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Change text background color in confluence editor?


how do i change the background color of text in a confluence page?

As this is a very default feature of text processing software, why isn't there a button in the confluence editor for this like the button to change the text color?

Is this so hard to accomplish?

24 answers

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I just tested this solution in Confluence a few moments ago to highlight individual words:

  1. Select desired text to Highlight.
  2. In Editor choose Insert (+ icon) >  "{ } Markup"
    • Insert-Markup.gif
  3. Change Type in "Insert" dropdown to "Markdown"
  4. Copy and paste the following into the editor as a template for your highlighting: 
    1. <span style="background-color: #ffff00;">Highlighted Text</span>
    2. <span style="background-color: yellow;">Highlighted Text</span>



The above technique works well for highlighting pre-existing text. If you need to add a blank, non-highlighted space to remove the highlighting and continue typing, repeat steps 1-3 above and insert the following:


<span style="background-color: white;">&nbsp;</span>



While this works, this solution is stupid. While I may use this solution, but I shouldn't be forced to do it.

Company that claims that setting text background color should be as inconvenient as possible, builds certain reputation with me and community in general.

Honestly, at this point I have very low expectations from Atlassian.

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Although super clumsy, but this method works for me.  Thanks!

This worked for me!  I wish the markup didn't disappear after saving, however.  You can't re-edit; you have to re-enter the entire markup every time you want to change it.

This method doesn't work for me. LOL It appears that they've removed the ability to do this from the current version of Confluence cloud.

Even in the preview, it looks right, but after adding to the Confluence page, the highlight no longer exists. Not in the editor, and not in the saved page. So highlighting is effectively killed in Confluence.

Atlassian is very disappointing lately. They REALLY don't give a crap about its customers... Just their customers' money.

They're worse than an over-opinionated coding language.

You rock! This does exactly what I wanted in Confluence 6.11.0.

Generally, if you need some kind of extra formatting you can always include it "by hand", that is, going to the source code and write a little html + css.

What I find easiest for this is Firefox's Developer Tools.

With this, you can work as follows:

  1. highlight some text on the wiki page
  2. right click the text and choose "Inspect Element (Q)"
    -> the highlighted text opens in the Developer Tools panel
  3. right click the text in the Developer Tools panel and choose "Edit as html"
    -> the underlying html code opens
  4. adapt code to your liking


<p>this is some green background</p>


<p>this is some <span style="background: green;">green</span> background</p>

would be one example. But anything is possible.

Like Lois Leonhardi likes this

Since the editor does not support highlighting, but it does support other features that no one uses like subscript, I hijacked the subscript feature to perform highlighting instead.  All you have to do is go to "Space Tools" > "Look and Feel" > "Stylesheet", and add the following.  Then anything that you set as subscript will instead be highlighted yellow.

<style type="text/css">
/* hijack subscript and make it highlighting instead */
.wiki-content sub {vertical-align: inherit; font-size: inherit; background-color: yellow; }

Please note that you must have the Space Admin permission to view and edit the stylesheet.

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Thanks for the tip Jeff. I tried this and found that the "Stylesheet" option is missing from the Look and Feel page. The only option is a PDF Stylesheet option, which also doesn't work when I export a page to PDF. Have they removed this feature to disable the ability to highlight text? They really don't want us highlighting text do they?

Disregard above, I forgot I already tried this a few months ago, and this functionality is not available on Confluence Cloud, only Confluence Server. 

I've tried this and it doesn't work for me. I have Conflluence server version 7.0.2. Is there any hint, how to make it work?

@Klara Valkova, when you say you've tried "this," which "this" did you try? Are you talking about Corey McGinnie's Jul 11, 2017, steps for inserting Markup? What didn't work? Are you lacking the Insert more content > Markup menu? Are you missing a dropdown to select Markdown in the dialog? Did you copy and paste the HTML span snippet and the text still wasn't highlighted?

@Klara Valkova I'm on 6.15.1.  I haven't seen version 7, but perhaps Atlassian changed how it operates.  All I know for sure is that the solution I gave above only contains two pieces.  The first piece is that Confluence injects your CSS into the "custom.css" file that it serves. Here's a screenshot of that in the Chrome Web Inspector.


The second piece is that you set text to subscript, so that your text gets wrapped in the "sub" html tag.  Here's how that looks in the Chrome Web Inspector when you've done it correctly:


Hope this helps.

Like Klara Valkova likes this

@S Hoover Sorry for this miscommunication, I meant the workaround when you change function of subscript in the stylesheet of some space. (<style type="text/css">
/* hijack subscript and make it highlighting instead */
.wiki-content sub {vertical-align: inherit; font-size: inherit; background-color: yellow; }


this seems like solution for our confluence as only few teams needs this function. 

@Jeff Hubel  Thanks a lot, it's working now.

@Corey McGinnie is there a way to add a background color to a section of a confluence page? 

I am creating a jira dashboard that refers to the confluence page. I would like to distinguish certain sections by using light background colors.

An update on this, the markup macro doesn't exist now. Currently the only similar functionality is Code Snipe, that generates a separated code block text based on a given programming language. It is not same as highlighting an inline text.

