Confluence is a web-based collaboration software developed by Atlassian back in March 2004. Furthermore, the Confluence software as we know it today developed over the years not only into one of the best tools of its kind but also as one of the easiest to integrate. So, friends, let’s get started with the Confluence review with the Pros and Cons.
Ease of use
Value for Money
Starting from: $5
Pricing Model: per user/month
Yes, has free trial
Yes, has free version
- Multiple integrations
- Easy to learn
- Confluence Wiki
- Team Calendar
- Confluence Macros
- UI & UX
- Missing to-do list
- Text formating
- Expensive add-ons for single users
- Small business
- Medium business
- Large enterprises
- Non-profit Organization
- Mobile - Android
- Desktop - Mac
- Desktop - Windows
- Cloud, SaaS, Web-Based
- Mobile - iPhone
- Mobile - iPad
- Desktop - Chromebook
Next, in the Confluence review, let’s take a more structured approach and see what this tool can do to make our life easier. Forwards we’ll find out:
- What is Confluence?
- What is Confluence used for?
- How to install Confluence?
Now, let’s see what we are getting ourselves into with the Confluence software.
What is Confluence?
First of all, Confluence is a project- management tool. Second of all, the Confluence tool is knowledge-sharing. Moreover, the Confluence software that fits teams of all types and sizes and with no geographical limitations. The outcome from using the tools is more efficient sharing and collaboration between groups.
Furthermore, let’s continue the Confluence review by taking a closer look at how the tool can make your life easier.
Is Confluence Cloud-based?
Yes, Confluence can be cloud-based. Why we say that “it can be cloud-based”? Well, Confluence also gives you the possibility to opt for self-managed solutions. Meaning, you have the following options at your disposal when choosing the software:
- Data Center
Your “site” is hosted by Confluence by using AWS cloud hosting. The real benefits of using this hosting are that you can enjoy the tool without any fuss with servers, storage issues, or the need for maintenance.
Confluence Data Center
The Data Center from Confluence is a more rigid solution in contrast to the Confluence Cloud. Specifically, it is a self-managed solution that provides the organization with bespoken configuration options to meet the organization’s demands. IaaS technologies offer a read-only mode and deployment through the Confluence Data Center.
This option comes with additional complexity. Above all, it’s recommended for teams looking for strict control over their data. Thus, the Confluence Server is hosted on your hardware and personalize your setup. This sort of arrangement is complex and recommended for teams that put a lot of emphasis on data governance.
Above all, a product’s features are the most essential to convince us to use or not to use it. Thus, let’s start by looking at the Confluence feature available in detail and discuss a bit about its functionality and ease of use.
What is Confluence used for?
The software allows its users to create, collaborate and organize all the work in one safe and secure environment. Thus, Atlassian Confluence helps improve communication amongst teams, contains the workspace, and makes company strategy accessible. Additionally, for an intuitive structure, everything in Confluence is structured in Pages and Spaces. Now, in the light of what we spoke of, let’s move on to the essential features.
Top Confluence Features
- Advanced Search
- Page Tree
- Jira Integration
- Team Calendar
- Wiki Permissions
Confluence Advanced Search
The Confluence advance search feature allows you to use structured queries to search content. The search function employs a Confluence Query Language; moreover, a simple query in CQL contains a field, operator, and followed by one or more processes (values).
For instance, a simple CQL query for the Confluence advance search would find all the content in the “Design Project” space. Instead, it uses the space field, the EQUALS operator, and the value “Design Project.”
Confluence Page tree
The Confluence Page tree is one of the multiple macros features the tool has. The macro displays document that can serve as a table of content or a list of related topics, as it displays a dynamic and hierarchical list of pages starting from a pointed root page. Wondering how to add a page tree in Confluence?
Let’s take a look.
- Go to the Confluence Editor Toolbar
- Choose Insert – Other Macros
- Choose the Content category, and from there, the Page Tree
- Finally, choose the page version to display and then Insert
What is a Confluence template?
When you start a new page in the Confluence software, you aren’t pushed by the circumstances to develop one from scratch. Therefore, if you are not proud of your skill in creating a template, you can not only choose to use one of the Confluence templates. You can also select one of the Atlassian Marketplace apps.
Notably, the Confluence tool does not limit your creativity and allows you to create your tools to match your heart’s desire. You can do that by using the Confluence editor.
