Ten Tips on how to use tables effectively

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:

  1. Remove any duplicated information
  2. Remove Fills including colors and formatting
  3. Remove any borders
  4. Left Align Text
  5. Right Align Numbers
  6. Make sure titles line up with the data
  7. Resize the columns to fit data
  8. Remove Repetition or duplicate entries
  9. Round Numbers and use constant decimal precision
  10. 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?


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