13 votes

Because it's not a common thing to want to do in a set of documentation. Remember this is a wiki, not authoring or design software - the content is vastly more important than the presentation

You can, of course, do it, just not in the basic editing function. I've used the {bgcolor} macro to do it, as well as {panel} for larger blocks of text. There's quite a few similar macros available for all sorts of formatting and highlighting. I don't know if Atlassian plan to add a quicker way to do it in the editor though.

Thank you for this very quick answer.

If changing text color is a common thing, why shouldn't be changing the text background color a common operation?

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That's the thing, changing text colour is not that common. People do use it, and they do ask, but it's really not used as much as a lot of people think it is. Background colouring is even more unused, and people simply don't ask for it enough to make it worth implementing.

I've also found good reasons not to use coloured text (and background text is worse). For reading, a single colour is a lot easier to scan than changing ones. Coloured text should be used sparingly, and then the mistake that most people using colour (especially with background colour) is that they fail to consider contrast - all text should be high contrast, which really does rule out most combinations. And coloured and backgrounded text are a pain in the neck for some dyslexics, and people with vision issues.

I'd like to decide for myself whether I want to change background color or not. I don't need atlassian making that choice for me. I can't imagine how adding this option would take a long time, and for the people that do want it this would be very helpful.

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I'd appreciate a background color (ant text color) as well. Just look at the marking of an inline comment. The marked text gets an nice and light background color. So why deny it for users of the confluence editor?

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I'd would think highlighting would be more common than changing the text color. I want to make something stand out in my documentation, a nice yellow or red background does the trick when it's just a single word. You can add me to list of people who want this feature added.

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I agree that background coloring is a good way to mark some important content.

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huh - even in this forum/posting u can see gray text background... how can u say bg color is uncommon for wikis? <confused/>

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You see it in panels here, not sentences or words. And try looking at the world's biggest wikis - they're all black on white or pretty close to it for over 90% of their content - panels being used for callouts and highlights.

I'd vote for background-color too. It's a good way to highlight in lists what status things are in currently for projects.

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I've been a daily Confluence user for about 7 years. Today I absolutely had to background colour some text. I literally had to take a screenshot of the text in another application with the background colour required and upload it as an image. If this requirement doesn't come up for another 7 years, I can probably live with this. Otherwise, I note there is a Text Highlighter plugin that's reasonably priced.

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I have been wanting this in Confluence for a few years now. C'mon Atlassian, just put in a canned macro for it. It's easy and it would be optional. You can't be THAT much of a zealot about this that it's worth contradicting the stated requests of real users. And anyway, it's a competitive feature for you - other wiki's have it, even as a button in their rich text editors. I'll be honest, if other wikis were as good in other ways, the lack of this feature would be enough to make me move to a competitor -- it's that important to my work flows (in PM and product development - I color code a LOT of stuff!)

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I think background color is actually more useful than text color. Try setting text color to yellow for example, you just won't see such text on the screen - no wonder this feature not popular as you say. Suggested macros are mostly useless, they are not inline. Plus you can't compare it to simplicity of selecting background color from the color picker. Check how it's done in Google Docs, they still use single button, but dialog that pops up allows setting both text and background colors. Such implementation wouldn't affect you UI. My use case was essentially to highlight parts of text that changed: new with green, changed with yellow, and deleted with red. But instead of simply doing it, I have to spend my time and company's money writing posts like this.

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While Confluence is primarily a wiki, not a text editor... background colour functionality is pretty fundamental. It is included in a limited capacity for tables (5 pastel colours). Surely it would not be terribly difficult to expand the palette or add a hex input and apply it to all content? We pay for the software, use it in a corporate environment with a brand style guide, but cannot format content to match those guidelines.

Just add highlighting already. When your customers say they want something and you say "Well that's not what a wiki is for" you're missing the point. 

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I too NEED the text highlighting feature. The suggesting to use a macro is not an acceptable solution. Numerous people are asking for this feature and it isn't much different from text color. Please add the feature.

I would like this in a document I'm working on too, because I'm specifying a table of possible color codes that must be rotated over API calls for a screen test.

I need highlighting frequently. Confluence isn't just a wiki, it's our team collaboration tool. There are plenty of reasons to use color highlighting. We really shouldn't have to talk Atlassian into it. Theyput emojis (which I never need) in the Insert menu, for heaven sake,and bury Anchors (which I use all the time) under Insert > Other macros. Obviously what's useful isn't the governing factor.

Color highlighting is available for Notes, Info and Warning paragraphs, why not for selected words?

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This seems like a missing feature. It is expected behavior in almost any editor these days.

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People religiously surround portions of sentences with backticks in Slack. It does a lot at once:

  1. Changes the foreground text color
  2. Changes the background color
  3. Creates a rounded-corner border around the background in yet a third color
  4. Changes the font to monospace

Yes, count them, four different things. Why? Because, yes, it's that common and that important. Bold and/or italics on some screens isn't striking enough and easily glanced over. When trying to drag with the house to copy, the visual demarcation done in Slack makes a difference in getting the job done quicker. It much more effectively removes vagueness about precisely what is being highlighted.

Slack already did a good job of selecting three colors, plus a font change, to accommodate dyslexics, color blindness, and other visual or spatial impairments. Citing other wikis as just using one color is a throwback to more archaic days when multiple colors simply was not an option. It's not that they thought it was best – they had no choice. If you're mind is still desperately clinging those traditions, no one is forcing it on you.

