latex The tabular environment


Example

The tabular environment is the most basic way to create a table in LaTeX and doesn't require any other packages.

\begin{tabular}{|lcr||}
  left aligned column & center column & right column \\
  \hline
  text & text & text \\
  text & text & text \\
\end{tabular}

Rendered result

The parameter (|lcr|| in the example) is called the table specification and tells LaTeX how many columns there are and how they are supposed to be formatted. Each letter represents a single column. Possible values are:

CharacterMeaning
lleft aligned column
ccentered column
rright aligned column
p{'width'} e.g. p{5cm}paragraph column with defined width
| (pipe character)vertical line
|| (2 pipes)2 vertical lines

Cells are seperated by the & character. A row is ended by 2 back slashes \\.

Horizontal lines can be inserted by using the \hline command.

Tables are always formatted to be wide enough to include all the content. If a table is to big, LaTeX will print overfull hbox warnings. Possible solutions include using the p{'width'} specifier or other packages like tabularx.

A table with column headings spanning over several columns can be created using the command \multicolumn{cols}{pos}{text}.

\begin{center}
\begin{tabular}{|c|c|c|c|}
\hline
&\multicolumn{3}{|c|}{Income Groups}\\
\cline{2-4}
City&Lower&Middle&Higher\\
\hline
City-1& 11 & 21 & 13\\
City-2& 21 & 31 &41\\
\hline
\end{tabular}
\end{center}

Table with multicolumn headings

Note that the command \multicolumn has three mandatory arguments: the first argument specifies the number of columns over which the heading spans; the second argument specifies the position of the heading(l,c,r); and the third argument is the text for heading. The command \cline{2-4} specifies the the starting column(here, 2) and ending column(here, 4) over which a line is to be drawn.