There are two types of Confluence templates:
- Space Templates are available only in specific spaces and accessible if you have space administration permission.
- Global Templates are universally available in all spaces if you have Confluence admin permission.
Confluence offers over 75 customizable templates suitable for every team.
Now that we understand – What is a Confluence template? -; we can move on to information on the limitations and the creation of templates.
Primarily, Confluence templates are used only when adding a new page. You can’t apply the templates on existing pages. For more complex functionality on your templates, consult the Atlassian Market place.
How to create a template?
You can create a Confluence template by using the editor. Furthermore, the Confluence editor will allow you to customize your template to suit your team’s needs. For example, you can create both a new space template and a new global template.
- Space tools section > Content > Tools than choose Templates > Create new template
To generate a new global template, do the following:
- General Configuration Global Template and Blueprints > Choose Add New Global Template
Confluence Jira Integration
Briefly, the feature allows you to connect your plans to the development department. Confluence and Jira were built from the start to supplement each other through the Jira- Confluence integration points built-in. Above all, this allows Confluence users to view, interact and reference Jira issues from pages.
To make things easy, imagine you are running a software company, and you have a new project that involves several teams from developers, social media managers, designers, content writers, and many more.
The Confluence Jira integration allows all the involved parties to participate in discussion without leaving Jira or Confluence through the OpenSocial gadget. Thus, to get back to our example, the content writer can issue a developer without having a Jira account.
Moving on with the Confluence review of features by answering one of the burning questions concerning the interaction between these two software. Let us check out what makes them so good together and why so many use them this way.
Jira vs. Confluence – How do Jira and Confluence interact with each other?
Jira vs. Confluence is a bit of a stretch. We here at Tekpon think that we are looking more into Confluence and Jira complementation. With this being said, let’s see what you have access to if you link Jira to Confluence from both perspectives.
- From Confluence Perspective
- Display in Confluence page and the entire list of Jira issue with the Jira issues macro
- View Dates, milestones, and sprints alongside your people and team events calendars from Jira in Confluence Team Calendar
- View JIRA reports/charts within a Confluence page
- Track in Confluence WorkBox – shares, mentions, and comments from Jira Instances
- Create Jira issues from the same Confluence page for fixes and stories by highlighting existing text on the page
- View of all sprints, epics, and issues from Jira
- From Jira Perspective
- Access to Confluence page on Jira Dashboard
- Access to Confluence report on Jira Dashboard
- Link any issue in Jira to a Confluence page
- Jira Agile retrospective in Confluence
- Global Phone Web API the(new feature)
Now that we’ve seen how Jira and Confluence interact with each other. Let’s move on and discuss some of the more practical impacts of the integration.
How to use Confluence with Jira?
Confluence Jira integration will create a better synergy between them. Thus, link Jira to Confluence by creating direct links. In addition, the plugin will offer convenient navigation between individual Confluence pages and Jira screens using the sidebar shortcuts.
How is a direct link Jira to Confluence helping?
To further clarify, with the Confluence Jira integration, we are looking into two powerful tools merging more straightforwardly to get developers and non-technical employees to understand each other better.
Well, if you are wondering how we got to this conclusion. It’s simple! Link Jira to Confluence, and you got yourself a merger between a developer’s world with, for example, a Marketing project manager. Thus, the Confluence Jira integrations are probably among the essential features to make a difference in an organization.
So, there are lots of things we can say about Jira Confluence. But, we barely covered the surface.
Confluence Team Calendar
One of the most commonly used features in collaboration software is the team calendars by far. Easy to use yet very helpful, this feature is a lifesaving attribute that is a must-have for any team. Furthermore, the Confluence Team Calendar lets the team stay organized and check anybody involved in the project. The team calendar presents both individual appointments as well as team appointments.
Moreover, the team calendars for Confluence give your team the chance to keep their schedules organized and connect your confluence team calendar to Jira. Thus, keeping your team up to date even with the development projects.
Last, the team calendar in Confluence Cloud also comes with CalDAV server support. Meaning, you can integrate Confluence with:
- Microsoft Outlook
- Google Calendar
- Apple IOS & MacOS Calendar
In conclusion, the Confluence team calendar remains one of the most useful premium features.
