What causes a table to be sortable?

When I create tables in Confluence, I find that some tables become sortable (can click the header to sort a-z or z-a).

However, this isn't the case for every table.

What determines if a table is sortable or not?

8 answers

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In my experience often the cause of a Confluence table not being sortable is that it was initially created by copy/pasting from an excel file. In this case just converting the first row from from highlighted/bold to a header doesn't solve it. What does work is creating a new table with the same header plus a blank row then copy/pasting in the non-header rows of the existing table (max of 20 at a time it seems).

Thanks, David. I saw the same thing. Tried to make the top row a header from a copied table, no dice. Copying to a new table created from within confluence, did the trick.

This worked for me too

Thank you! So happy to have a solution to this!

4 votes

Steffen is basically correct.

If the first row is a heading row, then the table will be sortable. In addition though, if there are any merged cells in the table this will prevent it from being sortable.

I have a table with header that contains text, links, emoticons and no merged cells. It is not sortable.

Matt - it may be that the first row is just a highlighted row (select the row and highlight with a colour - including grey), rather than a heading row. The differences are subtle (heading rows should be bold text by default), but they are different.

You can make sure the first row is a header by clicking the "Heading Row" button in the table toolbar (it will appear not to do anything if the first row just looks like a heading row but wasn't).

Without seeing the raw table markup I don't think I can guess more than that.

"Merged cells break sorting" <-- This was the key answer for me.

I have opened a feature request for confluence server to make tables with merged cells sortable. If you are interested in this feature to be implemented, please vote for it.

I had the same issue with a one of my tables. Using the Confluence source editor add on - I noted that I had a <colgroup> section defined before the <th> definitions. This was causing the table to not "autosort"

I thought it was quite simple (just from my experience):

A table automatically becomes sortable when the first row is a heading row.

Hi Matt, as far as I know there are are three way that the table can be sorted. Based on Alphabet, number and date. Hope it helps.

What version of Confluence? - This is likely less important than I initally thought. I would bet Steffen has the right of things. Can we see tables with sample data to replicate locally?

is version 5.1.3


I was able to verify that those tables without header are unsortable in Cofluence 5.1.3.

Did you haev a chance to get us that sample data? I have a sneaking suspicion that your unsortable tables are missing the grey header rows.

I have a table with header (grey top row) that contains text, links, emoticons and no merged cells. It is not sortable.


I just put it to the test and created a table with a header that contains text, links, emoticons and no merged cells and it is still sortable.

my own testing has found the same thing. However, I still have tables that are not sortable

I also have several tables that are unsortable. Something special about them is they contain Word macro inside of expand macro. Many cells with word files hidden under {expand}.

BTW Table filter macro refuses to work on that tables too. It complains "We can't filter this complex table because of merged cells. Sorry.". Also there are no merged cells in these tables.

I guess a Word macro has something that makes table like having merged cells. Is a bug?

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