When I stumbled upon tabu some time ago it looked quite interesting on a first glance and I intended to learn more about it when I have the time. But, in the comments section of this question posted on the new german question and answer site texwelt.de Herbert Voß wrote that the tabu package is obsolete in its current version (thereby citing the package author) and is not actively maintained anymore. What are the implications for the usability of the package? Should I refrain from investing time to learn tabu and consider some other packages for the creation of tables instead?


2 Answers 2


Update July 2022

A possible modern alternative could be tabularray which was introduced in 2021.

Update January 2019

Due to issues of tabu with recent changes in the LaTeX kernel, maintenance of the package has been taken up by a working group at tabu-fixed/tabu.

The aim of the working group is to fix the issues. Further development of the package is not planned at the moment.

Original answer

In a thread on comp.text.tex the author of tabu stated that bug fixes to the current version (2.8) of tabu will not be taken under consideration:

Well, to be honest, the time of bug reports will come with the next release.

See Incompatibility between verbatim and tabu? (Danger of using \scantokens in a package) for the motivation of Bruno Le Floch's question.

I asked back

So you're telling that the current version of tabu is completely unmaintained?

The answer was

In three letters, with no ligature: yes!

To make the story short, here's an excerpt from a subsequent message (the first line is my question):

So old documents written with the previous commands of tabu will cease to work? Wonderful.

I don't care. I want to built tabulars without any measurement or guess, with a maximum of features and a powerful interface.

The conclusions I can draw is that using tabu in its current version is dangerous, because its author has announced incompatible changes for the next version. And he doesn't care if people using his package are thrown under the bus.

  • 7
    The author wrote yesterday in the french group again that the current tabu version is unmaintained. The new version should appear at the end of the summer and will not be compatible (which doesn't mean that everything be different). Commented Jun 30, 2013 at 16:33
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    @UlrikeFischer The author has written "Less than 5% of the commands are the same between the next version and the uploaded one". (See google link above) So for me this means that (nearly) everything will be different.
    – user2574
    Commented Jul 1, 2013 at 7:16
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    @UlrikeFischer SL: "3) Less than 5% of the commands are the same between the next version and the uploaded one" - Enrico Gregorio: "I hope not the user's interface commands." - GL: "Of course yes. Everything has been rewritten."
    – user2574
    Commented Jul 1, 2013 at 8:07
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    So, if the new tabu is that different, why not call it by a new name? The old package can remain unchanged and those dependent on it are no worse off than they are now. Those interested in the newer package can use it in newer work... or perhaps write a script to transform the old markup to the new. Hard to say how difficult that would be until the new package is available. Commented Nov 21, 2014 at 15:50
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    Have a look at the new tabularray package. It has many functions of the tabu package.
    – maphy-psd
    Commented May 17, 2021 at 14:28

If somebody still stumbles upon this question: I used in autumn 2021 longtabu, which is a part of the package tabu, for a long table in a project, and when somebody who wanted to learn LaTeX asked me the next year for the sourcecode, I discovered that my sourcecode was broken due to longtabu, which didn't work anymore. I had to fix it by replacing the table with longtblr from tabulararray...

Yes, of course it was already known in 2021 that the package was abandoned, and it was a beginner's mistake. Don't make my mistake, don't use abandoned packages if there are alternatives!

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