Let's say I want to show how many people graduated from my university. I know their fields of study and their degrees. I want to offer different views on this data, for example a chart, a flat table, and something similar to this:


This table is like a matrix view with sums. I'm just wondering where to put the headings or names of the two dimensions.

I've seen a lot of tables which use the solution that I marked red in the image which means putting both in the otherwise empty table cell in the top left corner. But I think it doesn't look good and it ruins the "cleanness" with the unaligend words and the slanted line.

Also often you see the blue solution, putting the headings as a container around (above/beside) the columns/rows. The row-heading is sometimes rotated by 90 degrees. I still don't think this is the perfect solution.

Is there a well accepted or standard way to do this? Which option is preferable?

Note: In my actual case, I don't know how many rows and columns I get, but it's something between 3 and 10 each, so still readable in this format. Moreover, it is important to show the two headings, as it is not clear from the data itself what is meant.

1 Answer 1


The Title ( and maybe subtitle ) should convey this information.

I took the liberty of freeing your data from it's cells, pivoting the table,adding some breathing room and other niceties, this is not part of your question, but I think the whole table should strive for muted unbiased clarity.

enter image description here

  • Convey which information? Sure, the table was just a sketch, it's not going to look exactly like that. So, in essence, your suggestion would be to add the information in the "total" column/row... I didn't think of that but I have to say that I find it a bit confusing to look for this information at the ends (right, bottom) of the table. Thanks for your suggestion!
    – User42
    Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 6:08
  • Oh, the title of my table, sorry I thought you meant the title of my question ;-)
    – User42
    Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 7:11

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