# How can I make this table looks better using LaTeX?

I need to your help to make this table looks professional and better. The table is as follows:

It is a too long table exceeded the page length. I reduced its width text and it became like this. I would like to make it fit with the page and the width of the above text. In addition, the space inside the table between the text is not regular.

This is my code for this table:

\begin{table}[]
\centering
\caption{Consequences of expansion of cities against observation variables, impacts, potential and limitations of urban remote sensing applications}
\label{T2.4}
\makebox[1 \textwidth][c]{
\resizebox{0.5 \textwidth}{!}{%
\begin{tabular}{l|l|l|l|}
\cline{2-4}
\multirow{2}{*}{}                                                                                                       & \multicolumn{3}{c|}{Consequences of the expansion of cities} \\ \cline{2-4}
& Temperature        & Air quality       & Water quality       \\ \hline
\multicolumn{1}{|l|}{\multirow{5}{*}{\begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}Observation \\variables\\ or\\  parameters\end{tabular}}} &  \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Dark surfaces \\ (low albedo) \end{tabular}                 &  - Ozone                 & - Turbidity                    \\
\multicolumn{1}{|l|}{}                                                                                                  & - The lack of vegetation                  & - Nitrogen dioxide                 &   \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Total suspended \\ sediment \end{tabular}                 \\
\multicolumn{1}{|l|}{}                                                                                                  &                    &  - Sulphur dioxide                &  \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Volatile suspended\\ solids  \end{tabular}                \\
\multicolumn{1}{|l|}{}                                                                                                  &                    &   - $PM_{2.5}$ and $PM_{10}$                &  \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Polychlorinated \\biphenyls  \end{tabular}                 \\
\multicolumn{1}{|l|}{}                                                                                                  &                    &  - Carbon dioxide                & - Chlorophyll                   \\
\multicolumn{1}{|l|}{}                                                                                                  &                    &  - Dust aerosol                &                     \\ \hline
\multicolumn{1}{|l|}{\multirow{6}{*}{Impacts}}                                                                          & \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Increased energy \\ consumption \& cost   \end{tabular}                 & \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Serious human \\ health problems  \end{tabular}         & - Change in colour                   \\
\multicolumn{1}{|l|}{}                                                                                                  & \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Elevated emissions \\ of air pollutants \\ ($SO_{2}$, $CO$ and $PM$) \\ and greenhouse gases \\ ($CO_{2}$) global warming \end{tabular}       & - Inhibited plant growth                 &   \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- More total \\ runoff volume \\and flooded \\ land, untreated \\or poorly \\ treated sewage \end{tabular}         \\
\multicolumn{1}{|l|}{}                                                                                                  &  \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Compromised human \\ health and comfort \end{tabular}               & - Smog and acid rain                 &  \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Surface water \\ pollution \end{tabular}                  \\
\multicolumn{1}{|l|}{}                                                                                                  &           & - Climate change                 &   \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Groundwater \\ pollution  \end{tabular}                \\
\multicolumn{1}{|l|}{}                                                                                                  &- Impaired water quality                   &                   &                     \\
\multicolumn{1}{|l|}{}                                                                                                  &                 &              &   \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Reduced storage \\ capacity, flood \\ control, light \\ penetration \\in water—minimising\\ fish yield   \end{tabular}               \\
\multicolumn{1}{|l|}{}                                                                                                  &              &                 &  - Groundwater pollution                  \\
\multicolumn{1}{|l|}{}                                                                                                  &                    &                   & - Human health                   \\ \hline
\multicolumn{1}{|l|}{\multirow{4}{*}{Potential}}                                                                        &  \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Observe \& map \\the surface urban\\ heat island (SUHI)  \end{tabular}           & \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Monitor and map\\ the compositions of air\\ over the globe\\ with high spatial \\and temporal coverage  \end{tabular}           & \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Assess surface water, \\subsurface water, \\soil moisture and \\groundwater with \\reasonable accuracy  \end{tabular}               \\
\multicolumn{1}{|l|}{}                                                                                                  & \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Identify the spatial \\patterns of upwelling \\thermal radiance  \end{tabular}                      & \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- The combination of \\satellite observations \\with ground-based \\in situ for monitoring, \\modelling, simulating \\and forecasting \\the air quality and \\climate change  \end{tabular}                   & \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Assess pollutants \\spectrally and\\ suspended sediments \\using regression \\based optical models  \end{tabular}                   \\
\multicolumn{1}{|l|}{}                                                                                                  & \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Identify urban \\construction materials \end{tabular}                  &  \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Improve the \\quantification of\\ air compositions   \end{tabular}              &  \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Monitoring the vast \\spatial coverage \\and long-term, \\remotely recognition \\concentrations of both \\sediments \& \\chlorophyll and \\detecting the \\presence of \\water beneath \\vegetation using \\the microwave\\ spectrum  \end{tabular}                 \\
\multicolumn{1}{|l|}{}                                                                                                  &  \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Time synchronised \\dense grid of \\temperature over \\a large area \end{tabular}                  &                   &                     \\ \hline
\multicolumn{1}{|l|}{\multirow{5}{*}{\begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}} Limitations \\ and/or  \\considerations\end{tabular}}}    & \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Clouds (thermal\\ imageries) \end{tabular}    &                   &  \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Properties of \\scattering and\\ absorption of \\suspended sediments \\and dissolved \\organic matter \\make it difficult \\to determine the \\intensity of\\ reflected light  \end{tabular}         \\
\multicolumn{1}{|l|}{}                                                                                                  &  \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Surface radiative \\properties \end{tabular}       & \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Cloud (the accuracy \\of air quality \\models)   \end{tabular}       &  \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Demand repeated\\ monitoring on \\short time-scale \end{tabular}         \\
\multicolumn{1}{|l|}{}                                                                                                  &  \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Spectral \\wavelength  \end{tabular}               & \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- The lower levels \\of the atmosphere \\where exposure to\\ pollution occurs \end{tabular}   &   \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Demand in situ \\measurements \\for calibration\\ the estimation \\of water \\quality   \end{tabular}         \\
\multicolumn{1}{|l|}{}                                                                                                  &                    &  \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Chemical and \\physical measurements\\ through the atmosphere  \end{tabular}         &  \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Poor retrieval\\ of water \\constituents due\\ to shadows \\cast on \\water bodies \end{tabular}                  \\
\multicolumn{1}{|l|}{}                                                                                                  &                    &                   &  \begin{tabular}[c]{@{}l@{}}- Correction for\\ atmospheric \\influence on \\remote sensors \\is necessary \\to differentiate\\ the patterns \\of water \\quality   \end{tabular}         \\ \hline
\end{tabular}
}
}
\end{table}

