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How do I add a text "hint" in Confluence Edit

When I am in Edit mode of a Confluence page, there are places where I want to display a "hint" as to what should be entered at a particular location

An example of this is the Task list macro where it gives some useful instruction for when you are creating the tasks.

How do I create that "hint" text (that hint text doesn't appear in the normal viewing mode of the page)

7 answers

2 accepted

7 votes
Answer accepted
Daniel Eads Atlassian Team Feb 10, 2020

Given the confusion between Cloud and Server versions of Confluence some posters on this question have had, I'd like to expound on the correct answers provided by Rodney and Scott:

Confluence Server (example shown: Confluence 7.2)

  1. Create a new template (Click the '...' next to the Create button, then click "Add or customize templates for the selected space" at the bottom of the Create dialogue)
  2. Add instructional text to the template page from the menubar dropdown for template items
  3. Modify the instructional text to say what you want on the page you'd like to include the instructional text on
  4. Select the instructional text and copy it to your clipboard
  5. Create/edit the page in Confluence where you want the instructional text added
  6. Paste the instructional text in the correct part of the page

    Steps 2-6 illustrated:



Confluence Cloud

  1. Create a new template (Click "Add or customize templates for the selected space" at the bottom of the Create dialogue)
  2. Add placeholder text to the template page from the menubar dropdown for template items
  3. Type the placeholder text you want to include on your eventual "other" page in to the box that appears
  4. Select the placeholder text and copy it to your clipboard
  5. Create/edit the page in Confluence where you want the placeholder text added
  6. Paste the placeholder text in the correct part of the page

    Steps 2-6 illustrated:


Note that in both cases, you must Inspect the text / modify it in the page's DOM tree (the developer tools in Chrome) if you want to change the placeholder text after you've copied it onto the page. You could also just add different placeholder text on the template again, and then copy/paste that to your page. Simply clicking on the placeholder and typing on a normal page will overwrite the placeholder text - that's the intended purpose of the placeholder/instructional text blocks.

The relative difficulty in getting placeholder/instructional text added to a page is because they are intended to be used on templates. When following the instructions to get placeholders added on a page, please consider if it makes more sense to simply create a template for the page you're working on. It may not in all cases, but likely you may find some situations where a template will save you time in the long run.


Literally the best helpful answer I have ever seen in community help pages, thanks Daniel! You wouldn't happen to have written one for sharing a version/release across projects in Jira? ;) I have found one but it seems like there is always a couple of middle steps that are missing or someone is supposed to just know, which make it hard for people like me just getting into the tool. Thank you again! :) 

2 votes
Answer accepted

While not straight forward, it's actually pretty easy to do.

  1. Open a template in EDIT mode
  2. Change the text for one of the Instructional Text blocks to what you want on your existing page (or create a new one)
  3. Select and copy the text
  4. Paste it where you want it in your Confluence page
  5. Cancel the editing of the template


Hope that helps!

This did not work.

Like Jerry Holbus likes this

Yes, this does not work. Super not impressed that we have to find a work around for stuff like this.

Like # people like this

the process suggested by Scott Hughes does work ... but a bit "clunky" 

The process is to have a template page already with that hidden prompt text - put it in edit mode so you can see the prompt text ... e.g. click Create and select a new page template.

Copy that prompt text into your own page

Now right click the text and select "Inspect"  (Ctrl+Shift+I)

now in the inspection pane that has opened, right click the prompt text line and choose edit text

It works ... but I am "happy" to fiddle like that in various template pages we use ... but getting any of my 4500 Users comfortable to do that is ... well, it is just too hard and scary for them 

It would be REALLY nice if Confluence had another tool in page edit mode that any User could insert anywhere on the page that did all that for them

Like # people like this

Thanks Rodney!!! It worked for me, I couldn't have done it without your help!!! 

Like Sharon Connell likes this

Thanks Rodney, I just ran into this issue myself, I appreciate your help!

This worked for me as well. Baffled that this has to be done via inspect/editing HTML. Atlassian, make this a feature directly on the page!

Like # people like this

This is not working for me in osx/chrome - I can edit the text after inspecting but upon "Save" the text reverts back to the text from the original element I copied. :-/


Ok this works if I paste the element in to the html without modifying it i.e. paste the element into a an editor first, modify it to contain the text you want, then paste it into the Confluence page. Trying to edit the element directly in the page seems to cause issues.

This does not work on the new version.

Like # people like this

There are at a few ways I can think of:

  1. Write a user macro that doesn't display anything when rendered
  2. Use the htmlcomment macro found in Adaptavist's Content Formatting Macros
  3. Use the Hide macro from Run Self-Service Reports for Confluence

To replicate the Instructional text used in templates, use the Confluence Source Editor add-on to add a placeholder:

<ac:placeholder>This is an example of instruction text that will get replaced when a user selects the text and begins typing.</ac:placeholder>

Page Properties worked for me. Insert, then double click to click the Hidden check. 

All these answers are crazy.

I may be simplifying things, but for Confluence Cloud, when editing a document (template or not), all you have to do is type '/' which will open a drop down. Scroll down to "Placeholder Text" and select it. Now write your text. Hit enter. Done. 

PlaceHolder Text.PNG

Thanks @Brent 

I just tried that in my Cloud (had not even known about the / trick)

But it didn't work .. I got a lot of things I could do but could not find the "Placeholder text" option


Also tried our SEVER system .. the "/" trick did not work at all in v7.placeholder.PNG

Can't speak to server, sorry. But how odd that it appears for some and not others for Cloud? We have a standard plan, no custom set up for editing. I'll try to test this further. 


EDIT: It's gone for me now, too! I used it all day, and now it doesn't exist. I shouldn't have said anything. :(


EDIT#2: I tested on both templates and regular pages earlier today, and it was on both. Now it doesn't work on regular pages, but it DOES still work if you are editing a template. 

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