This is a sentence I want to write: Log into the machine and use su - to gain escalated privileges. Using a code block breaks up the flow of the sentence. Rewording it to accommodate the code block is less natural. Bold and/or monospace alone aren't clear enough to the reader that a space and hyphen needs to be typed into the terminal after "su".

Your customers aren't asking to change the defaults for surrounding content in double curly braces from what it is now to the Slack-style. They are asking for a completely different and new formatting option for highlighting.


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yes, I want it too, and would use it regularly

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Me too.
In Word documents I highlight words and sections that need revision later with a yellow background, just like a real yellow highlighter - to highlight stuff I want to come back to. It would be useful to do the same in Confluence.

Like Leslie Gilbert likes this

Also agree it's necessary and missing functionality.

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Highlighting / background color would be useful. Adding emphasis to a text is universal. Currently, the only "acceptable" way to add emphasis is bold text, coloring the text is not for emphasis.

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All arguments that I could have come up with have already been made.

All I have to say, is that I need it too.

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I'm in a decision making position and have many friends with similar span of responsibility in other organizations. Based on what I experienced myself in the last few weeks (new job) and based on what I read here -- and in a few other threads, all demonstrating similar attitude by Atlassian, I'm starting to be sorry that I inherited Atlassian suite. It came with the job, but I CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. So can my friends.

There are many modern Wikis starting, some backed up by household name VCs, some backed up by companies with more money than .... that we do not have to tolerate this behavior.

A lot of companies thought that they are invincible and ingrained to the point of being irreplaceable. They were wrong. They are no longer that prevalent, some are no longer with us.

Thanks for nothing Atlassian.

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@Nic Brough _Adaptavist_ I disagree. I've been reading technical documentation, mostly software, since late 80s obviously first printed then pdf then online and the use of styling - including highlight - is very common to mark different concepts. Highlighting is also common to make something stand out, bold and underline are not as effective. Even ebook readers have this feature. Kindle definitely. 

Like Maria Gutierrez likes this

+1 for adding button for changing text background collor

E.g. consider the following use case - i need to create quick status report... standard colors are green, yellow, red. Now imagine yellow text on white background - it doesn't read well - that's why i want simply to highlight with yellow background - but no such button ?!?!?!

I know this isn't what you want to hear, but Atlassian isn't going to add it. They don't care about what you use or how you'd use it. They care about making money on plugins. So while you buy their expensive confluence software, you don't get everything a free WYSIWYG editor would have. You get some bare essentials and some convenient formatting.

There is a level of irony that you get less when you pay more. It's for this reason, and Atlassian's obvious greed, that I will likely move my entire company away from Atlassian products as soon as the beginning of next year.

Atlassian's products look polished and pretty, but they're buggy at best. I see them updating the UI in our cloud account regularly, but with new UI comes new bugs. And there are tons of them. For the money you'd expect not only the options as basic as highlighting text, but good quality control as well.

I'd rather they spent their time and money on fixing what was broken or requested, than making us relearn where things are and how they work. I'm not a fan of this new UI, but mostly because I'm annoyed it came out before other more pressing issues were taken care of.

When it comes to functionality, you can bet that Atlassian will drag their feet until they don't have feet anymore, so long as they can sell plugins to fill those functionality gaps.

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@Sven Vet

There's a Status macro in the Confluence instance I'm using exactly for the purpose you need. Unfortunately I don't know if it's built in or 3rd party but looks good.

status macro.PNG

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Thanks Sven, this is a work around but for me it would work only in extreme cases. It is not natural, not part of regular editing and writing process, and it extend the BG color beyond what it should be.

I'm still saying the Confluence should make it part of the editor and as easy as changing FG font color.

Like Bianca Schoene likes this

I agree. The status macro's styling actually makes it unusable for my purposes. And let's face it: Atlassian isn't being honest about why they won't give us this functionality. It's like a car manufacturer saying they won't put the DC outlet in the car because people don't use them anymore. Except, they do and it's a standard feature on a car.

Highlighting text is a standard feature on WYSIWYG editors. But Atlassian telling us nobody would use it is ridiculous on its face.

And now we have people trying to do workarounds and half measures like using tools not meant to be used this way because Atlassian wants to sell plugins.

Sorry, but I don't buy their BS excuse. Adding a single button like the FG color button isn't going to hurt anyone using Confluence that wouldn't use the highlight function. It would only hurt plugin makers that ask for features to be removed so they can sell it back to those of us already paying a LOT of money for a WYSIWYG editor.

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This is a basic feature that an editor should have. Seems like we are dancing around excuses. Just like there is a fg color set for a piece of text, there should be the same for bg.

As a product designer, you need to ask yourself a question: do you want the product have useful features that are easy to use, or spend time explaining philosophies and complicated procedures to people. 

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Bringing it into 2019 with a +1

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Like dmtavt likes this

+1 for background color (like every other text editor in existence)

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Just moved our wiki to Confluence. I was pushing for it as to get us standardized. We don't want to have 25 different systems.

But honestly, I'm very unimpressed with the level of editor. It is very "2012" basically no work done on it and totally missing the newest UX comfort level that you might nowdays get with Miro, Medium or just simple Google Doc or Unbounce. I'm not even talking about collaboration and change logs, etc.

