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Confluence's look and feel can be modified by editing the 'decorator' (layout) files. Modifying these files allows you to change the look and feel of:

  • The Confluence site as a whole, which includes all spaces within the Confluence site.
  • An individual space within the Confluence site.

This page tells you how to customise the layout files for a space. To perform these customisations, you will require space administrator permissions for that space.

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For security reasons, you must also have Confluence system administrator permissions to modify any space layout throughout your Confluence site.

A feature request (CONF-5808) has been submitted to allow space administrators (who are not system administrators) to access and modify space layouts. Please feel free to vote on this issue if you would like to see this feature implemented.

Confluence system administrators can also customise the layout of their entire Confluence site as a whole. For more information, please refer to Customising Layouts.

(info) Be aware that site layout file customisations modify the default layout files of all spaces in the Confluence site. However, any space layout file customisations will override the equivalent site layout file customisations.

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If you modify the look and feel of Confluence by following these instructions, you will need to update your customisations when upgrading Confluence. The more dramatic the customisations are, the harder it will be to reapply your changes when upgrading. Please take this into account before proceeding with any customisations. For more information on updating your customisations, please refer to Upgrading Custom Layouts.

Confluence is built on top of the Open Source SiteMesh library, a web-page layout system that provides a consistent look and feel across a site. SiteMesh works through 'decorators' that define a page's layout and structure.

To edit the layout of Confluence, you will need to modify these decorator files. A decorator file is a vmd file and is written in a very simple programming language called Velocity. Learn more about Velocity. Once you become familiar with Velocity, you can edit the decorator files to personalise the appearance of Confluence.

These decorator files are grouped into:

  • Site layouts : These are used to define the controls that surround each page in the site. For example, if you want to make changes to the header and the footer, you will need to modify these layouts.
  • Content layouts : These control the appearance of content such as pages and blog posts: they don't change the way the pages themselves are displayed, but they allow you to alter the way the surrounding comments or attachments are shown.
  • Export Layouts: These control the appearance of spaces and pages when they are exported to HTML. If you are using Confluence to generate a static website, for example, you will need to modify these layouts.

Learn more about using decorators.

To edit a decorator file,

  1. Go to the 'Space Admin' tab of the Browse Space view. To do this:

    • Go to a page in the space, open the 'Browse' menu and select 'Space Admin'.
      (info) 'Space Admin' is displayed only if you are a space administrator for that space or you are a Confluence system administrator.

  2. Click the 'Layout' link in the left panel under the heading 'Look and Feel'. A list of the layouts for the space is listed.
    (info) 'Layout' is only displayed if you are a Confluence system administrator.
    • Click 'View Default' to view the vmd file.
    • Click 'Create Custom' to edit the default vmd file. This will open up the vmd file in edit mode.
      Make changes and click 'Update'.

Screenshot : Edit Layouts Example

Click thumbnail to view an example of a vmd file:

RELATED TOPICS

Customising Look and Feel
Applying a Theme to a Space
Administrator's Guide - Design and Layout

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