What's New in Confluence Cloud – January 2020 Edition

Hi everyone! It’s our first feature update of the new year, and I’m excited to share some awesome new tools in Confluence Cloud!

Can you expand on that?
With expand, you can pack as much information onto a page as you can type. By writing “/ expand” in the editor, you can share detailed information related to projects or tasks without creating chaos on a succinct page. Give your expand a title, add specifics, and hit publish.


Expand GIF1.gif

By clicking the arrow next to the expand, the dropdown will show or hide extra pertinent details. These windows can go wide and full-width to fit your viewing preference. You can even nest the new expand and images in tables!

Expand GIF2.gif

With inspect permissions in Confluence Cloud Premium, everyone can be a detective
Gone are the days of guessing who has access to pages and who doesn’t, as well as waiting on admins and page owners to be available with the answers. With inspect permissions, available with the Confluence Cloud Premium plan, your entire team can troubleshoot page permissions. You can find inspect permissions on any page in the page restrictions dialog.


The power (feature) is yours!
Get a bird’s eye view of what tasks are done, which ones are in progress, and which ones are still waiting their turn on the to-do list. Type “/ status” and customize your task updates with tags and colors.


That’s a wrap for this month! We’ve got lots of new things cooking in Confluence so stay tuned for more updates. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!


Kelvin Hill January 9, 2020

@Jessica Taylor Thanks for the update. It's great to hear from you again. I hope the holidays were happy.

We have been using the Expand and Status macros for a long time in the legacy editor. Aside from the cosmetic changes to the Status macro, has anything else changed? We haven't noticed any new functionality, so it would be great to learn if they can do exciting new things.

We also look forward to as many updates relating to the new editor as you're willing to post. I'm sure all of us here need as many pointers as we can get to be successful with the fewer features now on offer.

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Bob Sovers January 9, 2020

@Jessica Taylor -- Are the only changes for Premium customers?  As @Kelvin Hill mentioned, we had Expand and Status in the "Legacy" Editor, and they worked just as they do now.  So what has improved?

It would be great if the a new document of what improvements we can actually look forward to would actually appear.  The roadmap is a joke.  It is now so crammed with info that it is unusable!  One or two word feature descriptions do not adequately describe the issue.  Each of these should either pop-up or link to a page that describes the feature, its legacy and current implementation and what plans for the future exist.  

The entire section on "Element conversion" is also a joke.  It too has to many records without enough detail to determine anything.  It may only be usefull to someone who wants to know why their old page is now all screwed up after conversion.

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Jonno Katahanas
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
January 9, 2020

Hi @Bob Sovers and @Kelvin Hill , speaking specifically to expand, based on customer feedback we’ve both improved the aesthetic of expand plus added the ability for it to be nested in tables. This feature is available across all editions of Confluence Cloud. More info can be found here - https://community.atlassian.com/t5/Confluence-discussions/Introducing-our-new-and-improved-expand/td-p/1250620

Jonno Katahanas, Product Manager

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Kelvin Hill January 10, 2020

@Jonno Katahanas Thanks for the clarification. Such feedback is genuinely appreciated. You're one of the good guys.

It was evident that the Expand macro had been cosmetically tweaked, but I guess that didn't even register in my brain's appreciation zone because making any macro prettier is right down close to the bottom of my list of "must haves" (along with emojis). You dig me, bro? Especially when we are urgently trying to find solutions to so much missing functionality. Pretty is nice though, thanks.

I guess I've never previously attempted to nest an Expand macro in a table, but I'm sure those who have will welcome that. Thanks, again.

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Tom Crowley January 10, 2020

Has the published Expand macro turned from a blue hyperlink to a grey one? I'm sure I remember it being blue and easy to see. I now have users missing it because it is light grey.

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Tom Crowley January 10, 2020

[MODERATOR NOTE: post edited to comply with Atlassian Community Rules of Engagement]

[ORIGINAL POSTER NOTE: Hi Mandy, if any of the things you deleted from my post are factually incorrect, can you please provide evidence to support this?

