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It seems with the new update that tables are responsive by default (default to the width of the page!) and although the tutorial says you can toggle between the two, there is nowhere to select this.
Sounds like you're using Confluence Cloud? In the new Confluence Cloud editor experience this is currently not possible. If you check the feature comparison between the old and the new editor you will see that in the old editor you could choose between fixed-width and responsive while in the new editor you can only choose between 3 set widths (small, medium, large) using this button next to the table:
There is a ticket currently in the gathering interest phase that you can vote on if you're interested in getting this feature back.
That RFE is three years old with 875 votes and yet is still in Under Consideration status which boggles my mind and make me certain that Atlassian isn't properly prioritizing customer needs.
We migrated from Confluence Server a few months ago and the first and loudest complaint from our user base was the loss of control over column widths so I found that RFE immediately and was disappointed at the lack of responsiveness (pun intended) from Atlassian there.
For me the worst part is having a two column table where the data in both columns is very small (width-wise) and the table still stretches across the entire width of the page. Sometimes my table will have 10 characters in each of two columns so it is ridiculous that the table is 1500+ pixels wide in a browser.
Migrating from Confluence Server to Cloud brings over templates with the legacy editor so the only way I know of to sort of make the legacy editor default is to modify a migrated template so it is empty and use that every time you create a new page. I know that's not what you meant by "default" but I think that may be as close as you are going to get.
From experience in trying to design table mechanisms that attempt to work with various form factors, I found that it is never a win-win outcome. What's needed is to implement two separate mechanisms, each corresponds to its own use case (by page author's choice):
The second mechanism could then be carefully evolved in the long run with more responsiveness and auto-formatting as possible, but it should still be given to the Confluence page author the choice and not governed by Confluence default. For example, if a page author wants the second column to be fixed-width at 12 characters, then so be it and not be overridden by confluence.
The RFE had this note added on 2023-09-18 "I'm excited to share that we plan to start progressively rolling out this feature over the coming weeks. The new solution will allow you to resize tables in both fixed-width and full-width Confluence pages."
For any company I've worked for, a feature that used to work and no longer works was known as a "Defect" or "Bug", not a feature request. When my new refrigerator stops refrigerating, I don't call Maytag and request a new feature.. I ask them to fix the defect in their product. Not sure why the rules are different here....
Kinda surprising that coming up on 3 years and still no ability to do fixed width tables.
Where this becomes a huge problem is when doing panels (ex: "page properties") because the table still tries to do the entire page width, but the layout+panel make it only 50% so what ends up happening is horizontal scrolling.
Talk about getting knee-capped on features
When editing the table you have an additional menu top left:
We still have this editor in our Server version, BUT
neither "Responsive" nor "Fixed width" do anything change in the behavior of the tabel.
When choosing "Fixed width" you'r lucky if you manage to finde the blue boarder of the column, and when you found it it doesn't do anything.
I realy buggy editor ... :-/