How To Create A Template In Confluence

How To Create A Template In Confluence
How To Create A Template In Confluence
While knowing how to create a template in Confluence isn’t going to get you a job in product management, it will help make you a more efficient product manager as well being part of using Confluence for product requirements. One of the problems with Confluence is that it is an overwhelming application and lots of the time users simply copy and paste old documents into blank pages in order to recycle the structure of the form.

Creating Confluence Templates Save Time

In the world of product management, there are a number of documentation tasks that require the use of a consistent document structure. In order to avoid starting from scratch each time, or copy and pasting a similarly structure, users can create a template in Confluence, which defines the format of a document that can be deployed with the click of the button

Confluence Template Categories

There are a a number of ways to categorized Confluence templates:
  • Pre-made vs custom: Confluence comes with some build-in templates,  with already created formats for popular documentation tasks.   You can also create your custom templates.
  • Space vs global templates: Space page templates are available in a specific space only. If you are a space administrator, you can define templates in the space administration screen.  Global page templates are available in every space within your Confluence instance.  Only those with Confluence administrator permissions can define global templates via the Confluence Administration Console.

Start With Confluence's Pre-made Templates

Confluence’s pre-made templates run the gambit of business needs and are sorted in to the following categories:
  • Business Strategy
  • Design
  • Docs & Reports
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing & Sales
  • Product Management
  • Productivity
  • Project Planning
  • Software Development / IT
  • Teamwork

Editing A Pre-made Confluence Template

When you want to edit a page template in Confluence, take the following steps: 

1. Go to the space in Confluence Cloud and select Space Settings in the sidebar (Fuschia box).

how to create a template in Confluence: Using Pre made templates

2. In the look and feel section of the Space settings page, click “Templates”

3. Find the template in the table and select Edit.  In this case, we are going to edit the Product Roadmap template.

how to create a template in Confluence - working with pre made templates

4. Edit a template as you would a Confluence page, but to make the document more useful to users, you can include variables, placeholder text.

Adding Variables to A Pre-made Confluence Template

If you want to add more context to a page, learn how to add variables to a template.  This way, when you use a page from a template with variables in it, you are prompted to fill out a form with text fields or lists for each variable in the template which gets added to the page automatically.

When you create a page from a template with variables, you’ll be asked to enter values for those variables first. The text  entered into the variable then appears on the page while it is in edit mode. 

Except that that it doesn’t work….new text area variables are not appearing after you finish editing “Blueprint” templates  This seems to be a known issue (here and here).  These variables do work in templates you complete from scratch though.

Type /variable, then hit Enter.

how to create a template in Confluence - adding variables

Select the variable token, then select to edit it.

how to create a template in Confluence - working with variables on pre-made templates

Enter a name for the variable, then select Text, Multi-line Text, or List.

Hit Save.

However, new text area variables do not appear after you finish editing a “Blueprint Template”. This seems to be a known issue (here and here).

Adding Placeholders to A Pre-made Confluence Template

Ever see templates with awesome instructions that disappears once you start typing?  That is done with placeholder text, which only appears when a page is being edited.  It is not visible to users who view the published document. 

Follow these instructions to get this job done

 

1. Type /placeholder where you want the text to appear, then hit Enter.

 

Adding placeholders to confluence templates 1

2. Type in your placeholder text, then hit Enter again.

Adding placeholders to confluence templates 2

3. Save the document

Adding placeholders to confluence templates 3

Now, when someone uses the template to create a document, the placeholder text appears in order to guide the user.

Adding placeholders to confluence templates 4

How To Create A New Template In Confluence

As we said earlier when modifying existing Confluence templates, you need administrative superpowers privileges in order to do so, so before you attempt this, determine if you have the permissions required to do.

Another thing to point out, as seen in the image below, at the time this post was written, the template creation instructions are wrong.  The term “Space Tools” is no where to be found  (the term “Space Settings” is what they want you to click on) on the page and on the following page, there is no mention of  “Content Tools”, but rather you need to look under the “Look and Feel” section for “Templates” and click that.

How To Create A Template In Confluence
There is an error in the document creation instructions within your cloud instance of Confluence. I assume they will correct this at some point.
How To Create A Template In Confluence - errors
On the following page, there is no mention of "Content Tools", but rather you need to look under the "Look and Feel" section for "Templates" and click that.

So to summarize, in order to  create a new space template:

Go to the space you want to work with and choose Space Settings.

