Even in a shared space, you may have a page or blog that you're not ready to share with everyone yet. Or perhaps you have some confidential content that's only meant for a few eyes. Whatever the reason, Confluence lets you set view and edit restrictions at the page level, so you can keep your content as open, or closed, as you need.

Permissions and restrictions aren't customizable on the Free plan.


How do permissions all fit together?

Every organization has different needs, so Confluence lets you customize permissions at the site, space, and page level so that they're just right for you.

Here's a quick rundown of how it all works:

  • Open by default: Confluence is open by default, so it won't have any restrictions unless you add them.
  • Global: Your site admin sets this. Global permissions choose what a person can do on your entire site, but only deal with site level actions like whether you can create a space.
  • Space: Set by the space admin, this decides what each user can do in that space.
  • Page: Anyone with space level permission to edit page restrictions can change access to pages.

Space permissions are granted at the space level, whereas page restrictions are designed to further restrict space permissions.

If there are no page restrictions on a page but someone still can't view or edit it, it's likely because they don't have the necessary space permissions.

Change who can view or edit a page

Confluence has an open by default permissions ecosystem. This means that whenever you publish a page (assuming you haven't changed any of the default settings), it will be accessible by the maximum audience possible on Confluence. You can change this in your page's Restrictions window. To open this window, click the lock icon () at the top of any page.

The Overview page in your space will not have a lock icon. To access the restrictions window for your Overview page, select the More actions menu (•••) > Restrictions.

Remember to select Apply

Whenever changing anything in the Restrictions window, remember to select Apply, or else the changes won't be saved.

Interpret page access settings

There are 3 primary settings for page restrictions:

  • "Anyone can view and edit"
  • "Anyone can view, some can edit"
  • "Only specific people can view or edit"

When anyone can view and edit

This is the default restrictions setting and means that the given page has no restrictions on it — anyone on Confluence is welcome to the content.

If you want everyone to be able to view your page, but only a select few to be able to edit it, change the page's setting to Anyone can view, some can edit.

If you only want specific people to view your page, change the page's setting to Only specific people can view or edit and manually add the people you want to be able to view it.

Does the page have inherited restrictions?

"Anyone" isn't always a straight-forward term to understand. This is because view restrictions are inherited from parent pages to child pages. If your page's parent page has restrictions around who can view it, then your page inherits that, which means that "Anyone" on your page really means "Anyone who isn't restricted from viewing any of the parent pages".

You can tell if your page is inheriting restrictions from any of its parent pages by looking for the content There are inherited view restrictions, which can be found under the restrictions window's dropdown menu and above the user name search bar. If there are no inherited view restrictions, no content will appear there.

The same concept applies to restrictions at the space level. Let's say everyone at your organization uses Confluence, but the space your team uses can only be viewed by the members of your team. In this scenario, because your page inherits that space restriction, your page's setting of "Anyone can view and edit" really means "Anyone on your team who has space access can view and edit."


When anyone can view, some can edit

By choosing Anyone can view, some can edit, anyone can still view the page, but you remove the ability to edit this page from everyone but yourself. This is a quick way to lock down who can edit a page. 

From there, you can choose to add specific people who you want to edit a page.

To assign specific people the ability to edit:

  1. Type a user's name or a group into the search bar. (You can add multiple people and groups to the search bar.)
  2. Because anyone can already view the page in this scenario, you can only assign specific people Can edit.
  3. Select Add to add them to the list. 
  4. Select Apply to save the changes.

To remove someone or a group, simply select the Remove link next to their name.

If you only want specific people to view your page, change the page's setting to Only specific people can view or edit and manually add the people you want to be able to view or edit it.

Editing restrictions are not inherited from page to page 

Unlike view restrictions, if someone is restricted from editing on a parent page, they'll still be able to edit on any child page, unless they're restricted from editing on the specific child page.

That said, if someone is restricted from editing at the space level, they will be restricted from editing all pages in that space.

