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I have many tables within a site that have a mixture of both numeric values of all types (currency, integers, etc) and columns that contain text.

What is the guidelines or standards for alignment? Should the column labels and the column content be right aligned, left aligned, or both?

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It's really too bad that no browser supports aligning to a character (eg. .currency { text-align: '.' }), even though it is part of the CSS spec (see: w3.org/TR/css3-text/#character-alignment). –  cimmanon Sep 26 '13 at 19:06
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1 Answer 1

Regardless of the mix of types of data in one table, the data type in the individual column should drive the alignment.

Typical alignments (and of course, there are always reasons and ways to do differently)

  • Text and items treated like text: Left Align (caveat: I find numbers always easiest to read rt aligned)
  • Numbers and items treated like numbers: Right Align (and if you have decimals, best to always show, even if the one number is 23.00 and another is 1.23)

A quick look at a grid with mixed data on the Bloomberg site shows a good example. This grid shows a mixture of values, notice text is left aligned, numbers are right aligned. This makes it easier on the eyes and the brain for digesting the information.

enter image description here

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And my apologies, you asked specifically about the column labels- there is a lot of room for design interpretation here, but safe bet is center align, not beholden to alignment of columnar data. –  Leslie M Sep 26 '13 at 20:26
    
Doesn't that hurt scanabillity? Column labels should be aligned exactly the same as the rest of the column, so the eye can scan down from label to data without having to realign. –  Racheet Sep 27 '13 at 12:40
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