Nested tables no longer supported

Bruno Miretti January 8, 2018

Hey Atlassian project managers,

You removed the support of nested tables in Confluence cloud, so we can't create anymore tables in a list or in another table for example....

Please tell us why you removed this feature ? If you write documents, this is used a lot, don't you know about this ? Maybe you use another software ?

I don't thank you, really.

18 answers

12 votes
David Tonhofer July 4, 2018

Removing nested tables is a blockheaded decision at best. Structure in a HTML document comes from nested tables. No nested tables? No structure. Yeah, fallback to bulleted lists or something? Nope.

Don't bore me with "workarounds" when it's hard to make people even start using Confluence in the first place.

This is the situation of a manufacturer deciding to remove the wheels from a wheelchair because these are then easier to implement, test and paint in silly colors.

Once UX designers and "focus groups" are ensconced in a decision process, it's over I guess. Oh yeah, that reminds me. That "flat look" is fugly. Just saying.

4 votes
Gear March 21, 2018

Thanks for all the workaround.

But be honestly. This is just a bad change.

It makes confluence a bad tool for creating any detailed technical documents. You have to spend lot of time just try to make the layout more readable ? But you can do this in seconds with words or google doc...

Just wonder what is the road map of Confluence?
We used to use Confluence build detailed technical documents. But we can no longer do that.
It just silly if we need other tools to write documents then put them into Confluence.

2 votes
Alison Berent
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April 29, 2021

OMG - would it not be just easier to bring back the ability to just create a table within a table? What purpose did removing that ability have, even within the context of the New & "Improved" editor? 

I insisted on having Confluence at my new job as I relied on it so much at my last one, but honestly these improvements may turn out to be dealbreakers for me

2 votes
Michael Rothstein February 1, 2018

I have another approach using the Multiexcerpt macro:

  1. Create your page that has the main table
  2. Create a subpage to hold all of the smaller tables you want to nest into the main table. If you have a lot of nested tables to include, you could create one subpage for each column header to make them easier to manage.
  3. Create each smaller table into a multiexcerpt. Be sure to name the multiexcerpt in a way that describes where its content will go.
  4. Go back to the main table, select "multiexcerpt include" and select the page and multiexcerpt name to include.

In the example below "Notes" is the page where I create the individual tables, each surrounded by a MultiExcerpt and a title that explains where it goes.

 

Step 1.png

Next, use the Multiexcerpt include macro and insert it the correct data into the into the main table

Step 2.png

Save the page and it looks like this:

Step 3.png

 

I hope that this helps.

-Michael

1 vote
David Heide November 17, 2023

Gotta love the sentiment on https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/CONFCLOUD-58656 which basically reassures me that I don't need nested tables.

Well, I spent the last 1.5 hours trying to force Confluence to give me nested tables (or even nested note panels inside other note panels) because they ARE ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to effectively coordinate content reviews amongst my users. 

I'll be making sure to add Atlassian's "we know better" and "whatever's easiest to code" attitude to our growing list of reasons to change platforms.

1 vote
Tim O'Connor
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October 24, 2022

Amazing the sort of stuff that gets removed.  Guess some UI expert knew better than us simple users...

1 vote
Jamie Wolman August 19, 2021

I completely agree. I am trying to move a template to a different space which you cannot do either, which seems like a poor design not having this feature, you can move pages to other spaces, why not a template, and it has nested tables. We have been using this template for years and now because we are reorganizing we cannot have a new template with nested table to match the existing template.

 

Atlassian - Is there ever going to be a fix for this issue? Or what is your best solution to this issue?

1 vote
Сarlos
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January 15, 2018

odd that it was changed...the above is a poor workaround.  would be interested in hearing the Atlasssian approach for this newly added 'feature'.

1 vote
Micheal O'Laoghaire
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January 9, 2018

You can nest tables inside other tables but not directly.

There are several ways but one I know is as follows
(I just did a bunch of them)

1. Insert an Info macro in the table cell of interest.

2. Build the sub-table inside the Info macro.

 

Note: You can't generally copy an existing table into the Info macro.

