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Numbered Headings in Confluence: 3 kinds of solutions

Headings are vital for giving your Confluence page structure, but having too many headings can make your content difficult to follow.

That’s where numbered headings come in. Numbered headings help you to organise the right information into sections, improving the accessibility and navigation of your Confluence pages. 

Though you can’t automatically number headings using built-in Confluence tools, there are other solutions. We’ve covered three approaches — and why each might be right for you.

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1. Number your Confluence headings manually

While you can manually number headings in Confluence, it can take a lot of time and energy. This is your primary option if you don’t want to improve Confluence’s functionality with a macro from the Atlassian Marketplace.

How to do it

We refer to main headings as top-level headings in this article. Any headings below these are called subheadings.

  1. Navigate to your Confluence page. In the toolbar, click the edit button (the pencil icon).

  2. Find your first top-level heading. Right before the heading name, type your first number and a period, followed by a space.

  3. If you have subheadings in this section, number them following the numbered headings format. 
  4. Do this for each section in your Confluence page, with every top-level heading beginning with a new number.
  5. Click Publish to save your changes. Admire your new numbered headings.





The real drawback of this method is that it’s fiddly and time-consuming. If you have lots of headings, it’s also easy to miss the correct order of them, meaning you might have to backtrack on your progress.

The problem with the numbered headings being manual is that they don’t automatically update when your page changes. If sections get reordered or removed, your headings could end up numbered incorrectly, meaning the manual approach could be the wrong choice if you’re collaborating with others on Confluence pages.

Manually numbering headings could be suitable for you if… 

  • You don’t have many Confluence pages to edit
  • You have few headings/subheadings
  • You aren’t collaborating on Confluence pages
  • Your content is static, and you’re unlikely to update it

If you are collaborating or working with more complex pages, keep reading for a better alternative.


2. Auto-numbered headings using macros for Confluence

If you don’t have the time to keep on top of manually numbered headings, some handy Confluence macros on the Atlassian Marketplace will take care of that for you.

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2.1. Numbered Headings macro apps 

Numbered Headings apps are ideal if you want a simple but effective tool that takes the hard work out of numbering your headings. You can find a list of such apps in Atlassian Marketplace.

One of such app is Numbered Headings. It gives you access to this simple (but powerful) macro from an easy-access button in your toolbar, so you don't need to add any extra macros to the content.

This app has different heading formats, such as Roman and Latin, to suit varied page needs. And here are some of its main features:

  • Numbers headings at the click of a button - no other macros needed
  • Different numbering formats to tailor your page structure
  • Quick and easy to update headings when sections change or are removed 

However, one of such solutions might not be the best choice if you need more features or functionality. If you plan to invest in extra macros to improve the structure and style of your Confluence pages.


2.2. All-in-one styling: apps with a collection of macros

To save your team's time and money on installing different add-ons for different macros, you can look at more comprehensive solutions that will equip your team with a wide range of the most necessary macros for content formatting. One of such app is Content Formatting Macros for Confluence. It is a collection of macros that can boost your pages' overall structure and look, including Numbered Headings.

How does it differ from the standalone Numbered Headings macro?

The Numbered Headings macro is just one of the many helpful tools included in the Content Formatting Macros suite. Numbered Headings functions similarly to the standalone version with an easy-to-use button in the toolbar.

Content Formatting Macros provide a wide range of features that can make your pages more interactive and user-friendly. This includes various of

  • macros that allow you to organise your pagestabs, progress bar, numbered headings)
  • visual macros: button, background, cards
  • give users extra context: tooltip, LaTeX, etc

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Whether you’re improving your documentation’s structure or making a knowledge base more visually appealing, you can use Numbered Headings with the other macros to make your Confluence pages even better.

Apps with a collection of macros could be right for you if… 

  • You want your content to include your company branding
  • You’d like to make your Confluence pages more accessible and interactive
  • You want to save money by investing in a bundle instead of many standalone macros 

Note: These macros are compatible with Confluence for Cloud. Server/Data Center Users, don’t worry! You can set up auto numbered headings using the CSS Stylesheet in Content Formatting Macros for Server/DC - learn how with this guide


If you’re unsure which approach best suits your needs, remember that you can try every solution and choose which one is better for you. Most of the apps from Atlassian Marketplace allow you to set up a trial version for free. You can enjoy 30 days of unrestricted access to all the included macros, helping you decide whether you’ll benefit from the features beyond Numbered Headings.





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