Your Product Managers are removing features from Confluence Cloud that I would need to maintain professional-looking documentation and a comprehensive Wiki. To me, this is repurposing, unless we've all been using it wrong. If the Product Team are interested in improving it, why do they not interact with the people using it and act on the feedback we are leaving? There are quick wins here that they are deliberately ignoring. If Atlassian cares whether I, and the other people on here, continued using it, they would admit that they made several mistakes and let us use the old editor until we decided that the new editor was ready for us to adopt.

Nothing in my original post was an attack on anyone, in fact, I admitted that the fault was mine for trying to use Confluence to do something that it doesn't do. By moderating my comment, you are painting me as childish and complaining because I'm not getting my way. Yes, the tool doesn't do what I want it to do. But it used to. It did when I trialled Confluence. It did when we bought it. It doesn't now. You've also ruined the flow of that paragraph. 

Also, if we are supposed to stick to the "Rules of Engagement" (which, incidentally, is a military term - are we at war here? That would explain a lot), who is moderating Atlassian for not sticking to its corporate values?]

Also, on the subject of nesting macros: Why, why, why can we still not nest things inside lists?

Macros that should be able to be nested inside a list:

  • Expand
  • Note panels
  • Tables
  • Include Page/Excerpt
  • Attachments
  • Expand
  • Div (since we still have it)

No, you know what, forget it. What's the point? The tool doesn't do what I want it to do.

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Monique vdB
Community Manager
Community Managers are Atlassian Team members who specifically run and moderate Atlassian communities. Feel free to say hello!
January 10, 2020
Kelvin Hill January 13, 2020

I hope it's OK to go off-topic here rather than post to the predecessor of this post.

@Shrey @Avinoam The legacy macros were introduced into the Fabric editor over two weeks ago, and, after just checking, I see they are still present.

We were informed that these useful macros were introduced in error. If so, why has this mistake not yet been rectified? How many weeks will it take for the developers to add "display: none" to these useful tools in the macro selector? It is to be expected that users will innocently continue to use these macros, so the mistake will be being repeatedly compounded with each passing day. One of my own colleagues did exactly that because she believed that Atlassian had finally seen sense and had deliberately reintroduced them. It is naive to believe that the entire Confluence Cloud user population reads these forums. It doesn't.

If the macros were added in error, please remove them immediately or add a note or pop-up message or something. If not, your entire user base will be justified in using them since they offer functionality that has been relied on by many users for many years but which is now being actively removed from the product.

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Tom Crowley January 13, 2020

Or, since they don't seem to have broken anything, just let us keep them...? And then you can work on restoring other behaviours, like find and replace, nesting things, version comments...

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Monique vdB
Community Manager
Community Managers are Atlassian Team members who specifically run and moderate Atlassian communities. Feel free to say hello!
January 13, 2020
Monique vdB
Community Manager
Community Managers are Atlassian Team members who specifically run and moderate Atlassian communities. Feel free to say hello!
January 13, 2020
Mandy Ross
Community Manager
Community Managers are Atlassian Team members who specifically run and moderate Atlassian communities. Feel free to say hello!
January 15, 2020
Kelvin Hill January 15, 2020

@Tom Crowley I've been busy trying to find ways to customise PDF output from a Fabric Editor page. It turns out that the export-to-PDF process for Fabric Editor pages is little more than a fudge.

Earlier this afternoon, I had a one-hour Zoom video-conference with a Confluence Cloud Support Engineer in Bangalore to demonstrate some of the issues. He acknowledged the problems and is going to attempt to escalate the issue.

In a nutshell, if you want to export a legacy editor page to PDF and customise the presentation of it, you can view the source of the published page to identify the tags, classes, and IDs it uses--after which you can tweak those in the PDF-export stylesheet to achieve the desired result. Alternatively, you can tweak and add to the existing settings provided in the default PDF-export stylesheet and copy them to your Space's PDF-export stylesheet (a copy of the default is found here: https://confluence.atlassian.com/download/attachments/190480945/confluencedefaultpdf.css).

