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What is Confluence automation?

Automation is a new admin feature available in Confluence Premium and Enterprise. Read the announcement in this community post to learn more.

Confluence automation is a premium feature that can help teams manage their content at scale. When admins create and enable automation rules, Confluence automation works behind the scenes to complete routine functions that would otherwise have to be done manually. For example, rules can automatically:

  • Create new content in the correct format.

  • Send team updates on work progress.

  • Remind people about incomplete tasks.

Learn how to manage automation in Confluence Cloud.

To learn about automation in other Atlassian products, explore our Cloud automation documentation.

What can Confluence automation do?

Automation, generally speaking, does what it sounds like: It automates routine functions that would otherwise wait for a person to do them.

In Confluence, this might mean automating workflows like:

“When a new page is created in this space, message this Slack channel.”
“When a person from this group creates a new page, add this label.”

Depending on how your team uses Confluence (for collaborative work or as a knowledge base), automating certain functions may be more useful than others. Here are four key areas we expect automation to be especially helpful:

Integrating tools

  • Send automated work updates to team Slack and MS Teams channels

  • Connect third-party apps and services using the webhook trigger

Tracking the content lifecycle

  • Enforce publishing processes and keep content up to date

  • Make related content more discoverable by managing and auto-adding page labels

Keeping spaces organized

  • Set up new spaces with a consistent page tree structure

  • Auto-create team documents, like meeting notes, in a standard location in the page tree

Staying informed

  • Meet deadlines and keep teams connected with automated reminders and notifications to

    • Complete assigned tasks

    • See when work progresses without having to manually check or ask for updates

Rules

Rules are automated workflows constructed in an “If This, Then That” format.

Site admins can create and enable rules that function across Confluence at the site level. Space admins can create and enable rules for individual spaces. (And while you may not think of yourself as an admin, if you have a personal space you’re an administrator of your space!)

If you don’t see Automation in your Site or Space settings, this might be why:

  • You’re not an admin of the space you’re in (for Space automation)

  • You’re not a site admin (for Global automation)

  • Your team has Cloud Standard or Cloud Free – automation is a premium feature in Confluence

Learn how to create rules in Confluence automation.

Rule components

Each rule is made by combining different types of components: triggers, conditions, branches, and actions. Think of components as the building blocks of a rule. (If you’ve used automation in other non-Atlassian products, you may have also seen this described as the ingredients that make a recipe.)

Triggers

(WHEN this happens…)
Rules always begin with a trigger component. The trigger is the catalyst that sets the execution of your rule in motion.
See a list of available triggers in Confluence.

Conditions

(IF certain conditions are met…)
Condition components are optional. They limit the scope of your rule. For example, you could add a User condition so that “when a new page is published”, the rule only runs if the page was published by a specific user.
See a list of available conditions in Confluence.

Branches

(FOR EACH [object]…)
Branch components are also optional. They expand the execution of your rule by adding a secondary path (a branch). The branch is a sequence of conditions and/or actions that run in isolation from the rest of the rule — but are applied to every instance of an object. For example, you could branch the rule for each task (task being the object) so that “when a new page is published”, you receive a Slack message (an action) for every task on the page that’s assigned to you (the task criteria). This would happen in addition to actions added to the primary path of the rule chain.
See a list of available branches in Confluence.

Actions

(THEN do this thing…)
Rules always end with an action component. Actions are what you want the rule to do, that is, what you want to happen after it executes successfully.
See a list of available actions in Confluence.

Rule builder

When you select the Create rule button, a rule builder opens where you can build a new rule from scratch (instead of using a template from the Library). It guides you to add and configure components, starting with a triggering event. Each component you save will appear in a rule chain on the left.

Rule template

Templates can be found in the Library tab within automation. A rule template functions similarly to a page template: It provides a starting point with appropriate components pre-selected and arranged in a rule chain. Select each component in the rule chain to configure and save it.

Rule chain

When you view a rule or rule template, the rule chain is an ordered list of components on the left. These are the instructions (the chain of events) for your rule. Once the rule is enabled, components will run in the order they appear from top to bottom. Drag and drop to reorder them. Hover and select the X to remove them.

Rule summary

There’s a link above the rule chain to edit Rule details like the name, description, and rule actor. You can also troubleshoot an existing rule by viewing execution data in its audit log. Together the rule details, rule actor, audit log, and rule chain summarize all the information about a particular rule.

Rule actor

When your rule performs an action, it’s performed on behalf of the individual (or group) listed as the rule actor. For example, if your rule ultimately sends an email – the name of the rule actor appears in the “From” line. In Confluence, the rule actor defaults to the person who created the rule. If you’re creating rules for another team, this can be changed (in Rule details) so that actions appear to originate from the appropriate team member or group. (In Jira, the rule actor can also be set generically as “Jira automation”, but this isn’t currently an option in Confluence.)

Smart values

When you configure components to add to your rule, you may be prompted with an option to use smart values. They can look a little intimidating, but using them is easier than you might think.

Smart values are dynamic variables that make your rule more flexible. They serve as placeholders where information gets plugged in, depending on context.

For example if you build a rule that notifies people when their pages are edited, you might include smart values to dynamically plug in:

  • the name of the contributing editor(s)

  • the date

  • the title of the edited page(s)

See a list of available smart values in Confluence.

Usage

When a Confluence automation rule runs successfully, that is, it performs at least one action, it counts as an execution. Each successful rule execution counts only once toward usage, even if the rule performs multiple actions. If a rule is triggered but fails without performing an action, it does not count as an execution.

Usage is important to monitor if your plan is limited to a certain number of rule executions per month.

Confluence Enterprise has an unlimited number of executions. Keeping an eye on usage can help flag problems like when a rule is failing (usage drops) or running more than expected (usage increases), but there’s no need to patrol the specific number of executions your team is using.

Confluence Premium is limited each month to a pooled sum that’s equivalent to 1,000 rule executions for every user. For example if your Confluence site has 2,000 users, you have a total of 2 million rule executions every month [2,000 users x 1,000 executions = 2,000,000 available rule executions each month]. If your team hits the number of allotted executions, your rules will fail to run until usage renews on the first of the following month. Unused executions from the previous month will not roll over.

To confirm that your rules are executing successfully, view the automation audit log.

 

Learn more about Confluence Cloud automation.

 

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