How to access powerful, easy-to-use referencing in Confluence

Content Formatting for Confluence v6.0.0

For those of you who work in academia, education, law, or the sciences, the concept of referencing will be a familiar, and often painful, one. Although necessary, it can be tiresome and time-consuming to provide referencing in Confluence pages and documents. It’s no wonder our team here at Adaptavist has had multiple requests from users to create a simple solution for this. Use these two macros to make your life easier when it comes to referencing.

To solve the woes that come with referencing, we decided to focus on improving Content Formatting for Confluence by introducing a brand new macro as well as adding functionality from another app in our product portfolio. The goal here was to transform this lengthy process into a simple and easy-to-use alternative. This included a BibTeX macro and a Footnotes macro, both key tools in the referencing world. Let’s take a look in further detail at the latest macros to the Content Formatting group.

BibTeX macro

BibTeX is a widely used reference management tool for formatting lists of references. Previously, this would involve adding an in-line marker for a reference manually and adding the complete reference, in the correct format, at the bottom of the page. Not only is this time consuming, but it can also cause issues relating to incorrect referencing style or inconsistency between the marker in the text and the reference at the end of the page.

Using the BibTeX macro solves all of these problems. Simply add the BibTeX reference macro after the relevant text on a page, fill in the information, then include a BibTeX table macro wherever you like on that same page and the rest is handled for you.

Another inconvenient aspect of referencing for the reader is having to locate the list of references as well as the actual reference itself from the text. With the BibTex macro, each marker is linked to the reference in the table, so the reader can simply click the link to navigate to the table and the exact reference. The BibTeX display macro is also searchable and sortable so that anyone can browse through the list with ease.

Footnotes macro

Footnotes are another useful referencing tool commonly included in documents to avoid overcrowding information. Creating and interpreting footnotes can also be time consuming for both the reader and the writer; the reader having to scroll to the footnotes section of the page to find the relevant information and the writer having to add a footnote marker and content to the footnotes section.

Using the footnotes macro in Content Formatting reduces time spent in both of these areas. The user can simply add a footnote marker in-line with text on a page, providing the footnote content within this macro and it will be displayed as a numbered link.

They can then add a Footnotes display macro wherever they like on the page, which will display a list of each footnote’s content, and a link back to the footnote marker. Further to this, the reader can hover over any footnote to get a glimpse of the content without having to navigate to the footnotes section.

The user can also include images and other formats in the footnote. To avoid scrolling down to view the content of a single footnote, we’ve also added a footnote preview, which shows the content of a footnote when hovering over the marker.

If you don’t already have Content Formatting for Confluence, you can download your free 30 day trial from the Atlassian marketplace.