Unfortunately, it quickly gets ugly with the Fabric Editor. If you view the page source for a published Fabric Editor page, you won't find any helpful tags, classes, or IDs because the Fabric Editor pages are converted to the old format before being processed by the PDF exporter.

It means that if, like me, you want to customise the PDF presentation of any type of content from a Fabric Editor page (e.g., to apply corporate branding), you must first create the same content in a legacy editor page to identify the tags, classes, and IDs used, and then hope that the Fabric Editor source-conversion process will convert them consistently and send the equivalent legacy page to the PDF-export process. The support guy confirmed there is currently no way to report on the output from the Fabric-to-legacy conversion process, so it isn't currently possible to reliably confirm which tags, classes, and IDs are sent to the PDF-export process. Oh, no!

And what if you no longer have access to the legacy editor? Sorry, no solution yet. You will no longer be able to make worthwhile use the PDF-export-stylesheet facility provided.

And even if you DO still have access to the legacy editor (like us), you are likely to discover that it is nigh on impossible to identify ways to tweak the CSS of specific parts of a page like we always used to. For example, if you want to tweak the presentation of just one of several code snippets because its content is wrapping badly. Well, forget it. I've been trying for hours, but I haven't been able to identify a way to address just that one code block. It's all or nothing. The DIV macro used to allow us to target it precisely.

And if you want proof of the bodge, check out the following:

  • The legacy Information macro CSS class can be used to modify the Fabric Editor Info Panel (OK).
  • The legacy Tip macro CSS class can be used to modify the Fabric Editor Success Panel (OK).
  • The legacy Note macro CSS class can be used to modify the Fabric Editor Warning Panel (that's a mistake).
  • The legacy Warning macro CSS class can be used to modify the Fabric Editor Error Panel (that's another mistake).
  • The Fabric Editor Note Panel has no equivalent in the legacy editor, so it cannot be customised in the PDF output.

 My head hurts, and my PDF output looks nothing like I need.

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Kelvin Hill January 15, 2020

Duplicate post removed. The site was laggy and my post didn't appear after posting, so I posted a second time.

Tom Crowley January 16, 2020

bUt thE DiV MaCrO brEakS pAgES

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Tom Crowley January 16, 2020

So... New Editor pages are converted to Old Editor pages during the PDF export. So customers are expected to use something that not even the actual software uses? 

I imagine one day universities will include this whole process as a case study of how not to roll out new software.

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Kelvin Hill January 16, 2020

@Tom CrowleyWe highly customise our PDF exports to include corporate branding and resolve a slew of undesirable formatting settings included by default. I apologise if you already know what I'm about to explain.

While using the legacy editor, you can use Google Chrome's Inspect option to show the CSS classes and IDs added to the HTML tags in the page source. You can then include those classes and IDs in the PDF-export stylesheet to customise the look.

If you use Chrome's Inspect function to view the source for a Fabric Editor page, however, you'll find a totally different set of classes and IDs. Strangely, if you include those classes and IDs in the PDF-export stylesheet, they have no effect.

After posting to the developer forum asking if anyone knew how to reveal the HTML sent to the PDF-export engine (since the HTML from the Fabric Editor is clearly different from what is sent to the PDF-export engine), one of the third-party macro developers explained that the Fabric Editor page source (HTML) is converted into legacy format before that converted source is passed to the PDF-export engine.

During a one-hour call with an Atlassian support guy yesterday, he confirmed that there is currently no way to output the post-conversion page source that is sent to the PDF-export engine.

Being unable to view the source sent to the PDF-export engine causes us a big problem because some elements in the Fabric Editor have no direct equivalent in the legacy editor, so they cannot be customised using the PDF-export stylesheet.

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Tom Crowley January 16, 2020

@Kelvin Hill Welcome back ;)

I wonder if this is one of the reasons why you can't export emojis to PDF - because they don't exist in the old editor. I also wonder if they are exporting to Word in the same way - that bins emojis too.

@Jessica Taylor Can we get some clarification on this - I trust that you've considered the implications of it and can tell us when the Fabric editor will have its own export engine.

