Documentation for Confluence 4.2.
Documentation for [Confluence Cloud] and the latest Confluence Server is available too.

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Quick guide to searching in Confluence:

  1. Use the search box at the top right of your Confluence screen. It offers you a quick navigation aid as well as a full site search.

  2. You can search Confluence directly from your browser's search box. Just add your Confluence site as a search provider using the dropdown menu in your browser's search box.
  3.  While editing a page or a blog post, you can find and replace text on the page. See Using the Editor.

On this page:


Using the Quick Navigation Aid

The quick navigation aid automatically offers a dropdown list of pages and other items, matched by title to your search query. You can select one of the offered items or ignore them altogether.

To use the quick navigation aid:

  1. Start typing your query into the search box located at the top right-hand corner of every screen. Confluence matches titles as you type, showing a quickly-adjusting dropdown list of pages, blog posts, personal profiles, attachments and so on.
    (info) Press the Enter key if you want to bypass the quick navigation aid and perform a full search, as described below.
  2. To see the space to which an item belongs, let your mouse pointer hover over the item in the dropdown list.
  3. Use the up- and down-arrows on your keyboard to move up and down the list of matching titles and select an item.
  4. Press the Enter key to open the selected item.
  5. If you do not find what you are looking for, click Search for at the bottom of the list to do a full search. This has the same effect as pressing Enter immediately after typing your search query. The full search is described below.

Screenshot: The quick navigation aid showing titles matching the query 'con'

Here is more information about how the quick navigation feature works:

  • Confluence will truncate any titles that are too long to be displayed.
  • The matching items are grouped by content type so that you can quickly find the type you want. Confluence shows a maximum of 6 pages and/or blog posts, 2 attachments, 3 people and 2 spaces. If no matches are found in a particular category, then that category does not appear in the list.
  • Items are ordered with the most recent updates first.
  • When the matching item is a person's name, their profile picture appears next to their name in the list.
  • The part of the title that is matched by the search query is highlighted in bold text.
  • Your Confluence Administrator can enable or disable the quick navigation feature using the Confluence Administration Console.


Performing a Full Search

When you perform a full search, Confluence will search all content in all spaces (global and personal), mail, personal profiles, attachments and the space description. The results will appear on a new screen.

For the developers

The rendering of search results in Confluence is pluggable. If you are a developer, you may wish to write your own search result renderer to change how the search results are displayed. For more information, please refer to the following developer document: Writing a search result renderer.

To use the full search:

  1. Type your query into the search box located at the top right-hand corner of every screen (or type it into the text box at the top of the Search screen).
  2. Press the Enter key. (This means that you will ignore the dropdown list of titles offered by Confluence's quick navigation aid, described above.)
  3. The Search screen appears, as shown below. If any Confluence pages or items match your search query, the Search screen shows a list of the matching items.
  4. Click an item's title to open the Confluence page or other item.

Screenshot: Results of searching for 'permissions'

On the left of the screen you will see a text block for each item that matched the search criteria, with the following information for each item:

  • An icon representing the content type (user profile, space, page, blog post, etc). See Confluence Icons.
  • The title or name of the content item.
  • For attachments: The size and type of file, with a link to download or view the attachment where relevant. See information on viewing Office attachments below.
  • For image files: A thumbnail of the image will display to the right of the file name.
  • The most relevant few lines of content from within the item. Any words that match your search query are highlighted within the content.
  • For personal profile items: The email address.
  • The space to which the item belongs, displayed on the last line of the item's text block.
  • The date when the content item was last modified.

You will see only search results which you have permission to view.

On the right of the screen are further options which allow you to tailor or filter your search results. See below.

Viewing Attached Office Documents

When the search results include an attached Office document, you will see a View link as shown in the screen snippet below.

Screenshot: Search results include an attached Office document with 'View' link

Click the View link to view the content of the Office document within Confluence. If you have an Office application installed, you will also be able to launch your Office editor from within Confluence. See Displaying Office Files in Confluence and Working with the Office Connector.

Accepting 'Did you mean' Suggestions from Confluence

When you perform a full Confluence search, as described above, Confluence may offer you an alternative spelling of your search query. The alternative spelling will appear next to the words 'Did you mean', as shown in the example below.

To accept an alternative spelling suggestion:

  1. Type your query into the search box.
  2. Press the Enter key.
  3. Confluence will analyse the wiki content, to determine whether an alternative spelling of your search query occurs more often in the wiki content. If this is the case, the words 'Did you mean' will appear on the screen, along with an alternative spelling for your search query.
  4. If you want to try the alternative spelling, click the word showing the suggested spelling. In the example below, you would click confluence.

Screenshot: The Search screen with 'Did you mean' offering a corrected spelling

Here is more information about how the 'Did you mean' feature works:

  • Confluence uses both a dictionary (bundled with Confluence) and words mined from the content on your system to work out the best alternative spellings of your search terms. Practically, this means that Confluence can provide spelling corrections for specialised jargon that may not appear in a standard dictionary. In general, when deciding between alternative spellings, Confluence will favour words that appear more often in your content.
  • In some cases, the 'Did you mean' suggestion may appear even when there are Confluence pages, etc, which match your search query. In other cases, there will be no items which match your search criteria. In both cases, Confluence will offer a 'Did you mean' suggestion if there is a word which will help you find more relevant content.
  • The 'Did you mean' feature may offer more than one suggestion.
  • The 'Did you mean' suggestion may even offer an incorrect spelling. This would happen if the incorrect spelling occurs many times within your Confluence site. This is intentional, because the aim of the 'Did you mean' feature is to help you find content, not to correct your spelling.
  • Your Confluence Administrator can enable or disable the 'Did you mean' feature using the Confluence Administration Console.

