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Confluence ABC, Part II: How to create an automatically updated list in Confluence?

Confluence ABC, Part 2: Making an Automatically Updated List

This is the 2nd article in the Confluence ABC series (the first one was about page formatting). It’s dedicated to Confluence users with a basic understanding of the tool, who wish to make their work easier and enable more advanced features.

Simple Confluence pages are mostly static, but even with the basic macros you can easily create a dynamic (automatically updating) list of pages or even data taken from individual table cells within these pages.

This saves a lot of overhead, and allows you to avoid situation in which you update contents on one page, and forget to correct it inside a static table. Sounds good? Then let’s begin.

What will we use?

To make such a list, we’ll need two basic Confluence macros:

– Page Properties
– Page Properties Report

Adding a Macro to a Page

First, from the editor toolbar choose Insert and then Other Macros. Then find and select the required macro.

Speed it up with autocomplete: Type and the beginning of the macro name, to see a list of suggested macros. In this example we’re inserting the cheese macro.

To edit an existing macro: Click the macro placeholder and choose Edit. This will open the macro details, so you can edit the macro parameters.

Page properties

The Page properties macro creates a container, in which we need to create a table. The data will be taken from that table. The table needs to have 2 columns (or rows) – heading column (or row) for the key (name of the variable) and value of the variable itself, e.g.:

It doesn’t matter if you use Heading Row or Heading Column – but it needs to be there, otherwise the macro won’t be able to identify the keys.

In this example, our table has 4 „keys” – Name, Surname, Department and Position. We also need to label the page – for our example we’ll use „famous-people” label.

If we want to create multiple page properties on a single page, we can give them different IDs – therefore we’ll be able to generate many reports using data from one page. You can also hide the page properties from being seen (if you want to protect sensitive data). Please keep in mind, that even hidden page properties will be uploaded into the page properties report!

Page properties report

Page properties report macro allows to create a dynamic table based on the page properties contained within many sub-pages. It essentially aggregates the data from other, appropriately labeled pages. The report itself can be configured – we can decide what data will we show, and what will we hide, add a filter and change the way the data is sorted.

To ensure that the page containing the report is working smoothly, we may choose how many results should be seen on a single page, and the list will become paginated. For this example there are maximum of 5 results on one page.

This is our sample page properties report:

It’s automatic!

What can we use it for?

One of the sample uses that one of our Customers utilizes is keeping a list of available Apps in all Atlassian applications deployed in the Company, but every kind of advanced listing can work (e.g. list of Projects in Jira).

Krzysztof Daukszewicz
Krzysztof Daukszewicz
Ex-Journalist, Community Manager, Confluence Expert, and Author. Enjoys gardening, running, and looking at things that are done neatly.

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