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How to create the best Confluence pages: The ultimate guide

Two superheroes interact with a giant Confluence screen

Is your Confluence content a mess? Got a vision but can't quite execute it? Looking for design inspiration and practical steps to whip your space into shape? This is the guide you've been looking for. You'll find everything you need to create the best Confluence pages to engage your audience. Let's get started:

What is Confluence?

A quick refresher: Confluence is an online collaboration platform that teams use to share knowledge and work together digitally. Its wiki-style functionality means multiple users can contribute to and edit content simultaneously, making it ideal as a team workspace and knowledge management tool.

Confluence is available on Atlassian Cloud, Server and Data Center. In this guide, we're focusing on Confluence Cloud. 

Note that some functionality is only accessible to Space Administrators. If you can't perform some of the steps below, it may be because you don't have permission within Confluence.

What can I use Confluence for?

Confluence can help your team share information and work together, no matter where they are in the world. It can be integrated with Jira to add more information about projects and enhanced with third-party tools to extend its functionality.

What are Confluence macros?

Confluence macros allow you to add extra design elements and functionality to your pages and spaces.

Macros are add-ons that you can insert into your page to extend Confluence's standard functionality and allow for improved customisation. You can use them to change your page's colours and design elements, insert extra features like videos and spreadsheets and change the format and layout of content.

Confluence macros fall under two categories:

  • Native macros, which are automatically available within Confluence.
  • Third-party macros, which are developed externally and can be added to Confluence from the Marketplace.
People working on a giant screen

Find out more about Confluence macros in our blog

Confluence macros typically require a more sophisticated setup than the basic Confluence functionality you see in the main toolbar. Find out how to use them.

How do I add a Confluence macro to a page?

Adding a native macro

To add a native macro to Confluence, simply:

  1. Make sure you're in editing mode on the page you want to add your macro to (click on the pencil icon in the right-hand corner).
  2. Click the + (insert) symbol on the upper toolbar.
  3. Browse through the macros and select the one you want to insert.
  4. Click ‘Insert' .
  5. Edit the macro to suit your requirements. Different macros will have different parameters and editable fields. Check out Confluence's guide if you're unsure how to use the selected macro.

Pro tip: Looking for a shortcut? While editing your Confluence page, simply type / and you'll bring up the same macro list you'd see by navigating through the toolbar.

Gif showing the process of adding a Confluence macro to a page
Inserting the Button macro in Confluence

Adding a third-party macro

To add a third-party macro to Confluence:

  1. Make sure you have downloaded your desired macro from the Atlassian Marketplace or wherever you get your Confluence apps. You'll need to select the Confluence site you want to add your macro to.
  2. Once you've added your third-party macro to Confluence, ensure you're in editing mode by clicking the pencil icon on the right-hand corner of the toolbar.
  3. Click the + (insert) symbol on the upper toolbar.
  4. Use the search bar or browse to find the macro you want to add. You can search by the macro's name or its functionality
  5. Select the macro and click ‘Insert'.
  6. Edit the macro to suit your requirements. Different macros will have different parameters and editable fields. If you're unsure how to edit your macro, refer to its documentation.
Woman talking to a man on a screen

Learn how to use Confluence to improve enterprise collaboration

Initially designed for technical documentation, Confluence has evolved into a powerful collaboration platform. Find out how to use it to supercharge how larger teams work together.

How to make Confluence pages look better: colour and design

Once you've mastered the art of adding macros, you're ready to discover how to make Confluence pages look good. You can achieve this using both Confluence's native functionality and third-party add-ons. 

Here are a few of our favourite ways to add design flair to your pages:

A Confluence screen with a dropdown to change the text colour

Changing the colour and style of Confluence text

While you can't change the style of the main page heading, you can update the style, format and colour of subheadings and text throughout your Confluence page. 

