Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Tables

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Collapsible tables[edit]

Wikipedia:Collapsible tables. Any thoughts on when a table should be collapsed? SilkTork *YES! 12:29, 5 May 2011 (UTC)

reading MOS:COLLAPSE seldom - but "Collapsible sections may be used tables which consolidate information covered in the prose." GraemeLeggett (talk) 12:44, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
That's a handy link. It refers more to sections and text, though it does make that reference to tables that you quote. SilkTork *YES! 12:59, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
Rarely. It's apparently a problem for some users of screen readers, and clicking on stuff can be painful for some people with carpal tunnel and similar repetitive stress injuries. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:00, 12 May 2011 (UTC)

RFC: restructuring of the Manual of Style[edit]

Editors may be interested in this RFC, along with the discussion of its implementation:

Should all subsidiary pages of the Manual of Style be made subpages of WP:MOS?

It's big; and it promises huge improvements. Great if everyone can be involved. NoeticaTea? 00:49, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Suggestion add a SIMPLE table example[edit]

Suggestion: add a very simple example table. (like a plain white 3 x 3 table with just text in it). All of the examples are more complex sophisticated tables which hide the basics. North8000 (talk) 11:08, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

There are simple examples (some extremely simple) of table markup in Help:Table, which this article links to. Since this article is a MOS article about when and how to use tables in Wikipedia articles, not about the technical details of creating tables, the examples used are "real-world" ones taken from actual articles. I think that makes them much more appropriate than any sort of contrived example.
That being said, perhaps the current examples do make it seem that tables are only "for" the presentation of larger or more complex datasets. If you can find a good real-world example of a "simpler" table, one which appears in an actual Wikipedia article and does a good job of communicating the information it contains, I don't think it would be inappropriate to add it to the top of the Examples section. FeRD_NYC (talk) 02:08, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. I punched in lots of searches and never found that help article. What I was suggesting might be in there. North8000 (talk) 03:28, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Anchors within Tables[edit]

I'm currently working on a list article which has a table (I think it's a legitimate use of a table, several columns of information, no block elements in the table, most of the cell text isn't huge), but it occurs to me, that another editor might want to link to many of the subitems of the table, which while not notable enough for an article, are notable enough for a mention and reference in another article. This could be done if this was formatted as a section by section article, but then you'd have an immense number of sections. I'm wondering if it would be useful or wise to add anchor templates into one of the columns (this is the sort of table with one column with the name of an item and then several columns of information about the item). I'm also wondering if it might be useful to have a template "Anchored Table". An advantage with that strategy is we could do things to prevent abuse/simply adding anchors to tables, for example, this could be restricted to only tables where each row is sort of a section about one of the columns, and that column (and only that column) could be auto-bolded and auto-anchored. The "Anchored Table" approach also aligns with precedent since we have a template "Anchored List"

Beyond my personal use, I think that this could be useful for things like tables of episode summaries. Say an article on Joe Smoe wanted to say his last performance was in the episode "Joe Smoe Guest Appearance" on "That Show", well, if, like many tv shows, "That Show" had an episode list in tabular form, while we could link "Joe Smoe Guest Appearance" without having to reformat the list into an "Anchored List" (which might lose information) or a sectioned article (which may be unweildy)

By the way, if this isn't the appopriate place to talk about "Anchors within Tables", could someone point me there? Since this isn't a formal Wikipedia construct, but rather just an aspect of Mediawiki Wikitext, it's hard to tell where the right place to talk about this is. Jztinfinity (talk) 20:23, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Table Captions : Whether we use Links or not in captions[edit]

The project page Manual of Style/Tables does not provide information about whether the use of internal links in table captions are allowed or not. Shouldn't it be discussed in the page? Valchemishnu 08:05, 3 September 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Valchemishnu (talkcontribs)

The current set of examples in this guideline do include some with such links. This implies that they are acceptable. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 10:37, 16 December 2015 (UTC)

Should a key to a table precede the table, or follow it?[edit]

Should a key to a table precede the table, or follow the table. The discussion is here. Thoughts there would be appreciated. Thanks.--Epeefleche (talk) 00:26, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Can someone help me with a table?[edit]

Can someone here help out with the List of Pawn Stars episodes article, specifically fixing the Season 5 table so that it includes the colored lines separating each episode cell? This is present in the Season 1 - 4 tables, but I can't get it to show up in the Season 5, even though I tried copying the code from Season 4, and changed only the color code. Thanks. Nightscream (talk) 01:35, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

Sticking the main row and Comparisons[edit]

I suggest developers stick the main row of the table while scrolling down until the main row of the table reaches the bottom row by scrolling... because in pages like Comparison of programming languages, We have to go back to the top of the table to revise the columns names even before we reach the middle of the table...

