Use figures 1-54 and 1-55 to follow the discussion of the parts
of a well-constructed table. Both figures provide an example of
a well-constructed table.
(1) Title. You should center the title at the top of the table
and use only upper-case (capital) letters. Ensure the title you select
is clear and concise, tells the reader what data the table contains, and
where it applies. You should never sacrifice clarity for brevity. If
you have any doubts about the clarity of the title, you should use a
longer title rather than running the risk of having a title that confuses
the reader or the reader will not understand. Use the selection criteria
used for titling a chart when titling a table.
(2) The body of the table.
The body of the table has five main
(a) Columns. The columns contain the vertical listings of the
table. Columns with no entries tend to confuse the reader. To prevent
any misunderstanding or confusion, each column must have an entry. If
the column does not require an entry, use a footnote to indicate that
The rows contain the horizontal listings of the
Just like the columns, each row must have a heading and an entry.
(c) Captions and stubs. There many different systems you can
use when constructing the captions and the stubs. You can arrange the
data alphabetically, geographically, chronologically, etc., or in any
logical order that presents the data the way the requester desires. If
you choose to list the data alphabetically, use the subject as the order
chronologically, choose the best way suited to emphasize the data that
the table presents.
For example, when listing the data geographically, you could size, either
increasing or decreasing, as the determining factor for the order the
table presents the data.
When using chronological order as the
determining factor, you arrange the data in order of interest, oldest to
newest, or any customary classification. No matter what system you use
to organize the data, you must reach a final decision before you
construct the table.
The captions used for the table must relate to the title and present a
precise, clear meaning of the data in the columns. Because the title and
the captions have a very close relationship, you can use short, brief
captions when you have a detailed title.
At the other end of the
spectrum, you must use captions