Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Tables

Tables are a way of presenting information in rows and columns. They can be useful for a variety of content presentations on Wikipedia, but should be used only when appropriate; sometimes the information in a table may be better presented as prose paragraphs or as an embedded list.

Avoid referring to tables as being located on the left or right of a display page. Placement is different for viewers of the mobile versions of Wikipedia, and is meaningless to people having pages read to them by assistive software. Instead, use captions to identify tables.


It is recommended that wikitables be used in place of HTML tables, as they are easier to customize and maintain. A standard "wikitable style" is available, by adding class="wikitable" to the top row of the table. The powerful and useful sorting feature can be enabled by adding class="sortable" to the top row. Extreme caution should be applied if rowspan or colspan is used. It is also possible to combine classes, as in class="wikitable sortable".

Captions and headersEdit

Table captions and column and row headers should be succinct and self explanatory and used on all data tables. In most cases, individual words or sentence fragments should be used, and thus articles (a, an, the) and sentence-ending punctuation are unnecessary. Only the first word in the caption or header should be capitalized (except for proper nouns), in keeping with Wikipedia's conventions for capital letters. In some rare cases, judicious use of soft hyphens may be helpful (see WP:Manual of Style § Hyphens for details).

Much of WP:Manual of Style § Article titles, headings, and sections also pertains to table headers: Use sentence case; avoid redundantly including the subject's name in a header; do not put images in the header (including flag icons), unless this is the best way to present tabular information in a particular case; and do not use questions as headers. Title headers are often suitable places for reference citations (e.g., to source a specific row or column of data). Unlike section headings, they often begin with or consist entirely of numbers (such as model numbers, dates, version numbers, etc.). Table headers do not automatically generate link anchors the way section headings do; use the {{vanchor}} template to turn a header's text (or part of it) into an anchor.


In general, styles for tables and other block-level elements should be set using CSS classes, not with inline style attributes. This is because the site-wide CSS is more carefully tested to ensure compatibility with a wide range of browsers; it also creates a greater degree of professionalism by ensuring a consistent appearance between articles. Deviations from standard conventions are acceptable where they create a semantic distinction (for instance, the infoboxes and navigational templates relating to The Simpsons formerly used a yellow color-scheme instead of the customary mauve, to tie in with the dominant color in the series) but should not be used gratuitously.

See WP:Deviations and Wikipedia talk:Consensus/RfC for guidance on use of coloring or non-standard formatting, and for when MoS and WikiProjects guidance is at variance.

Consideration may be given to collapsing tables which consolidate information covered in the prose.

Wikipedia tables are set flush-left, and allowed to grow rightward, not centered on the page.


Screen readers and other web browsing tools make use of specific table tags to help users navigate the data contained within tables. Use the correct wikitable pipe syntax to take advantage of all the features available.

See MOS:COLOR for information about restrained use of color in tables, to avoid creating accessibility problems for visually-impaired as well as normal vision readers.

Do not separate items by leaving blank lines between them, even when using unordered or definition lists. The Wikipedia list templates explicitly identify lists for readers, rather than relying on visual formatting to indirectly imply the presence of a list.


Splitting lists and tables per summary style is advised against. Among other problems, arbitrarily splitting a wikitable effectively disables the powerful and useful sorting feature from working across the entire table.

On the other hand, overloading tables with too much detailed statistical data is against policy. Careful thought should be given to how a reader would use a table, and what level of detail is appropriate.

Appropriate useEdit

Tables are a way of presenting links, data, or information in rows and columns. They are a complex form of list, formatted into a systematic grid pattern. Tables might be useful for presenting mathematical data such as multiplication tables, comparative figures, or sporting results. They may also be useful for presenting equivalent words in two or more languages; for awards by type and year; complex discographies; etc.

The sortability of multiple columns in a table is a powerful tool that helps the reader to understand relationships and find patterns in large lists. The sortability of tables makes them very useful for "List of..." articles in Wikipedia, which are intended to give an overview of the subject area, and to allow easy comparisons among many similar items. Avoid cramming too much detailed information into individual table entries; if appropriate, the reader should be able to click a Wikilink to read a full, detailed article corresponding to a concise table entry.

Often a list is best left as a list. Before reformatting a list into table form, consider whether the information will be more clearly conveyed by virtue of having rows and columns. If so, then a table is probably a good choice. If there is no obvious benefit to having rows and columns, then a table is probably not the best choice.

Tables should not be misused to resolve visual layout problems. If the information you are editing is not tabular in nature, it probably does not belong in a table: Do not misuse tables for putting a caption under a photograph, arranging a group of links, or other strictly visual features. These practices make the article harder for other Wikipedians to edit, and will likely cause problems when viewed on different display sizes and aspect ratios. Also, when compared with tables, wikimarkup is more flexible, easier to use, and less arcane when used correctly for desktop publishing layout, page elements, and page orientation and positioning.


