Tables should be used to:

  • allow comparison of individual data values
  • present a very precise level of detail
  • show multiple units of measure (for example, measurements and percentages)
  • present only a small number of data values
  • show values and their sums

Types of table

Use a reference table (dataset) to make statistics available for future reference. These typically have a large number of entries covering a variety of different statistics broken down into different categories. They are supplied alongside the main commentary in an accompanying spreadsheet or dataset.

Create a presentation table to demonstrate a point that is being made in the text. These use data extracted from datasets, laid out so as to quickly reinforce the point. The design should ensure that patterns and exceptions are obvious at a glance.