We are trying to standardize and pushing hard to have things like customer account overviews in here as well, but it gets hard to answer questions to my team about Why ? When UX is so subpar. And background color is just one example. It totally sucks to expect it in your text editor and not to find it. 

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This is crazy. It's 2020 - 5 years later BG color has not been added.

How can this even be a question? I need to highlight some text to draw attention to it! In the material world people have even invented a physical item for this very task - highlighter marker that does exactly this.

I would even trade the currently available FG color for the BG color option. When the BG is always white, changing FG color doesn't make too much sense, often color differences won't even be visible (e.g. yellow on white).

Like # people like this

The status solution is not the same, you have limited color options and the text is only in upper case letters.

6 votes
AnnWorley Atlassian Team Nov 08, 2017

@Samuel Egger We have public-facing feature requests customers can vote on. Please do vote for this suggestion ticket I created based on this thread.

As a user I would like to change the background color of all or parts of a page

You may also comment to emphasize your use case. Voting or commenting adds you to notifications so you will know when there is progress.

With all due respect Ann, 

We are often asking, voting, and begging for improvements. Some or many of our requests are for the most basic of features that one should expect as standard in a 2018 editor. 

Basic highlighting is one of those very basic features. This has been requested for many years. Looking at the vote link As a user I would like to change the background color of all or parts of a page - gives an entirely false impression that only 48 Confluence editors want it and it's only a recent request from about a year ago.

It's not just that... I see or experience many other issues, limitations, or bugs that are *many* years old. I can site hundreds of examples from the above page (like CONFSERVER-28579). 

It leads me (or us) to ask, "What exactly do Atlassian sw engineers do?" - I'd laugh but seriously, I have dozen of issues that haven't been solved in years. You're actually worse than Google for resolving product issues. In fact, in my last job, I successfully argued against buying Atlassian Confluence. In my current job, I inherited a very large Confluence (SAAS) project. Unless I see a change in attitude or a reasonable explanation on the appearance that Atlassian doesn't actually care, I will replace you... if I ever find a suitable replacement.  

That's all, rant over. 

Yeah, I'm with Shawn here. As the person responsible for all dev-level services and tech we use for our projects and internal company organization, I'm not convinced the money we spend every month is really worth the service and support we get. It took an army of customers to prove to Atlassian there was a memory leak that crashed browsers in JIRA, and in doing so we found that Atlassian doesn't even test their software properly across platform and browser combinations. This followed by a suggestion from Atlassian to either stop using Linux (WTF?) or use a different browser - one that was also affected by the problem.

For a company worth around $10B, this is pretty awful. A company worth so much which other companies rely on so closely shouldn't be so cheap on the Dev/QA resources. While it isn't my place to tell a company what to do with their time and money, it is my decision that will sway if said company will receive money from my company. There are certainly other options out there for far less green.

As a developer, I know that you generally do get what you pay for with software. Though, there are exceptions to the rule. There must be equal value, and the long laundry list of year-old bugs that have not been solved, on its own, is highly disconcerting.

The ability to highlight is already a long wait, even for just an answer on whether it will or won't happen. Posts in this thread alone are over 4 years old. Add to that the fact that this "Vote" page to find out if people even want the feature came over 3 years after this thread was even created shows how little Atlassian cares about our opinions.

My rant is not over; it's on pause.

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Is there any way to reconsider opening this research back up?   I had to use the work-a-round to highlight some words and the only thing that helped me is that I work in software engineering, so doing the macro is possible.. To the average user in Confluence at my company, this would not be feasible for them to use.  There would be tons of questions and confusion. 

Like Michael Tuchman likes this

Instead or Markdown and direct HTML editing, you can also add a User Macro (instead of buying one). It's clumsy but better than nothing:

## Macro title: Text Highlight
## Macro has a body: Y
## Body processing: Rendered
## Output: text background color set to yellow
## @noparams
<span style="background-color: yellow">$body</span>

I 100% agree that the editor should support this directly to avoid hacks like this!

Useful answer. Thanks.

Nice one. Saves me paying for a plugin.

Thanks Peter.

I have opened a ticket up with Atlassian on this issue. Please vote it up to make sure that this feature gets the attention that it deserves.



Done.  Thanks for creating the issue.  It's a shame it's getting so little attention.

Hello Atlassian - Are you out there listening?  I know I have. Every time someone posts more on this thread, it just infuriates me more.

Being in product management and development it blows my mind that you have customers that have been requesting a simple enhancement for four (4) plus years and only response has been trust me you're asking for it but you really don't want it

I have read and tried a dozen plus hacks that users have suggested to get around what should just be an icon on the tool pallet. Changing the background color in a documentation tool shouldn't be a multi-click process with Javascript or CSS that requires a cheatsheet to remember. Using your product should NOT be some damn difficult!  

Apparently the attitude of Nik, the community champion back in 2014, is how Atlassian approach users' feedback.  It frustrates me to no end that Nik stated changing text colour is not that common. People do use it, and they do ask, but it's really not used as much as a lot of people think it is. How the hell can he quantify that? There are numerous people here requesting this enhancement. That means there are at least 10 more people out there wanting this feature for each person that has taken the time to provide feedback. The thing is, if you don't listen to your users, then your users will stop talking to you. The most valuable thing for improving the product is listening to your users. Product Management 101.

