Possible Duplicate:
Is there any markdown to create tables?

There have already been a few questions which have requested this feature, so I just wanted to check on the status of them and (hopefully) renew some interest:

Despite the excellent points raised in these questions, the request for a new way to format tables in questions seems to have died down, and responding to database-related questions is still a pain in the neck. There isn't any available syntax available to represent tables visually, apart from employing ASCII art skillz:

Header1 | Header2 | Header 3
0       | 1       | 7
2       | 5       | 3
9       | 7       | 2

Or even, as Jeff has suggested, using even more ornate ASCII formatting:

║ -1 ║  Community   ║ 210  ║
║  1 ║ Jeff Atwood  ║ 5636 ║
║  2 ║ Geoff Dalgas ║  148 ║
║  3 ║ Jarrod Dixon ║  101 ║
║  4 ║ Joel Spolsky ║  959 ║

But I really can't understand how this functions as a sustainable solution. It seems so time-consuming and wasteful to keep using this method because it is, after all, just a stopgap solution. Jeff has also pointed out that <table> tags are explicitly prohibited on Stack Exchange sites, but that doesn't necessarily mean table syntax is doomed to a hopeless future of 1990's style .txt ASCII artwork; why can't we use a modified form of tags which can be easily controlled:


These won't break the overall layout of the site if a user forgets the closing tag(s). Wordpress uses this kind of syntax, so why can't SO? Or, everyone wants to stick clear of BBCode, why don't you just keep it very simple:

--- can indicate the beginning or the end of a table
New lines indicate new table rows
| can delimit table cells

i.e. something like:

Header1 | Header2 | Header 3
0 | 0 | 0 
2 | 3 | 4

And this would automatically be converted into a HTML table (it wouldn't just stay as a textual representation). An instant benefit would be that you don't have to spend so much time padding out the columns to emulate the look of a real table.

  • 1
    Yes, I think you'll find I already linked to this thread in my question
    – hohner
    Commented Apr 5, 2012 at 14:27
  • 1
    It has nothing to do with breaking the overall layout, by the way. Markdown already parses HTML and re-transforms it. Also, BBCode is ugly. Really ugly. @Jamie: That doesn't mean it's not a duplicate.
    – Ry-
    Commented Apr 5, 2012 at 14:27
  • Where would you have a table of data in the Wordpress tag format that it would be easier to copy/paste that than it would be to create an ascii table using the tool Jeff linked to? Commented Apr 5, 2012 at 14:28
  • 4
    @Jamie Doesn't look like you did. And it'd still be a duplicate. I don't think you're supposed to just re-ask old feature requests. Upvoting, putting up a bounty or adding your two cents as an answer instead of a new question would be more appropriate.
    – a cat
    Commented Apr 5, 2012 at 14:31
  • @lunboks I've made it explicit in the question now. Apart from just wanting to garner healthy discussion about this feature (rather than pedanticism), the other aim is to unify all previous attempts to that people can get a general sense of what's already been suggested and how we can use these prior suggestions to formulate new approaches. Deleting this question or adding a bounty wouldn't really achieve this...
    – hohner
    Commented Apr 5, 2012 at 14:39


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