Select Templates from the Look and Feel card

You should see something that looks like the below.   Click the “Create New Template” button, which will bring up the “Template Editor“.

Click the create new template button
The template editor view in Confluence
The template editor allows you to create your own template.

Using The Content Editor in Confluence.

In order to edit/create a template, use the editor in much the same way as when you edit a page or blog post.  If you are following along at home, we called this template “Sample Product Roadmap”.

how to create a template in Confluence
Populating the page properties macro in a new Confluence template.

Using Confluence Template Variables

If you add variables to your template, they act as form fields, so when you create a page based on a template, you’ll see a text entry box for each field.   When the user enters data into each field, it gets added to their page.

To insert a variable into a template:

  • In the Content Editor view, type “/variable” where you want the variable to  to appear.
  • Press Enter (by default this will create a single-line text input field).
how to create a template in Confluence 2
Entering a new variable into a Confluence template.

To change the variable type, click the variable placeholder and the variable’s property panel will appear. Choose one of the variable types: Text, Multi-line Text, or List.

Using Placeholder Text In Confluence Templates

Placeholder content can be inserted into a template in order to give guidance when someone creating a page from the template.

As seen in the image below:

  • Type “/placeholder” where you want the text to appear and hit enter
  • Add in your place holder text, then hit enter

 

Once you have added the variables and place holder text that you wanted, hit “Save”.

Sidebar: WTF is a Blueprint

IF you have been following along at home, you likely have noticed something called a “Blueprint”. 

Blueprints are simply pre-made templates created by Atlassian and its network of third-party developers. Unless you are an administrator, they are exactly the same. As an administrator, you should note that only site administrators can install global blueprints, so if you are space administrator, you need to bug the global administrator if you want a blueprint installed.

No one can create a blueprint (which are developed by third parties), but admins can create/enable/disable/edit templates as their permissions allow.

Create A Page From A Confluence Template

Depending on your version of Confluence (they tend to change stuff from time to time) the available templates for each space could be found either:

  • In a pop up window
  • On the right side bar of a new page

 

There are two different ways of creating a page from an existing template, either via the “Create” button or the “Templates” menu item.

We will walk you through both methods.  Keep in mind, templates can be applied only when you are adding a new page, not in existing pages.

Using The "Create" Button

The three images below show that process of using an existing Confluence template, in this case the Competitive Analysis template and deploying it to the Product Management space via the “Create” button.

As the purpose of a template is to get you started, you can only apply them to unpublished drafts. You won’t see it in the menu if you’re editing a page that has been published before.

1. Hit the “Create” button (The red box in the image below).

Using the create button to deploy a confluence template
Using the "Create" button to deploy a Confluence template.

2. This opens a blank page with the template browser open on the right (fuchsia box in the image below).    Browse through all templates by either filtering templates by category, or searching by name or keyword. 

Preview a template prior to selecting it by hover over the template card.

A view of the confluence template browser
A view of the Confluence template browser/filter.

3. After clicking on the template, in this case, the “Competitive Analysis” template that you want to deploy, your view should look something like the below.  Fill in some basic details and hit the “Publish”.

Deploying the competitive analysis template in Confluences

Using The "Templates" Menu Item

The second way to make use of a template is via the “Templates” menu item.   This is how you make use of this functionality.

1. Click the “Templates” menu item (highlighted in Fuchsia below).

How to create a template in Confluence
Find the "Template" menu item.
2. Your entire screen should fill with the template browser, with a bit of its filter functionality shown.
how to create a template in Confluence
Learn to navigate the template browser.

3. Expand the template browser’s filter functionality.

4. Find a template you want to deploy. You will see a preview of it on the right side of your screen. In this case we selected the “Product Roadmap” template. Click either the “Use” or “Use template” button.
5. Your screen should look something like the one below. Give the page a title, hit publish and you are done.

Using The Templates You Created

The exact same process we described above for using a prebuilt template to create a Confluence page applies to using a template you built from scratch. In this example, we will work with the “Sample Product Roadmap” template we created.

1. Use the template browser.

2. Preview the document template.
Creating documents from confluence templates
3. Fill in the details as required.
Creating documents from confluence templates

A Caution About Changing Templates

When you change templates, you create a new page so any content on the current page isnt going to be on the page created with the new template. 

You “should” be prompted with an option to discard the current draft when the new page is created.

Should you not discard it, it is saved as a separate unpublished draft under Pages in the sidebar.

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