In most of the businesses there are repetitive tasks which need to be documented. In order to avoid starting every time from scratch, Confluence provides templates functionality, which allow user to define a format in which the documentation will be based on.
Confluence comes with some build-in templates, and provides you some suggestions with already created formats for popular documentation tasks. However, you can also create your custom templates, which will suit better your organisation needs. All available templates for each space could be found in the pop up window which is appearing when you try to create a page. Templates can be applied only when you are adding a new page, not in existing pages.
Creating a Confluence Template
There are 2 different categories of custom templates, the Global templates and the Space templates. The only difference is that Global Templates are available for every space, while Space Templates are restricted to a specific space. Also, space templates can be created by space administrator while global templates can only be created by users who have Confluence administration permission.
Creating a Global Template
For the creation of a global template you should have access to Confluence general configuration. From there you can create your template which will be shared with all Confluence users. After creation, the template will be visible every time someone tries to create a page.
Creating a Space Template
If you want to create a template which will be available only to the users of your space, then you have to create a space template. In order to do that, you should have access to space tools, where you can define your template. Then, every user who is trying to create a page in this specific space, he will have the option to choose this template and create his own documentation taking advantage of the layout you defined.
When creating a template, in both categories, there is a promote button, which allows you to promote your template at the top of the page creation screen, in order to make it easier to find. Also, after the author uses the template to create a new page, once the page has been added then there is no link to the template, and the editing of the page is performed normally.
Confluence gives you flexibility to create your own templates, however it is important to know how to take advantage of the full potential that templates provide. Confluence provides some special fields, which are available in the template editor when you are creating/editing a template. Those field are the template Variables and the Instructional Text, two features which allows the creator of the template to provide some guidance on the users on what information is required at each point.
Variables prompt the author to include some specific fields when creating a page using the template. This feature will produce a form which will collect the correct data. After filling those data, then the author will start editing the page and adding information.
You can choose between text, multi-line text and list when creating a variable. List provides the functionality to add predefined values to the field and author can select one of those values and proceed.
Using the instructional text, you can provide some specific guidance on what information is required at each field. It serve the purpose of a placeholder and explains to the author what information is expected at each point. Instructional text is only available while editing the page. Once the page is published, if an instructional field is left black it will disappear.
Confluence templates is a powerful feature which should be used within teams. Jira admins should create templates for the repetitive tasks like documentation pages, contact info pages and so on, in order to keep organisation’s data consistent. Templates help teams to maintain consistency by keeping a uniform way to organise information.
Moreover, it is important to ensure that templates existence is well communicated within the team. Team members should be updated for the available templates and the tasks that are covering, as well as for new templates that are created in order to increase the use of the templates by the team members.
Another good practise is to use the Create from Template macro. This macro is creating a button in the parent page which is linked to a specific template. In that way we ensure that the users can create the correct template and also that all pages created based on the template will have the same parent page.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact our Atlassian Certified Consultants.