Forcing columns (column macro) to be as wide as their percentages

Adam Neaman
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January 20, 2023

Using the column macro, I created a page with 5 columns set to 19% each, with a 1% column serving as a spacer between each of them. 

So it's 9 columns: 19%   1%   19%   1%   19%   1%   19%   1%   19%

The problem I'm having is that the columns always shrink to be as narrow as the widest text in any of them.  Instead, I'd like them to take up the percentage of the page I've specified, regardless of whether the text in the column fills that space.

Immediately below is how that renders.  As you can see, the 9 columns do not fill 99% of the horizontal space even though 99% is the sum of the specified column widths. 


After some poking around, what became clear is that Confluence is narrowing the columns so that each is only as wide as the widest text in any of the 19% columns.  What I want is to force the columns to be the width (in percent) that I specified.  I don't want to specify width in pixels because then the column widths won't scale up/down when a user expands/shrinks their browser window.

I figured out that if I put text into any one of the columns that is so long that it would wrap at any reasonable browser width, then this forces all the columns (not just that one) to fill the 99% specified. This is how I want it to appear - as shown in the image at the bottom of this post.

As a hack/workaround I'm putting white text on a white background at the bottom of one of the columns.  The invisible text does fix the formatting, but it's a clunky solution that leaves garbage text on my page that becomes visible any time a user hits ctrl-a. 

Is there a non-hack way of forcing columns that are specified in percentages to actually expand to the specified percentage?

Is this a bug in confluence's implementation of columns?  Or should something like "Enforce specified % width" be an option/check box in the column macro?


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