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Best practices for tables suggest to align numerical values to the right. This makes them better scanable and comparable. In our software, numerical values are mostly right-aligned in tables.

However, what do you do if the first column of a table (with fixed column order) would be aligned to the right?

Left-aligned first column: enter image description here

Right-aligned first column: enter image description here

Despite better comparability, the eye needs to jump a lot more while scanning in the right-aligned version (in my opinion).

How do you think should columns be aligned in that case?

2 Answers 2

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Numbers with decimal points, especially currency, should line up the decimal points. Many software sites deal with this detail, such as for Microsoft Word: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/use-decimal-tabs-to-line-up-numbers-with-decimal-points-9d0fcf4d-43e8-4eb1-a1af-632b9e7cd538

I read somewhere that number-crunchers find the currency figures easier to scan.

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the eye needs to jump a lot more while scanning in the right-aligned version – this is correct, it's one of the legibility laws in text. But it only applies to text paragraphs. The example table column has a maximum of 10 characters, so this law is totally irrelevant since it does not perceive any adverse effect: the eye jumping is insignificant since the eye doesn't need to go to the beginning of the text to read the content. In text with few characters, especially if they are of a single structure such as figures, the eye points the gaze to the center of the element, neither to the beginning nor to the end.

enter image description here

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