- Tables should only be used to present data, not lists of text.
- Important information should be displayed first.
- Abbreviations should be written out in full or clearly explained.
- Column headings in tables should be clearly visible.
- Decimal rounding should be consistent throughout the table.
- Ensure there are no blank rows or columns.
- Do not use any bold or italic formatting.
- Numbers should be right-aligned, text should be left-aligned.
The size of a table can have a big impact on how easy it is for users to read and understand it. Consider whether the information can be better presented in the text as a bulleted list or split into headings and subheadings.
An increasing amount of users view data on a mobile or tablet, so narrow tables are preferred to wide tables. As a guide, three to four columns can fit onto an average smartphone screen without too much scrolling.
Large tables containing a lot of data may be better presented as a dataset (downloadable spreadsheet).
The Government Digital Service (GDS) guidance on tables contains more information on how to make usable tables.