75
\begin{tabular}{|l|l|l|}
\hline
Column A & Column B \\

\begin{math}
x & y \\
\end{math}

\end{tabular}

This won't let me compile and gives a lot of errors, how do I enable math mode in a table without using $ on everything?

  • 9
    If most terms in the table are going to be in math-mode, you could use an array environment (while in math-mode, obviously) instead of the tabular environment. If it's just the occasional column that's supposed to be in math mode, you could change its column type specifier from, say, c to >{$}c<{$}. – Mico May 5 '13 at 12:11
  • 1
    To add to Mico's comment: ... and use \text{Column A} to switch to text mode in the column headings. – jub0bs May 5 '13 at 12:12
  • @longtom $ ... $ is a short form for \begin{math} ... \end{math}, so using the latter is unnecessary verbose. – Torbjørn T. May 5 '13 at 12:18
  • 1
    Related question: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/106692/… – Torbjørn T. May 5 '13 at 12:19
  • 3
    You must load the array package to be able to use the advanced column specification thingy (e.g. >{$}c<{$}). – jub0bs May 5 '13 at 12:59
77
\documentclass{article}

\usepackage{amstext} % for \text macro
\usepackage{array}   % for \newcolumntype macro
\newcolumntype{L}{>{$}l<{$}} % math-mode version of "l" column type


\begin{document}
\begin{tabular}{| L | L |}
\hline
\text{Column A} & \text{Column B} \\
x & y \\
\end{tabular}

\end{document}

enter image description here

  • 2
    (\text is defined in amstext.sty which is loaded by amsmath.sty.) – Qrrbrbirlbel May 5 '13 at 13:07
  • @Qrrbrbirlbel Ok. I didn't know that, but I guess the OP will need amsmath anyway :) – jub0bs May 5 '13 at 13:08
  • 2
    Thanks, what do the less than and greater than symbols actually do? – Levi H May 5 '13 at 13:08
  • 1
    They simply act as some kind of escape character there. They tell tabular that a special column specification follows. – jub0bs May 5 '13 at 13:10
  • 5
    @STRAIGHTOUTTACOMPTON The Wikibooks page is basically indispensible for keeping track of how to use tables, at least for me. – Ryan Reich May 5 '13 at 14:37
25

If you use tabu, it automatically detects whether the table is in math mode, thus imitating this feature of array.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{amsmath,tabu}
\begin{document}
$\begin{tabu}{|l|l|}\hline
  \text{Column A} & \text{Column B} \\
  x & y
\end{tabu}$
\end{document}

enter image description here

  • 1
    One really nice feature of this approach (beyond not having to type the complicated array syntax above) is that it preserves syntax highlighting in my editor. – Reid Jan 23 '14 at 0:08
  • This approach was very helpful to me, thanks. – Erel Segal-Halevi Dec 12 '15 at 19:07
22

If most of the table consists of math-mode material, it's preferable to use an array environment instead of a tabular environment. Any text-mode material in the table can be handled by encasing it in \text directives (requires the amsmath or the amstext package):

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{amsmath} % for "\text" macro
\begin{document}
$\begin{array}{|c|c|}
\hline
\text{Column A} & \text{Column B} \\
x+y & x-y \\
\hline
\end{array}$
\end{document}
  • What if my table is all math, but I want to be able to caption and label it? – sarah jamal Feb 10 '18 at 10:44
  • @sarahjamal - Do note the use of \text directives to typeset the column headers. As you can probably guess, the argument of \text is typeset in text mode, not math mode. The material in the argument of \caption is typeset in text mode by default. – Mico Feb 10 '18 at 10:54

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