• Why are you doing all this resizing? Just let the table take up the whole textwidth. – Johannes_B Sep 22 '17 at 10:29
• I did that, but because it is a long table, it exceeded the edge of the page. It does not show me the rest of the table on the next page because its end disappeared under the page break (the space between two following pages). – Iris Sep 22 '17 at 11:53
• never apply \resizebox to a table, also why all the \multicolumn{1}{|l|}{}  (which are not doing anything) and \multirow which are not needed as you have nested tabular – David Carlisle Sep 22 '17 at 12:23
• @Iris, you receive two answers, both based on guessing about your real document. showing only code snippet and result not help at all. only makes confusions. please extend provided code to complete small document (calling mwe: minimal working example) beginning with \documentclass{...} follows by packages relevant to page and your table design and ending with \end{document}. on that way are written both answers, so use them as examples how to prepare your mwe. for simulation of text (if you needed it) you can use package lipsum. please add to your question missing information! – Zarko Sep 25 '17 at 10:56
• @Iris, to continue above comment.since you accept one of both received answers, we conclude that your problem is solved. why you then send two your answers which are rather new questions? please rephrase this question or ask new one, if you have new problem. – Zarko Sep 25 '17 at 11:00

The code looks autogenerated. Debugging and fixing auto-generated code is hell. I think it took me half an hour to reassemble what was torn up.

