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I would like to create a table with some columns' width specified, while the text in those columns should be centered both horizontally and vertically. I found out that

\begin{tabular}{| c | c | m{5cm} |}

vertically centers the text in the last column, but justifies it horizontally (like text in normal paragraphs).

Update: With Jake's method, it seems both \\ and \hline cause an error. How to fix it?

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up vote 213 down vote accepted

A comprehensive solution (based on this answer) is to define new column types (say, L, C, and R) that take their width as argument and do the following:

  • Issue \raggedright, \centering, or \raggedleft to achieve the desired horizontal alignment,

  • Declare \let\newline\\ to allow to use \newline for manual line breaks within a cell (note that \centering & friends change the meaning of \\ -- this is the problem with Jake's solution),

  • Issue \arraybackslash (i.e., \let\\\tabularnewline) to allow (again) to use \\ for ending rows,

  • Issue \hspace{0pt} to allow the first word in a cell to be hyphenated.

In the example below, the new column types are based on (vertically centered) m-columns, but one may use (top- or bottom-aligned) p- or b-columns as well.




\begin{tabular}{| c | L{3cm} | C{3cm} | R{3cm} |}
foo &
A cell with text that wraps around, is raggedright and allows \newline
    manual line breaks &
A cell with text that wraps around, is centered and allows \newline
    manual line breaks &
A cell with text that wraps around, is raggedleft and allows \newline
    manual line breaks \\


enter image description here

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Thanks, it works. In this way I don't have to add anything, just use "\\" and "\hline" as normally. – Covi Mar 5 '11 at 12:24
Nice answer! @Covi: You should probably accept lockstep's answer as the correct one, since it's more complete than mine – Jake Mar 5 '11 at 12:29
@Covi: As @Jakes's answer seems to produce errors which are corrected in my answer, please consider to accept my answer instead. ("Accepted" answers are displayed at the top, and the next user facing your problem will perhaps only read the accepted answer.) – lockstep Mar 5 '11 at 12:30
@Jake: +1 for chivalry. – lockstep Mar 5 '11 at 12:31
Please note that LCRJ column types are defined by the tabulary package. Just in case someone uses this excellent hint together with tabulary and wonders why some other tables break. – koppor Jul 9 at 23:26

The 'm' column type only centers the text vertically; to get it also centered horizontally, you can use the >{cmd} syntax, which adds a command before each cell in the specified column:

\begin{tabular}{| c | c | >{\centering}m{5cm} |}
Abc & Bcd & A long cell with text that wraps around and is centered

tabular with column that is horizontally and vertically centered

As Stefan Kottwitz pointed out in his comment, this can also be be wrapped in a new column type that you can define using


Then you can define the above table using

begin{tabular}{| c | c | C{5cm} |}
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Works, but if there is a \\ \hline after the table row, this yields a misplaced \noalign error. According to this answer, \arraybackslash is required. – O. R. Mapper Oct 15 '15 at 12:27

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