When only specific people can view or edit

This is the setting you want if you want to keep the page private or restricted to a subset of people who have access to the space. As soon as you select Only specific people can view or edit, the page will be locked down so that only you can view and edit it.

From there, you can choose to add specific people who you want to view or edit the page.

To assign specific people the ability to view or edit:

  1. Type a user's name or a group into the search bar. (You can add multiple people and groups to the search bar.)
  2. Select Can edit or Can view.
  3. Select Add to add them to the list with the selected view or edit permission. 
  4. Select Apply to save the changes.

To remove someone or a group, simply click the Remove link next to their name.

Some other things to keep in mind

  • Confluence groups
    Instead of applying restrictions to individuals, use Confluence groups to save on typing out individual names. Learn how to create and update groups.
  • Additive permissions 
    Confluence permissions are additive. This means that if someone is in two Confluence groups, and one group has permission to view a page while the other does not, that person will still be able to see the page because at least one of the groups they're in has permission to view it.
  • A restrictive model
    Confluence's permissions model is set up so that content can only be further restricted from whatever the container is set at. A page cannot have greater access than its container. This creates a ceiling of access. The ceiling for a given permission (view, edit, comment, etc.) could be the site, space, or a parent page, depending on where the restrictions are applied.
  • Anonymous access
    You can make certain spaces (or even your whole site) available to the public, which means that anyone on the internet would be able to access your content.
  • Mentioning users
    If a user doesn't have access to the page, they won't receive a notification when @ mentioned.

Troubleshoot page access

Inspect permissions

If you're not sure why a user has or doesn't have permission to view, edit, or comment on a page, you can use Confluence's inspect permissions feature. Inspect permissions is only available on Confluence's premium plan.

Admin key

As an admin, there may be times when you need to look at content that you haven’t been given permission to view. For example, you may need to unlock a restricted page or space created by an inactive user, or you may need to diagnose content access issues. Admin key allows site admins to access restricted content so they can address these needs.

Admin key is also only available on Confluence's premium plan.

What does the lock icon mean?

You can find the padlock icon that represents a page's restrictions at the top of the page. Primarily, it opens the Restrictions window, but how it displays can also give you a quick clue to who can view the page.

The lock icon does not offer any information about who can edit the page, only who can view the page.

Anyone in the space can view this page.
This page is set so anyone can view it, but it is inheriting view restrictions from one of its parent pages. Only people who have view access on the restricting parent page can view this page.
Only specific people can view this page.


How restricted are restrictions?

If your page has view restrictions, it won't display for anyone who doesn't have permission to view it, neither in the page tree, nor any macros. Unless someone else has specifically been given a link to your page, they won't know it exists.

Exceptions:

  • If someone has shared a link to a restricted page, or provided a link to it on another page that can be viewed, the link will have the title of the page as part of the URL. However, they won't be able to tell anything else about the page, including who created it, who has permissions, or when it was updated. 
  • Space admins can view and change the restrictions on any content within their space.
  • Site admins can view and change the restrictions on any content within their site.

Request and grant permissions

Request permission

If you try to view or edit a page that you don't have permission, you'll see a modal that lets you request that permission. After you request access, you'll get a notification when you've been granted permission. 

Grant permission

If someone asks permission to view or edit a restricted page, we'll email whoever is in the best position to grant permission. Our first choice is the page creator. If the page creator is unable to grant permission (if their account is deactivated or if their page access has been revoked), then we’ll send the email to the last person who updated the page. If no page creators or editors are able to grant permission, then we’ll send the email to a space admin.

If you receive an access request, you can choose to grant it, deny it, or ignore the email. That person may ask again, but we don't require a response from you if you don't wish to give one. 


For space admins

View all restricted pages in a space

To view restricted pages:

  1. Select Space Settings in the appropriate space.

  2. Select Restricted in the Manage pages card.

  3. To remove a restriction from a page, select the lock icon in the Operations column for the appropriate page / restriction.