Exporting and Printing Technical Documentation

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. Add-ons 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 add-ons 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.

On this page:

Printing

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.

  1. Go to the space and choose Space tools > Content Tools on the sidebar. 
  2. Choose Export. This option will only be visible if you have the 'Export Space' permission.
  3. Select HTML  then choose Next.
  4. Decide whether you need to customise the export:
    • Select Normal Export to produce an HTML file containing all the pages that you have permission to view.
    • Select Custom Export if you want to export a subset of pages, or to exclude comments from the export.
  5. Select the Include Comments check box if you want to include comments for the pages you are exporting.
  6. Select the pages you want to export.
    • You have the option to Select All or Deselect All pages.
    • When you select a page, all its child pages will also be selected. Similarly, when you deselect a page all its child pages will also be deselected.
  7. Choose Export. This will create a zipped archive of HTML files.
  8. When the export process has finished, download the zipped archive as prompted, and extract the files into a folder.

If your space uses the Documentation theme:

  1. Choose Browse > Space Operations.
  2. Choose HTML Export from the left menu.
  3. Follow the steps above to export the Space.


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 site 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 an add-on

Scroll DocBook Exporter converts Confluence pages to DocBook XML. Your Confluence system administrator will need install the add-on onto your Confluence site.

Exporting to Microsoft Word

Confluence can export a page to Word. (Choose Tools > Export to Word.) 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 Microsoft Word via an add-on

Scroll Office is a Confluence add-on. 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 native Word documents from the wiki pages.

Scroll Office provides additional features such as enforcing page-breakssetting 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 an add-on

Scroll EclipseHelp Exporter provides an export to Eclipse Help format.

You can produce embeddable online help for Eclipse-based applications. Scroll EclipseHelp Exporter converts the Confluence content into EclipseHelp-compatible JAR files to create a standalone online help or a context-sensitive help.

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 EPUB via an add-on

The Scroll EPUB Exporter outputs an ebook in the common EPUB format that can be read on iPads, iPhones and any other ebook reader.

Exporting to HTML via an add-on

The Scroll HTML Exporter enables the delivery of Confluence content from a web server. It converts the pages into static HTML pages that can be uploaded to a web server. The output of the Scroll HTML exporter can also be used as an input to produce other HTML-based help formats such as WinHelp and HTML Help.

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.)

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.

Notes

  • Permissions required to export a space. 
    To use the space export functionality, you need the 'Export Space' permission. See the guide to space permissions.
  • Installing add-ons. If you decide to use additional add-ons, your site administrator will need to install the add-ons into your Confluence site. Refer to the documentation on installing add-ons.
  • Add-on support. Before installing an add-on (also called a plugin) into your Confluence site, please check the add-on's information page to see whether it is supported by Atlassian, by another vendor, or not at all. See our guidelines on add-on support.

Further reading

Next steps

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.

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