37.11 Constructing tables

Good tables can be time-consuming to construct. In general, tables:

  • Should be discussed (not just simply presented) in the text.
  • Should be clear and uncluttered (consider using multiple tables if necessary).
  • Should typically have captions above.
  • Should have very few horizontal lines, and probably no vertical lines. (Tables produced for online reading may have different rules.)
  • Should include units of measurement (such as kg) where appropriate.
  • Should be able to be understood without reference to the paper, as far as possible.
  • Should make the most important comparisons easy to make.
  • Should align the data for easy comparisons, if possible (for example, decimal places all beneath each other in columns).