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Typesetting Tables


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John Faulds

I tend to make the headers of tables a dark colour and use reversed type to make them stand out. This helps too if you have a caption above your table for which you might’ve already used bold type.

Jeroen Mulder

Nicely written article, especially the part about hanging numbers. One thing I think would be interesting to briefly discuss is the use of horizontal text alignment inside tables, especially when dealing with tables that communicate different types and length of data (numbers or text). Any thoughts?

Great read. Sums up pretty useful concepts. Some of those I already used, purely based on imitation. Now you showed me why it’s like that. Thank you.

I would also like to know what’s your (and the community) opinion on highlighting the row on :hover, to a slightly darker background-color. Is it a bad practice? User may expect feedback, think it’s a link? Or does it actually help readability?

Thanks in advance.

Scott Lenger

I’ve always assumed table row :hover highlighting to be quite helpful (in modern browsers of course).

Is there anything I should keep in mind for maintaining vertical rhythm with the negative space on the column headers? Will setting margin-bottom equal to the line-height do the trick?


The Web just needs a bit more whitespace!.. Thanks for the great read, Mark!

Speaking about typefaces – what are some others, besides serif, you would recommend using in this particular case?

Alex Roberts

A good read again.

I’d been struggling with tables recently. Having spent so much time on the rest of the design the tables were standing out as being very boring and lacking style.


Brian Smith


Vertical rhythm is only applicable when pages are printed back-to-back and/or on facing pages. It isn’t applicable online. If you read section on vertical rhythm in “The Elements of Typographic Style,” you can see that none of the justifications for vertical rhythm are relevant online. And, when designing printed matter, it is important to understand the exact justifications for the vertical rhythm recommendation, when it applies, and importantly when it does NOT apply. Unfortunately, the book is often misunderstood on this matter. In fact, I would say this is the most-often-misunderstood part of the book; “The Elements of Typographic Style Applied to the Web” gets it completely wrong, for example.

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