# Wrapping text in \multicolumn

I would like to wrap (and center) text within \multicolumn. Tabularx and tabilary only wrap the text outside of the \multicolumn{} columns. I would also like to define the column width as defined by the non \multicolumn{} rows. Any ideas?

Example:

% Unwrapped example
\begin{tabular}{l*{7}{c}}
Team              & P &\multicolumn{2}{c}{Points Collected bssss} & L & F  & \multicolumn{2}{c}{Points Collected blablabl} \\
\hline
Manchester United & 6 & 4 & 0 & 2 & 10 & 5 & 12  \\
Celtic            & 6 & 3 & 0 & 3 &  8 & 9 &  9  \\
Benfica           & 6 & 2 & 1 & 3 &  7 & 8 &  7  \\
FC Copenhagen     & 6 & 2 & 1 & 3 &  5 & 8 &  7  \\
\end{tabular}


You can use a new column type:

\newcolumntype{C}[1]{>{\centering\arraybackslash}p{#1}}


with the help of array package.

Complete code:

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage{array}
\newcolumntype{C}[1]{>{\centering\arraybackslash}p{#1}}

\begin{document}
% Unwrapped example
\begin{tabular}{l*{7}{c}}
Team              & P &\multicolumn{2}{C{1.5cm}}{Points Collected bssss} & L & F  & \multicolumn{2}{C{1.5cm}}{Points Collected blablabl} \\
\hline
Manchester United & 6 & 4 & 0 & 2 & 10 & 5 & 12  \\
Celtic            & 6 & 3 & 0 & 3 &  8 & 9 &  9  \\
Benfica           & 6 & 2 & 1 & 3 &  7 & 8 &  7  \\
FC Copenhagen     & 6 & 2 & 1 & 3 &  5 & 8 &  7  \\
\end{tabular}

\end{document}


You may use either m{#1} or b{#1} instead of p{#1} as your likes.

• Thanks, both answers are quite useful. I still have the problem though that I have to define the width manually. However, I am producing many of these tables with STATA and the titles change occasionally. So I need the columns width to to be automatically defined (in a way that all the columns with data in them are the same width, that is excl. the first column).
– Max
May 23, 2013 at 0:48
• Much like \begin{tabularx}{l*{7}{X}} would work.
– Max
May 23, 2013 at 1:02

The statement in the question that wrapping does not occur in \multicolumn is not correct. Wrapping will occur in par-mode column types (p, X) etc whether they are specified in the main table preamble or in \multicolum. If you use \multicolumn to change the column type to c then it will be single line as c does not support line breaking.

The only complication is knowing what the width should be, here an X cell is spanning across two X columns so set \hsize to be twice the normal X \hsize plus additional space to account for the column separation and rule that is also spanned. I added rules to make the alignment between the spanning cell and the default columns more clear.

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage{tabularx}

\begin{document}

\begin{tabularx}{6cm}{|c|X|X|}

a& zzz zzzz zzzzz & yyy yyy yyyy yyy yyy y\\
b& \multicolumn{2}{>{\hsize=\dimexpr 2\hsize+2\tabcolsep+\arrayrulewidth}X|}{
qqq qqqq qqqq qqqq qqqq qqqq qqqq qqqq qqqq qqqq qqqq qqq qq qq q q q qqqq qq}\\
c& zzz zzzz zzzzz z z zzz zzzzz & yyy yyy yyyy yyy yyy yyyy yyyy y yyyyy yyy yy y y \\
\end{tabularx}
\end{document}


To have wrapping columns of a fixed width that aligns right or centered, you need to define them, e.g. using the array package and \newcolumntype.

The code belows shows possible definitions for left L, right R and centered C columns, and applies the C one to your MWE:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{array}
\newcolumntype{L}[1]{>{\raggedright\let\newline\\\arraybackslash\hspace{0pt}}m{#1}}
\newcolumntype{C}[1]{>{\centering\let\newline\\\arraybackslash\hspace{0pt}}m{#1}}
\newcolumntype{R}[1]{>{\raggedleft\let\newline\\\arraybackslash\hspace{0pt}}m{#1}}

\begin{document}
\begin{tabular}{l*{7}{c}}
Team              & P &\multicolumn{2}{C{2cm}}{Points Collected bssss} & L & F  & \multicolumn{2}{C{2cm}}{Points Collected blablabl} \\
\hline
Manchester United & 6 & 4 & 0 & 2 & 10 & 5 & 12  \\
Celtic            & 6 & 3 & 0 & 3 &  8 & 9 &  9  \\
Benfica           & 6 & 2 & 1 & 3 &  7 & 8 &  7  \\
FC Copenhagen     & 6 & 2 & 1 & 3 &  5 & 8 &  7  \\
\end{tabular}
\end{document}


• Thanks, both answers are quite useful. I still have the problem though that I have to define the width manually. However, I am producing many of these tables with STATA and the titles change occasionally. So I need the columns width to to be automatically defined (in a way that all the columns with data in them are the same width, that is excl. the first column).
– Max
May 23, 2013 at 0:59
• Much like \begin{tabularx}{l*{7}{X}} would work.
– Max
May 23, 2013 at 1:03
• Is it only the headers that will determine the width of the columns? If so, you could easily pre-compute those automatically. Otherwise, it is going to be much more painful... May 23, 2013 at 1:21