You can format tables using either multimarkdown syntax or HTML. You can also use jQuery datatables (a plugin) if you need more robust tables.

Multimarkdown Tables

You can use Multimarkdown syntax for tables. The following shows a sample:

| Priority apples | Second priority | Third priority |
|-------|--------|---------|
| ambrosia | gala | red delicious |
| pink lady | jazz | macintosh |
| honeycrisp | granny smith | fuji |

Result:

Priority apples Second priority Third priority
ambrosia gala red delicious
pink lady jazz macintosh
honeycrisp granny smith fuji

HTML Tables

If you need a more sophisticated table syntax, use HTML syntax for the table. Although you’re using HTML, you can use Markdown inside the table cells by adding markdown="span" as an attribute for the td tag, as shown in the following table. You can also control the column widths.

<table>
<colgroup>
<col width="30%" />
<col width="70%" />
</colgroup>
<thead>
<tr class="header">
<th>Field</th>
<th>Description</th>
</tr>
</thead>
<tbody>
<tr>
<td markdown="span">First column **fields**</td>
<td markdown="span">Some descriptive text. This is a markdown link to [Google](http://google.com). Or see [some link][mydoc_tags].</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td markdown="span">Second column **fields**</td>
<td markdown="span">Some more descriptive text.
</td>
</tr>
</tbody>
</table>

Result:

Field Description
First column fields Some descriptive text. This is a markdown link to Google. Or see some link.
Second column fields Some more descriptive text.

jQuery DataTables

You also have the option of using a jQuery DataTable, which gives you some additional capabilities. To use a jQuery DataTable in a page, include datatable: true in a page’s frontmatter. This tells the default layout to load the necessary CSS and javascript bits and to include a $(document).ready() function that initializes the DataTables library.

You can change the options used to initialize the DataTables library by editing the call to $('table.display').DataTable() in the default layout. The available options for Datatables are described in the DataTable documentation, which is excellent.

You also must add a class of display to your tables. You can change the class, but then you’ll need to change the trigger defined in the $(document).ready() function in the default layout from table.display to the class you prefer.

You can also add page-specific triggers (by copying the <script></script> block from the default layout into the page) and classes, which lets you use different options on different tables.

If you use an HTML table, adding class="display" to the <table> tag is sufficient.

Markdown, however, doesn’t allow you to add classes to tables, so you’ll need to use a trick: add <div class="datatable-begin"></div> before the table and <div class="datatable-end"></div> after the table. The default layout includes a jQuery snippet that automagically adds the display class to any table it finds between those two markers. So you can start with this (we’ve trimmed the descriptions for display):

<div class="datatable-begin"></div>

Food    | Description                           | Category | Sample type
------- | ------------------------------------- | -------- | -----------
Apples  | A small, somewhat round ...           | Fruit    | Fuji
Bananas | A long and curved, often-yellow ...   | Fruit    | Snow
Kiwis   | A small, hairy-skinned sweet ...      | Fruit    | Golden
Oranges | A spherical, orange-colored sweet ... | Fruit    | Navel

<div class="datatable-end"></div>

and get this:

Food Description Category Sample type
Apples A small, somewhat round and often red-colored, crispy fruit grown on trees. Fruit Fuji
Bananas A long and curved, often-yellow, sweet and soft fruit that grows in bunches in tropical climates. Fruit Snow
Kiwis A small, hairy-skinned sweet fruit with green-colored insides and seeds. Fruit Golden
Oranges A spherical, orange-colored sweet fruit commonly grown in Florida and California. Fruit Navel

Notice a few features:

  • You can keyword search the table. When you type a word, the table filters to match your word.
  • You can sort the column order.
  • You can page the results so that you show only a certain number of values on the first page and then require users to click next to see more entries.

Read more of the DataTable documentation to get a sense of the options you can configure. You should probably only use DataTables when you have long, massive tables full of information.

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