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.