Filtering your Search Results

The Search screen, pictured above, appears when you do your first search. By default, Confluence will search all content across your Confluence site, including all spaces, mail archives, attachments and all other content types.

On the right of the screen are options which allow you to tailor or filter the search results.

Enter your filter criteria as described below, then click Filter.

  • Where — Restrict your search results to a particular space, or to your favourite spaces, global spaces or personal spaces.
  • What — Restrict your search results to a particular content type (pages, blog posts, mail, etc).
  • When — Restrict your search results to content modified within a particular period of time (today, yesterday, within the last week or within the last month).
  • Who— Restrict your search results to content last modified by a particular user. You can start typing the person's username or part of their name into the text box as follows:
    • Type the username (e.g. 'jsmith').
    • Or start typing the person's first name (e.g. 'john')
    • Or their last name (e.g. 'smith').
    • Or another part of their name, such as a middle name.
      Confluence will offer you a list of possible matches. Use your mouse to select the person you want, then press the Enter key to filter the search results.

Screenshot: Filtering your search results by user

More information about the user-matching filter:

  • The user-matching filter is not case sensitive. You can enter upper or lower case letters and will receive the same results.
  • When looking for users to match the name you entered, Confluence divides a person's name into logical units corresponding to first name, middle name (one or more) and last name. It matches the letters of each unit in the name you entered against the letters of each unit in the user directory. For example, you can enter 'jo sm' to look for John Smith. The search is triggered after you have entered at least two letters.
  • For each part of the name, you need to enter at least two letters. For example, if you enter just 'john s', the filter will look for users called 'john' and will ignore the 's'. Similarly, if you enter 'j smith' you will see everyone with the name 'smith' even if their first name does not start with a 'j'.
  • You are not forced to use the auto-complete list. You can just type 'jsmith' or 'jo sm' and filter on that without choosing a match from the dropdown list. Confluence will warn you if there is more than one user corresponding to the name you have entered.

Click Clear Filter if you want to remove all your filters and perform the same search again but without the filter.

Search Options When Using the Documentation Theme

When using the Documentation theme, the Confluence search offers a few options as described below.

Using the search box at the top right of the page:

  • By default, the main Confluence search is configured to search the entire Confluence site.
    • You will see the words 'Search Confluence' in the search box at top right of the page.
    • The Confluence search will look for matches in the entire Confluence site. This is the default behaviour for other themes too.
  • A space administrator can configure the Documentation theme to restrict the search to the current space.
    • You will see the words 'Search this space' in the search box at top right of the page.
    • The search will return results from the current space only.
    • You can override the search restriction. Enter 'all:' and your search term to search the entire site. For example, enter the following into the search box at top right of the page to search the entire site for 'technical writing':
      all: technical writing

Using the search box in the left-hand panel:

  • By default, the Documentation theme's left-hand panel includes a search box. Enter your search term there, to restrict the search to the current space. Specifically, this will search only the pages that are children of the space's home page.
  • If your administrator has restricted the main search to the current space, there will not be a search box in the left-hand panel.

For screenshots and a full description, see Using the Documentation Theme.

Advanced Search Syntax

See Confluence Search Syntax for more ways to refine the text you enter into the search box.

Additionally, see Confluence Search Fields for special parameters you can use in the search box to search on various metadata.

Browsing Related Labels

Also on the right of the Search screen, Confluence will offer a list of labels which are related to your search query. See the screenshot above.

You can click a label to see all pages and blog posts tagged with that label. See Viewing Labels and Labelled Content.

Searching the Content of Attachments

When you search Confluence, by default the search will include the content of the following types of attachments:

  • Word
  • Text
  • PowerPoint
  • Excel
  • PDF
  • HTML

To search the content of other attachment types, you will need to use an attachment content extractor plugin. For more information, take a look at the following:

Searching Confluence from your Browser's Search Box

If you are using Firefox or Internet Explorer 7 or later, you can add add your Confluence site as a search provider, using the dropdown menu next to the browser's search box.

The example below shows the 'Extranet' Confluence site offered for inclusion as a search engine in the browser's search box.

Screenshot: Adding your Confluence site to your browser's search box

Information about OpenSearch:

  • Confluence supports the autodiscovery part of the OpenSearch standard, by supplying an OpenSearch description document. This is an XML file that describes the web interface provided by Confluence's search function.
  • Any client applications that support OpenSearch will be able to add Confluence to their list of search engines.
  • Your Confluence Administrator can enable or disable the Open Search feature using the Confluence Administration Console.

Related Topics

Confluence Search Syntax
Confluence Search Fields
Ranking of Search Results
Text Tokenisation and Filtering
Search Results Macro
Livesearch Macro
Page Tree Macro (includes an optional search box)Viewing Labels and Labelled Content
Searching the People Directory

Take me back to the Confluence User's Guide.