Tips for top tables

Tables can supplement or summarise text and make your document easier to read and your message easier to follow. You may need to try a few different formats to see which one works best for your data and message.

Tips for designing tables

  • Use the right format, size and layout for the purpose.
  • Use a consistent format across multiple tables including titles, column and row headings, and notes.
  • Experiment with font size, vertical and horizontal lines, and white space.

Tips for labelling tables

  • Include a detailed title for the table.
  • Include explanatory notes for the source and date of the data, and for row and column headings.
  • Ensure the units of measurement for data are clear.

Tips for placing tables

  • Place tables after they are first mentioned in the text.
  • Place tables at the end of a paragraph, not in the middle of a paragraph.
  • Do not split a table over a page unless the table is unavoidably longer than a page.

Most of these tips also apply to fabulous figures. Take care that colours and shadings used in figures are distinct and legible.

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