One of the most important features by far in Confluence are the Macros. Let’s continue the Confluence review by looking into what macros are and how they can improve your experience. You can use macros to improve your experience in Confluence by connecting it to your favorite software products.
What are Confluence macros?
Macros are basically how you give superpowers to the Confluence software. Meaning, you can use the Confluence Macros to:
- Change format or Page Layout
- Display Media
- Confluence Jira Integration
- Jira Chat Macro
- Organize Confluence Pages
Confluence is flexible when it comes to macros. It allows you both to add and edit the existing macro. Furthermore, if you are wondering where you can get Confluence macros, it’s easy and flexible.
You can get them on the Confluence Server, Datacenter, and several third-party macros available on the Marketplace. Keep in mind that they can be installed only by Confluence administrators and that as an administrator, you can create your macros.
Confluence comes with three levels of permission:
- Global permission– They are broad permissions allocated by a Confluence Administrator. This kind of detail spreads to whether a team member can log in to a specific space or create one.
- Space permission – every space created in Confluence comes with its own set of permissions managed by a space administrator. The space permissions can be used to give or revoke authorization to add, view, and delete content in spaces.
- Page restrictions – Slightly different than global and space permissions. Page restrictions refer to the fact that pages are open for viewing and editing by default, but page restrictions can restrict viewing and editing.
What features on Confluence are missing?
Moving on to the ugly side of the Confluence review and looking into the software’s minuses has. According to loyal users of the software, Atlassian missed adding to Confluence a few of the basic and essential features that most of their competitors have. Actually, we are more inclined to believe that Atlassian Confluence focused on revolutionizing the knowledge sharing sector so far and taking it so far away that they missed some basic settings. However, we hope they will notice the feedback supplied by their own customers as we have no doubts that they have the necessary resources to implement all the necessary changes.
With this being said, let’s take a look at a few of the features missing from Confluence:
- Text styles, Font selection & Justified text
- Font size & Font weight
- All caps, small caps, title caps
- Line spacing
- Backgroud color
- Little to no options to number list & bullet list
- Automatic headings numbering
- Columns & sections that flow example Text
However, some of the more technical users of the Confluence platform argue that the lack of these features is because the software is not a content formatting tool but a content tool. Above all, the above-mentioned missing features can be solved with CSS. True, this is not something that comes in handy to every user; however, you can solve it through plugins and macros.
Since 2004 the Confluence tool has joined forces with several other software to create a remarkable experience. Now let’s review how Confluence integrations can enhance your experience with the software.
The integration of Confluence with other applications is done by using Application Links. Thus, the application links help connect applications such as Jira, Trello, and Salesforce to Confluence. In addition, linking two applications allows you to share information and access one application from the other one.
Let’s take a closer look into some of the most common merges between Confluence and other apps and how to.
The Confluence Trello Integration lets you add your Trello card right to Confluence also update them in real-time from either one of the tools. To enjoy the Trello confluence integration benefits, you would need to have an account on both. Any content you don’t have permission to access will not be available in Trello or vice versa. Thus, to access the file, access will have to be granted by the admin.
Furthermore, adding a fully interactive Trello board on your Confluence page must integrate the Trello board macro by adding the board’s URL and choosing the height you want the board to be. Finally, to add Confluence pages to the Trello card, you need to reverse the process, meaning you attach the Confluence Cloud pages to the Trello card. The Cloud will allow you to create pages directly from your Trello cards.
However, it will also display who created the Confluence page, commented, how many comments, and snippets.
The Confluence Salesforce Integration facilitates the collaboration between the two. Thus, you can enjoy your live information from Salesforce through the Confluence Server. In addition, the Salesforce Confluence Server Connector allows users to observe up-to-date objects from Salesforce in the Confluence tool.
Furthermore, the Connector allows you to access through the Confluence Wiki the following information from Salesforce leads and opportunities, contact data, products, accounts, etc. However, permission settings restrict access to the Salesforce data in Confluence.
Finally, the integration combined with ServiceRocket allows you to use custom SOQL Reported and Salesforce Reported to pull data into Confluence.
Moving on with the Confluence review of integrations to SharePoint. The Confluence SharePoint integration comes with the gift of bringing your team closer together. Let’s see by which means it does that.
First, the SharePoint integration allows you to share and edit documents from the SharePoint library into your Confluence Wiki. Second, it simplifies how you navigate documents by embedding a document library to browse within a Confluence page. Third, the SharePoint Connector for Confluence enables you to upload documents from SharePoint to Confluence pages directly.
