Notes" column, or you just found it easier to have a free form space? 

I'm interested in the formatting of the meeting notes page for your project meetings/updates, and how you've integrated them with Jira. If you're willing, I'd love to see a screenshot with non-sensitive information, or I can reach out to you directly! 

Jeff Scattini Mar 23, 2018

For the Notes section, the table just turned far too restrictive. If you have a meeting where the notes are prepared beforehand, a) there's not really much use of the meeting itself, especially if the presenters input enough detail and b) the "meat" or main content of the meeting is relegated to a very small area of the overall template, just one cell titled "notes". The rest of the template is, largely, extraneous, especially if the meeting is more informational and no action items are created. 

If the meeting is a useful dialogue to make decisions, figure out an issue, etc, then a large area of the template given over to multiple people taking notes, inputting information and being able add graphics is far more useful. 

 

For Jira, I'd be happy to show you something offline.

Thanks,

Kesha Thillainayagam Atlassian Team Mar 23, 2018

Makes sense. And sure, I'll reach out to you offline! Thanks, Jeff!

cameron rickersey Mar 14, 2018

Confluence cloud

We use mostly blueprint templates to simply track and monitor meeting notes and outcomes that then just go into the sidebar dated as somewhat of a directory like a pagetree but it can get a bit exhaustive.

It would be good if there was a meeting structure separate to total project mapping to be multi-page by date potentially. just a thought

Kesha Thillainayagam Atlassian Team Mar 22, 2018

thanks for sharing @cameron rickersey! I'll take your feedback to my team!

Jan-Peter Rusch Mar 16, 2018

Confluence server

We use mainly global templates to get a common look & feel of our pages. We skipped the usage of instruction text or variables as the current implementation is not user friendly: The instruction text distracts users when editing the page, the variable selection page distracts user because they want to edit this page & get stuck at this step. Also, the options with variables are just to limited.

We prefer using a Create Page macro just copying an existing page without all the stuff around...

Kesha Thillainayagam Atlassian Team Mar 19, 2018

hi @Jan-Peter Rusch! What kind of global templates do you use/have you created? Good feedback on the instructional text and variable selection! 

I also use the Create Page macro quite a bit, I find it to be the easiest when needing to replicate pages! 

Adil Nasri May 08, 2018

@Jan-Peter Rusch 

 

The Blueprint Creator (Advanced Templates) seems like a valid alternative for you since it provides a user friendly interface that displays a form within a create dialog - just like blueprints. 

Christian Roestel Mar 19, 2018

We encourage all of our teams to create their own templates for anything that is reoccurring. We were inspired by the Atlassian playbooks and used some of those thoughts to help improve our organizations templates. 

Our primary focus is consistency on a team level. We have actually removed majority of the global templates and blueprints and encourage teams to share their templates is a common confluence space.  Our vision is to allow teams to operate within their organization as needed and allow areas to define their own methods. (since we have over 600 teams and 2000 spaces) 

We also promote the use of templates by copying pages (with their children) as templates. For example, when we have a project approved, we copy a collection of pages to using the copy page tree.   this creates the project structure to comply with our governance with little setup effort. (think 20 seconds) opposed to having to create 20 pages from a template.  (Our Copy Page Tree Plugin is awesome) 

I truly believe we have at least one of each kind (what ever that may be) for our templates.  we have such a diverse user community nothing surprises me anymore.  for example, within my department, I have:

  • One Standard meeting template, and a template for every reoccurring meeting
  • 3 Scoping template (internal projects, Organizational projects, and  Governance committee) based on who we need to ask for funding.  
  • 2 Decision logs / Decision documentation
  • knowledge article
  • troubleshooting article
  • Blog Post (internal, external, maintenance, ect.  
  • Reporting templates 
  • Attachment artifacts
  • user story templates (yeah, ideas start in confluence and not JIRA.. this tend to be larger then epics by the team start looking at them.)
  • and dozens more.. 
Christian Roestel Mar 19, 2018

I Do wish you could create Blueprints from the UI.   currently only a select handful of people can create new blueprints.   it would be cool if you could create more robust blueprint to launch when creating a space.   

Kesha Thillainayagam Atlassian Team Mar 22, 2018

Hi @Christian Roestel

Thank you for sharing all of this! I really like the approach you've taken with your company, you've really cultivated a culture of knowledge sharing which is awesome.

