knowledge base is a repository for how-to and troubleshooting information. Knowledge bases are commonly used by IT Support teams, but can be useful for procedural and troubleshooting information in any organization or team.

What do people want out of a knowledge base? Using an IT Support team as an example:

  • Customers want fast access to a solution, and relevant search results.
  • Help desk staff want to be able to create new articles quickly.
  • Help Desk team leads wants the space to be self curating, and don't want to spend a lot of time manually organizing content.
  • Everyone wants a way to be notified when articles they're interested in have been updated or important notices are added.

Create a knowledge base space

You'll need the Create Space global permission to do this.

To create your knowledge base space:

  1. Click Spaces in the Confluence navigation, and click View all spaces
  2. Click Create space
  3. Choose Knowledge base space, enter the details and click Create
  4. Choose Space settings > Permissions to set permissions for the space, including anonymous access
  5. Choose Create > How-to or Troubleshooting and follow the prompts to create your first knowledge base article

tip/resting Created with Sketch.

Need some help creating knowledge base content? Check out our handy guides on writing how-to and troubleshooting articles.

The knowledge base space blueprint includes everything you need to get started, including article templates, and a pre-configured overview with Livesearch and Content By Label macros.

Page labels are essential in knowledge base spaces. These are used to add topics to your articles, and allows your knowledge base to become self-organizing over time.

Users will generally find articles by searching, and using the topic navigation on the overview and end of each article, rather than navigating through a tree-like page hierarchy.

When starting off your knowledge base space, it's a good idea to brainstorm a few topics to get started.

Customize your knowledge base space

You'll need Space Admin permissions to do this.

To make it easy for your users to create knowledge base articles, such as your help desk or support team, we recommend customizing the how-to and troubleshooting article templates to make them relevant for your organization. The more guidance and structure you can put in your template, the faster it will be for your team to create great articles.

To edit the article templates:

  1. Click on the space name in the navigation, and click Space Settings, then click the Content tools tab
  2. Click Templates and edit the How-to or Troubleshooting article templates
  3. Add headings and instructional text (choose Template > Instructional Text)

You can also add additional templates, such as a policy or procedure page templates.

We also recommend customizing the look and feel of your space. Simple changes like a space logo and welcome message can make a huge difference.

To change the look and feel:

  • Add a custom space logo (hover over the logo and click on the pencil icon that appears)
  • Edit the overview to add a custom welcome message.

Provide communication and notification options

Channels of communication with your audience, internal or external, are essential in a good knowledge base. Here are some out-of-the-box options:

  • Blog - For updates and important notices. Encourage people to watch for new posts in your space.
  • Watch - Encourage people to watch pages that interest them, or watch the entire space.
  • Comments - Allow logged in users (or even anonymous users) to comment on knowledge base articles. This is a simple way to connect with your end users. 

Integrating your knowledge base with other Atlassian products

If you have multiple applications, you can make use of these integration features:

  • If you use any Jira application - Add a Jira Issues macro to your troubleshooting article to provide quick access to known issues. This has the added advantage of automatically updating when an issue is resolved or its status changes. One way to do this would be to add some labels to Jira to indicate the issue should appear in the knowledge base (for example 'printer-kb'), and then add a Jira Issues macro with a query like 'label = 'printer-kb and status <> resolved'' on all articles with the printer topic.
  • If you use Jira Service Desk - Link a Confluence space to be used as a knowledge base. Users (including those without a Confluence license) can search your knowledge base directly from within the Service Desk customer portal. 

From Atlassian IT Unplugged:

What's a knowledge base and why you need it

Like what you see? Try Confluence for your knowledge base.