Tables and forms

Table design should be as uncluttered as possible and have generous amounts of space between rows to aid legibility. This also applies to forms. Tables should only be divided by horizontal lines. You can use vertical lines, where necessary, to divide up sections of forms to be filled in by hand. Allow plenty of room on forms for partially-sighted people, who often have large handwriting, to fill in information. This also helps people with arthritic hands.

Do not centre numbers in tables. Columns of numbers are much easier to read if correctly aligned. Right-align whole numbers and use decimal tabs to align decimals.

If you set up a table without column headings, remember to leave extra space between the top of your table and the preceding paragraph. This is because many people tend to overlook the first row in a table, as their eye is automatically drawn to the second row.

Avoid splitting tables over two pages if possible. Where this isn't practical, try to split the table at a convenient place so that the reader won't have to turn back and forth between pages to follow the content. And remember to carry column headings over to the next page if you split your table.

View examples of tables at Appendix C and examples of forms at Appendix D.