Also, We may need to make comparisons between specific rows like the one in the page mentioned before, that will make Wikipedia an easy, interactive source of information...

Thanks for listening.. --نديمك (talk) 21:55, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

rowspan and sortability[edit]

As of a couple releases ago, MediaWiki software fully supports sortable wikitables which use rowspan. Therefore, I believe the following sentence is obsolete and should be stricken: Sortable tables cannot contain any merged cells using rowspan; Elizium23 (talk) 05:58, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

I know this is a month old but I concur with the above statement, I only noticed it on accident but as long as you put "wikitable sortable" at the beginning of the table, you can use 'rowspan' and the table will still be sortable. Just saying. :) xx Xpinkxcasualtyx (talk) 00:06, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure if this was ever acted upon, but it would make sense to tweak the wording. I'm fairly certain that even tables with rowspan have difficulty in that the entries in the cells within the row are only sorted within the row, and whichever row has the 'highest' sort, that simply goes first. Perhaps a change to "rowspan functions with sortable, but is not recommended". --Izno (talk) 22:58, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

strange error when wikitable and Template:Location map in the same article[edit]

I added a Template:Location map map to the German Air Force article and now the wikitable with the aircraft is all the time on the left and overlapping with other content. The map is at German Air Force#Air bases and the wikitable is at German Air Force#Aircraft inventory. Before adding the map the wikitable was in the center and the layout was fine as can be seen here. If I move the map to a random position near the beginning of the article, the wikitable moves again to the center... does anyone has an idea how to resolve this error? thanks in advance, noclador (talk) 21:36, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

Maximum table widths[edit]

I'd like to know if anybody can give me a figure on how wide I should limit my tables to. Some users have complained they are too wide for them to see all of them. Fuse809 (talk) 08:56, 27 April 2014 (UTC)

Discussion on when statistic tables may be excessive[edit]

Discussion at: RfC: When is the presentation of statistics, such as with Weather box and Climate chart, excessive?. This concerns use of {{Weather box}} and {{Climate chart}} in most settlement articles, down to small town and village level. SilkTork ✔Tea time 11:10, 9 May 2014 (UTC)


Something ought to be said about references for table information. I didn't find anything at Wikipedia:Citing sources or Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Tables. Here are some discussion points:

  • The guiding principles are, in descending order of importance:
    • All information in a table must be referenced, as with any other information in an article.
    • For any given piece of data in the table, it should be as easy as possible for the reader to identify the relevant reference.
    • References should not clutter up the table.
  • References can apply at the level of the whole table, a row, a column, or a cell.
    • References at table level should be in the table caption. If there is no caption, the end of the last sentence introducing the table may work; otherwise, add a caption.
    • References at column level should be in the column header.
    • References at row level should be in
      • either the "name" column of the row — i.e. the column (typically the first column) which identifies the subject described by the row.
      • or a dedicated references column (typically the last column). This is often tidier, but may make the table too wide.
    • References at cell level can be either in the cell itself, or in the references column for its row.
    • Note that adding references to a cell may affect its sort order within its column.
  • If it is necessary to clutter up a table with lots of references at different levels, this may be an indication that the data is better presented in another format (a simple list, or running prose).

jnestorius(talk) 14:31, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

consensus to remove or change a statement[edit]

I suggest to remove or modify:

Sortable tables cannot contain any merged cells using rowspan; extreme caution should be applied if colspan is used.

because rowspan is compatible with sortability. I'm unfamiliar with the subtleties of sorting tables with colspan, but this table is perfectly sortable while being complexly rowspanned:

Year Result Category Award Recipient
2008 Won Choice TV Show Drama Teen Choice Awards Gossip Girl
Choice TV Breakout Show
Choice TV Actress Drama Blake Lively
Choice TV Breakout Female
Choice TV Breakout Male Chace Crawford
Choice TV Villain Ed Westwick
Choice TV Show Drama Gossip Girl
Nominated Choice TV Actress Drama Leighton Meester
Choice TV Actor Drama Chace Crawford
Penn Badgley
Choice TV Breakout Female Leighton Meester
Taylor Momsen
Choice TV Breakout Male Ed Westwick
Favorite New TV Drama People's Choice Award Gossip Girl
2009 Won Choice TV Show Drama Teen Choice Awards Gossip Girl
Choice TV Actor Drama Chace Crawford
Choice TV Actress Drama Leighton Meester
Choice TV Villain Ed Westwick
Nominated Choice Music Soundtrack Gossip Girl
Choice TV Actor Drama Penn Badgley
Choice TV Parental Unit Matthew Settle
2010 Won Choice TV Show Drama Teen Choice Awards Gossip Girl
Choice TV Actor Drama Chace Crawford
Choice Scene Stealer Female Hilary Duff
Choice TV Actress Drama Leighton Meester
Nominated Choice TV Actor Drama Penn Badgley
Choice TV Actress Drama Blake Lively
Choice TV Villain Ed Westwick

