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The Confluence team wants to know - how are you using space PDF exports?

Steven Bao Atlassian Team Sep 02, 2021

Hey everyone! Product Manager on the Confluence team here, we’re in process of working on some major fixes & improvements to PDF exports that will be released in the next few months.

For those of you that use space PDF exports we are looking to get insight on how you’re currently using it and how existing functionality works for you - specifically:

  1. What’s the main purpose that you’re using space level PDF exports for?

  2. Does the current default space PDF export behavior match what you expect?

    1. Header Demotion (Headers are demoted depending on each page’s depth in the page hierarchy. e.g. Header 1 in the top page will be header 1, but Header 1 in a page 1 depth below will be converted into Header 2)

    2. Page Concatenation (each Confluence page is not started on a new page, but instead starts right after the previous page ended)

  3. Do you use custom headers/footers/stylesheets? If so, what do you use these for?

  4. Do you do any post processing on your space PDF exports that are generated from Confluence?

  5. Do you see gaps in space PDF export functionality you’d like addressed?

We may reach out to a few of you to get more in depth details 🙂. Looking forward to hearing from you all!

Cheers,

Steven

1 comment

I work in a market sector that's very risk-averse and our work is closely governed by legislation. Our main Confluence space is a knowledge base which is used on a daily (multiple-times daily) basis by our knowledge workers, so it's essential that they have permanent access to the knowledge base. The PDF version of the knowledge base exists so that staff who might temporarily be unable to access Confluence Cloud can continue to work. 

In practical terms the PDF exports are little-used - certainly no more than two or three times in the seven years we've been using Confluence Cloud. However they're an essential part of our risk-mitigation strategy. 

As to output formats? Despite my Confluence Admin role, I'm not in any way a technical person. I set up custom footers and a very basic style sheet when we migrated to Confluence Cloud around 2013/2014. I've never looked at them again, and I'd have to re-read the documentation if they ever needed updated. My main requirement from a PDF space export is that it works, straight out of the box, with minimal tweaking. I have no particular preference about how it looks, so long as the output is easy to read and to navigate. 

The main functionality gap comes from the fact that PDF exports are currently broken for my organisation due to the known bug affecting spaces with more than 1,000 attachments. So my PDFs are currently over 12 months out of date. 

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Steven Bao Atlassian Team Sep 13, 2021

Thanks @RPT Admin for your answer - the issue you reference is one of the top priorities that we're looking to fix for PDF Export. 

We are looking at ways to get our improvements out faster - you mentioned "easy to read and to navigate" - do you & team use the table of contents as essential functionality for these space level PDF exports?

Yes we do. Some of our pages are 20,000 words or longer. I know, I know! We tried short pages but they didn't survive UX testing. Our users like to see the whole of a complex topic dealt with on one page. So the TOC is vital for navigating an individual page. 

I just checked one of our biggest pages - it's a 43,000 word behemoth about a piece of legislation which our knowledge workers interact with on a daily basis. The TOC displays 15 headings and 16 sub-headings. The actual instructions - how to "do stuff" - aren't until the 9th heading. 

I run semi-regular webinars where I help people find their way around the knowledge base, and many of my users routinely use CTRL-F on complex pages. But it's no substitute for a well-laid out TOC. So yes, it's widely used in my main space. 

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Steven Bao Atlassian Team Sep 14, 2021

Thanks @RPT Admin ! 

Just to confirm - the ToC you're referring to is on a page level correct? Are you utilizing the ToC generated for a space export?

I'm referring to the page level TOC. I wasn't even aware there was a TOC generated for the space export. My main knowledge base has a comprehensive site map on the front page which my users are used to using, so they continue to use that to navigate the PDF. 

I'm aware my use-case is probably an outlier, but I guessed that was was why it might be interesting.  

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