2

I'm trying to find a method which allows me to have columns with automatic width which are also centered in horizontal and vertical direction, just like tabularx's X columntype just centered.

So here is was I tried so far:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{tabularx,booktabs}
\newcolumntype{Z}[0]{>{\centering\arraybackslash\let\newline\\\hspace{0pt}}X}%
\begin{document}
\begin{table}
\begin{tabularx}{7cm}{l|X|X}
& long\newline heading 1 & short heading\\
\toprule
row 1 & 2314 & 2134
\end{tabularx}
\end{table}
\begin{table}
\begin{tabularx}{7cm}{l|Z|Z}
& long\linebreak heading 1 & short heading\\
\toprule
row 1 & 2314 & 2134
\end{tabularx}
\end{table}
\end{document}

enter image description here enter image description here

The second is already almost what I want, just the vertical centering of the third column is missing. How to fix this?

3

for vertical centering you want an m column rather than a p column to sit behind X

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{tabularx,booktabs}
\newcolumntype{Z}[0]{>{\centering\let\newline\\\arraybackslash\hspace{0pt}}X}%
\renewcommand\tabularxcolumn[1]{m{#1}}
\begin{document}
\begin{table}
\begin{tabularx}{7cm}{l|X|X}
& long\newline heading 1 & short heading\\
\toprule
row 1 & 2314 & 2134
\end{tabularx}
\end{table}
\begin{table}
\begin{tabularx}{7cm}{l|Z|Z}
& long\linebreak heading 1 & short heading\\
\toprule
row 1 & 2314 & 2134
\end{tabularx}
\end{table}
\end{document}
1

Just use the makecell package and its \thead command:

        \documentclass{article}
        \usepackage{tabularx,booktabs, makecell}
        \newcolumntype{Z}[0]{>{\centering\arraybackslash\let\newline\\\hspace{0pt}}X}%

        \begin{document}

        \begin{table}
        \begin{tabularx}{7cm}{l|X|X}
        &\thead{ long\\ heading 1} & \thead{short heading}\\
        \toprule
        row 1 & 2314 & 2134
        \end{tabularx}
        \end{table}

        \begin{table}
        \begin{tabularx}{7cm}{l|Z|Z}
        &\thead{long\\ heading 1} & \thead{short heading}\\
        \toprule
        row 1 & 2314 & 2134
        \end{tabularx}
        \end{table}

        \end{document} 

enter image description here

Note that with makecell, you can easily format the content of the head cells. Let me point that you shouldn't use vertical lines with booktabs: as you can see, they do not cut the horizontal ones.

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