In my case the "Create variable" option is automatically highlighted and so a click on the space key will also do and have the same effect. All you have to avoid is to mouse click somewhere else because this will remove the highlighting and then you get "nothing".
I don't know if I understand your question correctly because to me it seems so easy and self-explanatory:
Create a template:
Perhaps you can be more specific about where you get stuck?
Steffen; thank you for your answer; the problem is when I type the $ or select it nothing happens. I should be able to see a drop down like this: https://confluence.atlassian.com/download/attachments/296093779/Template_edit.png?version=4&modificationDate=1363747479635&api=v2
The problem is I don't see that!
I don't see that drop down list either and my page looks quite different from the screenshot. And sometimes I also type $ plus something and it won't convert it into a variable. So I also thought I made something wrong but then suddenly it all worked.
Just a guess:
You could have a look at "Settings > Your settings: Editor" and see if you have disabled Autocomplete and/or Autoformatting.
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