Use tables to present large amounts of detailed information that you can structure uniformly. If a paragraph becomes cumbersome and repetitive, consider using a table instead. You can use the following types of table:
- Formal table
A formal table is numbered and has a caption. A formal table usually appears in the table of contents of a manual.
- Informal table
An informal table is not numbered, and does not have a caption. An informal table does not usually appear in the table of contents of a manual.
- 2.3.1. Guidelines for Using Tables
2.3.1. Guidelines for Using Tables
Use the following guidelines to create and write the content of tables:
- Use a complete sentence to introduce the table. Ensure that the introductory sentence puts the table information into context.
- Do not insert a table between the beginning and end of the same sentence.
- Write column headings that summarize the information in the column.
- Use title capitalization rules for column headings and avoid end punctuation except where a question mark or ellipsis is required by the text.
- Avoid starting a column heading with an article. For example, use "Rule Name" instead of "The Rule Name".
- Use parallel verb tenses, grammatical construction, voice, and punctuation to write the text content of each table column.
- Keep column text brief. Remove superfluous words such as articles and repetitive phrases in the column heading.
126.96.36.199. Guidelines for Formal Tables
- Use a formal table when you want to refer to the table from other sections of the document.
- Use a formal table when you want the table to appear in the table of contents.
- Assign an appropriate table caption to a formal table that matches the style of other captions and section headings. Use title capitalization rules for table captions. Position the caption above the graphic.
188.8.131.52. Guidelines for Informal Tables
- Use an informal table when you do not want to refer to the table from other sections of the document.
- Use an informal table when you do not want the table to appear in the table of contents.
- Use an informal table to structure information that occurs in text blocks, such as lists of values.