Creating primary + secondary related document collections w/ intuitively shared, standard content

J P November 17, 2022

We are going through a fairly large scale cleanup of our Confluence spaces, while also standardizing our templates & content structure across teams and 500+ staff. 

Our Current Context

Our Confluence world is a big mess... lots of teams, lots of legacy content, 2 substantial mergers... this has resulted in:

  • Inconsistent templates (layout, meta data / properties, content)
  • "Page Properties" and the related content reporting is still an awful mess in my opinion that hasn't really improved in a decade
  • Lots of duplicate or inconsistently entered data or content across the documents... which creates lots of confusion, silos, and headache.
  • Documents not intuitively related among each other
  • Maze of seemingly inconsistent Confluence macro functionality... below is a quick example of the top of my head (pardon anything that is incorrect)
    • Some macros can be inside excerpts, others cannot
      • excerpts can contain tables, but not contain layouts
      • tables can't have excerpts in cells
      • excerpts can contain info panels, but info panels cannot contain excerpts. 
    • Confluence page templates have a different subset of functionality


The Desired Structure

Below is a summary of what I am working to accomplish, and I'm curious if anyone has any suggestions. I have figured out how to do some of this with the awesome new Orderly add-on for Confluence. However, hopefully others have tips for best leveraging Confluence + Jira features and automations.

NOTE: Pardon my using generic terms for these documents. 

Scenario: Project A has a Primary Resource Document (PRD) with 6-8 supporting "Secondary" documents created by multiple teams that provide greater details for each section of the Primary Resource Document

Primary Resource Documents...

  • Source for "Project Global Excerpt". This document will have an excerpt with all the highest level information (the big idea, responsible stakeholders, naming standards, etc.) and primary resources (Jira issue smart links, links to primary documents + mockups, etc).
    • This excerpt will be embedded into each of the Secondary Documents... so it only has to be changed once.
  • Project Document Key. The primary document has a "Key" that serves as the prefix for the secondary documents.
  • Project Label. There is a a label for the project that all Secondary Documents have. 
  • Embedded Excerpts FROM Secondary Documents. Within the Primary Resource Document, there are sections for each of the teams... and the "overview" for each section is sourced from the respective Secondary Document excerpt.

Secondary Documents... 

  • Have the embedded "Project Global Excerpt" FROM Primary Resource Document at the top of the page
  • Contains a "Secondary Document Excerpt" that is embedded into the respective section of the Primary Resource Document.
  • The page has labels: <project-name> <project-key> <secondary-document-type> 

Resulting Page Tree

The Page Tree would be fairly simple in theory:

  • George Burdell Primary Resources (GBPR)
    • GBPR. Secondary Document 1
    • GBPR. Secondary Document 2
    • GBPR. Secondary Document 3
    • GBPR. Secondary Document 4


The Questions

  1. What can be automated (doc creation + content)?
  2. What would make this an intuitive experience for team members?
  3. Is there any core functionality or usage I am missing that others used?
  4. Are there Marketplace add-ons that make this 10x better?


I'm exhausted and it has been a long week... hopefully this makes sense!

Thanks for your time and thoughts!


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