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Guidelines for Preparing and Submitting Tables

Chapter:
Visual Presentation of Data
Author(s):

Stacy Christiansen

Guidelines for Preparing and Submitting Tables

Authors submitting tables in a scientific article should consult the publication’s instructions for authors for specific requirements and preferences regarding table format. Although details about preferred table construction vary among journals, several general guidelines apply. Each table should be created by means of a table editor program in word processing software or a spreadsheet program and inserted in the electronic manuscript file. Reduced type should not be used. If a table is too large to be contained on 1 manuscript page, the table should be continued on another page with a “continued” line following the title on the subsequent page. Alternatively, if the table is large or exceedingly complex, the author should consider separating the data into 2 or more simpler tables. Tables should not be submitted on oversized paper, as a graphic image, or as photographic prints.

The following table creation instructions for authors appear on the JAMA website:

Author Instructions for Table Creation

Creating the table

Use the table editor of the word processing software to build a table. Regardless of which program is used, each piece of data needs to be contained in its own cell in the table.

Avoid creating tables using spaces or tabs. Such tables must be retyped during the editing process, creating delays and opportunities for error. Do not try to align cells with hard returns or extra spaces. Similarly, no cell should contain a hard return or tab. Although individual empty cells are acceptable in a table, be sure there are no empty columns.

Each row of data must be in a separate row of cells:

Note that percentages are presented in the same cell as numbers and measures of variability are in the same cell as their corresponding statistic:

Table 2. Title

Characteristics

Group A (n=50)

Group B (n=50)

Relative Risk (95% CI)

Women, No. (%)

25 (50)

20 (40)

1.25 (1.11-1.57)

Age, mean (SD), y

35 (8)

37 (7)

0.98 (0.92-1.05)

To indicate data that span more than 1 row, do not merge the cells vertically. Instead, put the data in a cell near the middle of the rows. In the example below, the final column lists the P value for the overall age comparison and will be bracketed to indicate the comparison:

Table 3. Title

Age, y

Blood Pressure, mm Hg

P Value

18-34

120/75

35-50

110/80

.08

51-80

125/82

Do not draw lines or rules—the table grid feature will display the outlines of each cell.

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