Adding Confluence Keyboard Shortcuts

Level of experience: Beginner

This tutorial's level of difficulty is at 'beginner' level, so you can follow it even if you have never developed a plugin before. Our tutorials are classified as 'beginner', 'intermediate' and 'advanced'.

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This tutorial shows you how to use a Keyboard Shortcut Module in your plugin to add keyboard shortcuts to different parts of the Confluence UI and navigation between pages. To do this, you will create a very simple Confluence plugin. Your plugin consists of the following components:

  • Plugin descriptor – to enable the plugin module in Confluence.
  • An internationalisation properties file – for multi-language support.
  • A JavaScript resource – to work around a current bug in the keyboard shortcuts module.

All these components will be contained within a single JAR file. Each component is further discussed in the examples below.

This plugin is designed to show two ways of adding new keyboard shortcuts to Confluence:

  1. Navigates to a different page.
  2. Scrolls the window to an element and clicks that element.

Source code

The source code of the plugin used in this tutorial is available in Bitbucket. You can browse the source code here: confluence-tutorial-keyboard-shortcuts.

Step 1. Create the plugin project

On the command line type: atlas-create-confluence-plugin

You'll be prompted to enter two values, the group ID and artifact ID. For this tutorial, we used the following values:

  • Group ID: com.appfusions.confluence.plugins
  • Artifact ID: confluence-tutorial-keyboard-shortcuts
This will create a basic plugin with some Java code and tests. In the  sample code, all Java code including tests have been removed as they are not needed for the plugin. 

Step 2. Edit the atlassian-plugin.xml file

In this step, you must now register the plugin module in your plugin descriptor, atlassian-plugin.xml. In other words, add the following code to your atlassian-plugin.xml file between the <atlassian-plugin> tags, but below the <plugin-info> tag group.

  <keyboard-shortcut key="goto.four.oh.four" i18n-name-key="keyboard.shortcut.four.oh.four" name="Page not found">
    <description key="keyboard.shortcut.four.oh.four.desc">Page not found</description>
    <operation type="goTo">/four-oh-four</operation>

Let's break down that XML code. In this example we are creating a keyboard shortcut which when triggered navigates to, for example, http://localhost:1990/confluence/four-oh-four in the development system – a page which does not exist. Admittedly, this is likely to be of limited practical use – unless you are a lover of 404 pages – but it demonstrates the potential of keyboard shortcuts.

To do this, we've done a number of things.

The Keyboard Shortcut module

In the code above, this line involves 3 attributes:

<keyboard-shortcut key="goto.four.oh.four" i18n-name-key="keyboard.shortcut.four.oh.four" name="Page not found">
  • The first, key="goto.four.oh.four" sets an internal name for the new item.
  • The second, i18n-name-key="keyboard.shortcut.four.oh.four"  is the internationalisation key for the item – this is displayed in the admin section as the name of the module in the plugin.
  • The third, name="Page not found" defines the default name of the item.

Controlling where the keyboard shortcut is displayed

Examine these line of code:

<description key="keyboard.shortcut.four.oh.four.desc">Page not found</description>

In Confluence, if you go to the Browse menu and select Keyboard Shortcuts you will see a dialog box with lists of keyboard shortcuts:

Each item has a a value for order between 10 and 100. A smaller value means the label for your keyboard shortcut appears higher in the list. A value of 200 means that the item will almost certainly be placed at the bottom of the list.

The description contains an attribute key. This is the internationalisation key contained in a properties file (explained later in the tutorial). The value of this element defines the label for the keyboard shortcut in this dialog box.

Controlling how the keyboard shortcut is triggered

This line defines how the keyboard shortcut is triggered:  <shortcut>404</shortcut>

This example is triggered by the keys in this order: "4" then a "0" then a "4".

Defining what the keyboard shortcut does

This line defines what the keyboard shortcut does:  <operation type="goTo">/four-oh-four</operation>

In this case, the window.location is changed to a path below the server base URL. So for a Confluence installation at http://locahost:1990/confluence, this will correspond to http://localhost:1990/confluence/four-oh-four   

Controlling when the keyboard shortcut can be triggered

In this line we allow the keyboard shortcuts to be triggered globally within Confluence: <context>global</context>

The context tag also accepts the page or content values for other situations.