They will never add it. They can EASILY add it. I, too, and in product management and development. Anyone in my team could add text highlighting in 20 minutes to a WYSIWYG editor. Some, quicker.

Atlassian isn't going to add it because it would compete with their affiliates' plugin sales. I don't need proof to know this is a fact.

We need to pay $1/user for highlighting? No thanks. And it's not even available on cloud. There's so many obvious ways here that cloud users are getting screwed. Atlassian doesn't seem to care at all.

It's pretty disheartening that Atlassian has decided it's profits before quality. There should be a mass exodus from Atlassian's ecosystem. I know that in December I'm going to start my entire company's migration to alternatives.  And that's what happens when the Atlassian ignores the leads and managers of the tech teams.

Money, money, money! Hubba, hubba, hubba! Who do you trust?

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+1 for mass exodus, I've hinted that I'll do it in the past elsewhere on this thread and I'm starting it this holiday season. Its a less busy time of the year baked-in with celebrating our release from Atlassian abuse of its users.

It is just impossible to work anymore with this suite and there is no reason to get stuck anymore either.

@Rahav Did you have an alternative in mind? My company is looking for a documentation management system and Confluence is being seriously considered but if they can't get this right I'd like to keep looking around.

Like Peter Flynn likes this

We have decided that Confluence is NOT a documentation management system.  It's not a document editor.  It's good for some collaboration, and maybe as a Wiki, but as a way to write documentation, it's abysmal.

Unfortunately we now have thousands of pages of documentation in Confluence.  When the project ends, we will not be continuing to use Confluence any more than we absolutely have to.

Like Liam Q likes this

I would also really like this feature. 
I am currently working on documenting our pipeline and I need areas to stand out.
Have your UX designers done any research on the matter? If so, what are the numbers of the people who you interviewed?



I've been wanting this basic functionality for years now.

This is basic stuff.

I retire from my company in a month and will no longer use Confluence. It's a shame that this wasn't implemented before I left.

And it also proves that all those people who said that Atlassian doesn't really care about user feedback were correct. That's a shame. Adios.

Formatting in HTML was the only way I could do it.

There is an issue overall with formatting in confluence. 

I understand Confluence was created to share knowledge and that is fantastic.   The issue stems from the formatting limitations Confluence has and it making it difficult to really plan out a document that is easy to read and edit.  

As a customer, I want to be able to format document content like a learning guide. Sometime using tabs, highlight words, and other really easy formatting options.  The way Confluence is designed makes that a little difficult.  One has to almost be a Developer to use some of the add-on macros available.    I really think Atlassian should take a step back, look at how their customers are using the tool (just like Slack did) and maybe redesign a few things to make it easier for the end user.   

One easy way is to look at these forums and see that a lot of folks are always asking about highlighting words without having to configure it in HTML or something similar.  Give the customer what they need or provide a better solution  Who cares what it was originally designed for.  Technology is changing everyday, we must all learn, grow, and listen to our customers/clients/Vendors when that state what they want to see change.    


Note: I've created some pretty great content using add-ons that make the page beautiful to look at, but editing it is a pain.  No one outside my department is able to utilize Confluence in the same way because the end user is not a developer and has no idea how to use HTML macros.  Sales, accounting, Legal, all they want is something easy to use and be able to see it on the page as it would look.. not the add-on macros..(i.e. HTML language. )

I think more broadly you should be looking at Confluence as a means to disseminate and share information.  Given that many workers today are dealing with too much information, a simple method to highlight key points and information across teams would probably be valuable.  

On the other hand, if you simply want to continue to think of your product in a vacuum that should only be used the way the creator intended it to be used, you're right.  There is no thinkable scenario where highlighting should ever be needed or used.  

+1 for implementing the above feature and making it easy to implement.

Is there any voting portal for features? We also need background highlighting. There often are some really important sections in protocols for example that need to be highlighted.

3 votes
Deleted user Mar 05, 2015

In OnDemand, there's a {status} macro which allows you to highlight a single word or very short phrase in a coloured lozenge. I see people use it for Red-Amber-Green status a lot. 

If you're not using OnDemand, you can also define a highlight as a class in the global or space-level stylesheets, such as this

.highlight { bgcolor:yellow; }

Then you use the source editor to add the class to a paragraph, li or span tag.  

&lt;p class="highlight"&gt;Whole paragraph highlighted. &lt;/p&gt;.  
&lt;p&gt;Or just &lt;span class="highlight"&gt;highlight&lt;/span&gt; one word or phrase.&lt;/p&gt;


It's a bit long-winded but it works.  (Source editor isn't available in OnDemand). 



This is the solution that worked for me - Thanks! I did need to modify your CCS a bit. Work in latest versions of IE and Chrome. .highlightYellow { background-color: yellow; }

I'd like to see background colour as a formatting option. Seems crazy the workaround I had to go to, without even achieving what originally seemed so simple with other editors.

