<table>: The Table element

The HTML <table> element represents tabular data — that is, information presented in a two-dimensional table comprised of rows and columns of cells containing data.

Content categories Flow content
Permitted content
In this order:
  1. an optional <caption> element,
  2. zero or more <colgroup> elements,
  3. an optional <thead> element,
  4. either one of the following:
    • zero or more <tbody> elements
    • one or more <tr> elements
  5. an optional <tfoot> element
Tag omission None, both the starting and ending tag are mandatory.
Permitted parents Any element that accepts flow content
Implicit ARIA role table
Permitted ARIA roles Any
DOM interface HTMLTableElement

Attributes

This element includes the global attributes.

Deprecated attributes

align

This enumerated attribute indicates how the table must be aligned inside the containing document. It may have the following values:

  • left: the table is displayed on the left side of the document;
  • center: the table is displayed in the center of the document;
  • right: the table is displayed on the right side of the document.

Set margin-left and margin-right to auto or margin to 0 auto to achieve an effect that is similar to the align attribute.

bgcolor

The background color of the table. It is a 6-digit hexadecimal RGB code, prefixed by a '#'. One of the predefined color kewords can also be used.

To achieve a similar effect, use the CSS background-color property.

border

This integer attribute defines, in pixels, the size of the frame surrounding the table. If set to 0, the frame attribute is set to void.

To achieve a similar effect, use the CSS border shorthand property.

cellpadding

This attribute defines the space between the content of a cell and its border, displayed or not. If the cellpadding's length is defined in pixels, this pixel-sized space will be applied to all four sides of the cell's content. If the length is defined using a percentage value, the content will be centered and the total vertical space (top and bottom) will represent this value. The same is true for the total horizontal space (left and right).

To achieve a similar effect, apply the border-collapse property to the <table> element, with its value set to collapse, and the padding property to the <td> elements.

cellspacing

This attribute defines the size of the space between two cells in a percentage value or pixels. The attribute is applied both horizontally and vertically, to the space between the top of the table and the cells of the first row, the left of the table and the first column, the right of the table and the last column and the bottom of the table and the last row.

To achieve a similar effect, apply the border-spacing property to the <table> element. border-spacing does not have any effect if border-collapse is set to collapse.

frame

This enumerated attribute defines which side of the frame surrounding the table must be displayed.

To achieve a similar effect, use the border-style and border-width properties.

rules

This enumerated attribute defines where rules, i.e. lines, should appear in a table. It can have the following values:

  • none, which indicates that no rules will be displayed; it is the default value;
  • groups, which will cause the rules to be displayed between row groups (defined by the <thead>, <tbody> and <tfoot> elements) and between column groups (defined by the <col> and <colgroup> elements) only;
  • rows, which will cause the rules to be displayed between rows;
  • columns, which will cause the rules to be displayed between columns;
  • all, which will cause the rules to be displayed between rows and columns.

To achieve a similar effect, apply the border property to the appropriate <thead>, <tbody>, <tfoot>, <col>, or <colgroup> elements.

summary
This attribute defines an alternative text that summarizes the content of the table. Use the <caption> element instead.
width

This attribute defines the width of the table. Use the CSS width property instead.

Examples

Simple table

<table>
  <tr>
    <td>John</td>
    <td>Doe</td>
  </tr>
  <tr>
    <td>Jane</td>
    <td>Doe</td>
  </tr>
</table>

Further simple examples

<p>Simple table with header</p>
<table>
  <tr>
    <th>First name</th>
    <th>Last name</th>
  </tr>
  <tr>
    <td>John</td>
    <td>Doe</td>
  </tr>
  <tr>
    <td>Jane</td>
    <td>Doe</td>
  </tr>
</table>

<p>Table with thead, tfoot, and tbody</p>
<table>
  <thead>
    <tr>
      <th>Header content 1</th>
      <th>Header content 2</th>
    </tr>
  </thead>
  <tbody>
    <tr>
      <td>Body content 1</td>
      <td>Body content 2</td>
    </tr>
  </tbody>
  <tfoot>
    <tr>
      <td>Footer content 1</td>
      <td>Footer content 2</td>
    </tr>
  </tfoot>
</table>

<p>Table with colgroup</p>
<table>
  <colgroup span="4"></colgroup>
  <tr>
    <th>Countries</th>
    <th>Capitals</th>
    <th>Population</th>
    <th>Language</th>
  </tr>
  <tr>
    <td>USA</td>
    <td>Washington, D.C.</td>
    <td>309 million</td>
    <td>English</td>
  </tr>
  <tr>
    <td>Sweden</td>
    <td>Stockholm</td>
    <td>9 million</td>
    <td>Swedish</td>
  </tr>
</table>

<p>Table with colgroup and col</p>
<table>
  <colgroup>
    <col style="background-color: #0f0">
    <col span="2">
  </colgroup>
  <tr>
    <th>Lime</th>
    <th>Lemon</th>
    <th>Orange</th>
  </tr>
  <tr>
    <td>Green</td>
    <td>Yellow</td>
    <td>Orange</td>
  </tr>
</table>

<p>Simple table with caption</p>
<table>
  <caption>Awesome caption</caption>
  <tr>
    <td>Awesome data</td>
  </tr>
</table>

Table sorting

Sorting table rows

There are no native methods for sorting the rows (<tr> elements) of an HTML table. But using Array.prototype.slice(), Array.prototype.sort(), Node.removeChild(), and Node.appendChild(), you can implement your own sort() function to sort an HTMLCollection of <tr> elements.

