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Chapter 5. Tabular Material

Chapter 5. Tabular Material

Data is often most efficiently presented in tabular form. TeX uses powerful primitives for arranging material in rows and columns. Because they implement only a low-level, formatting-oriented functionality, several macro packages have been developed that build on those primitives to provide a higher-level command language and a more user-friendly interface.

In LaTeX, two types of environments for constructing tables are provided. Most commonly the tabular environment or its math-mode equivalent, the array environment, is used. However, in some circumstances the tabbing environment might prove useful.

Tables contained within floating environments

Tables typically form large units of the document that must be allowed to “float” so that the document may be paginated correctly. The environments described in this chapter are principally concerned with the table layout. To achieve correct pagination they will often be used within the table environment described in Chapter 6. An exception is the environments for multipage tables described in Section 5.4, which should never be used in conjunction with the LaTeX float mechanism. Be careful, however, not to confuse the tabular environment with the table environment. The former allows material to be aligned in columns, while the latter is a logical document element identifying its contents as belonging together and allowing the material to be floated jointly. In particular, one table environment can contain several tabular environments.


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