There are certainly better ways to do it, but here is a suggestion.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{booktabs}
\usepackage{geometry}
\geometry{inner=1.5in,outer=1in,}% estimate Looking at the given output
\usepackage{array,ragged2e}
\usepackage{longtable}
\newcommand{\tabitem}[1]{--~\parbox[t]{.9\linewidth}{\small\RaggedRight#1\par}\vspace{1ex}}

\begin{document}
\null\clearpage
\begin{longtable}{
>{\RaggedRight}p{.125\textwidth}
p{.22\textwidth}
p{.23\textwidth}
>{\raggedright}p{.31\textwidth}
}
\caption{Consequences of expansion of cities against observation variables, impacts, potential and limitations of urban remote sensing applications}
\label{T2.4}\tabularnewline
\toprule

& \multicolumn{3}{c}{Consequences of the expansion of cities} \tabularnewline
\cmidrule{2-4}

& Temperature  & Air quality & Water quality \tabularnewline \midrule
Observation variables or parameters
&
\tabitem{Dark surfaces (low albedo)}
\tabitem{The lack of vegetation}
&
\tabitem{Ozone}
\tabitem{Nitrogen dioxide}
\tabitem{Sulphur dioxide}
\tabitem{PM$_{2.5}$ and PM$_{10}$}
\tabitem{Carbon dioxide}
\tabitem{Dust aerosol}
&
\tabitem{Turbidity}
\tabitem{Total suspended sediment}
\tabitem{Volatile suspended solids}
\tabitem{Polychlorinated biphenyls}
\tabitem{Chlorophyll}

Impacts
&
\tabitem{Increased energy consumption \& cost}
\tabitem{Elevated emissions of air pollutants ($SO_{2}$, $CO$ and $PM$) and greenhouse gases ($CO_{2}$) global warming}
\tabitem{Compromised human health and comfort}
\tabitem{Impaired water quality}
&
\tabitem{Serious human health problems}
\tabitem{Inhibited plant growth}
\tabitem{Smog and acid rain}
\tabitem{Climate change}
&
\tabitem{Change in colour}
\tabitem{More total runoff volume and flooded land, untreated or poorly treated sewage}
\tabitem{Surface water pollution}
\tabitem{Groundwater pollution}
\tabitem{Reduced storage capacity, flood control, light penetration in water—minimising fish yield}
\tabitem{Human health}

Potential &
\tabitem{Observe and map the surface urban heat island (SUHI)}
\tabitem{Identify the spatial patterns of upwelling thermal radiance}
\tabitem{Identify urban construction materials}
\tabitem{Time synchronised dense grid of temperature over a large area}
&
\tabitem{Monitor and map the compositions of air over the globe with high spatial and temporal coverage}
\tabitem{The combination of satellite observations with ground}
\tabitem{based in situ for monitoring, modelling, simulating and forecasting the air quality and climate change}
\tabitem{Improve the quantification of air compositions}
&
\tabitem{Assess surface water, subsurface water, soil moisture and groundwater with reasonable accuracy}
\tabitem{Assess pollutants spectrally and suspended sediments using regression based optical models}
\tabitem{Monitoring the vast spatial coverage and long}
\tabitem{term, remotely recognition concentrations of both sediments chlorophyll and detecting the presence of water beneath vegetation using the microwave spectrum}
\tabularnewline
\midrule

Limitations and/or considerations
&
\tabitem{Clouds (thermal imageries)}
\tabitem{Spectral wavelength}
&
\tabitem{Cloud (the accuracy of air quality models)}
\tabitem{The lower levels of the atmosphere where exposure to pollution occurs}
\tabitem{Chemical and physical measurements through the atmosphere}
&
\tabitem{Properties of scattering and absorption of suspended sediments and dissolved organic matter make it difficult to determine the intensity of reflected light}
\tabitem{Demand repeated monitoring on short time-scale}
\tabitem{Demand in situ measurements for calibration the estimation of water quality}
\tabitem{Poor retrieval of water constituents due to shadows cast on water bodies}
\tabitem{Correction for atmospheric influence on remote sensors is necessary to differentiate the patterns of water quality}
\tabularnewline
\bottomrule
\end{longtable}
\end{document}

