I have a many tables in my application, where there are some "Numeric" columns like "Phone No/ Ext No, Date, Price, Serial No"

So I have a question should these columns be always right aligned? And if yes, should their heading also be aligned Right???

4 Answers 4


Regarding the data in the column :

As previously answered, numerical data should be right aligned if their values need to be visually comparable as this aligment reveals the order relation (as opposed to an alphabetical ordering) because left-positioned zeros are implicit.

Regarding the column headers :

A column header is an indication about the content of a column. Its function is therefore different. In addition to this, its nature is different from that of the data in the column (to start with, it is generally made of words and not numbers).

For these reasons, nothing dictates that its layout should follow the same rules as that of the data in the column. The appropriate aligment rule will be based on what it is.

If your other headers are centered, centering them will feel natural and will not break your general design.

Simply put : display them just like all other headers in your table.


It depends on the meaning of the data. As a general rule, if the user will be comparing values for their size, or scanning for a value that looks big or small, then you should right align the value to help with this. Prices should therefore be right aligned. Phone numbers on the other hand will not be compared for value, so they don't need to be.

  • 3
    Same idea phrased differently: how would you sort your column? If: 1, 20, 100, 210... (appropriate for prices, quantities) then right align, as it lets you more easily compare orders of magnitude. If: 1, 100, 20, 210... (serial numbers, IDs) then left align for easy scanning for the right sequence. Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 11:35

Usually, you would only align pure numbers right, so you could compare them easily.

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    And how does this answer the question on heading alignment? Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 11:44

That depends on your overall layout and styling.

Anything numeric/comparable should be right aligned.

I would generally recommend all headers to have a similar alignment, irrespective of the content. This helps in keeping the sorting and filtering icons, if any, at a fixed position relative to the header text.

However, this can confuse the user if you do not have column dividers. So in such scenario try and include a subtle column divider. Then users will be able to differentiate between the columns and won't feel the title is misaligned.

If your styling does not recommend having column dividers, then you have to align the header along with the content of the column to indicate an association. That means all the numeric content column header will be right aligned.

Hope I have helped.

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