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So, you’re brand-new to Confluence and don’t know where to start. It’s a flexible, powerful tool that helps teams of all types communicate effectively, manage knowledge, and collaborate from anywhere, but its versatility can make it difficult to know where to begin.
Whether it’s your first time joining an organization that uses Confluence or Confluence is completely new to your organization and you’re starting from scratch, here’s where you’ll find all the resources you need to get accustomed.
Confluence has three versions — Server and Data Center, which are on-prem solutions, and Cloud. If you’re on Server, it’s important to know that Atlassian is sunsetting this product in February 2024. To learn more about what that means for your team, read our blog on Confluence Server end of life.
Confluence started out in 2004 as a simple wiki solution, but today it is much more than that. Atlassian has invested time and resources into developing Confluence into a multi-dimensional workspace that helps teams communicate and collaborate.
With its increased functionality, Confluence can support a wide variety of audiences. To learn about the different ways teams of various functions and industries use Confluence as part of their daily processes, check out our resource on what Confluence is used for.
What is Confluence Used For?
Although Confluence is used by a huge number of teams of all shapes and sizes, there are two key categories of Confluence use cases to call out.
One of Confluence’s most common and effective uses is compiling, maintaining, and sharing information. This can take a few different forms:
Organization-wide documentation, such as HR and IT policies Team-specific documentation, such as key structures and processesExternal documentation for customers and/or users of a product
Regardless of what needs to be documented, learn more about how building Confluence documentation supports your team.
The other primary Confluence use case is enabling effective collaboration. For example, Confluence can serve as a hub for planning and executing on important projects that require team and cross-functional collaboration.
Using Confluence for project management is a great way to break down information silos and ensure all project stakeholders have the proper context for decision-making and retrospective analysis. Learn how to maximize your team’s use of Confluence throughout the project lifecycle.
Confluence for Project Management
When you open Confluence for the first time, you might be overwhelmed by all the options you face, but once you’re used to its structure, you’ll likely find it easy and intuitive to begin creating.
Confluence is organized by spaces, which are collections of pages that serve as a workspace for your team. It’s your choice how you decide to organize your spaces — some teams might choose to create new spaces for big projects or initiatives, but many simply have one space for the team, with a hierarchy of pages to keep everything organized.
Note: In Confluence, every user also has their own “Personal Space.” Just like with any other space, you can share pages in your Personal Space with others or restrict access to only yourself, but this is a great place to store your own notes and ideas that aren’t relevant to the rest of your team — or aren’t ready for their review quite yet.
Within spaces are pages, where all your content lives. Confluence pages are easy to create and edit, and the interface is similar to many other document-creating tools you may have used before, like Google Docs.
You can manually set viewing and editing permissions for each page, so you can restrict access to yourself only when you're working on something that's not ready for the full team yet, or open access to anyone to start collaborating.
Templates can provide a structural foundation for a page to help you get started. They are also helpful for maintaining visual consistency across your space even when you’re a Confluence pro.
Atlassian has a huge selection of Confluence templates to choose from, including this event planning template created by the Gliffy team.
Event Planning Template More Confluence Templates
While templates are a great way to get started and to maintain consistency, you should also know how to create visually engaging pages on your own.
From the way you write and structure information to the visuals you include, there are a few key tips you should keep in mind as you create Confluence pages.
Creating Confluence Pages
One of our favorite tips for creating engaging Confluence pages is including diagrams. Confluence diagrams can make complex concepts easy to understand at a glance, and they are a great resource for team documentation as well as cross-functional communication, closing the gap between technical and non-technical audiences.
Diagrams can also serve as an extension of your collaborative space. You can collaborate in real time directly in Gliffy diagrams, so it’s easy to bring the team together to map out a process or brainstorm a new idea.
How to Diagram in Confluence How to Collaborate on Confluence Diagrams
Once you feel comfortable with the structure of Confluence’s spaces and pages, there’s one more thing you might want to consider before diving deep into content creation. What extra functionalities might you want that aren’t included with Confluence?
Atlassian Marketplace apps extend the functionality of Confluence and can help you take your content and collaboration skills to the next level. We’ve already mentioned Gliffy, which is an important add-on for both technical and non-technical teams who want to collaborate visually, but there are many others to explore based on what you’re trying to accomplish. Here are a few of our favorite Confluence apps for the knowledge management use case.
Top 5 Confluence Apps For Your Knowledge Base
Although Confluence is easy and intuitive to use, it does take some practice and intentionality to use it to its fullest potential. These best practices are a great place to start.
Confluence fits into and supports the way your team already works and shares information. Learn how to take advantage of this powerful functionality and keep everyone on track.
Confluence Best Practices
Documentation is only helpful if it’s effective. Here are our top tips for creating documentation that empowers your team and eliminates roadblocks.
Documentation Best Practices
One of Confluence’s most powerful features is its ability to integrate with Jira. Combining Confluence, a space for context, collaboration, and decision-making, with Jira, a space for organizing and assigning tasks effectively, equips your team to tackle any project and break down information silos.
Integrate Confluence and Jira
Ready to become a Confluence pro? You’ll be telling your team “There’s a Confluence page for that” in no time. Revisit these resources anytime — not only are they a helpful guide for beginners, they can be a nice refresher for long-time Confluence users, too. And if you haven’t already, make sure to add Gliffy to your Confluence space as the first step towards better documentation and collaboration.