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I have a table which contains measurement results. Currently I have one column per measurement 'type'. In each column, I have values like $+$0.74\,\,$\pm$\,\,0.14. The table is rather long (~30 rows), and looks very unorganized. I think it is possible to align the column on one character, like the (first?) ., or the $\pm$. However, I think that then it still looks unorganized. Is there a way to align table columns on more than one item, like both . and the $\pm$. Maybe this will also look weird, I don't know.

Here is what I currently have:

 & A & B & C & D & E\\
continental US      & $-$0.81\,$\pm$\,0.14 & $-$1.7\,$\pm$\,0.30 & $-$0.81\,$\pm$\,0.15 & $-$1.6\,$\pm$\,0.30 & $-$0.78 \\
Central-Eastern US  & $-$2.9\,$\pm$\,0.38  & $-$3.0\,$\pm$\,0.38 & $-$2.9\,$\pm$\,0.39  & $-$2.9\,$\pm$\,0.39 & $-$2.7  \\
Western Europe      & $-$2.9\,$\pm$\,0.63  & $-$2.6\,$\pm$\,0.56 & $-$3.0\,$\pm$\,0.65  & $-$2.6\,$\pm$\,0.56 & $-$2.6  \\
Japan               & $-$0.49\,$\pm$\,0.13 & $-$1.2\,$\pm$\,0.33 & $-$0.49\,$\pm$\,0.14 & $-$1.2\,$\pm$\,0.33 & $-$0.49 \\
Middle East         & $+$0.78\,$\pm$\,0.08 & $+$4.0\,$\pm$\,0.42 & $+$0.79\,$\pm$\,0.08 & $+$4.0\,$\pm$\,0.42 & $+$0.72 \\
East Central China  & $+$10\,$\pm$\,1.1    & $+$21\,$\pm$\,2.2   & $+$10\,$\pm$\,1.1    & $+$20\,$\pm$\,2.2   & $+$8.7  \\
North Central India & $+$1.3\,$\pm$\,0.27  & $+$4.0\,$\pm$\,0.84 & ~~1.1\,$\pm$\,0.27   & $+$4.6\,$\pm$\,1.1  & $+$1.1  \\

Any suggestions to make this nicer are welcome :)

share|improve this question
siunitx allows you to align number in tables. Take a look at tex.stackexchange.com/questions/85769/… – Jake Feb 15 '13 at 11:15
What do the "measurements" represent? If you were to read the table aloud to me, how would you read it column-wise or row-wise? – Yiannis Lazarides Feb 19 '13 at 20:38
@YiannisLazarides measurements are trends in air quality. rows are locations, columns are different methods. If reading the table, I would read row-wise – andreas-h Mar 1 '13 at 18:18
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I would recommend siunitx for this kind of table:


% uncertainty is separated with a "plus-minus" symbol

 & {A} & {B} \\
continental US      & -0.81 \pm 0.14 & -1.7 \pm 0.30 \\
Central-Eastern US  & -2.9  \pm 0.38 & -3.0 \pm 0.38 \\
Western Europe      & -2.9  \pm 0.63 & -2.6 \pm 0.56 \\
Japan               & -0.49 \pm 0.13 & -1.2 \pm 0.33 \\

The same number of significant digits seems better; look at the package documentation for more details.

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
nice one! thanks! any idea how I can do this in LyX? – andreas-h Mar 1 '13 at 18:23
@andreas-h No, I've never used LyX: I tried it once, five minutes later there was no trace of it on my machine any more. I think it's false that it eases using LaTeX; to the contrary, it makes easy things like this difficult. – egreg Mar 1 '13 at 18:25
The only reason I'm using LyX is to be able to share documents and annotate (like in collaborative writing) them in a group of people. LyX allows you to insert notes, track changes, etc. I personally would do this in plain LaTeX with git, but some of my coworkers (read: boss) refuse to use a plain text file in an ASCII editor for this. They're used to word, and I'm glad I can convince them to use LyX ... Any suggestions? – andreas-h Mar 1 '13 at 18:29
You might want to insert it as ERT. You can then put a preview box around it so the rendered table will show up. Or you could save it in an external file and include it (Insert File > Child Document) – scottkosty Mar 1 '13 at 18:32
@egreg I agree that the same number of significant digits looks better. But strictly speaking, it's not correct, right? Writing 2.90 implies that the value is measured to three significant digits, when in fact it's only two. At least, that's how I learned it. – andreas-h Apr 10 '13 at 12:04

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