Since it doesn't get pointed out often, and even though Sisyphean is never going to do anything about it, I'll observe that if one had to choose between foreground coloring and background coloring, background is much more useful than foreground.  The OP pointed this out all those years ago.  Few colors are readable over white backgrounds without darkening them to the point where they look black or at least dark brown; by contrast (no pun intended), most colors have a luminance value on which, when used as a background, black text is 100% readable while those backgrounds all retain their distinctiveness to somebody who can see the entire color wheel.  The fact that the entire color wheel is _not_ actually available for all viewers makes it all that much more important to offer background colors for accessibility's sake.  Not that the vendor cares about accessibility one iota.

Thank you Phil, I just wrote a comment in 2020 in frustration saying exactly the same thing. Yours is much better worded though.

Like Cheryl J likes this

Ridiculous oversight.  Confluence is not really a "wiki" by any means, are we still in 2008?  It is being marketed, and used, as a massively configurable way for teams to use graphic and color-intensive pages to organize whatever they want, online.  Leaving out this banally simple feature, that is one of the first things you would use with a MS Word or any other editor that would be built for consumption by teams is ridiculous.  

Another example of Atlassian arrogance doing exactly what you're not supposed to with product in Agile and Lean - ignore user need.  Just look at the length of this post.  Agreed 100% with @darrenweiner, how much work could this be to create, and who doesn't want to?

There are numerous other issues with the new template, chiefly the "cmd + shift + J" to bring in Jira issues in a keystroke is gone, really slows the flow of using Confluence, and there was no reason to kill that off if they had any sense of power users...

It's not an oversight. They do it on purpose to sell plugins. Everything they've taken out or refused to put in is purely to sell plugins. Atlassian is SUPER greedy.

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@A_Raadls , I'm no huge fan of Atlassian, but that seems like some deep-seated cynicism.

@Matt Kernes , I don't disagree; it's just that your scope is too narrow. I'm sure that add-on developers are happy to have the opportunity to add to the functionality of Confluence, but the downside is the poor saps who have to pay for the add-ons. Or can't, or whose companies won't.

Let's start a rumour that Atlassian is a division of EA. Certainly there's a lot of overlap in their business models. :-)

Well, since Atlassian will NEVER admit it, and will never give us something as trivial as this (since paid plugins exist now), it's a moot point. This is why our company is moving away from Atlassian.

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@Matt Kernes I know it's been a while, but meant to say that you are spot on, we have also ditched Confluence at this point.  One thing you did not mention, but I'm sure you meant to, is that most of the add-ons also are buggy and horrible to use, on top of what you pointed out about costing extra money!

This is one of the most insane thing I have seen.

Like # people like this

You're right, it is insane to let your users build (sometimes illegally) unusable pages.

I suppose that should be decided by the users. Here's how I landed here. I am building a 'legal' page and there are a bunch of TBDs that need highlighting. The unsaid universal rule is to highlight the text with a yellow background color. Everyone is just so used to that. So I try yellow text color but then the text is not visible. So I have to mark it red which feels a lot stronger use.

What is the recommended way to highlight TBD on a page?

Like Liam Q likes this

Ah, ok, you've got the same problem I see repeated through this discussion.  You have the wrong idea about who your "users" are. 

Consider the reader, not the author.

For now, there are 5 of us collaborating on a document, so until the document is 'finished', the readers and authors are the same people.

Ok.  But why should software pander to a limited audience when it's been built for everyone?

Only because this is too trivial an issue to have gone on for this long. It's not like the twitter edit button that has huge ramifications. 

I'd agree that it's trivial, I don't grasp why anyone is bothering to ask for something that they don't understand that no-one really wants.

@Nic Brough _Adaptavist_ Why should the software pander to the customer? Really?

Why do you have this idea in your head that nobody wants this, when there are literally hundreds of people on this very page who are stating in no uncertain terms that this is a highly requested feature?

Maybe for you personally, or for your company, or in your industry, it's not common. Does that mean that this must somehow apply to all 7 billion of us in every organisation worldwide because it's your preference?

At the end of the day, Atlassian is just too lazy to add in simple features that we can get from third parties by paying for plug-ins.

>Why do you have this idea in your head that nobody wants this

Because they don't.   It is utterly irrelevant that "hundreds of people on this page" want this when it is something that is a bad idea.  In those terms, I live in a counry that thinks socio-economic suicide is a good idea.  Just because asome pople think it's a good idea does not mean that it is.

This is a bad idea.  A really bad idea if you think it through properly.  Try doing that and get back to me if you can think of a way to do this without excluding huge swathes of people (which is illegal in a lot of places)

If you're talking about accessibility, what's wrong with

<span class="highlight">text to be highlighted</span>

Dude.  Deep calming breaths.  Close your eyes, count to ten, and if you still need to vent I'd suggest firing up your spell checker and just explaining _why_ this request upsets you so.  Is it your country's politics that has you so worked up?  Did Adaptavist do something that made you mad, and you're now upset that their product and its documentation offer this feature?  Is the 3700-or-so reported installations of that product too many?  Too few?

It's really not worth getting ulcers over.  So some people asked for a feature you don't like in the world's crappiest wiki.  Why let that become all-consuming?

Like Liam H likes this

It upsets me because

a) the request is "make things broken for people".

b) most of the responses are from people who have not bothered to read what has been said previously.

Please, stop doing point 2.  Go read.  Go understand, think about your users, all of them, not just the 75% who won't have a problem with you doing something stupid for the other 25%.  Please, please, please, just... try not to be the one who doesn't get it.

