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09 Tables


- Two basic instructions

- How to draw a table in MS Word

A table is a set of data (descriptive or numerical) systematically displayed in rows and columns. Tables are used to display information that is too complex to go into the main text or a list. Consider carefully what information to present in tables; a table should not repeat information given in the text, but rather support it.

Tip! Think carefully about the size of your tables; it is undesirable to spread a table across several pages, as it can make it difficult to follow.

Tip! A table should stand completely on its own; a reader should be able to retrieve information from the table without referring back to the main text.

Two basic instructions

There are two basic instructions to follow:

  • get permission;
  • refer to and place each table.

Get permission

If the table has not been originated by you (or a member of your author team), you must get permission to use it from the copyright holder. See Copyright Permissions.

Refer to and place each table

Within the text, you must:

Instruction Example
1. Refer to the table in the text This is shown in Table 1.1.
2. Write a caption for that table after a line break preceding the paragraph in which the table is first referred to. Table 1.1 Estimated populations in the main centres of colonial New England, 1680–1780 (in 000s, ranked by 1780 figures)
3. Beneath the caption, place the table.


How to draw a table in MS Word

  • Use the MS Word table tool.
  • Hide the ruled markings, which are required only horizontally before and after titles and at the foot of the table, before footnotes.
  • Left align all text.
  • Right align all numbers.
  • Give each column a clear heading, including any units of measure.
  • Provide extra comments or references associated with table data as footnotes below the table. Notes should be in three banks; general notes; notes with cues (using letters not numbers); and should not be part of the chapter sequence.
  • Ensure all terminology, formatting, and text match those used in the text and adheres to OUP house style.
  • All cells in the table must contain an entry, even if it is ‘n.a.’ (‘not applicable’/‘not available’) or a dash for ‘no data’.