# How can I use multicolumn or multirow in a tabular using the array package global formatting technique?

Awhile ago, @robintw asked a practical question: Make first row of table all bold

It uses the array package to cleverly inject formatting code into the header row columns.

# Clever Table Row Formatting Solution

\usepackage{array}
\newcolumntype{$}{>{\global\let\currentrowstyle\relax}} % Always set currentrowstyle to \relax in case no \rowstyle is used \newcolumntype{^}{>{\currentrowstyle}} % set \currentrowstyle to \bfseries or whatever (>{\bfseries}c) \newcommand{\rowstyle}[1]{\gdef\currentrowstyle{#1}% set global definition for \currentrowstyle #1\ignorespaces }  # The Problematic Code I'd like to see multicolumn and multirow support. I tried the following based on https://tex.stackexchange.com/a/4816/13552, which does not work. \documentclass{article} \usepackage{array} \newcolumntype{$}{>{\global\let\currentrowstyle\relax}}
\newcolumntype{^}{>{\currentrowstyle}}
\newcommand{\rowstyle}[1]{\gdef\currentrowstyle{#1}%
#1\ignorespaces
}

\begin{document}
\begin{tabular}{$l^c^c^r} \rowstyle{\bfseries} %\multicolumn{2}{^l}{span2} & \multicolumn{2}{^r}{span2} \\ % Uncomment this to see problem col1 & col2 & col3 & col4 \\ dat1 & dat2 & dat3 & dat4 \\ \end{tabular} \end{document}  • the problem is in \rowstyle{\bfseries} – touhami Apr 25 '15 at 8:36 • Your example works for me (TeXLive 2014, pdflatex), and produces the desired result. What error do you get? – anderstood Jun 9 '15 at 15:41 • @anderstood, uncommenting the problematic lines results in: ! Misplaced \omit. \multispan ->\omit \@multispan with This is XeTeX, Version 3.14159265-2.6-0.99991 (TeX Live 2014) (preloaded format=xelatex) – Jonathan Komar Jun 11 '15 at 12:11 ## 1 Answer The problem has to do with the fact that the $> columntype is never used in the first row of the tabular at all.

You can address this by using:

\multicolumn{2}{$l}{}  For the first set of spanned columns. However, the problem then is that things get done in the wrong order. \rowstyle{\bfseries} is now before the start of the first cell. To address this, you can include it in the specification of the first cell \multicolumn{2}{$l}{\rowstyle{\bfseries}span2}


which produces

which, if I've understood correctly, is the expected result.

# Complete code

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{array}
\newcolumntype{$}{>{\global\let\currentrowstyle\relax}} \newcolumntype{^}{>{\currentrowstyle}} \newcommand{\rowstyle}[1]{\gdef\currentrowstyle{#1}% #1\ignorespaces } \begin{document} \begin{tabular}{$l^c^c^r}
\multicolumn{2}{$l}{\rowstyle{\bfseries}span2} & \multicolumn{2}{^r}{span2} \\ % Uncomment this to see problem col1 & col2 & col3 & col4 \\ dat1 & dat2 & dat3 & dat4 \\ \end{tabular} \end{document}  • Thanks! Finally an answer to this. Not a clean solution (because the$ and ^ have to be mentioned again :/), but it will suffice for now! Thanks for providing a nice explanation. It is always helpful to understand things. – Jonathan Komar Jun 12 '15 at 6:19
• @macmadness86 I agree it is not a perfect solution. However, since this question had been unanswered for a while, I thought even an imperfect one preferable to none at all. Maybe somebody else will suggest a nice trick to improve things further (I just followed my nose). Hopefully latex3 will eventually offer more significant improvements! – cfr Jun 12 '15 at 12:31