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If I create a table in twocolumn, the text on the second column overlaps the right half of the table. If I use a table*, whether with twocolumn or multicols, it instead is moved to the next page. tables in multicols simply disappear.

I'd like to have a top-aligned table with two-column text below it. How can this be done sanely?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

There's nothing in principle that prevents what you want from ocurring, (the document below show that it's possible) but float placement is a funny thing, so the reason you can't get what you want might have to do with how the correct placement of the float is calculated in your particular document. The float package can provide some extra help on that end, providing an [H] option to a float to force it in a particular place.

\documentclass[twocolumn]{article}
\usepackage{lipsum} % for nonsense text
\begin{document}
\lipsum
\begin{table*}[htbp]
\centering
\begin{tabular}{p{1in}p{1in}p{1in}p{1in}p{1in}}
\hline
Some text & Some text & Some text & some text & some text\\
Some text & Some text & Some text & some text & some text\\
Some text & Some text & Some text & some text & some text\\
Some text & Some text & Some text & some text & some text\\
Some text & Some text & Some text & some text & some text\\
Some text & Some text & Some text & some text & some text\\
Some text & Some text & Some text & some text & some text\\
\hline
\caption{A table}
\end{tabular}
\end{table*}
\lipsum\lipsum

\end{document}
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The results look reasonable, though the placement is a bit unpredictable. Eh, I guess it works. –  sreservoir Jan 29 '11 at 1:27
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