Workaround is to create the sub-table there, then copy/paste the info from the source table to the new target table, row by row. 

0 votes
Paul Angelo
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January 11, 2022

Thanks Michael, this was the best workaround I found (till Atlassian decides to fix this mess) reading all other comments in this and many other threads related to this problem.

I however used the Excerpt and Excerpt Include macros.

Cheers

-Paul Angelo

0 votes
Archie Campbell March 21, 2021

About an hour a go I added a comment about how bad it is that Confluence does not support nested tables. After using Confluence for a bit I realized that when I had nested tables the nested table was always in column 2. To get around it I took the info in column 1 and called it a heading then added the table in column two under the heading. Not for everyone but it seems to work for me.  I just looked at what I did in a few hours with Confluence and am quite proud of what I have created. My first Wiki. Thanks Confluence!!!

0 votes
Michael Rothstein February 15, 2021

Since posting my workaround above using excerpts to nest tables, our Confluence instance has been updated and we're now using 7.8.3. In this version I'm able to nest tables to my heart's content by simply adding a table inside the cell of another table. No workarounds necessary! Not sure when this behavior changed but I'm glad it is now simple to do.

I should note that we're using the server edition.

 

Nested Tables.png

0 votes
Robert Bijster January 11, 2021

This is a very bad product decision. We are moving to the Cloud version and use nested tables heavily in EVERY page.

I can't see any of the workarounds being a replacement for (quick) editing.

0 votes
John Corwith September 26, 2019

The spreadsheet file has to be uploaded/attached/included on the Confluence page so as long as someone has edit permissions on the page, ownership shouldn't be an issue. Granted, editing it is more cumbersome than editing a Confluence page/table directly. 

Google Sheets can be downloaded as .xlsx files and then uploaded to Confluence.

0 votes
John Corwith September 26, 2019

Unfortunately I'm not working with the cloud product, so I can't try out solutions. My env is enterprise server. But this has me intrigued since I do nest tables and would get hammered if my env gets moved to the cloud.

So dumb question. Have you tried creating the child table in an included macro like Panel, Excerpt, Page properties, Section/Column (either or combined), Indent, TOC Zone and then move that macro into the cell in the parent table?

All these worked for me in server and Column (sans Section) and Page properties minimized white space around the child table. Of course the table greatly expands when editing due to the included macro(s).

0 votes
Jeff Scattini September 25, 2019

Aside from trying to keep data single-sourced in Confluence, what happens when either the owner of the Excel file leaves without transferring owners or your company wants to move from Office to Google? 

0 votes
John Corwith September 25, 2019

Put your data in an excel spread sheet and use the Office Excel macro to include it on your page?

0 votes
Jeff Scattini April 17, 2018

An additional workaround that I don't believe is described above:

If you have the Source Editor plug-in installed, you can use it to copy and paste the source code of the sub-table into the main table. 

It'll look something like this (I did not include the full table formatting for brevity) :

<table>
  <tbody>
     <tr>
       <th>Title1</th>
       <th>Title2</th>
       <th>Title3</th>
        <th>Title4</th>
    </tr>
    <tr>
       <td></td>
      <td>
          Basic Content
       </td>
      <td colspan="1">
            <p>Provide basic concept info:</p>
                   <table>
                            <tbody>
                                <tr>
                                  <th colspan="1">Heading1</th>
                                  <td colspan="1">Content 1</td>
                                        </tr>
                                    <tr>
                               <th colspan="1">Heading2</th>
                              <td colspan="1">Content 2</td>
                                  </tr>
                             <tr>
                                 <th>Heading3</th>
                                <td>Content 3</td>
                           </tr>
            </tbody>
         </table>
    </td>
<td><br /></td>
<td><br /></td>
<td><br /></td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
</td>

...

</tbody>
</table>

Note: Confluence Cloud does not play nicely with the Source Editor plug-in, even though it is supposedly supported. Confluence will automatically inject gross spacing formatting if you dare to open the normal editor functions after making adjustments to the source code. 

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