Confluence Macros: Your Ultimate What and How-To Guide

Want to supercharge your Confluence experience? Dive into the world of macros! We'll show you how to use popular macros like status, charts, and anchors to create informative and engaging pages.
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Patricia Modispacher

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Are you new to Atlassian and feel overwhelmed by Confluence macros overwhelming? Fear not! 

 

This guide is your shortcut to mastering these powerful tools. Whether your Confluence pages need a touch of flair or a boost in collaboration, macros are here to help. But what exactly are macros in Confluence Cloud, how do you add them? Plus, what’s the deal with these shortcuts? 

 

This ultimate guide has all the answers you need. We’ll explore what Confluence macros are, provide examples of some of the most popular ones, and offer step-by-step instructions on how to leverage them effectively. We’ll look exclusively at macros built for Confluence Cloud rather than Data Center.

What are Confluence Macros, and Why Use Them?

Atlassian Confluence macros allow you to embed content, visualize data, automate tasks, and customize the appearance of your Confluence pages. Macros are designed to make your content more engaging, informative, and actionable, enabling you to create rich, interactive experiences for your team members.

 

Macros in Confluence Cloud are categorized based on their functionality, making it easy to find the right tool for the task at hand. Whether you need to embed a video, create a dynamic table, or integrate with external applications, there’s likely a Confluence macro available to meet your needs.

Confluence macro overview

How to Use Confluence Macros

Now, let’s walk you through how to add macros and use them in your Confluence pages. There are two ways to do so, one leans more towards the graphically driven user, the other toward users who prefer keyboard shortcuts. The choice is yours.

First, simply navigate to the Confluence page and the specific area where you’d like to add the Confluence macro and enter Edit mode by selecting the pen icon in the editor toolbar. 

For point-and-click users amongst us;

  • From the editor toolbar, choose Insert 
  • Select a macro from the list
  • If necessary, enter any required parameters
  • Choose Insert

 

insert confluence macro show

If shortcuts are more your thing, type the backslash character / to initiate the macro list and follow the same steps to insert it.

 

 

Whatever the choice, you’ll see there are a wide variety of macros to choose from, giving you a wide variety of options to enhance your Confluence page functionality.

So What Are the Most Popular Confluence Macros?

 

There’s a wide variety of types of macros available in Confluence cloud, including the following; 

  • Page properties
  • Attachments
  • Table of contents
  • Panels
  • Status
  • Chart
  • Anchor
  • Jira Issues
  • Include Page

 

You can find the full list of Confluence cloud and Confluence data Center macros on the Atlassian’s macro introduction. Yes, there are different macros available for cloud and data center, in this article, we’ll explain how to use them in the cloud.

 

We’re not going to address them all; however, we will touch on the following (most popular) macros; Attachments, Panels, Status, Charts, Anchors, and Jira Issues.

Attachments

The Attachments macro is an effective and convenient way to display a list of files attached to a specific Confluence page, whether that be the current page you’re on or another page within your instance. When you need to provide quick, ready access to project files, forms and templates, or images and diagrams, this is an invaluable tool.

confluence attachments macro

Additionally, there are a number of properties you can set for the macro that will add even greater functionality based on the types of attachments you would like to display for the user;

  • Filename patterns – using a comma-separated list, you can filter the attachments by name patterns, for instance filenames ending .*jpg or .*png
  • Attachment labels – if you use labels to classify your Confluence attachments (e.g. by department, project, quarter of the year, etc.) you can filter the attachments to display – it’s possible to use more than one label separated by commas
  • Include old attachment versions – a “true” value will include older/previous versions to be shown in the list
  • Show previews – used to display a preview of the attachment
  • Sort by – the sort order (date, size, name, created date) for the list
  • Allow upload – when selected, the ability for users to browse for and upload new files will be enabled
  • Page title – offers the ability to display attachments from another page – when blank, the macro defaults to displaying files attached to the current page
  • Number of items to display – you set the number of attachments to list

 

confluence attachments macro final

 

Panels Macro

The Panel macro is effective for highlighting text in Confluence, or to calling out specific pieces  of information with a customizable, colored panel. There are similar macros (Info, Tip, Note, Warning) however the Panel macro gives you complete control over display features such as the background color, boarder, title, and text colors.

 

 

Giving you the ability to break up the look of your Confluence page and call attention to a specific topic of interest, the Panel macro can be used in page layouts or even table cells themselves.

Status Macro

As with the Panel macro, a Status macro can be added within the page layout or within a table cell. It can be used to highlight the status of a project or task, or indicate any sort of progress of level. As you can flexibly design the text in the status macro, you can also use the macro for other types of markup, such as labels.

 

In the table below, the Status macro is used to indicate which option has been selected, level of effort, and estimated costs. It’s used in conjunction with the Table macro as well as Emjoi macro.

 

 

Charts Macro for Tables

The Charts macro offers a great deal of flexibility and customization to best graphically represent the data you want.


In the example below, we’ve created a table of data we would like to visualize. In Edit mode, we select the Confluence table, and in the options provided below the selected table, we select the Insert chart option.

 

insert macro in confluence

 

You have the ability to customize everything from the chart type, orientation, opacity, chart title, x and y-axis titles, legends, and much more in the Chart Options. To note, as data is updated in the table the chart is based upon, the chart automatically updates to reflect the new data.

