Serving customers with a knowledge base

Deflect common requests and solve issues faster by linking a Confluence knowledge base to your service desk project. A knowledge base stores helpful articles, such as how-tos and FAQs, that your team and customers can reference. Here are some ways a knowledge base can help your team: 

  • Customers can help themselves by searching for articles in the help center
  • Agents can solve requests faster by sharing articles with customers or referencing articles while they work
  • If a request contains useful information, agents can quickly create a new article from it

Before you begin

  • You'll need a Confluence site to store and manage articles. 
    Don't have Confluence yet? Select Knowledge base in the project sidebar to give it a spin. If you're still in your free Jira Service Desk trial, you can try Confluence for 7 days. Existing Jira Service Desk customers can try it for 30 days - woo!
  • The knowledge base uses the Summary field on requests to suggest articles, so make sure the field is visible. Learn how to change request type fields.

Learn more about how a knowledge base helps your team work smarter.

To set up a knowledge base:

  1. Link a Confluence space to Jira Service Desk
  2. Check your permissions
  3. Help people find articles

On this page:

Link a Confluence space

You can link to Confluence spaces that are on the same domain as your service desk project.

Link to an existing space

Go to the sidebar and choose Knowledge base > Link existing space:

Link to a new space

If you don't have a space , or want to start fresh, choose Create new space and we'll link it for you.

To create a new space, you need the global Confluence administrator and Create space permissions in Confluence. To manage these permissions, go to your Confluence global permissions.

Unlink or change spaces

To unlink or change spaces:

  1. Go to Settings > Knowledge base.
  2. Under Link a Confluence space, choose Don't link.
  3. Choose Delete. This only deletes your settings and the link; all of your articles and labels are still in Confluence.
  4. To link a different space choose Link again
  5. Select your Confluence site from the dropdown.
  6. Choose a new space from the Space dropdown, or choose Create to make a new one.
  7. Click Link.

Can't find your space? Try these troubleshooting tips:

  • Ask your admin to make sure you have View permission in the space. If you're a Confluence admin, navigate to your Confluence space, then click Space tools > Permissions. Verify that you or a group you belong to has the View permission: 
  • Make sure your search terms don't use special characters. For example, if the space is called Charlie's Space , search for Charlies Space.

Knowledge base permissions

Knowledge bases use a combination of global, space, and page permissions to determine who can view and author articles. You might change the permissions if you don't want customers to find articles in the help center, or if you want to hide some articles from customers.


The Viewing setting determines who can view articles via the help center or a link your team shares. If only your team should be able to read knowledge base articles, restrict Viewing to only licensed users.



Anyone can read articles

Anyone can search and browse knowledge base articles via the help center or a link your team shares. People can also discover your articles via search engines.

This setting on ly displays if your project has a login-free portal.

This option is best if your team writes articles to share with customers. 

Everyone with access to your service desk

Anyone can search and browse knowledge base articles via the help center or a link your team shares .

This option is best if your team writes articles to share with customers. 

Only licensed users

People need a Confluence license to read knowledge base articles via the help center or a link your team shares unless you allow anonymous access in the knowledge base space.

Anonymous access is not compatible with SSO using 2-legged OAuth.

This option is best if only your team reads and writes articles.

To see if someone has a Confluence license, go to Settings (> User management, then select the user from the list. If the Confluence box in Application access is checked, then the user has a Confluence license: 


To write and edit articles, users must have a Confluence license, and have permission to author articles in the Confluence knowledge base space. 

To check if a user has permission to author articles, click the space permissions link to go to your Confluence knowledge base space's Permissions page. Check that the user (or a group they are a member of) has the Add Page permission. 

Page restrictions

If your knowledge base contains articles for both your team and customers, you can use Confluence page permissions to hide articles from customers. For example, you can create a Confluence group for your team, then restrict internal articles to this group. They won't appear in the help center, but your team can still read them while they work on issues. Articles that the reporter can't view are marked with a red padlock:


Help people find articles

The knowledge base suggests articles to customers and agents using keywords from request summaries. Thus, for the knowledge base to work properly, make sure your request types have a visible Summary field. Learn how to set up request type fields.

Help customers find articles

When customers search the help center, they see related articles that might help them troubleshoot their problem. To make it even easier for customers to find what they need, you can suggest articles when they fill out a request:

In the above example, the request type wifi access is restricted to the label wifi. When the customer starts typing in the Summary field, the help center uses their text to search the knowledge base and suggest matching articles that are labeled with wifi.

To suggest articles for certain request types, go to Knowledge base > Auto-search on request types > Search KB and choose Yes:

To help make sure customers get the right articles for their request, you can also restrict the search to articles with a certain label. To make it easy for agents who write articles to remember which label to use, we recommend using a label similar to the request form.

Help agents find articles

When agents view a request, the knowledge base suggests related articles that they can reference or share with customers.

Your service desk uses the request Summary to search your knowledge base space for articles. If you don't see an article that you think you should see, try changing the article title to use more keywords from the Summary.

Agents can also search for articles using the knowledge base in the project sidebar:

Write and share articles

Your knowledge base is there for customers, even when you're on holiday, working on other requests, or have gone home for the day. Not sure where to start? Here are some reasons you might write articles:

  • If you get a lot of similar requests, like "How do I access office wifi?" you can write a how-to article. When customers search for 'wifi' in the help center, they'll find your article. If they send you a request, you can share the article with them rather than walking them through the steps in a comment.
  • If you are upgrading a system, you can write a step-by-step upgrade guide and link to it from an announcement in the help center.
  • If you normally walk people through a series of steps to diagnose and troubleshoot a problem, such as a broken printer, you can write a troubleshooting guide. Customers can find it in the help center, or you can link it to them in a request.

Write articles

After you set up your knowledge base space, the issue view displays a panel called Related knowledge base articles:

If you don't see a relevant article, you can create a new one from the issue:

When you create an article, you can choose between two handy templates: how-to and troubleshooting. The issue summary and description become the new article's title and body text. 

Agents need Add page permission in the Confluence space to create articles. Learn more about space permissions.

You can also create articles from the sidebar > Knowledge base.

Share articles

There are three ways you can share articles with customers:

  • Hover on an article to share is as a comment on a request:

    Customers can read any article that doesn't have a red padlock.

  • Use automation to share articles based on keywords in the request summary. Learn how.

  • Share links from articles that you view from the knowledge base in the sidebar.

    When customers click the link from a request or their email, the article opens in the help center:

Automatically comment to share articles

You can create an automation rule that shares articles based on keywords in the request summary. Here's how:

  1. When issue created
  2. If issue matches summary ~ <keyword>. Use Else if to add more keywords and related articles to the same rule.
  3. Then Add comment. Add your comment to the text box, and link the article using the format [Link name|article URL].
  4. Make sure comment type = Public.

Here's an example of a rule that shares different articles on requests with the keywords wifiprinter, and phone:

Remember not to share the Confluence URL. Customers can only read articles in the help center, and they won't be able to read articles in Confluence.

Knowledge base reports

After you write articles, go to Reports () > Knowledge base to see how they're doing. 

Your team can use knowledge base reports to see how often an article is shared, viewed, and voted as helpful. Here's how you might use some of the reports:

  • Requests deflected: see how often customers find articles helpful.
  • Requests resolved without an article: if you see a lot of similar requests, you might need to write an article about them, or update the wording in an existing article.
  • Requests resolved with an article: if the article was shared in requests, check the comments to see if there's info or edge cases you need to add. 
Last modified on Aug 15, 2018

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