 >It is utterly irrelevant that "hundreds of people on this page" want this when it is something that is a bad idea.

Why is it a bad idea in all contexts? You say you've tried achieving the same thing in the past. You've given the reasons of color blind people and dyslexics, but that doesn't mean there can never be any alternative to black text on a white background for the other 90 percent of us?

@S Hoover thanks for the suggestion but HTML macros don't work in Confluence Cloud, despite Atlassian's documentation.

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@Liam HSorry, I wasn't clear. That was a suggestion to Atlassian as to how to implement the feature in a way that is accessible to screen readers. My employer's Confluence installation isn't configured to allow me to edit raw HTML, so the "span" suggestion wouldn't work for me either. But if highlight were to be implemented as a feature in the Confluence editor by spitting out span elements, it would work for me as well as for screen readers.

Like Liam H likes this

@Phil RegierDoes that link mean that the reason Nic doesn't like this Confluence feature request is because they work for a company that produces a competing plug-in, and implementation of this feature in Confluence itself would mean loss of sales of Nic's employer's plug-in?

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Makes sense, good suggestion S Hoover.

@Nic Brough _Adaptavist_ Of course, if Atlassian were truly concerned about colour blind users, they could allow only preconfigured combinations of text colour and background colour as determined by them to be suitable for all variations of colour blindness. Obviously, black text on yellow background is fine even in this instance, and therefore colour blindness isn't an excuse to not include it. Only developer laziness and subjective preference, neither of which should stop features being offered to users for them to decide whether they want it.

@S Hoover The thought had crossed my mind, but I don't think it's clear.  I've known people to hold proxy arguments like this with coworkers they don't like or disagree with but dare not confront in person.  Nic has mentioned that plugin before too, without today's theatrics, so it seems there must be more to it than just a simple conflict of interest.

@S Hoover That was the impression I got. Certainly sounds like a case of "putting that functionality in the base product would be a stupid idea, when you can give us $1000s to provide it for you".


Besides, as I understand it (having quite a few dyslexic friends) black text on a white background is a big issue for them. 

@S Hoover  - no, it's nothing to do with my employer.  I have spent a lot of time working with systems getting rid of "pretty" colours in order to make them usable for people with different sight capabilities to me.  A lot of it prompted by a large charity for people with sight problems.  There are only about four combinations that work ok for virtually everyone and I can pretty much guarantee that everyone who would do coloured backgrounds have no idea what they are and won't use them.

And @Liam H - yes I absolutely would support the ability to select from a limited range of themes that don't break.  But that's not what people here are asking for.

@Nic Brough _Adaptavist_ Well, that's settles it, I suddenly don't want highlighting after all!  You just changed my mind with your infinite experience having to convert other peoples' garbage to be readable for the color-blind.

I shall repent from my ways and stick to black-and-white.

You should Google the term "selection bias".  Perhaps your belief that everyone has sight problems stems from your participation in a large charity for people with sight problems.

I'm always amazed coming back to this thread every few months to see the endless requests for this feature over the years.  

@Nic Brough _Adaptavist_ -- why not do both?  Enable background highlighting with colors like many of us are asking for and enable an accessible interface mode for users that are color blind and need other ways to interpret marked up information?  It'd be a win-win!!

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Found a "cheat" which works well for me for basic text highlighting (mid sentence even).

  1. Select the text you want to highlight with your mouse while viewing a page (note: not while you are editing the page)
  2. Wait a couple seconds, a pop-up will appear offering an "Inline Comment"
  3. Type in brief comment and hit enter.
  4. The text which was selected will now be highlighted for users, and if they click that text they will see your comment

This is supposed to be for "review" purposes, but it works perfectly for getting text quickly highlighted. 

Limitation:  Sadly this doesn't work in {code} or {noformat} blocks, but does work in {panel}

I also noticed "Inline Comment" function works well for text highlight. This "cheat" is best solution for me.

And I voted for this issue:

Hi Martin,

You can do this using macros like the Info, Note, Tip and Warning macro.

Or with the Adaptavist Content formatting macro's :

Best regards,


Yes, sorry, I said the {bgcolor} macro before, but didn't point at it, and I shold have. It's in the Adaptavist stuff as Peter says.

(I should say I work for Adaptavist for the sake of openness, but it was written a long time before I started there...)

The Info, Note, Tip and Warning macros place the text in a box with a header. This is not a solution for the request. People on this thread are asking for the ability to highlight a word or phrase.

I just tried using the Note macro in the documentation I'm working on. I had to undo the change because the Note box was ridiculous for the small amount of text I wanted to highlight in a paragraph.

Add me to the list of people who would really love to be able to highlight text in Confluence.

Like # people like this

Welcome to Atlassian. It simply *wont* happen.

Like Michael Tuchman likes this

Frustrating how my asterisks in my reply did not do anything to the text, right? 8-))

Like Peter Flynn likes this

It's still worth 15 seconds of your time to add a Vote here -

It may never happen but at least we can raise a flag and say that we want it :-)

Adaptavist Confluence Content Formatting Macro is no longer free. Seems to be included in the cloud version, but you have to pay for it separately in the server version.

There are 202 votes on, 211 votes on, and 99 votes on . Multiple users have been asking for this for 7.5 years.