Which copy page tree plugin do you use?

It sounds like both technical and non-technical teams use templates pretty heavily then across your org, is that correct? Do you know if teams like Marketing, HR, etc. also use Confluence/templates in this way?

I hear ya on the blueprints. We're not currently looking at changing this but I will definitely pass on that feedback to my team and hopefully we can work on it in the future! 

Adil Nasri May 08, 2018

Hi @Christian Roestel,

regarding your feature request there is a new solution on the Atlassian Marketplace:

I Do wish you could create Blueprints from the UI.   currently only a select handful of people can create new blueprints.   it would be cool if you could create more robust blueprint to launch when creating a space.   

The app is called Blueprint Creator (Advanced Templates) and lets you create forms that show up in the create dialog. Basically it saves you the time and effort of creating blueprints because you don't need programming skills.

Ben Laine-toner Mar 20, 2018

 

We have created a lot of unique templates of different types, for example:

  • Project Summary
    • Project Dashboards
      • Simple
      • Complex
      • Massive
    • Project Definition
      • User Stories template
      • Wireframes template
      • Flow Diagrams template
      • Business requirements template
      • Scope of work template
      • Change request 
    • Brief section
      • A load of different briefs
    • Test Plan
    • Test Cases
    • Go live plan
    • Release notes
    • FAQs
    • Etc.

But there are a lot of templates that we have simply because of a single piece of missing functionality from the 'Create page from template' macro. The ability to add labels to a generic page template when the macro is triggered.

We have loads of templates that are all the same but are essentially just:

  • Section Summary Page
    • Detail Page A
    • Detail Page B

We have the above multiplied 30+ times across our project documentation, documentation about how our products work, our resources section etc etc....

This was raised in 2013 - it's surely about time it was added to the backlog / roadmap

https://community.atlassian.com/t5/Confluence-questions/Adding-label-to-quot-Create-from-template-quot-macro/qaq-p/81608

Here's the user story for you....

'As a confluence admin, I want to be able to add labels to pages created via the create from template macro, so that I dont have to manage 30 times the number of templates that is strictly needed'

 Please can this get added.......

 

PLUS - the ability to export template. here are two massive use case for us at the mo. 

 

  1. We are moving from one Atlassian instance to a new one.....so are having to copy and paste and rewire up ALL of our template. Not being able to export them is a massive pain!
  2. I have created a massive framework of templates for our GDPR (UK/EU data protection legislation). If we could export this as a set of templates that other's could import, that would be great!!

 

Thanks / hoping.....

Kesha Thillainayagam Atlassian Team Mar 22, 2018 • edited

Hi @Ben Laine-toner

Thank you for sharing this - that's a ton of templates! Are these used across the accompany or just within specific departments?

And I totally hear you on the labels and exporting concerns. I'm not aware of work around this right now, but I'll gladly take this back to my team and see if it's something we can look at soon. 

I'd also be really interested to know how you've put together the GDPR template. It seems so useful for SO many people right now. If you're willing to share, I'd love to hear more - I can reach out directly as well. Thanks!

Ben Laine-toner Mar 23, 2018

Hi @Kesha Thillainayagam,

 

The templates that we have are used across the delivery side of the business......mostly used for project documentation, but also for documentation for website/apps etc that we manage for our clients. 

We are also thinking that it would be a useful tool to take this further and use it as a form of intranet for general internal documentation. 

We also have templates for our GDPR framework. Being an agency with multiple clients, we need a space for each one, so there's a need to have templates wired up with {createfromtemplate macros. So when we get a new client we can easily create the root/home page and build the framework out from there. As a company that handles a lot of data, there's a lot of documentation needed.

Ben

Kesha Thillainayagam Atlassian Team Mar 23, 2018

@Ben Laine-toner - Got it. And I agree, I think taking it further throughout the org would be great.

Within Atlassian, every single team from product, to marketing, to HR to our events team - we all use Confluence for all of our work, anything that requires writing something down. It definitely helps create a level of transparency and trust throughout the company. 

When it comes time, I've seen some pretty good onboarding articles and discussions in Community from users who have spread Confluence to other teams - would be helpful to look at! 

Thanks for sharing all of this Ben!

Alex Wilson Mar 20, 2018

We're a manufacturing company using Confluence Server.

