Making tables clear and understandable is a skill just as important as learning Excel. As someone on both the receiving end and giving end of numerous tables, I have developed a knack for cleaning up tables.
Often I am asked how to use tables in a more effective manner, especially when it is meant for a report or presentation. I usually offer up a few suggestions based on the data that I am looking at. But my standard suggestions are as follows:
- Remove any duplicated information
- Remove Fills including colors and formatting
- Remove any borders
- Left Align Text
- Right Align Numbers
- Make sure titles line up with the data
- Resize the columns to fit data
- Remove Repetition or duplicate entries
- Round Numbers and use constant decimal precision
- Add back any emphasis you are trying to show
What else do you do to your data and tables to make them clear and understandable?