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Rowspan: How to make table cell text span 2 or more rows

Making text span multiple columns is easy, but how do I make text span multiple rows?


A decorative letter T

Many authors are aware of some, but perhaps not all, of the generally-accepted guidelines for laying out formal printed tables:

  1. Never, ever use vertical rules.
  2. Never use double rules.
  3. Put units in column headings, not in body cells.
  4. Always precede a decimal point with a digit (0.1 not .1).
  5. Never use ditto marks (leave cells blank or repeat the value).

While Wikipublisher is unable help authors with table content, it will apply consistent and reasonable layout rules to all simple tables?:

  • put a rule above the table and another rule below
  • put a thin rule below the first row, if it is a heading row
  • put the caption above the table
  • put vertical space between the rows
  • set the cells in small text and turn justification off

Currently, there is no mechanism for an author to request a rule between 2 rows. Usually, this is not a problem, but it brings us by a roundabout route to the topic of this tip: rowspan markup. To make a simple table cell span 2 or more rows, add 2 or more + signs after the cell content. The number of + signs defines the number or rows spanned. For example, ||my text+++ || will cause the cell to span 3 rows.

Markup for rowspan illustrates the usage.

A rowspan example
birdskākāpō
kererū
kōkako
kororā
treeskauri
ngaio
rimu
totara

In the PDF, one might reasonably wish to insert a rule between rows 4 and 5, to separate the birds from the trees. Currently, there is no mechanism for an author to specify this. Implementing such a feature is fairly easy; choosing suitable markup is more difficult. It just doesn’t seem right to introduce special markup that only applies to the PDF version of the page.

Category: markup

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Page last modified on 29 October 2008 at 09:23 PM