# Looking for a style guideline to put many references in a table

I'm trying to create tables with references like shown.

Basically to nearly every entry I'd like to put a reference. The references are to the same group of explanations. But my final tables can be a half page large. So the explanation sometimes is no longer on the same page as the table.

I wonder are there guidelines how to achieve something like this.

So far I decided to go for footnotemarks as fully written references will use much more than the original number. I also need to use exponential number therefore I decided to use symbols instead of counters.

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The Chicago Manual of Style (16. ed.) treats table notes in section 3.77. You already follow the guidelines by not using numeral superscripts to prevent ambiguity with exponents. You're also already using the set of symbols proposed by the CMS, except the pound symbol (#). (The footmisc package's LaTeX standard set uses the paragraph symbol (¶) instead of the pound and inserts it before the parallels at position 5).

The CMS's recommended order of occurence is shown in the table below. Should more symbols be needed, doubling and tripling them is recommended. The example table also shows a way to arrange the notes directly below the table by using the threeparttable package. This arrangement complies with the CMS.

Instead of doubling or tripling elements of a set of only six symbols, you might however rather consider using letters, or possibly greek letters. The CMS states that "letters are generally preferred", and should you indeed have really many notes, using a larger alphabet of symbols could make a table a lot more readable.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{booktabs}
\usepackage{threeparttable}
\begin{document}
\centering
\begin{threeparttable}
\begin{tabular}{llll}
a & b & c & extra width \\\toprule
1\tnote{*} & 2\tnote{\textdagger} & 3\tnote{\textdaggerdbl} & \\
4\tnote{\S} & 5\tnote{$\|$}& 6\tnote{\#} & \\\bottomrule
\end{tabular}
\begin{tablenotes}
\footnotesize
\item[*] Symbol 1
\item[\textdagger] Symbol 1
\item[\textdaggerdbl] Symbol 1
\item[\S] Symbol 1
\item[$\|$] Symbol 1
\item[$\!$\#] Symbol 1
\end{tablenotes}
\end{threeparttable}

\end{document}

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