# Table design

Almost every research paper and thesis in statistics contains at least some tables, yet students are rarely taught how to make good tables. While the principles of good graphics are slowly becoming part of a statistical education (although not an econometrics education!), the principles of good tables are often ignored. Perhaps people think they are obvious, although the results I see in papers and theses suggest otherwise.

Lately the topic seems to have been getting some much-needed attention and the following resources may be useful.

Some notes on making effective tables (Wheeler 2012)

Why tables are really much better than graphs (Gelman 2011) – a satirical article in JCGS, pointing out some of the characteristics of

*bad*tables.

These two older books are also extremely useful references on good table design.

Show Me the Numbers: Designing Tables and Graphs to Enlighten (Few 2004)

The Chicago Guide to Writing about Numbers (Miller 2004)

Finally, tables can often be replaced with graphics to better effect, a point argued by Gelman, Pasarica and Dodhia (2002) – this one is not satirical!