In the below example, you can see such an example. We are attaching it to the <tbody> element so that it sorts the table cells in order of increasing value, and updates the display to suit.

HTML
<table>
  <tbody>
    <tr>
      <td>3</td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
      <td>2</td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
      <td>1</td>
    </tr>
  </tbody>
</table>
JavaScript
HTMLTableSectionElement.prototype.sort = function(cb){
  Array
    .prototype
    .slice
    .call(this.rows)
    .sort(cb)
    .forEach((e,i,a)=>{
      this.appendChild(this.removeChild(e));
    },this);
}

document.querySelector('table').tBodies[0].sort(function(a, b){
    return a.textContent.localeCompare(b.textContent);
});
Result

Sorting rows with a click on the th element

The following example adds an event handler to every <th> element of every <table> in the document; it sorts all the <tbody>'s rows, basing the sorting on the td cells contained in the rows.

Note: This solution assumes that the <td> elements are populated by raw text with no descendant elements.

HTML
<table>
  <thead>
    <tr>
      <th>Numbers</th>
      <th>Letters</th>
    </tr>
  </thead>
  <tbody>
    <tr>
      <td>3</td>
      <td>A</td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
      <td>2</td>
      <td>B</td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
      <td>1</td>
      <td>C</td>
    </tr>
  </tbody>
</table>
JavaScript
for (let table of document.querySelectorAll('table')) {
  for (let th of table.tHead.rows[0].cells) {
    th.onclick = function(){
      const tBody = table.tBodies[0];
      const rows = tBody.rows;
      for (let tr of rows) {
        Array.prototype.slice.call(rows)
          .sort(function(tr1, tr2){
            const cellIndex = th.cellIndex;
            return tr1.cells[cellIndex].textContent.localeCompare(tr2.cells[cellIndex].textContent);
          })
          .forEach(function(tr){
            this.appendChild(this.removeChild(tr));              
          }, tBody);
      }
    }
  }
}
Result

Displaying large tables in small spaces

A common issue with tables on the web is that they don’t natively work very well on small screens when the amount of content is large, and the way to make them scrollable isn’t obvious, especially when the markup may come from a CDN and cannot be modified to have a wrapper.

This example provides one way to display tables in small spaces. We've hidden the HTML content as it is very large, and there is nothing remarkable about it. The CSS is more useful to inspect in this example.

When looking at these styles you’ll notice that table’s display property has been set to block. While this allows scrolling, the table loses some of its integrity, and table cells try to become as small as possible. To mitigate this issue we've set white-space to nowrap on the <tbody>. However, we don’t do this for the <thead> to avoid long titles forcing columns to be wider than they need to be to display the data.

To keep the table headers on the page while scrolling down we've set position to sticky on the <th> elements. Note that we have not set border-collapse  to collapse, as if we do the header cannot be separated correctly from the rest of the table.

table,
th,
td {
    border: 1px solid;
}

table {
    width: 100%;
    max-width: 400px;
    height: 240px;
    margin: 0 auto;
    display: block;
    overflow-x: auto;
    border-spacing: 0;
}

tbody {
    white-space: nowrap;
}

th,
td {
    padding: 5px 10px;
    border-top-width: 0;
    border-left-width: 0;
}

th {
    position: sticky;
    top: 0;
    background: #fff;
    vertical-align: bottom;
}

th:last-child,
td:last-child {
    border-right-width: 0;
}

tr:last-child td {
    border-bottom-width: 0;
}

Result

Accessibility concerns

Captions

By supplying a <caption> element whose value clearly and concisely describes the table's purpose, it helps the people decide if they need to read the rest of the table content or skip over it.

This helps people navigating with the aid of assistive technology such as a screen reader, people experiencing low vision conditions, and people with cognitive concerns.

Scoping rows and columns

The scope attribute on header elements is redundant in simple contexts, because scope is inferred. However, some assistive technologies may fail to draw correct inferences, so specifying header scope may improve user experiences. In complex tables, scope can be specified so as to provide necessary information about the cells related to a header.

