[OS X TeX] How to fit a table into the letter size paper

Alain Schremmer schremmer.alain at gmail.com
Mon Dec 29 23:03:56 EST 2008

On Dec 29, 2008, at 10:40 PM, Ross Moore wrote:

> Hi David, Alain, and others,
> On 30/12/2008, at 11:13 AM, David Watson wrote:
>> Alain,
>> I think most of the of the space savings in this case come from
>> a) making the units into math operations and then
>> b) using math mode to change the original powers into  
>> superscripts, and
>> c) positioning the units on a line underneath the heading.
> There is also:
>  d) the initial  {\footnotesize .... } wrapping around the whole
>     tabular, reducing the overall fontsize and baseline skip;
>  e) the  \addtolength{\tabcolsep}{-2pt}
>     which reduces the amount of space *between* cells in a row.
> Of course it is unclear from the original poster's example
> what form the data will come in --- presumably numbers,
> but with how many digits, and what kind of alignment?
> This may affect the widths of columns. In my example code
> the header cells dictate the widths, choosing between 3 fixed
> amounts which were designed to accommodate the headers.
> It may well be that in practice the data dominates in some columns,
> which will then affect the overall width of the table.
>> The tables in Tufte's "The Visual Display of Quantitative  
>> Information" and the documentation for the "booktabs" package  
>> provide prime examples of what "tables" should look like.
>> As far as defining new math operations, I think I would prefer to  
>> use the "SIunits" package in order to facilitate generation of  
>> metric units, not to disparage the elegant example that was provided.
> Sure; that's certainly a good package to use.
>> To the point, the original poster {\em seems} to be asking how to  
>> fashion a table that will fit onto letter paper which will be  
>> utilized for the recording of data from some sort of physical  
>> experiments. In such a case I would prefer a sheet of graph paper,  
>> possibly located within a laboratory notebook, or loose leaf in  
>> the case of an undergraduate course where the binding is unimportant.
> If it was for *recording* data manually, then yes, the small
> font-size is not a good idea at all.
> I'd assumed that he wants to display data already collected,
> or to be collected in future.
> With data in a speadsheet, it is easy to add extra columns
> in-between, filled-down with &s and \\ at the end of each row.
> Then a copy/paste into the LaTeX source can provide the data
> cells to populate the {tabular}.
>> Given the fact that the data in column 1 (or 0 for you computer  
>> science persons) are so miniscule in relation to the column  
>> headers, I would opt to either:
>> a) use a landscape orientation and format the table as the  
>> original poster suggested, or
> Certainly using landscape orientation is an option;
>  e.g. with a \rotatebox{90}{....} command.
> But if you do this, it would be best done within a float,
> probably on a page by itself.
> It also can help in positioning the \caption to use a
> {minipage} environment, estimating the actual width
> (which becomes height) required; e.g.,
> \begin{table}[p]
>  \centering
>  \rotatebox{90}{%
>   \begin{minipage}{1.2\textwidth}
>    \caption{....}
>    \medskip
>    \begin{tabular}{....}
>     ...
>     ...
>    \end{tabular}
>   \end{minipage}
>  }%  end of \rotatebox
> \end{table}
> Of course there are packages which provide alternative commands
> to do some of these things with different markup.
> What is important is understanding how the markup relates
> to geometrical concepts, and nesting them correctly so that
> the coding processes smoothly.
>> b) use OpenOffice Calc or MS Excel or some sort of tab-delimited  
>> text file for the recording of such data.
> Sure. But it doesn't take much to use this for data,
> and employ LaTeX for a high-quality, aesthetic layout.
>> I could be completely wrong about the intention of the original  
>> poster, so understand this would be my approach given what I  
>> assume the original assumptions were.
>>> Envious regards
>>> --schremmer
> Hope this helps,

Sure did: I was putting off making some big tables to record students  
scores on multiple choice exams. I think I can do that now.

Grateful regards to all

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