  1. Make sure you're in editing mode by clicking the pencil icon on the right-hand corner of the toolbar.
  2. Navigate across the toolbar to select the design tools you're looking for. The 'A' with a coloured bar underneath allows you to change the colour of selected text, while the 'Normal text’/’Heading' drop-down lets you change the size and style of the text.
  3. The … icon offers you more text formatting options, including underline and strikethrough.
  4. Once you've finished updating your text, publish the page to view your changes.

Adding a Confluence background colour

Confluence's native design functionality can feel limiting, but there are ways you can customise your space to add more colour.

The Adaptavist Background macro, part of the Content Formatting Macros suite, lets you quickly add a background colour or image to sections of your page.

You can add images and text to the background sections or leave them unfilled to act as colourful page banners and design features.

Pro tip: Confluence administrators can set colour schemes across entire Confluence spaces. This functionality is ideal for branding in line with company colours or simply to differentiate spaces from each other. You can find out more here.

Gif showing how to add a background colour in Confluence

Adding images to pages

Images don't just make pages more visually attractive; they can also add vital context. 

To add a header image, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure you're in editing mode by clicking the pencil icon on the right-hand corner of the toolbar.
  2. Hover your cursor over the title of your page, then select 'Add header image’.
  3. Select an image from the library or upload your own file.
  4. Reposition your image and click 'Apply'.
Gif showing a header image being added in Confluence

To add an image to the body of a Confluence page, navigate to the toolbar and click on the picture icon:

Confluence toolbar with arrow pointing to picture icon

This will open up a window with your downloaded and saved files, from which you can select the image you're looking for and click 'Open'. When your image appears on your page, you can resize and reposition it.

Alternatively, you can copy and paste your desired image or drag it directly onto your page when you're in editing mode.

A cat on a Confluence page

Adding emojis

To add an emoji to the body of your Confluence page, navigate to the smiley face icon on the toolbar. You can then search from the library of emojis or add your own.

Pro tip: You can also add an emoji to your page title. From editing mode, hover over the text and click on ‘Add emoji', then select your favourite.

Adding emojis in Confluence
A cat gif on a Confluence page

Adding gifs

While there’s no inbuilt gif library in Confluence Cloud, you can manually upload gifs you've saved as files. 

Either create your own or save one from the internet (make sure the file type/extension is .gif!) and follow the same steps to upload it as you would upload an image to your Confluence page. You can also type ‘/image’ when you’re editing a Confluence page, then select ‘Files and Images'.

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Ready to make your Confluence pages more beautiful?

Try Content Formatting Macros for Confluence Cloud for free and see how much more impactful your pages can be.

How to make Confluence pages more interactive

It's one thing to design a beautiful Confluence space and another to get people to engage with it. Interactive design features can encourage users to navigate your pages and simply give them something to 'do' when they're reading content.

Discover some easy and effective ways to encourage interactivity on Confluence pages:

Adding links to text

In-text links help add context and give users additional information. Use them in Confluence to direct people to other Confluence pages, sections or comments on your page, or send them to useful external sites and resources.

To insert a link in Confluence:

  • Highlight the text you want to attach the link to, then click the link button in the toolbar.
A toolbar in Confluence with an arrow pointing towards the link button
  • Select what type of link you want to insert. You can link to various sources, including external pages, internal Confluence pages, page comments, inline comments, anchor macros, email addresses, attachments, and even Jira issues.
  • Enter the link destination and click 'enter'.
  • You can then edit the text the link is attached to, change the destination of the link or unlink.

Check out Confluence's guide to learn more about different link formats and possibilities.

Adding buttons to pages

Use buttons in Confluence to make calls to action stand out and highlight navigation pathways. They can look more professional and polished than standard hyperlinks, although Confluence doesn't have any button functionality out-of-the-box. 

Thankfully, the Button macro is part of the Content Formatting Macros for Confluence suite. The following video shows you how to add a button to Confluence:

Cartoon people adding big cards to a Confluence screen

Want to add more visual impact than links and buttons?