Xaxafrad (talk) 01:29, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

Sporting results not optimally accessible[edit]

I question the consensus on the Sporting results table having the Outcome column be the first column. It doesn't describe the row. No. would be the best first column for this particular table, since neither Year nor Championship is sufficient in this case to uniquely define a row. Thisisnotatest (talk) 22:48, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

citing tables[edit]

Where do you put references in tables?--Prisencolinensinainciusol (talk) 22:21, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

I prefer inline references. They go with the data. Xaxafrad (talk) 09:50, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

Consensus building RfC[edit]

There's an RfC regarding table layout at WP:FILMOGRAPHY. Any input would be appreciated. Xaxafrad (talk) 06:05, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

Tables look different in different browsers[edit]

Tables look different depending on the browser. The current MOS:TABLE style will render with invisible borders in mobile browsers. The editors of Talk:2015_Formula_One_season found a way to fix this, but the fixed version will have black borders in Firefox. According to user User:Prisonermonkeys this broken by a update in the wikisoftware. This is wikipedia wide issue with all articles that have tables. See discussion at Talk:2015_Formula_One_season#Different_table_looks_in_different_browsers for examples. -- (talk) 20:23, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

I'm at a loss with regards to the question. What are you looking to accomplish with this RfC? AtsmeConsult 17:01, 22 March 2015 (UTC)
This is not relevant anymore. User:Tvx1 made a bug report about this and seems like this issue will be dealt over there so I removed the RFC tag. -- (talk) 18:03, 26 March 2015 (UTC)
Not quite. The bug with the border= parameter I reported looks to be about to be solved. But the main issue that the MOS:TABLE style has almost indistinguishable inside borders for no apparent reason still remains. Tvx1 18:34, 26 March 2015 (UTC)

MOS:TABLE#ACCESS and infoboxes[edit]

You are invited to join the discussion at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Accessibility#Accessibility_with_infoboxes on whether MOS:TABLE#ACCESS is applicable to infoboxes.—Bagumba (talk) 07:20, 31 March 2015 (UTC)

Complex tables and Wikipedia[edit]

You are invited to join a discussion: Complex tables cannot be made accessible in Wikipedia and what to do about it Thisisnotatest (talk) 21:11, 7 June 2015 (UTC)


I see nothing about ordering the items in the tables that are used within articles.

  • I think that in tables where the date isn't relevant, items should be listed alphabetically. Randomly adding items out of alphabetical order is just a jumble.
  • In tables where date is relevant, my preference is for listing items in chronological order, though others may prefer reverse chronological order. Even if no style is specified, I think an article should be consistent within itself. I just came from the article on actor James McAvoy. There are four tables inserted ---
1.) Filmography: Chronological order.
2.) Stage: Reverse chronological order.
3.) Television: Chronological order.
4.) Awards: Reverse chronological order.

Personally, I find the chronology flipping to be awkward and silly. Shouldn't the direction of chronology be consistent, at least within each article? Thoughts of others....? Thank you for your input, Wordreader (talk) 22:28, 18 August 2015 (UTC)

Numeric sort order of column, bug work-around for mixed numbers and text columns[edit]

There may be a better fix for sorting mixed numbers and text column. But the "{{sort|##x|x}}"" template as hidden sortable string works.

This follow Tcncv's fix numeric column sort order work around -
>The problem is that a numeric sort is used only if the first non-blank cell in a column is numeric. Otherwise text sorting is used. In tables with a mix of numerics and others (such as the dashes used in the subject table), mixed results may be observed. The first sort may work fine, but once the non-numerics appear at the top, a subsequent sort will order the column contents using text sorting (1, 10, 100, 11, 2, ....). The only solution I know of at this time is to wrap some of the values with the {{sort}} template, specifying a hidden sortable string such as "001" that provides the needed leading zeros for consistent text mode sorting. For example, in the Rank column, replace "1" – "99" with "{{sort|001|1}}" – "{{sort|099|99}}".". Tcncv (talk) 08:37, 21 January 2009<

Use the (widest) leading zeros for consistent text mode sorting. For example, for sorting 0 to 999, replace "0" – "999" with "{{sort|000|0}}" – "{{sort|999|999}}".Yohananw (talk) 19:21, 23 September 2015 (UTC)

Alignment of tables on page: policy sought[edit]

It seems that Wikipedia does not have a style policy on the alignment of tables on a page. Should this be explicitly specified as left alignment preferred (which is the default behavior with the wiki table markup anyway)? I just came across an article with a mixture of left aligned tables and tables set within <center> ... </center> tags and was looking for some guidance. Best wishes. RobbieIanMorrison (talk) 10:40, 19 October 2016 (UTC)