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Confluence Cloud - Export to PDF - formatting is terrible

I needed to publish some Confluence pages and it seems that it's not really designed for print (PDF) publishing because the formatting is a mess.

- The TOC is poorly formatted with the first two lines appearing centered on page and an additional bullet overlayed within the text of one line of the TOC.

TOC in confluence.PNG

- Broken images, such as an embedded diagram.

- In one section, I inserted a three column page layout and three columns were converted into a single column.

- Panels and Tip/Notes macro boxes are not aligned to the left or right margins. 

- Icons in the Tip/Notes macro boxes are missing. Just the box appears.

- Additional embedded icons were rendered in low resolution. 

How about Word Export?

Next, I tried a Word export. Although it was marginally better, it had it's own problems, such as:

- Beginning with the top... the output includes the Livesearch macro, which is useless in print. Is there a way to publish without certain macros like Livesearch? The Livesearch macro doesn't appear in the PDF export.

- The TOC looks good.

- Embedded diagram is still a broken image.

- There is a perplexing letter "T" in between two paragraphs that doesn't appear in the PDF or the source Confluence! ???

- The Panel macro borders do not appear in the Word output.

- The other icon images appear with better resolution than the PDF export.

- The three column section is still rendered as a single column.

- Why is the Export in the older Word format? Docx format has been available longer than Confluence.

Thanks for your advice.

I don't have access to stylesheets but is it even possible to customize the layout?

14 answers

This is still horrible. It just randomly throws parts of the page anywhere on the exported pdf page. Useless and frustrating.

3 votes
Alex Brousseau
I'm New Here
I'm New Here
Those new to the Atlassian Community have posted less than three times. Give them a warm welcome!
Aug 24, 2023

How is this still an issue after so many years ? I was aware of those limitations when creating my documents so I modified them a little so they can export correctly and the export worked for at least a year. But this week, I tried exporting them to PDF again and now they are all over the place ? It's like they messed it up even more than it already was.

I agree, it's frustrating to spend a lot of time creating documentation, only to find that it's impossible to export to PDF when you need to share it with customers or other people.

I thought that the paid version might be different, but  @Michael Milano  has confirmed that it's the same.

I think it's better to move to Google Docs and pay for 1TB of storage in Google than to pay for Jira.

Thanks, @Michael Milano    for saving me money by letting me know that the paid version of Jira has the same issue.

I think it will be easy to let you choose the page size of a Confluence Page, however,Its sad as confluence its very nice for documentation. however.. 

I have the same usability problem in 2022. We are using Jira for software development and was going to use Confluence for documentation. We ended up switching back to google drive.

After I created a very basic text document with screenshots, the only option I had was to export it because I cannot share the doc unless the email has an account. Only a small number of users in the company have an account, and I don't want to create 50 accounts just to be able to share a document. A problem I do not have in drive.

When I exported the document, surprisingly it looked worse than print screen. The text in the whole document is normal with no headings or special formatting. The text became very small and barely readable. The images which looked fine in Confluence are much larger than they were before. It almost seems like the exporter intentionally screwed up the look and feel.

Due to having no possible way to share or reliably export, we went back. Google drive exports just fine as expected. Creating a public link that anyone with the link can access is not a valid solution. Much happier with google drive because it is significantly easier to use, is bug free, and has more features, like an automatic table of contents.

I know this is old but it still seems to be a problem.

PDFs look awful, and Word documents look awful in a different way. 

2 votes
Shannon Meehan _K15t_
Marketplace Partner
Marketplace Partners provide apps and integrations available on the Atlassian Marketplace that extend the power of Atlassian products.
Aug 25, 2023

Hi everyone 👋 Shannon here from K15t. I stumbled across this post and can see there’s a lot of disappointment in the thread. The native export features definitely leave something to be desired.

I know apps are not always the solution to issues like this, but I want to make folks here aware that my team offers a couple of apps that can really help in this case. I work for the team behind Scroll PDF Exporter and Scroll Word Exporter which can really elevate the export experience. They’re simple to use, require no coding, and you can create and customize as many templates as you want to make sure your team can export with the styling and formatting you need.

I know not every team can accommodate for new apps, but hopefully this helps a few people get the experience they’re looking for. Like any app, they’re free to try on the Atlassian Marketplace. If you have any questions or would like more information, just reach out.

Cheers, Shannon (K15t)

Hey Shanon. 

Thank you for this kind offer. 

But in this age export to PDF is an essential part of almost any document processing application.


I will explore your application for sure. This might be a solution.


Keep in mind that some teams are worried about the security part of any app dealing with documents. Not suggesting that your app is not secured.

Like Shannon Meehan _K15t_ likes this

2023. Still TERRIBLE. 

Almost unbelievable that we still are talking about it.

I am wasting my time trying to sort the page out, leaving blank spaces so it won't cut the table or jumps to the next page, and so on...

A new issue appeared today... it just cuts out images and tables, just like that. 

Yesterday it worked fine with the same page. Today it is broken. 

My company just waisted it's money on this. By the way. ZERO support until now.

I can make beautiful Confluence Pages using Sections and Columns, and I can print a single page using my webbrowser to keep all this layout.

But when exporting from Confluence itself, all layout goes out the window.

Pages are now single column affairs, images don't align right.

I'm almost tempted to go back to DokuWiki...

You think that the layout you have on the page will also be exported to PDF.
Currently, the situation is that we need to create the same thing from the beginning in word.

I use the cloud version

Is this Confluence Server or Cloud? If Server, which version are you using?

We migrated to Cloud, interesting those pages that have remained in the pre-cloud format print to PDF fine, but those we chose to convert have poor PDF formatting. When I say poor, it is mostly due to the font size being half of what it was with more than necessary padding.

1 vote
Izabella Zschaber Sampaio
I'm New Here
I'm New Here
Those new to the Atlassian Community have posted less than three times. Give them a warm welcome!
Jul 07, 2023

Still sucks in July 2023. The export is ugly in both pdf and word. It seems nobody has a fix either?

We as a company have decided to move to a different platform, after trying a bunch of plugins(paid ones).

The confluence team is hardly making any effort to fix this issue although I have repeatedly turned their attention to this really fundamental matter. 

An essential tool & yet so frustrating to use. It should be basic. 

We think they ran into a huge problem with this issue, they just won't admit it. 

Or they are prepping a big SW release that will fix it and a bunch of other issues. 

What are you moving to?

We're looking at BookStack although it's not as advanced.

So frustrating that still an issue in middle of 2023 .. i have created some nice pages for some reports but the export is awful in both PDF and word . Whats point of us all raising or commenting on this when nobody has ever come back suggesting a fix or adding something into the next release roadmap etc from Atlassian.

0 votes
Deleted user Aug 10, 2023

Good lord it's still very ugly especially with tables and big images. There's no resizing, and images are gone squashed by the table.

Come on.

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