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Tables should generally consist of tabular material (at least 2 rows × 2 columns, including row heads but not column heads). But nontabular lists of 3 or more items may be presented as tables; lists of 1 or 2 items should be incorporated into the main text. Data of the same kind generally should read downward in columns, not across in rows.

Multipart tables (tables with two or more separate sets of column heads) are not allowed and must be split into separate numbered tables. No column should contain more than 1 column head. Place any title of a table section to the left as a row head, being sure to indent existing row heads as row subheads.


Every table should begin with “Table” and the table number, followed by a period and a brief, substantive title.

Table 1. Human inhibitory NK cell receptors

Data fields

Organize tables as compactly and logically as possible. Minimize the number of cells with no data, and avoid empty cells. Use row subheads to minimize the number of columns. If all entries in a column or row are identical, remove that column or row and put that information in a footnote. If all entries in a column are percentages, use the percent symbol in the column head, not after each numeric entry in the column.

Column and row heads

All columns except the stub (the leftmost column) must have a column head. It is preferred but not required that the stub have a column head.

Row heads should not cut into any columns beyond the first column, nor should any head be centered across the table between rows.

In row or column heads, specify the unit for that row or column; separate the head and the unit with a comma.

Hemoglobin level, g/L

Parentheses should be used in row or column heads only to explain data entries that contain parentheses.

Average hemoglobin level, g/L (mean)

Column and row heads should be accurate (including singular or plural) for the data presented in the respective column or row.

P (not P value)


Capitalize table titles, column heads, row heads, and text entries in the data field sentence style, unless capitalizing the first word would change its meaning.

Abbreviations and arithmetic symbols

Use abbreviations where possible in the column and row heads and in the data field; expand in a footnote any abbreviations not expanded in the main text.

Units and measurements

Scientific units should be given according to the SI system. If non-SI units are deemed useful, give a conversion factor in a footnote; do not give both the SI and the non-SI units in tables.

Use NA (not applicable), ND (not determined), and other similar abbreviations where appropriate and define them in the abbreviation footnote. If absolutely necessary, indicate unavailable data with an em (long) dash but explain its meaning with a footnote.


Footnotes should occur in the following order: (1) note applying to entire table, (2) abbreviations note, and (3) all notes with callout symbols.

  1. Any note that applies to the entire table should not have a note callout symbol.
  2. Any abbreviations should be given in a separate note without a note callout symbol.
    BM indicates bone marrow; SCT, stem cell transplantation; and VWF, von Willebrand factor.

    Abbreviations should be defined in alphabetical order. (Subsequent tables using the same abbreviations should reference the previous abbreviation footnote.)

    Abbreviations are explained in Table 1.
  3. All footnotes that apply to columns, rows, or individual data entries use symbols in this order: , †, ‡, §, ||, ¶, #, ∗∗, ††, and ‡‡. If more than 10 such notes are necessary, do not use symbols but use superscripted lowercase letters in alphabetical order instead. The symbol should not be part of the grammar of the footnote. Treat each note as a sentence, including capitalization and a period, but do not capitalize the the first word if doing so would change the scientific meaning.
*p53 sequencing was performed on patient MM samples, as previously described.

Callout symbols should proceed left to right, starting with the table title, then the column heads, and then reading across each successive row.