It’s not uncommon for Confluence users to create copies of your pages to display the same content in different places. In the long run it creates more problems than it solves, though.
Why are duplicates a problem?
The answer is pretty short – it’s all about maintenance. If you need to correct some errors or change some 2-year-old data on one page, it’s not really a big deal. If you need to do it on several pages, it becomes a problem. As mentioned several times already on our blog, the element which is most prone to errors is the so-called “protein interface” – or simply said, humans that use the system.
Besides that, the more duplicates you have in your Confluence system, the more it will flood searches, show up in various places (e.g. macros – sometimes you need to select a page from a dropdown menu, and all of these pages are named exactly the same).
How to avoid duplicating content?
Thankfully, there are Confluence Macros that allow you to use one page as “Single Point of Truth” – the one page that you need to change, while the changes propagate to all the other pages. These Macros are called:
Include Page – allows you to include a whole page inside another page. It will automatically update its content, and when someone will try to edit the page containing the macro, he’ll see the “Include Page” macro instead of the content.
Excerpt – allows placing a page fragment in a Macro window, that can be later used to be embedded into any other page.
Excerpt Include – the “second part” of Excerpt Macro, allowing you to embed the excerpted content into a page.
If you need slightly more complex solutions, there is also an amazing solution available on the Atlassian Marketplace.
Multiexcerpt – allows creating multiple excerpts across pages and spaces and reusing these whenever and wherever possible.
Problems with including and excerpting
While avoiding duplicate content is important, there are also risks related to it. To be precise, risks of someone not seeing the content. It’s worth to remember that all of the Macros listed above don’t override standard permissions and restrictions in Confluence.
Because of this, it’s always very important to make the “Single Point of Truth” pages available to everyone who needs to see the excerpted/included content. Otherwise, they will only see macro rendering error.