I know that I can create a new column via

create on use/newCol/.style={
    create col/set list={Some content, Some other content}
columns/newCol/.style={string type},
columns = {newCol, [index] 0, [index] 1, [index] 2, [index] 3},

That is all well but what if I don't know how many columns the table has in total?
Is there a way to simply (pre)append the new column to the existing ones without having to specify all other columns in the table?

2 Answers 2


Since you don't know the number of the columns, I presume you're reading a table from an external file.

In that case, you could simply add a normal one-column table before your pgfplotstable.


    x y
    1 2
    2 3
    3 4
    4 5

\pgfplotstableset{% global config, for example in the preamble
    every last row/.style={after row=\bottomrule}

            is \\
            a column \\
            added \\
            before \\
            every head row/.style={before row=\toprule,after row=\midrule}

enter image description here


Maybe I missunderstood the task, but this seems to be no problem:

enter image description here

\section{Example-Table with unknown / random Number of Columns and Rows}
\subsection{Raw Data}
\pgfmathsetmacro\xrand{random(3, 7)}
\pgfmathsetmacro\yrand{random(5, 11)}
\xrand\, colums and \yrand\, rows. 

\newcommand{\row}{}% reserv Name
\foreach \Y  in {1,...,\yrand}{%%%
\let\row=\empty% create List
\foreach \X  in {1,...,\xrand}{%%
  \ifx\empty\row{} \xdef\row{\pgfmathresult}%
  \else \xdef\row{\row,\pgfmathresult}%
\noindent\row \\ % show
\immediate\write\mytable{\row}% save

%Test: \pgfplotstabletypeset[string type, col sep=comma]{\jobname-table.txt}

\subsection{Add a new Column}
\pgfplotstableset{create on use/NewCol/.style={
create col/set list={a,b,c,d},
columns/NewCol/.style={string type},

\pgfplotstabletypeset[col sep=comma, 
empty cells with={---},
every head row/.style={after row=\hline}

Note, that the part \newwrite\mytable ....... has nothing to do with the problem itself. It is only a "sophisticated" method of creating an arbitrary table with an unknown or random number of rows and columns.


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