How to format tables

If you cannot find a way to avoid using a table, make sure it’s as easy to read and as accessible as possible.

Use headers

Tables must always have a header row explaining the content of the columns. Headers appear in bold and help people who use assistive technology to understand the table’s structure. Headers should not be in all capital letters; follow the A to Z of Government of Yukon Style on capitalization. 

Help the user

Carry out any calculations, for example, include totals or differences between amounts at the end of columns or rows.

Make your table easier to read

  • Try to use more rows than columns. A tall, narrow table is easier to read than a short, wide one.
  • Set cell spacing and cell padding at 2 pixels to create space around the content.
  • Set the border size at 1 pixel to create a frame.
  • Align the table left.
  • Include a caption.
  • Never include images. 

Put popular information first

Put the information that most people are looking for at the top or in the first few columns.


Keep text in cells concise and clear, and follow the A to Z of Government of Yukon Style. You can depart from government style only to:

  • truncate the names of months to save room, for example, Jan, Feb;
  • use an en dash to show a span between numbers, for example, 500–900; and
  • use numerals throughout (do not use ordinals, for example, first, second, 10th).

If you do not need to use exact numbers, consider rounding large numbers with decimal places, for example., $14,646,000 = $14.6 million.


The size of a table affects how easy it is for people to read and understand it.

The minimum size for a table is 2 columns and 3 rows (including a column header) but if your table is this small it may be better as normal text.

The maximum size is 4 columns. 

More and more users access on their mobile devices and that number is growing.

Tables with 4 columns can be comfortably displayed on a smartphone screen, depending on how much text you have in the table cells. If it looks like too much, think about splitting your data between tables.

If you’re dealing with a huge amount of data that cannot be split, it might be better presented as a CSV (spreadsheet). Email to find out what your options are.

Last update:
Sep 9, 2019