Did you ever saw or designed a way to switch column content through its column header? I've done this before for units or switching between numbers and percentage, but this time its a less obvious switching...

In the below example I used a dropdown so the user can select to see his spendings as '% of total budget' or as '% of the Leisure and Culture budget'.

Is a dropdown (with single selection) is the way to go? or would you use a more prominent control above the table (I have a fairly limited space in the real life design)?

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    Is there a reason not to display both at the same time? Jan 19, 2023 at 11:02
  • @bloodyKnuckles, its very information heavy. The example is simplistic... We are listing Health diagnosis or Medication names along with its usage in the Hospital... I am also suspect that it will cause a comparison between numbers which is irrelevant...however it might be a good option. Will have to check with users for sure.
    – Iris Green
    Jan 19, 2023 at 14:23
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    That helps. Bear with me... Are users in either "Total Budget" mindset OR in "Leisure and Culture" mindset, but not likely needing both? Jan 19, 2023 at 14:30
  • How many items will the select dropdown have?
    – Devin
    Jan 19, 2023 at 17:21
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    Be aware that an arrow in column context is often used to show/change the sorting order. This dropdown arrow can be confusing. In fact I had to read the question to know it wasn't for sorting.
    – jazZRo
    Jan 20, 2023 at 13:50

1 Answer 1


Rather than not show one or the other column, use abbreviated column labels to reduce space:

abbreviated column labels

Mousing-over the column label displays a popup that presents the full column label:

abbreviated column popup

If displaying one column at a time is necessary, one option is to use a column label toggle control to switch between columns:

column toggle

The benefit here is that the alternative column label is not hidden.

If the label is scrolled out of view a mouseover or right click can bring up the toggle control to 1) switch columns, and 2) remind the user what column is displayed:

column toggle menu

  • Thanks @bloodyKnuckles! I have never seen such column label toggle. We will eventually use a dropdown option I think :-(
    – Iris Green
    Apr 16, 2023 at 7:02

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