Moving on with the Confluence review to one of the most familiar tools to us all around the Outlook by Microsoft. Let’s take a look at how the two work together.
The Confluence Outlook Integration is probably one of the best alternatives to the Confluence Team Calendar. The winner back in 2017 of the Atlassian Codegeist Hackathon in the Best Add-on category, the Outlook Calendar, a great plan-projects, and meetings solution. The Confluence Outlook integration comes with a set of perks that would make your team’s life easier. Let’s go through all of them and give you the option to choose whether the Confluence Team Calendar or the Outlook integration is a better alternative for you.
First, the Outlook integration for Confluence is available for all the Confluence solutions: Could, Server or Datacenter. Moreover, you also need a Microsoft 365 subscription to use it.
Second, it comes with a few perks, such as the complete overview of Confluence’s relevant dates, transparency in project management, simple user access, ease of setup, and available in several languages with a translation feature.
Finally, in Confluence, you can add calendars to the page, show and edit team calendars, display and edit personal calendars, schedule meetings, visualize Jira issues and sprints, schedule and plan meetings.
Using the Confluence Hipchat integration, you will get instant updates about the changes happening in spaces and get real-time notifications in the Hipchat room. Moreover, you can also share your updates with your team.
Also, to reduce clutter in your Hipchat, Atlassian suggests a series of Confluence plugins. Use the Hipchat integration plugins in Confluence if you would, for example like emoticons.
The Confluence Slack integration can be easily found on the Atlassian Marketplace. The Confluence plugin keeps all that is happening in one place. Meaning, that you can customize your notifications to stay on top of all the changes happening on spaces and pages, see links preview on pages, and share them with your team in Slack directly. Finally, take action immediately by replying to comments on Confluence straight from Slack.
To use the Confluence plugin for Slack, you must have an active subscription to Confluence Cloud.
Let’s go a bit back with the Confluence review now that we are familiar with the features and integrations and look at how you can get the software. First, we mentioned in the general section about the Confluence software that it comes with three different versions:
- Data Center
Furthermore, if you are wondering why is this relevant for using the software? Well, it does as the way you download Confluence changes depending on what you choose.
How do I install Confluence?
Well, as mentioned above, it depends on the type of option you seek. By far, the easiest to download and set up is the Confluence Cloud version. Thus, the cloud version of Confluence requires you to create an account and start the setup process. On the other hand, no download is necessary for the Conference Cloud.
Furthermore, for Confluence Data Center and Server, you have a few installation options for the Confluence downloads:
What is the best way to use Confluence?
Well, it depends on the organization you are part of. The easiest way to use Confluence for a small to medium size team is the Cloud. Moreover, the Confluence Cloud option always offers the newest feature and the latest updates, and it requires minimal requirements in terms of computers and fast implementation.
Finally, the Confluence Data Center and the Confluence Server are recommended to larger companies with data governance and protection.
After we reviewed all Confluence features, integration, and plugins, let’s take a look at how much this tool will take out of your pocket.
Confluence pricing plans are different above all based on the type of solution you choose Cloud, Server, or Data Center. Second, all the clarifications come with a free trial or 30 days, but Confluence Cloud also has a freemium version for small teams of under 10 people.
Starting From: $5/user/month
Pricing Model: Subscription
Free Trial: 30 days
Furthermore, the Confluence licenses vary from a free version on the Confluence Cloud to $220.000 for over 40.001+ users on the more secure Data Center solution. Last, for more detailed information about prices and features included in each package.
Suppose the Confluence review didn’t guide you towards acquiring this software. Therefore, the following software might be something that will suit you better. Here are some of the most notable alternatives to Confluence software.
- eXo Platform
However, if you are looking for more information you can check our dedicated page for Confluence alternatives.
Confluence Review Conclusion
Firstly, Confluence is a vital tool for good team coordination. Furthermore, as the corporate world becomes more common, our need to optimize the communication between departments is more crucial than ever.
Above all, Confluence manages to bring all departments together by not only building a bridge between departments through its integration features but also macros, and plugins. It does so by giving each department a chance to view the information they seek in their most comfortable matter and their favorite tool.
To sum up, Confluence is a great tool to help team members speak the same language.