 

Confluence chart macro

 

Anchors

 

The Anchor macro is a very useful navigation tool. It helps move your viewers through the Confluence page from one area to another, or to other Confluence pages or even external web pages.

 

Particularly helpful on long pages, anchors can guide the reader from the top to a specific area further down. Then, they can easily navigate back to the beginning to explore other sections of the page.

 

In the example below, we placed an anchor macro at the bottom of the Confluence page. We named it page-end (the macro will insert dashes if there is space in the name) and then went to the top of the page where we had text we then added the hyperlink for the anchor we created. 


NOTE: When you link to an anchor, preface the name of the anchor with “#” to signify it is an anchor destination.

 

confluence anchor macro

 

Jira Issues

The last Confluence macro we will discuss is the Jira Issues macro. If you’re using Confluence within your team or organization, it’s likely that you’re also using Atlassian’s Jira for ticketing and the planning of projects and tasks.

 

The macro gives you the ability to display a single Jira issue, a list of issues, or a count, based on a JIRA Query Language (JQL) search, filter, or URL. This works extremely well for project status updates, retrospectives and team meetings, and for generally sharing updates with those in your organization who are not regular Jira users.


To note, before you can use this macro, your Confluence and Jira application must be connected via Application Links. The level of sophistication for pulling data from Jira is really limited only by one’s knowledge of Jira, and more specifically, Jira Query Language (JQL).

 

Confluence Jira issue macro

 

In our example, we selected the specific Jira project we wanted to display, filtered the type to only show “Tasks” with a status of “To do” and once we published our page, we had the respective information from Jira that we wanted.

Confluence Text Formatting

Thus far, we’ve explored a number of Confluence’s built-in or native macros, and they certainly afforda great deal of additional functionality. However,there are times, especially when aiming to enhance the standard appearance of Confluence pages, when the default macros might not suffice.


Into this void steps Aura Content Formatting Macros from appanvil. Aura isn’t just one macro, it’s a full suite of 17 formatting macros for Confluence cloud. With everything from customizable buttons, cards, panels, dividers, and more, you can create highly appealing and engaging content. Using WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) page creation, either from scratch or from hundreds of templates, it’s simply drag-and-drop to achieve a new level of creativity in Confluence.

 

Aura Content Formatting Macros

 

The level of customization in Aura for formatting text is second to none. Everything aspect from the font weight, alignment, size, font style, and color (even with gradients) is customizable.

 

 

In particular to note is Aura’s Background Content Macro which, as the developers so eloquently put it, “enhances your pages by enabling the addition of background images, colors, or a blend of both. Seamlessly embed content and macros within these backgrounds to create visually compelling sections.

 

aura background

 

To read more about Aura’s extensive dynamic content updatingformatting capabilities, head on over to the Atlassian Community article, “Don’t Waste Another Minute: Automate Content Updates in Confluence!”.

Pro Tips for Mastering Confluence Macros

We’ve come up with ten “Pro Tips” to help you master using and adding Confluence macros. We hope these, along with the guidance we’ve provided thus far, will take your Confluence pages to the next level!

 

  1. Understand the various macro categories – familiarize yourself with the different categories of macros available in Confluence, such as formatting, navigation, content, reporting, and integration.
  2. Explore the documentation – each macro comes with detailed documentation that explains its functionality, parameters, and usage examples.
  3. Experiment with the parameters – experiment with different parameter settings to achieve the desired output. Don’t be afraid to tweak parameters and see how they affect the macro’s output.
  4. Combine macros – combine multiple macros to create more complex and interactive experiences.
  5. Automate with macros – macros can help automate repetitive tasks and streamline workflows. For example, you can use the Jira Issues macro to display a list of relevant issues on your Confluence page, eliminating the need to manually update task lists.
  6. Stay organized – group related macros together and provide clear labels and descriptions to make it easier for others to understand your page’s layout and purpose.
  7. Stay in the loop on new macros – stay informed about these updates by following Atlassian’s official announcements and release notes. Experiment with new macros as they become available to discover how they can improve your workflow.
  8. Share what you’ve learned – share with your team how to use macros effectively and encourage them to explore new ways of leveraging Confluence’s capabilities.
  9. Seek community support – join online forums, user groups, and communities dedicated to Confluence. Engage with other users, share tips and best practices, and ask for help when you encounter challenges.
  10. Practice, practice, practice – take the time to experiment with different macros, explore their features, and create sample pages to test your knowledge.

 

And your +1 pro tip – explore the Atlassian Marketplace, read the user reviews and ratings. You can learn a great deal about the practical use and performance of macros by those who’ve done more than just “kicked the tires”. They’ve dived in, they’ve experienced the good and the bad, they’ve shared the experiences (and frustrations) with the community and the developers. Take advantage of this resource as it’ll only benefit you, your teams, and your entire organization for the better!

 

Atlassian Marketplace Review

 

Your Next Steps

We hope this has given you some real, applicable information and insights into the power and expandability that Confluence macros offer, with some real-world examples. There are a wide variety of macros included with your Confluence instance, and you can take advantage of those right away. And there are a handful of third-party macros like Aura that offer a complete suite of formatting tools unlike any others.

 

You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain by exploring the possibilities that await you in this fantastic world of Confluence macros.

 

 

 

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