Please let me know if this is not the right stackexchange site for this question...any suggestions where this should be posted would be greatly appreciated!

I'm looking to create a table that is elegant (visually intuitive), logical and comprehensive. The table typically presents multiple values with the same column and same row.

enter image description here


At the moment, the table can seem a bit confusing with multiple headings in the colums/rows due to the multi-data nature of it. It's not meant to be interactive so I cannot hide rows/columns or headings. And I'm assuming a table is the best way to organise this data.

The goal in this case is to uncover where the client competes across segments and where it stands with market share. Several different data figures need need to be compared viewable simultaneously.

Currently, multi-value columns and multi-value rows seem best positioned to solve this (unless you can advise otherwise). For this example I have a sextet of data (triple value row and double value column, 2 x 3 = 6, ie. sextet):

segment's triplet of (1) absolute figure, (2) segment percentage and (3) competitor percentage for each row


competitor's duet of (1) sales volume and (2) sales revenue for each column

Likely another two tables like this would be needed for past growth figures and percentages and future projected growth figures and percentages. Unless you have a way of combining three tables into one table, elegantly.

The above Google Sheets link is an illustrative example (feel free to comment/edit there if it helps). Usually this kind of table might be needed to be created (on the fly by hand) during an interview or during brief preparation for a discussion on the Macro market of a client business. However, I want to create an online spreadsheet version in case of a virtual meeting.

How to organise and communicate the data is more important than the formatting. However, I do agree that formatting can help. So I've tried to be consistent when doing the following:

Color-coding (font and cell background)

Border lines (styles incl.:single, dotted and double)

Font (bold, underlined, capitalised)

Centered numerical figures (besides the ones on the top of the table)

Stackexchange questions that are similar but not the same:

Data table multi value column

Summarising grouped data in a data table

Comparison of data tables

Displaying multiple levels of hierarchy in a table

Other research I've done (beyond stackexchange):

  • if you want to use a table (eg tabular data), I think your best choice is to use tabs for each of the three different options or group data (technically it will be a different table for each one, but visually it will look as a single table). Eitehr way, for clarity purposes, I suggest a tabbed approach
    – Devin
    Nov 28, 2023 at 15:27
  • I would suggest to take a step back and start with smaller ideas that serve just one purpose each. If you have brought it down to what is actually needed in practice, maybe it doesn't have to be one big table or maybe you can combine ideas.
    – jazZRo
    Nov 28, 2023 at 16:14
  • @Devin thank you for your comment. It sounds like splitting up to multiple tables. Nov 28, 2023 at 17:57
  • @jazZRo thank you for your comment. How competitors perform against themselves and across segments in terms of absolute numbers and percentages. Was this not clear in the question description? Nov 28, 2023 at 18:04
  • First terminology: There's no "multiple values" in the same cell, in my view. Rather, there are merged header cells. E.g., the first three rows show A + # in row 1, A + %ct in row 2, A + %sg in row 3. Only for better readability, you have merged the identical headers containing A into a single cell (and this could be emphasized by vertically centering it). Depending on your user profile, I would not be worried about this complexity - there are professionals who ask for such a display, but they are working with this 6h/day (literally). If that's your target group, keep it. If not, simplify. Dec 14, 2023 at 8:35

1 Answer 1


enter image description here

I've redesigned the table to avoid the multi-value column approach.

I've integrated the unit pricing figures into the main table as opposed to being on top of the columns.

May even consider removing the blue font to make it clearer and less dazzling.


I've now also added a transposed (horizontal) version below. May end-up asking a new question of how to determine what's better, a horizontal or vertical table.

enter image description here

  • Your question is very broad and it seems you are onto something here. If you've learned what actual problem you are currently solving, maybe you can modify the question with those details. In this answer you should then specify why and how your current solution is solving that problem.
    – jazZRo
    Dec 7, 2023 at 12:50
  • @jazZRo thank you for this. You raise an important point. I agree that I'm onto something but might need to start again from scratch — as it probably might be too unrelated to simply modify the question. Plan to update this soon. Dec 15, 2023 at 15:24

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