How to: Document Management in Confluence
Whether in human resources (HR), product development or IT, teams require all kind of documents to get their work done. A clear overview and structure are particularly important as this is the only way, business processes can function smoothly. By using Confluence, processes can be modernized and simplified while also improving collaboration. As an Atlassian specialist, I go one step further and say: Confluence is also suitable for document management – it is individually extendable with specific apps.
What is document management?
Basically, document management describes the administration of all documents and includes processing, storage and archiving of documents. Typically, you would use a document management system for this purpose. It combines an effective time-saving search engine and supports the assignment of authorizations through an access management system. At the same time it provides a better and more reliable overview of all documents – digitally.
Why is a document management system (DMS) so important?
Thanks to digitalization, the days of huge file collections and piles of paper are coming to an end. Instead, electronic documents are growing in numbers. These “digital files” must be managed as well and that is why document management systems (DMS) exist. Document administration should not only be digital, but also more efficient. Sharing documents via shared network drives or email is no longer an adequate solution. In addition, digital document management has other advantages: Digitizing documents in one system both reduces the amount of paper required and saves storage space in the company’s own systems – for example, in the case of e-mail mailboxes used for e-mail archiving, which quickly become overcrowded as a result of large digital files being sent multiple times.
A document management system standardizes the organization and coordination of documents in companies. From creation, editing and publishing to versioning and a centralized storage: a DMS defines a clearly structured and traceable status for each document. It also comes with many other practical functions which make the management of documents more efficient. A search engine, for example, makes it easier to find documents with conciseness. Links to other documents or issues make it easier to connect pieces of information which are relevant in a certain context. Last but not least, comment functions allow for a quick digital exchange with other team members, thus promoting collaboration.
Anyone who has worked with Confluence before surely should find some of these things familiar, right?
Document management and more: Confluence as an all-rounder
There are plenty of specialized DMS systems available on the market, some of them quite extensive in terms of functionality and administrative options. However, sometimes flexible and simple solutions are the better choice. Exactly here is where Confluence from Atlassian comes into play. Because Confluence, thanks to its flexibility and scalability, covers several functions at once: corporate wiki, intranet, and collaboration platform. With Confluence, practically everyone has a central place to find, create and manage content. Thus, it serves as a central document storage location just like classic DMSs.
Uploading and managing documents as files in Confluence
In Confluence, documents of any size and type can be attached to a Confluence page. The attachments and the pages themselves are both versioned. In this way, Confluence pages can be considered as folders in a system and their attachments as files. Just like that, documents can be stored and managed in Confluence in a very easy and traceable way.
But it would really be a shame not using all other amazing features that this Atlassian tool has to offer.
Creating documents directly as Confluence pages
Anyone who creates documents directly as Confluence pages does not only close possible information gaps in terms of version history, but also automatically structures the electronic document management into the right subject areas. Another point that can often cause bad moods in case of non-compliance are files that can no longer be created in different formats or files that end up in long-forgotten e-mail inboxes or network drives.
Spaces and pages serve as a structure in Confluence and can be extended as desired. This allows topic areas to be displayed in the best possible way. On the Confluence pages themselves, content can then be precisely edited, for example, with the common font functions of Word, but also diverse layouts, links, action items and many other features.
Scroll Documents: create individual documents directly from Confluence pages
To take your document management in Confluence to the next level, I recommend the app Scroll Documents by K15t. The flexible document builder allows you to create new documents, export a predefined space or page structure in Confluence as a document, or compose a document from existing Confluence pages across different pages and spaces to make content reuse easier.
The most important functions of Scroll Documents at a glance
- Create and manage versions
- Track changes
- Set document status
- Native integration with other scroll exporter apps (pdf, Word)
- Reuse created content
Scroll Documents provides advanced version management and change tracking for Confluence documents and documentation. The app makes it a very easy to create custom user manuals, product documentation and more with ease. For example, HR teams can combine all the important information from various Confluence pages for an employee on-boarding and hand it out to the newcomers.
Example use cases for Scroll Documents
First of all, Scroll Documents can be integrated into the sidebar menu of any space for which it has been enabled. It is possible to create as many documents as you like from the menu.
Overview and creation
The flexible Document Builder can be used to create new documents, define a page tree as a document or compile a document from existing Confluence pages across page trees and spaces.
Create a document
In addition to a title, a summary, a cover image and labels can be added.
Overview of created documents
All documents created with Scroll Documents are located in the Document Library and can be managed from there.
Overview of a document in an open state
While still open, you can see the entire scope of the document at a glance in the Document Outline on the left-hand side. In addition, you can interact with the outline as well as scroll through the document. It is no longer necessary to click through the different Confluence pages, because the content of the selected pages was loaded into a single document – without any loading times.
Edit the document and add pages
The document can be edited at any time and pages can be flexibly added, expanded, moved or deleted.
In addition, documents can be versioned quickly and easily in Scroll Documents. Changes can be easily tracked by managing multiple versions of documents. If you then compare the different versions, all changes, updates and comments that have been made to the pages over time are transparent and traceable.
Set a status
A workflow status can be set and tracked in order to manage the approval and publishing process. Additional read confirmations make working with colleagues easier. As a result, Scroll Documents’ provides its own workflow in document management.
Confluence was designed to be an enterprise wiki. Primarily, it focuses on features that improve the editing experience and promote the sharing of online content. This means that the wiki software from Atlassian, through its many features, makes sure that companies can really profit from agile document management with Confluence. For example, the software allows the storage as well as the organization of attached files with built-in file versioning. Some other important feature for document management are: search, commenting and issue linking. In order to implement proper document management with Confluence, it is advisable to create documents directly as Confluence pages.
Additionally, Confluence can be easily expanded by using apps. Apps such as Scroll Documents can then be used to compile individual content directly from Confluence pages into a separate document with ease. This can be user manuals, onboarding scripts, and many other individual documents that are created, versioned, and managed quickly and easily in this way.