Any Browser Table Format


The following guidelines will produce a table that will be readable in any browser, whether or not it supports tables. It also produces tables in which numeric data is right aligned and monospaced and thus easier to read.

Guidelines

  1. Each level of heading and each line (row) of data should be on just one line.
  2. The width of the table should be no more than 72 less the number of columns.
  3. Each row should have <h6>...</h6> (heading level 6) surrounding it.
  4. To optimize for LYNX, for each two characters wider than 72, increase the heading level by 1, up to h2 (e.g., a width of 75 needs a heading level of h4).
  5. Each table cell should begin and end with <tt>...</tt> (teletype).
  6. Each table cell should be padded with non-breakable spaces (&nbsp;) to be equal width with all the cells in the same column.

Example

The following coding will produce the table found below:

<table border>
<h6><tr>
<th>
<tt>Line Number</tt></th>
<th><tt>&nbsp;&nbsp;Column 1 of Numbers&nbsp;&nbsp;</tt></th>
<th><tt>&nbsp;&nbsp;Column 2 of Numbers&nbsp;&nbsp;</tt></th>
</tr></h6>
<h6><tr>
<td>
<tt>Line 1&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</tt></td>
<td align=center><tt>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;23&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</tt></td>
<td align=center><tt>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;5&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</tt></td>
</tr></h6>
<h6><tr>
<td>
<tt>Line 2&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</tt>
</td>
<td align=center><tt>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;161&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</tt></td>
<td align=center><tt>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;45&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</tt></td>
</tr></h6>
</table>

Line Number   Column 1 of Numbers     Column 2 of Numbers  
Line 1                 23                       5          
Line 2                161                      45          

Testing

This table format has been tested in Lynx, Netscape Navagator 2.0 and 3.0, Internet Explorer 1.0 and 3.0, Mosaic 2.1.1 and 3.0. I would be interested in knowing about any browsers for which it does not work.

Mosaic 3.0 displays a non-breaking space as an 'a' with an acute accent for teletype text. To correct this, change the font as follows:
Choose: [View] [Options] [Preferences] [Fonts] [Default] [Teletype Font]
Then change the font from 'Terminal' to 'Courier New'

Download a Program to Automatically Make Any Browser Tables

A DOS program which converts a table in text form (such as one used between <pre>...</pre> tags) to the Any Table Browser format described above is available for download. Samples produced by the program (with some manual editing afterwards in a few cases) are available for viewing with tables showing census figures for American Indians and missions statistics for Churches of Christ.

Other information is available at http://www.eff.org/~mech/Scritti/html_table_design.html.


Bruce Terry's Home Page
Bruce Terry's Home Page  
http://www.bterry.com/software/anytable.htm hosted at http://bible.ovu.edu/terry/software/anytable.htm
Last updated on February 8, 2003
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