I would like to use tables in answers and questions. Without such support, I find myself using ASCII art tables with the code-text tool, but that takes too long, and isn't really maintainable.

This could be used to illustrate memory cells, and of course to create "real tables" with information contained.

It looks like HTML tables using <table> are not going to be supported. I would like to ask for a feature in the editor that allows and supports creating tables using ASCII art (so the nasty manual managing with spaces will go away), at the very least (no CSS guy - but could imagine there are other styling techniques too).

As a workaround, google chart supports the creation of graphviz diagrams, which is also able to render some limited HTML for creating tables. So the following URL:

chart.apis.google.com/chart?cht=gv&chl=digraph html{abc [shape=none,margin=0,label=<<table border="1" cellspacing="2"><tr><td bgcolor="red"><font color="white">Algorithm</font></td><td bgcolor="darkgreen"><font color="white">Example</font></td></tr><tr><td>First Row 1</td><td PORT="tryp">Second Row 2</td></tr><tr><td>Last Row 1</td><td>Last Row 2</td></tr></table>>]; Funny -> abc:tryp:ne;}

Gives when properly encoded this picture

alt text

  • I would love basic <table> tags! It is something that is available in most places, and to just exclude it without reason does not make sense. Rather discuss within the community and see how we can come up with workable solution.
    – AquaAlex
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 12:37
  • A workaround is to use ASCII art, like so. Commented Sep 24, 2018 at 11:14
  • 1
    Relevant update: Stack Exchange is rolling out native table support. It goes into testing today on MSE and on the DBA Meta, then rolls out to DBA.SE itself a week later, and will be available network-wide a week after that. It uses "GitHub-flavored Markdown" table syntax (since CommonMark doesn't include a specification for tables at the moment).
    – V2Blast
    Commented Nov 24, 2020 at 1:06

3 Answers 3


Some versions of Markdown come with support for tables natively too.

Using Markdown as a proxy for table-markup eliminates the worries that somebody may forget to close a TD. The markdown simply won't translate into HTML if it's not 100% correct. As an example, ** won't cause all of the text on the page from here on to be bold.

  • If I had to guess, I'd say a reason they don't want to allow tables is that they're very easy to mess up, which results in Very Bad Things, especially since the site layout is in tables. That's just a guess, though. Commented Jul 14, 2009 at 16:04
  • 7
    Using markdown as a proxy for tables eliminates that problem. You can't not-complete a TD with Markdown.
    – Sampson
    Commented Jul 14, 2009 at 16:07
  • 4
    Table based layout!? BLASPHEMY
    – TheTXI
    Commented Jul 14, 2009 at 16:07
  • meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3110/… Commented Jul 29, 2009 at 12:37
  • 2
    @thetxi, I'm advocating using it for tabular data only.
    – Sampson
    Commented Jul 29, 2009 at 13:10
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Markdown_Extra
    – dbr
    Commented Jul 31, 2009 at 4:30
  • Jonathan, can you link to some of the version you mentioned in your answer? Thanks!
    – trusktr
    Commented Oct 12, 2013 at 22:45
  • @trusktr It's the same version dbr referenced in the comment above.
    – Sampson
    Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 15:15

The < pre > tag or taking a screen shot works OK so far, but I agree that some better support would be nice.


Jeff has specifically said that tables WILL NOT be allowed in questions and answers.

Thanks to Pesto for drudging up the post: Atwood Laying Down The Law

  • 3
    Because it would mess up the beautiful SO markup, right? Commented Jul 14, 2009 at 15:54
  • 1
    Hell if I know. Tables would rock, but I doubt it will be enabled any time soon.
    – TheTXI
    Commented Jul 14, 2009 at 15:55
  • 3
    "We do not and will not allow table tags -- sorry. This is intentional and by design. If you need a quick and dirty "table", use <pre> and ASCII layout." From stackoverflow.com/questions/31657/… Commented Jul 14, 2009 at 15:57
  • 9
    I think he was specifically referring to table markup in HTML. At least I hope so because the only other way to interpret that is "You don't get nice tabular formatting, because F you."
    – JohnFx
    Commented Sep 29, 2011 at 20:11
  • @HilariousComedyPesto That link is dead
    – SQL Police
    Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 13:04
  • Booooooooooooo!
    – NetMage
    Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 1:26

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