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This question is, in part, a follow-up to How does one correctly scale tabu (not tabular)?.

In general, I have been using adjustbox to scale wide tables to \textwidth as such:

\begin{adjustbox}{max width=\textwidth}
\begin{tabular}{cc}
  \toprule
  \\
  some very long text in the first column
  &
  some very long text in the second column
  \\
  \bottomrule
\end{tabular}
\end{adjustbox}

What would the "correct" way of producing a good-looking, page-fitting table? Should I be using tabular, tabular*, or tabu? Should I be using scalebox or adjustbox as above, or in combination with something else?

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  • 4
    You can use tabularx in the first place (there must be at least one X column). You can use a smaller font (\small or \footnotesize remain readable). Setting a smaller value of \tabcolsep (6pt × 2 by defaults) or \arraycolsep is interesting if there are many columns. In any case scaling the table is not recommended, as it leads to inconsistent font sizes.
    – Bernard
    Nov 14 '17 at 22:41
  • 7
    there is no correct way to scale tables as scaling should be avoided in almost all cases (you don't justify a paragraph by randomly scaling the lines giving inconsistent font sizes, and same should apply to text in tables) Nov 14 '17 at 22:43
  • 1
    you could use tabularx or there I'd just use tabular with fixed width columns p{3cm}p{4cm} to allow line breaking Nov 14 '17 at 22:44
  • @DavidCarlisle I understand the inconsistent font reason; however, I have proof trees with long formulas that I need scaled---it's not pure text. Any recommendations on that?
    – dow
    Nov 14 '17 at 22:59
  • 2
    make them small enough to fit, \small or \tiny or whatever. Or if you really consider the tree like an image that you scale to fit, use \resizebox (or adjustbox which is the same thing, but then it's not really a table at all and so the fact that the tree is implemented as a table internally or as tikz nodes or pstricks nodes or whatever is a minor implementation detail) this question (on the face of it) is asking about tables of text and there you can linebreak and choose font sizes so scaling is never needed. Nov 14 '17 at 23:04

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