 

We created a few templates initially (Work Instructions, SOP, and Customer Complaints). We haven't kept up on the templates since setting them up and making adjustments is a little cumbersome. It is easier for people to copy a previous page and make adjustments or start from a blank page. One of the most used pages is our weekly Production / Sales Meeting template that shows information from JIRA, along with other discussion topics setup as tables.

Like Rubén Carbonero likes this
Kesha Thillainayagam Atlassian Team Mar 22, 2018

Hey @Alex Wilson

Thanks for sharing! So it sounds like you haven't really used the templates since they've been created, it's been more taking existing pages and making a copy, even if they don't follow the original template, correct? And that's because the actual process of updating the template within the UI is inconvenient.

I'd love to know more about the sales meeting template! And really any other templates that your sales team uses (if any!). If you can provide details that would be great - also happy to reach out to you directly.

Heather Sutherland Mar 22, 2018

I actually just posted a question regarding templates! Because of the layers in our company we often are recreating multiple pages to keep our documentation consistent.

https://community.atlassian.com/t5/Confluence-questions/Duplicating-multiple-pages/qaq-p/756798#M101904

Kesha Thillainayagam Atlassian Team Mar 23, 2018

Hey @Heather Sutherland!

How timely :) So within the product, you can duplicate a cluster of pages by copying the parent page and when you do so, you'll see a checkbox to include all the child pages below it. You'll be able to copy the whole cluster into your preferred space. The doc I linked has the step by step.

You can also use a an add-on from the Atlassian Marketplace to help you scale, such as the Page Tree Creator or Copy Page Tree.

All the users above also have some great tips! Hope that helps :)

Jeff Scattini Mar 23, 2018

@Kesha Thillainayagam, this is Server only, correct? 

The functionality does not exist for cloud? 

Kesha Thillainayagam Atlassian Team Mar 23, 2018

@Jeff Scattini- correct! sorry I didn't mention that, it is only for Confluence Server. Thanks for catching me there! 

Jeff Scattini Mar 23, 2018

That is, sadly, what I've come to expect. 

 

Thanks,

Angel Williams Mar 27, 2018

I am just starting with Confluence and have created a basic template by copy and pasting an excel spreadsheet form in it.  I would love it if I could add Tab Control to a template so when someone uses it to enter in data they could hit the TAB Key to move about the Template.  Currently, I see no way to do this with Confluence and so the templates are Mouse Centric when I don't find efficient.

Benji Kauth Mar 29, 2018

My team, at Mary Kay, deletes all of the default global and space templates. I've created three templates which are KB/SOP/WI. Every article we write uses one of these three templates.

We use Service Now for all change and incident management so no templates related to RCAs/Incidents/Changes are used. 

The system is designed to have little fragmentation (fewer articles, using sections and TOC in each article), article standardization (using one of the three templates), and content life cycle management to ensure each article is initially curated and periodically reviewed for relevance and accuracy.

Kesha Thillainayagam Atlassian Team Jun 22, 2018

Hi @Benji Kauth - so sorry I missed this! 

So awesome, thanks for sharing! It's great that you've been able to standardize all the content being created!

Emily Errico Jun 21, 2018

Meeting notes are very popular in our spaces, but I've made a lot of the templates that I use often. In the future, it'd be nice if there was public templates so that people from different companies could share ideas and collaborate.

Kesha Thillainayagam Atlassian Team Jun 22, 2018

Hi @Emily Errico

I'd love to know some of other templates you've created and their use cases! 

And a great idea - it's something we've been thinking about so people can share and learn from each other so keep on the lookout! 

Emily Errico Jun 22, 2018

Recently, I've made one for an article space so each page has a link to the overview in the same place and a few notes to the author so everything looks consistent.

I'm also working on a few for onboarding templates so every time we hire someone new, there's an easy checklist available to get them started!

Kesha Thillainayagam Atlassian Team Jun 22, 2018 • edited

@Emily Errico Ooh I love a good onboarding template :) We have a great 90-day plan in Confluence that we give to every new hire - I'll see if I can show you some inkling of what it looks like!

Emily Errico Jun 22, 2018

@Kesha Thillainayagam That'd be very helpful!

One of the things that'd be super helpful our templates would be the ability to generate due dates for tasks. (For example, we have items due 2 weeks and 1 week prior to the start date, on the start date, and 1 week after the start date.)

One of our employees is writing some Python scripts to do this for us, but it'd be even better if Atlassian could somehow support it as a template feature.

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