Since the editor does not support highlighting, but it does support other features that no one uses like subscript, I hijacked the subscript feature to perform highlighting instead.  All you have to do is go to "Space Tools" > "Look and Feel" > "Stylesheet", and add the following.  Then anything that you set as subscript will instead be highlighted yellow.

<style type="text/css">
/* hijack subscript and make it highlighting instead */
.wiki-content sub {vertical-align: inherit; font-size: inherit; background-color: yellow; }

Please note that this is for Confluence Server and you must have the Space Admin permission to view and edit the stylesheet.

Hi Jeff, is this for Confluence Server? I've checked my Confluence Cloud instance and can't find the "Stylesheet" settings page. Sounds like a great workaround but may not be possible on ConfCloud unless I'm missing something.

Yes, this applies only to Confluence Server.  I have updated my original post with this detail.  Thanks for pointing this out.

Hello all,

At work, we have neither the CSS macro nor (I'm told) the most recent version of Confluence. Others have mentioned the panel macro, and I have successfully used it to obtain colored background on text.

Unless you do want a title and (and a background color for that, if applicable), the only parameter for which you need to specify anything is Background Color.

Then you put what text you want into the box that appears when you close the macro dialog.

It's also worth noting that that text can be any of your paragraph styles, and that you can apply a color to the text. You're limited to what's in the dropdown, but it's a decent assortment.

Any web RGB color for the background, the dropdown colors for the text—if, like me, you don't have the CSS macro, you have at least that to personalize (corporatize? :-) ) things a bit.

Checking in on this thread, looks like Atlassian has decided to kill this idea completely for 12 months. 

See: CONFSERVER-54178 where this was documented as a enhancement request and then squashed late December 2018. Too bad too. 

Like Kyle_Denis likes this

This is absolutely pathetic. Shame on you Atlassian! Your user base has been requesting a simple feature for four years now. A feature that would make your "customers" user experience a little nicer.

The "Accepted answer" to this Question is utter BS.

Like # people like this

This is a big 'miss' when it comes to the product team.  Chances are there is a stubborn key developer or architect that has some beef with this feature or what it represents.  I too, miss html 1.0...especially the <blink> tag...but it's not coming back (is it?  Please let me know if it is!).

Listen to your customers.  This is a few lines of code.

So far the only "answer" from Atlassian on this is "We think you don't need that feature so many people have clearly expressed that they need.". You don't get to tell customers what they need. It's been four+ years. Can you please implement this so we don't have to keep trying all of these half-baked hacks to fake our way through it?

I just got sent 2 badges via email from Atlassian.

They seem more interested in developing stupid badges than actually giving me a basic useful function in their tool.

Well, of course. They removed background color/highlighting so they could make a paid plugin (or allow their associated developers to make a plugin).

Atlassian is lost at sea and they're on borrowed time.

I've found the inline span method is good for changing the font within a paragraph:

To change the font on the entire page:

1. add the CSS macro (from the '+' menu, or type '{css' and select the CSS macro

2. Inside the CSS macro, add the commands to change the font type, eg. the following will change the type of the font for the whole page to Times.

#content {font-family: Times;}



Several fonts are generally available to all browsers, for a fuller list, go here:

The point is not in finding workaround, but making it convenient, untuitive, and easy.

Imagine that you'd need to look for workaround for background color in MS Word, MS Excel, Google Docs, Google Sheets, OpenOffice Writer, and any other editor.

Confluence editor is the only exception and in a stupid, inexplicable way.

Like # people like this

@Maksym Kovalenko I so agree with you. I just need a button that can do this.

I agree too.  People are using wiki in ways beyond which it was originally intended.

There is an elegance to having the formatting defined independently from the content.  And, it makes it simple to change the appearance by having that kind of control.  That isn't a Confluence element, that is the heart and soul of the HTML and CSS design.  Confluence is supporting that. 

However, HTML also gives us a lot of power in manipulating bits and pieces, and many of these are not supported in the confluence interface. The lack of support for basic elements wastes a lot of time, as one person after another, not just admins, has to discover how to do things that are standard features in systems since the 1990s. 

Until Confluence comes to understand that their community of users has bigger demands, I've decided to share the solutions that I have found, hoping that others will too, so people don't have to waste as much time as i have searching for solutions.

I would love to see a system that gives me menu controls of so much more, for example to set standard properties like background colors, to really given Confluence the potential that it has.  It's an interesting tool.

<SCRIPT type="text/javascript">
var element = document.getElementById('main-content'); = "#33CCCC";

insert html 

If your site has HTML editing enabled (won't work on a new page; save and edit first),

1. Use the regular text color icon to designate what will become your background colors

2. Edit HTML (the "<>" icon in the upper right) and search/replace to change




3.  Click "Apply" and save.

You can apply this selectively if you can read your HTML well enough, and/or you can reverse the substitution to get the toolbar button to work again, and/or you can change the text color _after_ moving the first color to the background to do color-on-color text.

Not as good as a real background color option (which we won't get), but more efficient than editing HTML/markup for every single instance of color; this way you can do all at once in bulk.  Just don't do anything so extravagant you can't fix the HTML if you mess something up, and be prepared to fix the resulting <span>s if you find the colors bleeding between lines or list entries.

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