Adding new resource files and internationalisation

We will want to specify a text label to display in our Confluence keyboard shortcuts. You could just hard-code this information into your atlassian-plugin.xml file, but by adding it in a new resource file, we can make our plugin compatible with internationalisation. To do so, simply add a new file in the resources directory of your plugin (called and enter a couple of lines of code into it:

keyboard.shortcut.four.oh.four = Page Not Found
keyboard.shortcut.four.oh.four.desc = Display 404 page:

The first line – keyboard.shortcut.four.oh.four – describes the module name in Confluence Admin | Plugins:

Note: Displaying friendly names rather than module keys can be useful when there are many modules in a Confluence plugin.

The second line – keyboard.shortcut.four.oh.four.desc –  is the label for the keyboard shortcut in the Keyboard Shortcut dialog displayed earlier.

Additionally, we will need to reference this resource file ( in our atlassian-plugin.xml file. To do this, add this line of code above the <keyboard-shortcut> code block:

<resource type="i18n" name="i18n" location="confluence-tutorial-keyboard-shortcuts"  />

This will access your file and retrieve the text for our button label. 

If you would like to know more about internationalisation, see our Confluence documentation on the topic.

Step 3. Build, install and run the plugin

Build and install

The atlas-run command will compile the plugin project and then launch a local instance of Confluence.


Once Confluence has loaded, access the local instance with this URL:

  1. Log in with username "admin" and password "admin.
  2. Type "4" then "0" then "4" – your browser should now display the following (smile)

  • Go back to the Dashboard and select Keyboard Shortcuts from the Browse menu (or just type "?").  You'll see your new keyboard shortcut has been added.  

But wait, the internationalisation has strangely failed (sad) The keyboard.shortcut.four.oh.four.desc label displays the key rather than the value it should contain.

You guessed it, there's a little bug – CONF-24450 –  in keyboard shortcuts.  Don't worry though, we can quickly work around this issue...

Step 4. Add the workaround

Create a new JavaScript web resource file at src/main/resources/CONF-24450-workaround.js and add the code:

AJS.toInit(function($) {

Additionally, you will need to reference this web resource file in our atlassian-plugin.xml file. To do this, add this line of code above the <keyboard-shortcut> code block:

 <web-resource key="keyboard.shortcut.CONF-24450-workaround" name="Keyboard Shortcuts" i18n-name-key="keyboard.shortcut.CONF-24450-workaround">
    <resource name="CONF-24450-workaround.js" type="download" location="js/CONF-24450-workaround.js"/>

The AJS.I18n.get(...) line adds the keys in the internationalisation file into the AJS.I18n.keys object in JavaScript.

Note of interest: This also makes for a cunning alternative to the Web Resource Transformer Module for adding internationalisation in JavaScript. A further tutorial plugin for this is available in Bitbucket here: confluence-tutorial-awesome-plugin.

Step 5. Redeploy the plugin

At the command prompt, type atlas-package ; atlas-install-plugin This will repackage the plugin and install it on your Confluence. Alternatively, you may simply rebuild the plugin, and QuickReload  will automatically reload it for you.

The keyboard shortcut should now be displayed correctly. Type "?" in your browser window to check.  You should see this:

The "Display 404 page" label is now displayed correctly.

Step 6. For extra points...

Add a new keyboard shortcut that triggers the Browse Menu to be toggled open or closed when you type CTRL+B:

In your atlassian-plugin.xml add a new keyboard-shortcut code block as follows:

  <keyboard-shortcut key="moveToAndClick.toggle.browse" i18n-name-key="keyboard.shortcut.toggle.browse" name="Toggle Browse Menu">
    <description key="keyboard.shortcut.toggle.browse.desc">Toggle Browse Menu</description>
    <operation type="moveToAndClick">#browse-menu-link</operation> 

This is very similar except for two key points:

  • The shortcut now triggers when two keys are pressed simultaneously 
  • The operation type is now moveToAndClick – which should be fairly self explanatory.
    • This moves the web browser window so that the Browse menu is visible
    • The value #browse-menu-link is a CSS selector for the id attribute on the Browse menu anchor element

Redeploy and run the plugin

At the command prompt, type atlas-package ; atlas-install-plugin

In a web browser window, go to your local Confluence installation and type CTRL+B several times – you should see the Browse dropdown opening and closing. This example shows how you can quickly add your own productivity- or accessibility-enhancing keyboard shortcuts to expand upon the default keyboard shortcuts.

Congratulations, you have completed this tutorial.

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