Try the Card Macro, which lets users easily create and insert a card containing an image, text and hyperlink on a Confluence page.

Uploading a video

Uploading a video to Confluence can be done the same way as adding an image. You can either drag the video file directly onto your page or click the 'files and images’ icon from the top toolbar and manually select the video you want to upload.

Creating forms for feedback

Looking for feedback? The humble poll can help you out. While Confluence doesn't have a native poll or form feature, there are plenty of third-party tools and add-ons you can use to introduce interactive forms to your pages. Use them to gather people's feedback on projects and pages, complete HR and onboarding tasks or simply ask where people want to go for the work Christmas party!

We recommend choosing a solution that lets you collect and store data within Confluence rather than outside the platform. This means you won't have to switch between apps to create, implement and review your survey. 

Forms for Confluence is Adaptavist's forms app that ticks all the boxes. Read our blog on how you can use it in Confluence Cloud here.

How to make Confluence pages more organised

A tidy, organised page is critical to a good user experience. 42% of users will leave a website due to poor functionality, according to 2021 research, which can include cluttered layouts and a lack of visibility. Ensure you keep readers on your page and engaging with your content by keeping pages tidy, clearly organised and easy to navigate.

Screen showing the template sidebar in Confluence

Using a page template in Confluence

  1. Click 'Create’ in the top navigation or push the + icon next to ‘Pages’ in the sidebar to create a blank page.
  2. The template browser will automatically open as a right-hand sidebar.
  3. Browse through templates and click on the one you want to use. It will automatically load into your new page, where you can replace the template text with your own content.

Adding the anchor macro

The anchor macro is native to Confluence and lets you link to a specific part of a page from another part of the page. Readers can then quickly jump to relevant sections, particularly useful when you've got long documents and want to help your users navigate content.

Gif showing an anchor macro in use in Confluence

To add the anchor macro:

  1. When you're in editing mode, click the + icon from the toolbar.
  2. Search "anchor" to find the anchor macro, and select it.
  3. Confluence will then insert the anchor macro onto your page.
  4. In the right sidebar, name your anchor and hit the 'enter' key.
  5. Copy or make a note of your anchor Name.
  6. Select and highlight the text you'd like to be used as the link to send to your anchor.
  7. Select the link tool from the top toolbar (the same one you'd use to add a hyperlink).
  8. Type the # symbol and then your anchor Name. For example, if your anchor Name is "Important-stuff”, you should type #Important-stuff into the link box, then hit enter.

Pro tip: Looking for enhanced formatting functionality? Storage Format Editor for Confluence from K15t Labs could be a great add-on if you can code. It gives you greater control over editing and formatting Confluence pages and means you can edit in code rather than using the standard Atlassian editor.

Other apps we recommend include MultiExcerpt, which lets you create, update and share multiple excerpts across Confluence pages and spaces, and Refined for Confluence Cloud, which lets you add custom domains, themes and layouts.

Adding tabs 

A common complaint users have about Confluence is that keeping pages and spaces tidy and organised can be challenging. This is where tabs come in. Add them to your pages to segment your copy, break up long text sections, and encourage people to click and engage with what you’re saying.

Take a look at the Tabs macro from Content Formatting Macros for Confluence Cloud here:

Adding references

When you're writing more formally–perhaps in an academic or legal setting–you'll likely want to add references to cite your sources. In informal settings, references can help provide readers with context and related information. But how can you add references without creating extra clutter on your Confluence pages? While you could do this manually with numbers throughout your document and then a reference list at the bottom of your page, there are cleaner ways to go about it.

Look for reference tools such as footnotes and tooltips in the Atlassian Marketplace. Third-party apps will plug into Confluence and let you create more sophisticated, organised references within your content.

Get ready to build your best Confluence page yet

What are you waiting for? You've got all the information you need to start creating more beautiful, organised and interactive Confluence content. Don't forget to start your free trial of Content Formatting Macros for Confluence Cloud to make your pages pop!

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