This page is part of the guide to developing technical documentation on Confluence Wiki. Confluence is a great tool for writing and maintaining technical documentation. There are times when we need to export the content out of Confluence into other forms, such as PDF, HTML, Microsoft Word and paper.
Confluence itself provides an export to both PDF and HTML. Plugins provide additional functionality. Below are guidelines on exporting your technical documentation to various formats, including printed output.
Quick guide to printing and exporting content
- Use the browser's print option to print a single page.
- To print more than one page and for more advanced printing options, export your documentation to PDF.
- Confluence can export your pages to PDF, HTML, Confluence-specific XML and Word.
- Consider installing plugins to export your pages to PDF (enhanced functionality). Word (enhanced functionality), DocBook XML, Eclipse Help and JavaHelp.
- Make your exports available to your customers for download by attaching the exported file to a Confluence page.
The rest of this page gives more details of the above procedures.
To print a single Confluence page, just use the browser's print option. This option is available to all users who have permission to view the page.
To print more than one page and for more advanced printing options, export your documentation to PDF. See Providing PDF Versions of your Technical Documentation.
Exporting to PDF
Because this is such an important topic, we have a section of this guide dedicated to PDF. See Providing PDF Versions of your Technical Documentation.
Exporting to HTML
Using the built-in Confluence HTML export, you can export a single page, a selection of pages or an entire space to HTML. Confluence supplies the HTML and associated files in a zip file.
Exporting to Confluence-Specific XML
Confluence provides an XML export. The XML produced is a proprietary format and is intended for backups or for transferring a space from one Confluence instance to another. If you write your documentation on Confluence and your customers have Confluence too, then you can export your manuals to XML and customers can upload them onto their own Confluence site.
Exporting to DocBook XML via a Plugin
Exporting to Microsoft Word
Confluence can export a page to Word. (Select 'Export to Word' from the 'Tools' menu.) This option performs a basic conversion of wiki content to HTML and applies some Word CSS stylesheets. It processes just one page at a time.
Exporting to Word via a Plugin
Scroll Office is a Confluence plugin. Once installed, Scroll Office replaces Confluence's built-in 'Export to Word' functionality. You can export a single page or a hierarchy of pages.
You can define your templates in Word in the usual way, and upload them to Confluence as global templates or space templates. When you export your Confluence pages to Word, Scroll Office will use those templates to build Word documents from the wiki pages.
Scroll Office provides additional features such as enforcing page-breaks, setting the page orientation to landscape or portrait, and ignoring content. The latest version offers a REST-style API for automated export.
Exporting to Eclipse Help via a Plugin
Scroll Wiki Exporter provides an export to Eclipse Help format.
A hint about the Eclipse Help platform: You can use a cut-down version of the Eclipse Help platform to provide online documentation for any system. It doesn't have to be an Eclipse tool that you are documenting. For some ideas, take a look at a couple of articles about documenting your project using the Eclipse help system.
Exporting to JavaHelp via a Plugin
Making the PDF and Other Exported Files Available to your Readers
There are a number of ways to make your exported files available to your readers, such as putting the files on a disc and shipping them with your product.
One of the simplest ways is to attach the files to a Confluence page. (See Attaching Files to a Page.)
For example, Atlassian uses the out-of-the-box Confluence export functionality to provide PDF, HTML and XML versions of our documentation. People can download the files from our documentation wiki. For example, here are the JIRA documentation downloads and the Confluence documentation downloads.
For those people who would like to use the XML files to recreate the documentation on their own Confluence sites, we provide instructions on setting up your own local documentation.
- Permissions required to export a space. To use the space export functionality, you need 'Export Space' permission. See the guide to space permissions or contact a space administrator for more information.
- Installing plugins. If you decide to use additional plugins, your site administrator will need to install the plugins into your Confluence site. Refer to the documentation on installing plugins.
- Plugin support. Before installing a plugin into your Confluence site, please check the plugin's information page to see whether it is supported by Atlassian, by another vendor, or not at all. See our guidelines on plugin support.
- A blog post about exporting and importing content from/to Confluence: Technical Writing in a Wiki - Single Source Publishing (November 2010).
- A good overview of the Scroll Office features in this blog post (August 2010) and the followup post (November 2010).
Now you know about a number of ways to get your technical documentation out of Confluence into various formats, for printing or for input into another system or process flow. What next? Take a look at Essential Confluence Features for Technical Documentation.