I am trying to find a concrete definition of the Confluence theme and layout. I would like to know what is the difference between the two but I can not seem to find anything that makes it clear. Can anyone help? My goal to be able to have different designs for difference spaces but also still have a company wide layout/theme/design. What is the best and easiest way to accomplish this goal.
Yes, it's possible to have a company-wide design for the site, with individual designs for individual spaces. I'd recommend themes as the easiest way to accomplish this.
A theme is a set of CSS, layouts and possibly other functionality too. Themes are usually packed as add-ons (plugins) that you need to install into Confluence. Confluence ships with two themes: The Default theme and the Documentation theme. You can get other themes on the Atlassian Marketplace.
So, a theme is the simplest and safest way to change the look and feel of your site. When you upgrade to a newer version of Confluence, you'll be able to find out whether there's a compatible version of the theme from the theme developer.
Here's the documentation on themes: https://confluence.atlassian.com/display/DOC/Applying+a+Theme+to+a+Space
You can also customise Confluence by adjusting the "layouts". This is a technical process, and involves updating the Velocity template coding and HTML that is part of Confluence. If you do this, you'll need to re-apply your updates when you upgrade Confluence to a new version.
The documentation is here: https://confluence.atlassian.com/display/DOC/Customising+Site+and+Space+Layouts
It's also possible to adjust the style for a space, by adding CSS stylesheets. This is also a fairly technical process, but works well if you want to tweak just a few styles: https://confluence.atlassian.com/display/DOC/Styling+Confluence+with+CSS
I hope this answers the question!
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