# Vertical spacing of a table cell

I want to tabulate formulas, but I find that the lines of the table cells are too close together, and this is aesthetically unsatisfactory. Example (formulae copied from wikipedia):

\begin{tabular}{|c|c|}
\hline
Cylindrical & $\displaystyle{{1 \over \rho}{\partial \over \partial\rho}\left(\rho {\partial f \over \partial \rho}\right) + {1 \over \rho^2}{\partial^2 f \over \partial \phi^2} + {\partial^2 f \over \partial z^2}}$\\\hline
Spherical & $\displaystyle{{1 \over r^2}{\partial \over \partial r}\!\left(r^2 {\partial f \over \partial r}\right) \!+\!{1 \over r^2\!\sin\theta}{\partial \over \partial \theta}\!\left(\sin\theta {\partial f \over \partial \theta}\right) \!+\!{1 \over r^2\!\sin^2\theta}{\partial^2 f \over \partial \phi^2}}$\\\hline
\end{tabular}


gives this and you see that the top of the formulas are chopped by the lines. Suggestions?

• See Column padding in tables on ways of adjusting both vertical and horizontal padding of cell entries in tabular or array. – Werner Apr 1 '12 at 14:18
• @Werner Since this is an answer, you should pose it as such. – Limited Atonement Jul 4 '14 at 15:17

I have solved this in the past by modifying the value of \arraystretch

{\renewcommand{\arraystretch}{1.2} %<- modify value to suit your needs
\begin{tabular}{|c|c|}
...
\end{tabular}
}


Edit:

Actually having researched this a bit more it seems that having equations in the cells has unexpected behaviour, where the space is increase disproportionally at the top (value set to 3 to start getting the space at the bottom): more recently I have started to use the tabu package to replace all tables (from tabular to tabularx to longtable). It also provide a few more controls. in this case the \tabulinesep has a much more appropirate effect on the results:

\documentclass[preview]{standalone}
\usepackage{tabu}
\begin{document}
{\tabulinesep=1.2mm
\begin{tabu} {|c|c|}
\hline
Cylindrical & $\displaystyle{{1 \over \rho}{\partial \over \partial\rho}\left(\rho {\partial f \over \partial \rho}\right) + {1 \over \rho^2}{\partial^2 f \over \partial \phi^2} + {\partial^2 f \over \partial z^2}}$\\\hline
Spherical & $\displaystyle{{1 \over r^2}{\partial \over \partial r}\!\left(r^2 {\partial f \over \partial r}\right) \!+\!{1 \over r^2\!\sin\theta}{\partial \over \partial \theta}\!\left(\sin\theta {\partial f \over \partial \theta}\right) \!+\!{1 \over r^2\!\sin^2\theta}{\partial^2 f \over \partial \phi^2}}$\\\hline
\end{tabu}}
\end{document}


which produces the following result: • Good advice! tabu is a really good package! – Alberto Feb 26 '13 at 21:09

You may use a different table format, leaving out the vertical lines which are by no means necessary; you can also greatly simplify the input with a personal command for partial derivatives:

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage{booktabs,amsmath}

\newcommand{\dpder}[]{\dfrac{\partial^{#1}#2}{\partial #3}}

\begin{document}
\begin{tabular}{lc}
\toprule
Cartesian &
$\dpder{f}{x^2}+\dpder{f}{y^2}+\dpder{f}{z^2}$
\\
\midrule
Cylindrical &
$\dfrac{1}{\rho} \dpder{}{\rho}{\left(\rho \dpder{f}{\rho}\right)} + \dfrac{1}{\rho^2} \dpder{f}{\phi^2} + \dpder{f}{z^2}$
\\
\midrule
Spherical &
$\dfrac{1}{r^2}\dpder{}{r}{\left(r^2 \dpder{f}{r}\right)} +\dfrac{1}{r^2\sin\theta}\dpder{}{\theta}{\left(\sin\theta \dpder{f}{\theta}\right)} +\dfrac{1}{r^2\sin^2\theta}\dpder{f}{\phi^2}$
\\
\bottomrule
\end{tabular}
\end{document}


Notice how to avoid unwanted spaces in the "cylindrical" and "spherical" rows by using {\left(...\right)} (a couple of braces is sufficient instead of explicit backing up). Note also the usage of \dfrac in the definition of \dpder that avoids specifying \displaystyle (which is however not a command taking arguments, but a declaration).

With booktabs there's rarely the need to adjust the row spacing. • Thanks. I usually use macros but in this case I compiled a list of useful formulas for my students, and just copy-pasted it from wikipedia. Can you explain what the second (empty) square braces do in the definition of \dpder? – yohbs Apr 1 '12 at 20:22
• @yohbs With \newcommand{\dpder}[]{...} we say that the command has one optional argument and two mandatory ones; the default of the optional argument is empty (the exponent for the \partial in the numerator. – egreg Apr 1 '12 at 20:43
• I didn't knew about the spacingissue. Really nice, egreg! :) – Svend Tveskæg Nov 30 '13 at 15:36

I ended up here after googling "lyx extra space in tables for dfrac", so this is an answer for LyX, but it probably also applies to plain LaTeX code.

I use the arraystretch-command in my preamble, but if I use dfrac in a cell the vertical space will not reflect the needed hight increase.

\renewcommand*\arraystretch{1.3}


The "tabu" package seems like a good solution, but the package is not recommended by several people because the author didn't tried to maintain backward compability hard enough (as stated by jon here, but I don't know if this is true though). Also I had a hard time getting the "tabu" package to work in LyX.

Anyway,

• I found a solution to expand the vertical space in a table cell both upwards and downwards vertically by simply insering an empty box-control before the cell content.

Example code for a single 3-cell row:

\hline
Logarithms & $\ln\left(x\right)$ & %
\begin{minipage}[c][10mm][t]{0.1mm}%
%
\end{minipage}$\dfrac{1}{x}$\tabularnewline
`

Resulting PDF without box: Resulting PDF with box: I used the following settings in LyX for the box: I hope this tip can help someone to expand their vertical cell white spaces in LaTeX!