• Hi Johannes_B, thanks a lot for your reply and code. It works. However, because I use a template for thesis, all the dimensions of the pages were changed. What can I do? I need to your help. – Iris Sep 25 '17 at 9:16
• How am isupposed to know your margins? I just estimated them and worked the table to fit. @iris – Johannes_B Sep 25 '17 at 10:15
• Hi @Zarko, I hope you are very well. Please, I have additional two long tables and because I am a beginner in using Latex, please, I need your help with these two tables. I love your way in coding the previous one with more explanation to packages that were used and the individual code inside the script. I hope you to help me in the same way in order to learn it very well too. So, please, should I open a new request (ask) or send them to you in a private way, such as email. – Iris Sep 27 '17 at 10:22
• Hi @Johannes_B, I hope you are very well. Please, I have additional two long tables and because I am a beginner in using Latex, please, I need your help with these two tables. I love your way in coding the previous one with more explanation to packages that were used and the individual code inside the script. I hope you to help me in the same way in order to learn it very well too. So, please, should I open a new request (ask) or send them to you in a private way, such as email. – Iris Sep 27 '17 at 10:23
• @Iris please ask a new question. – Johannes_B Sep 27 '17 at 10:27

edit:

from comments and given op answers (which should be edited into questions) can be concluded, that the table is rather long (about three pages) and in the answer was shown only a part of table. consequently original first example is now removed and the second one is completed:

• page layout is still unknown, so for demonstration of proposed solution is used paper format A4 with 30mm margins defined by use of geometry package. if this is not the case, you should remove package geometry and used your document layout's settings
• package enumitem for lists in table
• package ragged2e for smart breaking item's text in cells which (to my taste) lead to better looks of text in cells
• package etoolsbox for determining features of longtable (as are use of font size \small, formatting \caption{...}, formatting used list)
• package caption for formatting caption (according to my taste, again)
• as help in table design and see how the table fit in text area are added packages showframe which show page layout, and lipsum which generate dummy text

\documentclass{article}             % it is not known which one you use
\usepackage[a4paper,
margin=30mm]{geometry} % it is not known your page layout
% and how is defined,
\usepackage{ragged2e}
\usepackage{array, booktabs, longtable}
\newcolumntype{R}[1]{>{\RaggedRight\hspace{0pt}}p{#1}}
\usepackage[skip=1ex,labelfont=bf,font=small]{caption}

\usepackage{enumitem}
\usepackage{etoolbox}
\AtBeginEnvironment{longtable}{%
\small                              % for better fit text into cells
\setlength{\LTcapwidth}{\linewidth} % that caption width is equal table width
\setlist[itemize]{  nosep,          % <-- new list setup
leftmargin = *,
before     = \vspace{-\baselineskip},
after      = \vspace{-\baselineskip}
}
}% end of AtBeginEnvironment

%-------------------------------- show page layout, only for test
\usepackage{showframe}
\renewcommand\ShowFrameLinethickness{0.15pt}
\renewcommand*\ShowFrameColor{\color{red}}
%---------------------------------------------------------------%
\usepackage{lipsum} % only for test, generate dummy text

\begin{document}
\lipsum[11] % only for test, remove it in real document
\begin{longtable}{
R{\dimexpr0.15\linewidth-2\tabcolsep}
R{\dimexpr0.25\textwidth-2\tabcolsep}
R{\dimexpr0.25\textwidth-2\tabcolsep}
R{\dimexpr0.35\textwidth-2\tabcolsep}
}
\caption{Consequences of expansion of cities against observation variables, impacts, potential and limitations of urban remote sensing applications}
\label{T2.4}    \\
\toprule
& \multicolumn{3}{c}{Consequences of the expansion of cities}
\\
\cmidrule(lr){2-4}
& Temperature  & Air quality & Water quality
\\
\midrule
\caption{Consequences of expansion \dots\hfill (cont. from previous page)}
\\
\toprule
& \multicolumn{3}{c}{Consequences of the expansion of cities}
\\
\cmidrule(lr){2-4}
& Temperature  & Air quality & Water quality
\\
\midrule
\multicolumn{4}{r}{\footnotesize\textit{continued on the next page}}
\endfoot
\endlastfoot
%%%%

