• 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.