Example

<table>
  <caption>Color names and values</caption>
  <tbody>
    <tr>
      <th scope="col">Name</th>
      <th scope="col">HEX</th>
      <th scope="col">HSLa</th>
      <th scope="col">RGBa</th>
    </tr>
    <tr>
      <th scope="row">Teal</th>
      <td><code>#51F6F6</code></td>
      <td><code>hsla(180, 90%, 64%, 1)</code></td>
      <td><code>rgba(81, 246, 246, 1)</code></td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
      <th scope="row">Goldenrod</th>
      <td><code>#F6BC57</code></td>
      <td><code>hsla(38, 90%, 65%, 1)</code></td>
      <td><code>rgba(246, 188, 87, 1)</code></td>
    </tr>
  </tbody>
</table>

Providing a declaration of scope="col" on a <th> element will help describe that the cell is at the top of a column. Providing a declaration of scope="row" on a <th> element will help describe that the cell is the first in a row.

Complicated tables

Assistive technology such as screen readers may have difficulty parsing tables that are so complex that header cells can’t be associated in a strictly horizontal or vertical way. This is typically indicated by the presence of the colspan and rowspan attributes.

Ideally, consider alternate ways to present the table's content, including breaking it apart into a collection of smaller, related tables that don't have to rely on using the colspan and rowspan attributes. In addition to helping people who use assistive technology understand the table's content, this may also benefit people with cognitive concerns who may have difficulty understanding the associations the table layout is describing.

If the table cannot be broken apart, use a combination of the id and headers attributes to programmatically associate each table cell with the header(s) the cell is associated with.

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
HTML Living Standard
The definition of 'table element' in that specification.
Living Standard
HTML5
The definition of 'table element' in that specification.
Recommendation

Browser compatibility

Update compatibility data on GitHub
DesktopMobile
ChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafariAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidFirefox for AndroidOpera for AndroidSafari on iOSSamsung Internet
tableChrome Full support 1Edge Full support 12Firefox Full support 1IE Full support YesOpera Full support YesSafari Full support YesWebView Android Full support 1Chrome Android Full support 18Firefox Android Full support 4Opera Android Full support YesSafari iOS Full support YesSamsung Internet Android Full support 1.0
align
Deprecated
Chrome Full support 1Edge Full support 12Firefox Full support 1IE Full support YesOpera Full support YesSafari Full support YesWebView Android Full support 1Chrome Android Full support 18Firefox Android Full support 4Opera Android Full support YesSafari iOS Full support YesSamsung Internet Android Full support 1.0
bgcolor
Deprecated
Chrome Full support 1Edge Full support 12Firefox Full support 1IE Full support YesOpera Full support YesSafari Full support YesWebView Android Full support 1Chrome Android Full support 18Firefox Android Full support 4Opera Android Full support YesSafari iOS Full support YesSamsung Internet Android Full support 1.0
border
Deprecated
Chrome Full support 1Edge Full support 12Firefox Full support 1IE Full support YesOpera Full support YesSafari Full support YesWebView Android Full support 1Chrome Android Full support 18Firefox Android Full support 4Opera Android Full support YesSafari iOS Full support YesSamsung Internet Android Full support 1.0
cellpadding
Deprecated
Chrome Full support 1Edge Full support 12Firefox Full support 1IE Full support YesOpera Full support YesSafari Full support YesWebView Android Full support 1Chrome Android Full support 18Firefox Android Full support 4Opera Android Full support YesSafari iOS Full support YesSamsung Internet Android Full support 1.0
cellspacing
Deprecated
Chrome Full support 1Edge Full support 12Firefox Full support 1IE Full support YesOpera Full support YesSafari Full support YesWebView Android Full support 1Chrome Android Full support 18Firefox Android Full support 4Opera Android Full support YesSafari iOS Full support YesSamsung Internet Android Full support 1.0
frame
Deprecated
Chrome Full support 1Edge Full support 12Firefox Full support 1IE Full support YesOpera Full support YesSafari Full support YesWebView Android Full support 1Chrome Android Full support 18Firefox Android Full support 4Opera Android Full support YesSafari iOS Full support YesSamsung Internet Android Full support 1.0
rules
Deprecated
Chrome Full support 1Edge Full support 12Firefox Full support 1IE Full support YesOpera Full support YesSafari Full support YesWebView Android Full support 1Chrome Android Full support 18Firefox Android Full support 4Opera Android Full support YesSafari iOS Full support YesSamsung Internet Android Full support 1.0
summary
Deprecated
Chrome Full support 1Edge Full support 12Firefox Full support 1IE Full support YesOpera Full support YesSafari Full support YesWebView Android Full support 1Chrome Android Full support 18Firefox Android Full support 4Opera Android Full support YesSafari iOS Full support YesSamsung Internet Android Full support 1.0
width
Deprecated
Chrome Full support 1Edge Full support 12Firefox Full support 1IE Full support YesOpera Full support YesSafari Full support YesWebView Android Full support 1Chrome Android Full support 18Firefox Android Full support 4Opera Android Full support YesSafari iOS Full support YesSamsung Internet Android Full support 1.0

Legend

Full support  
Full support
Deprecated. Not for use in new websites.
Deprecated. Not for use in new websites.

See also