Observation variables or parameters
&   \begin{itemize}
\item   Dark surfaces (low albedo)
\item  The lack of vegetation
\end{itemize}
&   \begin{itemize}
\item   Ozone
\item   Nitrogen dioxide
\item   Sulphur dioxide
\item   PM$_{2.5}$ and PM$_{10}$
\item   Carbon dioxide
\item   Dust aerosol
\end{itemize}
&   \begin{itemize}
\item   Turbidity
\item   Total suspended sediment
\item   Volatile suspended solids
\item   Polychlorinated biphenyls
\item   Chlorophyll
\end{itemize}   \\
\midrule
Impacts
&   \begin{itemize}
\item   Increased energy consumption \& cost
\item   Elevated emissions of air pollutants ($SO_{2}$, $CO$ and $PM$) and greenhouse gases ($CO_{2}$) global warming
\item   Compromised human health and comfort
\item   Impaired water quality
\end{itemize}
&   \begin{itemize}
\item   Serious human health problems
\item   Inhibited plant growth
\item   Smog and acid rain
\item   Climate change
\end{itemize}
&   \begin{itemize}
\item   Change in colour
\item   More total runoff volume and flooded land, untreated or poorly treated sewage
\item   Surface water pollution
\item   Groundwater pollution
\item   Reduced storage capacity, flood control, light penetration in water—minimising fish yield
\item   Human health
\end{itemize}   \\
\midrule
Potential &
\begin{itemize}
\item   Observe and map the surface urban heat island (SUHI)
\item   Identify the spatial patterns of upwelling thermal radiance
\item   Identify urban construction materials
\item   Time synchronised dense grid of temperature over a large area
\end{itemize}
&   \begin{itemize}
\item   Monitor and map the compositions of air over the globe with high spatial and temporal coverage
\item   The combination of satellite observations with ground
\item   based in situ for monitoring, modelling, simulating and forecasting the air quality and climate change
\item   Improve the qualification of the air compositions
\end{itemize}
&   \begin{itemize}
\item   Assess surface water, subsurface water, soil moisture and groundwater with reasonable accuracy
\item   Assess pollutants spectrally and suspended sediments using regression based optical models
\item   Monitoring the vast spatial coverage and long
\item   term, remotely recognition concentrations of both sediments chlorophyll and detecting the presence of water beneath vegetation using the microwave spectrum
\end{itemize}   \\
\midrule
Limitations and/or considerations
&   \begin{itemize}
\item   Clouds (thermal imageries)
\item   Spectral wavelength
\end{itemize}
&   \begin{itemize}
\item   Cloud (the accuracy of air quality models)
\item   The lower levels of the atmosphere where exposure to pollution occurs
\item   Chemical and physical measurements through the atmosphere
\end{itemize}
&   \begin{itemize}
\item   Properties of scattering and absorption of suspended sediments and dissolved organic matter make it difficult to determine the intensity of reflected light
\item   Demand repeated monitoring on short time-scale
\item   Demand in situ measurements for calibration the estimation of water quality
\item   Poor retrieval of water constituents due to shadows cast on water bodies
\item   Correction for atmospheric influence on remote sensors is necessary to differentiate the patterns of water quality
\end{itemize}   \\
\bottomrule
\end{longtable}
\lipsum[2] % only for test, remove it in real document
\end{document}


above mwe generate:

• Hi Zarko, thank you very much for your reply and code. It works but "show frame" command is not fitting with the thesis template used. Also all dimensions and even the page header was changed. I am going to post a pic of this problem. Please, I need to your help. – Iris Sep 25 '17 at 9:22
• @Iris, yes it show page layout :-) . serve only for test purposes (sorry that i didn't mentioned this in answer). just delete \usepackage{showframe} and frame will disappear. – Zarko Sep 25 '17 at 10:08
• @Iris, see edited answer. now consider only multi page table and use longtable for this. also are added some explanation and comments in code. – Zarko Sep 25 '17 at 12:44
• @Iris Zarko and I are happy to help, but without knowing the actual margin dimensions and the page size, all we can do is guess and style the table to what we think looks nice. – Johannes_B Sep 25 '17 at 14:23
• Zarko and Johannes_B, thank you very much. I will post my other questions or edit this one. Thanks again :) – Iris Sep 26 '17 at 9:17