Kelvin Hill January 16, 2020

@Tom CrowleyI'm sure that'll be it, Tom.

In the legacy editor, when we wanted to selectively modify the appearance of a macro or element in the PDF (including modifying one specific instance of a macro rather than all of them in the page), we used to enclose it in a DIV and apply a unique class to it. We were then able to customise the look by addressing that class in the stylesheet. That allowed us fine control over the PDF output.

Sadly, since the DIV macro has been deliberately omitted from the Fabric Editor, we no longer have an efficient way to do that. Consequently, we have spent many hours attempting to isolate specific elements in a page by using child and sibling selectors (see here: https://css-tricks.com/child-and-sibling-selectors/), BUT since we have no visibility of the converted source sent to the PDF-export engine, it is a frustrating hit-and-miss affair. Our only option is to construct equivalent content in a legacy-editor page, view the HTML source of that page, and then attempt to reference the content we wish to modify using relative selectors--after which we cross our fingers and hope that the same selection will work with the new-editor page(s). It really is hit and miss at best.

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Tom Crowley January 16, 2020

@Kelvin Hill Frustrating, unnecessary, and nonsensical. I'm still not seeing any good reason for removing the DIV macro, and backward-converting pages to the old editor for export is baffling. I'm still not sure whether I'm more angry at the new editor changes or at the complete disregard for users. 

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Kelvin Hill January 16, 2020

@Shrey @Avinoam While wishing to avoid revisiting a dead issue, I feel that Atlassian has missed a significant and easy win by failing to include a modified version of the DIV macro. So many issues like the one above could be resolved for serious editors by including a modified form of the DIV macro.

Here's how it could be done:

  • In an "advanced" macro section (to deter novice users), it should be possible to select a straightforward container (i.e., something that functions like a DIV), which has no visual impact (i.e., no padding, no margin, no border). It should offer two user-configurable fields: Class (for changing the way the content appears in PDF exports) and Style (for changing the way the content appears in a browser).
  • The macro should be insertable anywhere, so if you want to alter the visual style of text in a list, the contents of a table cell, an image, or anything else then you would have the option to do so.
  • When saving the page, the user should be warned of the presence of the container macro (basically advising the user that inappropriate usage may adversely affect the display of the page contents).
  • In the page options, it should be possible to view the page with the container macro disabled. In that way, it would be a no-brainer to confirm that a visually messed-up page was caused by user error rather than a fault with the editor.

So simple. Why so unavailable?

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Rob Bunten January 16, 2020

Looks like I'm not alone being frustrated/confused at the roll-out of this new editor. Perfectly bad timing for me - using Confluence to build a business glossary, at the moment I can't expect business users to use it. What do I say to them?

  • some pages will behave one way, others totally differently - depends when the page was first built
  • you may (if you're lucky) be able to use macros such as Excerpt within page properties (table) so we can run summary reports
  • sorry - no choice to keep everything (including new pages) the old way until Atlassian finish the job

I totally 'get' Agile - but this is a mess. CX disaster which isn't helping me promote what I believe has been a great tool.

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Kelvin Hill January 17, 2020

I'm doing my level-best to work within the startling limitations of the new editor, but there are some features that simply won't cooperate, and Atlassian isn't offering any suggestions or even acknowledging that there's a problem. All I need is a workaround. Perhaps you have found one.

One such conundrum is with images. We left-align almost 100% of our images in the pages we export to PDF for our customers.

Unless you haven't noticed (how could you not?), when you left- or right-align an image in the Fabric Editor, you end up with something awful. To demonstrate the issue, I've created a short video for your viewing pleasure, here: https://youtu.be/CT5lVJ5P82o

If you have any suggestions for a workaround, please share. I'm at my wits' end.

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RPT Admin
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January 21, 2020

@Kelvin Hill Thanks for the video. I'm still using the old editor via a workaround so I've not experienced this particular bug. I guess I'm going to carry on using the workaround for a while yet. 

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Pahniti Tosuksri January 21, 2020

Any idea when we will be able to add hyperlinks to images again? Making it difficult to create navigation pages with the new editor without this feature.

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