Multi-column sortable standardEdit

Sporting results
No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score Outcome Ref
1 1981 World Championship   Doug Mountjoy 18–12 Won [1]
2 1983 World Championship (2)   Cliff Thorburn 18–6 Won [1]
3 1983 International Open   Cliff Thorburn 9–3 Won [2]
4 1984 Classic   Tony Meo 9–8 Won [3]
5 1984 World Championship (3)   Jimmy White 18–16 Won [1]
6 1984 International Open (2)   Tony Knowles 9–2 Won [2]
7 1984 UK Championship   Alex Higgins 16–8 Won [4]
8 1985 World Championship   Dennis Taylor 17–18 Runner-up [1]
9 1985 Grand Prix   Dennis Taylor 10–9 Won [1]
10 1985 UK Championship (2)   Willie Thorne 16–14 Won [4]

Multi-column standard with subcolumnsEdit

Year Title Release date Label Peak chart positions Certifications
1993 So Far So Good November 2, 1993 A&M 2
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 6 CA: 6× Platinum
US: 5× Platinum
SW: 4× Platinum
UK: 3× Platinum
1999 The Best of Me November 15, 1999 A&M 14 18 4 7 13 2 20 3 12 CA: 3× Platinum EU: 2× Platinum[6]
SW: Platinum
UK: Platinum
2005 Anthology October 18, 2005 A&M 4 28 30 39 29 65 CA: 2× Platinum UK: Gold
2010 Icon August 31, 2010 Universal
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

Multi-column mixed sortable unsortableEdit

List of acting performances in film and television
Year Title Role Notes
1961 Barabbas Patrician in Arena Film; uncredited
1963 The Beverly Hillbillies Janet Trego TV series, recurring role, 15 episodes
1963 Mister Ed Telephone Operator / Sailor's Girl TV series, episodes: "Love Thy New Neighbor", "Ed Discovers America"
1964 The Americanization of Emily Beautiful Girl Film; uncredited
1965 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Therapist TV series, episode: "The Girls of Nazarone Affair"
1966 Eye of the Devil Odile de Caray Film
1967 The Fearless Vampire Killers Sarah Shagal Film
1967 Don't Make Waves Malibu Film
1967 Valley of the Dolls Jennifer North Film
1968 Rosemary's Baby Girl at Party Film; uncredited
1968 The Wrecking Crew Freya Carlson Film
1969 The Thirteen Chairs Pat Film; also known as 12+1; released posthumously

Multi-column unsortableEdit

Multi-column unsortable all numeric right justifiedEdit

Mathematical tables
Multiplication table
× 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
2 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
3 3 6 9 12 15 18 21 24 27 30
4 4 8 12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40
5 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50
6 6 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60
7 7 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70
8 8 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80
9 9 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90
10 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

Tree (cladogram) left rootedEdit


"Crocodylus" megarhinus







"Crocodylus" pigotti



Osteolaemus osborni

O. tetraspis


Crocodylus anthropophagus

C. palaeindicus

C. palustris

C. siamensis

C. johnsoni

C. novaeguineae

C. mindorensis

C. niloticus

C. acutus

C. intermedius

C. rhombifer

C. moreletii

Gantt (bar graph linear horizontal) with colorEdit

Flow data

Inappropriate useEdit

Simple listsEdit

If a list is simple, it is generally better to use one of the standard Wikipedia list formats instead of a table. Lists are easier to maintain than tables, and are often easier to read.

Here is an example of a simple list using list formatting:

* 1980: Ultra Wave
* 1988: What's Bootsy Doin'?
* 1994: Blasters of the Universe
* 1994: Fresh Outta 'P' Uni

Which produces:

  • 1980: Ultra Wave
  • 1988: What's Bootsy Doin'?
  • 1994: Blasters of the Universe
  • 1994: Fresh Outta 'P' Uni

versus table formatting:

| 1980
| Ultra Wave
| 1988
| What's Bootsy Doin'?
| 1994
| Blasters of the Universe
| 1994
| Fresh Outta 'P' Uni

Which produces:

1980 Ultra Wave
1988 What's Bootsy Doin'?
1994 Blasters of the Universe
1994 Fresh Outta 'P' Uni


Prose is preferred in articles as prose allows the presentation of detail and clarification of context, in a way that a table may not. Prose flows, like one person speaking to another, and is best suited to articles, because their purpose is to explain. Tables which are mainly links, which are most useful for browsing subject areas, should usually have their own entries: see Wikipedia:Stand-alone lists for detail. In an article, significant items should normally be mentioned naturally within the text rather than merely tabulated.

Page layoutEdit

Page layouts (using multiple columns, positioning elements, adding borders, etc.) should be done via CSS, not tables, whenever possible.

  • Images and other embedded media should be positioned using standard image syntax.
  • There are several templates available that will create preformatted multi-column layouts: see Help:Columns.
  • Other elements can be positioned or given special formatting through the use of the HTML <div> element and CSS styling.

Infoboxes and navigation templatesEdit

Do not use table code directly to make an infobox or navigation template (a navbox or sidebar). Use an appropriate template, e.g. {{Infobox}}, {{Infobox3cols}}, {{Navbox}}, {{Navbox with collapsible groups}}, {{Sidebar}} or {{Sidebar with collapsible lists}}. Wikipedia:List of infoboxes has numerous subject-specific infoboxes for use in articles.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e Turner, Chris. "World Professional Championship". Chris Turner's Snooker Archive. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  2. ^ a b Turner, Chris. "International Open Goya, Matchroom Trophy". Chris Turner's Snooker Archive. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  3. ^ Turner, Chris. "Classic". Chris Turner's Snooker Archive. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  4. ^ a b Turner, Chris. "UK Championship". Chris Turner's Snooker Archive. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  5. ^ "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 58, No. 25". RPM (Library and Archives Canada). January 10, 1994. Retrieved August 15, 2010.
  6. ^ "IFPI Platinum Europe Awards: 2002 Awards". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) – Europe. Retrieved August 15, 2010.