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A Confluence glossary where you can put letter headings

Hello all,

First off, this absolutely builds on the shoulders of giants. I developed this idea from one I suggested to @Jen in this question/topic:

And in fact that built on something suggested by @Alex O_Donnell in the same place.

Now, this method means you have one term per page. I had forgotten about page name collisions. The glossary I'm managing does not have its own workspace.

Alex's brainstorm


  1. Definition per page dictionary/encyclopedia.
  2. Make sure each page has an excerpt.
  3. Label/tag each definition page with "glossary"
  4. Create another page which is an index using "content by label" an automatic table of label where the title and excerpt are displayed ("

Jen's question

"...I don't know how to separate the page index to a specific alphabetical group.  We'd love to use this concept on other Spaces to create a Rolodex in the page menu."

My suggestion

"Could you not use multiple labels, à la :



glossary-p_to_z each term-specific page would us one of those three, as appropriate?"

(You would have three Content By Label macros on the index page in this example, by the way).

The light-bulb moment

The glossary I created for the project I'm working on has always been a one-pager. I had put in large single letters in a seriously cursive font, as delineators. Rendered:


I thought: I want to put better letter-heading graphics on the glossary index page. How to have them there in the first place, though?


  • Each term has two labels on its page: "glossary," and "glossary-x" where x is the first letter of the first word.
  • On the index page, you have a Content By Label macro for each letter.
  • Each of the Content By Labels picks up only one of the "glossary-x" labels.

Why "glossary" as a second label? I wanted to have a LiveSearch macro on the glossary index page, as well. It picks up the "glossary" label. 

I created the letter-heading graphics I wanted to use, and here's part of how the rendered glossary index page looks:


Unrendered, here's one letter heading graphic and Content By Label macro, the latter not opened for editing:


And here's the macro, opened for editing:



And that's really the whole recipe. If anyone's not 100% clear on how this works, please reply here, and I'll do my best.


Pat O'Connell
Technical Writer
MindGeek / Montreal





glossary-x is just a wonderful addition. Thanks, it's one of those "Oh yeah, why didn't I see that  moments".

It's a discipline you'll want from day one, I don't think anyone wants to fix a few hundred glossary entries in one go (unless they have an intern to do it for them).



Like # people like this

That is a great solution and exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for sharing!
Is there any way to avoid showing the empty macro (Content by label - There is no content with the specified labels) for letters with no entries?



Perhaps I'm not understanding the question, but:

For anything where you don't have terms starting with letter "x" would you simply not put the letter heading for "x," nor put the content-by-label macro for that letter?

If you're looking for a way to have this happen automatically, then I'm not aware of one, unless someone has created a macro for that. What we've collectively come up with, here, is a way to have a glossary that's mostly automatically generated (And kick-ass-looking. Toot, toot, community!). Mostly. Not 100%!

And I should thank you, because in responding to this, I looked anew at my own glossary. I discovered I had no headings and Content By Label macros in my root page, for "L" and "P," and I had added definitions starting with those letters.

This points something up: If you're going to be adding definitions after initially setting up a glossary this way (who won't be?), and you've decided "No empty letter headings on the root page," you need to regularly re-check your root page.

The other thing that I've done repeatedly is created new definition stub pages with "Lorem ipsum" text, and didn't put the "short" definitions in Excerpt macros. This really breaks the visual flow on the root page.

All the best,
Pat O'Connell
Technical Writer
MindGeek Montreal

That's exactly why I didn't want to leave blanks manually :)
I hoped there was some way to leave the macro there but not have it visible if it is empty, but it sounds like, in that regard, I'm out of luck.
It is, however, the best solution I have found so far, so thanks again for sharing it!

I've also struggled with creating a glossary, and how to group the entries in alphabetical order.

1.  I created a space for the glossary only.

2. I created a page per glossary entry, and tag it as glossary-x for the right letter.

3. As Patrick suggested, I added a content by level entry on the overview page, but entering 26 Content by Level macros was taking too long.

So instead, I am using the Page Index macro

which indexes all the child pages in the space. It contains 2 sections: the first section shows the letter and how many items are contained in that letter, and the first section, which lists each item under each letter with a bit of an excerp.2020-02-17_15h41_04.png

Advantages: It does exactly what it needs to do, which is order all the entry items per letter.

Disadvantages: you can't modify the layout, which looks messy in my opinion, and you can't even remove / adapt the original macro text:  "Space Index" .

You can't choose how many columns

You can't decide if you just want the glossary entry, or glossary entry  + excerpt

You can't add more space between the first and the second section,


I am hoping that by adding more terms there will be less letters without terms and it would look better, but it's just a pitty you have no parameters to choose how  you want it to display.


I'm actually not crazy about Page Index - I had to actually pretend I was going to put one into a page, to remember what that was about.

It took me many months of being a very basic Confluence user before I decided to spend a day or two poking at all of the features I had never looked at. My result was horrible-looking, but that may have had a lot to do with the contents of my personal space. :-)

I second your emotion about not being able to control the layout. In your snap, I tend to read the upper part column-wise, so it looks like your index is kind of scrambled: "0-9 F L R X," A G M S Y." etc.

If, as is the case with my employer, there's a lot of reluctance about macros beyond the basic built-in kit, I think the key with Confluence is to try to be as creative as you can with what is available.

That may get you...I'm going to say in the neighborhood of the result you wanted.

And check here regularly (I've actually been bad about this, lately). It really was the thinking and work of 3 people to get the glossary I described above. The brains of the many outweigh the brains of the few...or the one.


All the best,
Patrick O'Connell
Technical Writer
MindGeek Montreal

Like Sonia Sánchez Montero likes this

Disadvantages: only English


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