I am currently setting up a fresh LaTeX environment and trying to incorporate all my old files. They use the tabu package a lot. Since it is very outdated, giving errors etc. I decided to replace it with a similar, but updated package.

Question 1: Is there a current package out there that provides the same features as tabu? I saw some latex-table-package-overviews, but most of them list tabu as "all-rounder" with the comment: don't use it, but without advice for a replacement.

Question 2: We have a lot of tabus, thousands of them. It would take weeks to go through all the documents and replace them all. Can you imagine a possibility to create a self-made tabu-environment based on a possible package (from Question 1). Ideally I will be able to define this globally and the files with tabus will still be working and the tables appear as close as possible to the old one.


The features we use mostly are

  • the "to"-specifier for a given width of the tabu
  • the horizontal adjustment properties. Mentionable are the "standard" X[1c], the semi-automatic X[-1c] and the math-mode-included versions as X[-1c$]; all also in combination with the syntax for a number n of those, like n*{X[-1c$]}
  • extrarowsep=.. as vertical alignment
  • \tabucline{-} and \tabucline{X-Y}

I guess that would be our main uses of the tabu-features. There are also some longtabus in our works, but only just a few. I also have prepared an MWE (at least I tried as well as I can) for some of the mentioned features:


    \begin{tabu}to 0.8\linewidth{|X[-1c]|X[-1c]|X[-1c]|} 
    Test & X & Y \\\tabucline{-}
    Test & Z & A \\\tabucline{-}

    \begin{tabu}to 0.7\linewidth{*4{|X[-1c$]}|}
    \alpha & \beta & \gamma & \delta \\\tabucline{2-3}
    \alpha & \beta & \gamma & \delta

Edit 2:

The fact that there is no solution conveys the impression that this (at least the general tabu features replacement) might be of some interest and something worth taking a deeper look. So for the first step I want to construct some tables with the same features and results but without using the tabu-package. As it might be the wrong place to expand this question any further, I started a new one here: Tabularx with calculated column widths that use the whole table width

  • 2
    Maybe you should clarify which features of tabu your files use. Then it may be easier to find a replacement. Maybe it is possible to define a pseudo-tabu packages based on another tabular package that provides just the required features
    – gernot
    Dec 11, 2020 at 11:29
  • 3
    I'm not aware of a direct replacement. If and how easily it is possible to define a self-made tabu depends a lot on which features you actually used. Dec 11, 2020 at 11:31
  • you are right. I mentioned the main features and gave a MWE in my edit.
    – buecki
    Dec 13, 2020 at 9:35

1 Answer 1


The new LaTeX3 package tabularray is an alternative for the outdated tabu package:

 1     & 2    & 3     & 4     & 5       & 6    \\
 alpha & beta & gamma & delta & epsilon & zeta \\
 1     & 2    & 3     & 4     & 5       & 6    \\
 alpha & beta & gamma & delta & epsilon & zeta \\

enter image description here

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