How to create a table

Tables, despite their seemingly simple nature, can be one of the most effective data visualization tools in your toolbox. Their ability to host a different "data type" - words, specific numbers, images, sparklines, or bar charts - in each cell makes them surprisingly versatile. The combination of words, numbers, and images all in an organized grid makes communicating information so much easier.

This guide will show you how to create your first table with Datawrapper. Our tables are feature-rich and fully responsive, meaning they will adapt to different screen sizes. We'll use the example of the change in life expectancy by country from 1960-2016, since it was used in our blog post introducing the new table features.


Preparing and importing the data

This is perhaps the most flexible chart type Datawrapper offers. The chart requires:

  • at minimum, one column or one row of any data type (number, text, or date)
  • That's it! Of course, it is likely that you will have more than one column or row of data. Remember that Datawrapper identifies columns (not rows) by data type, so plan accordingly when importing data. You can also choose whether or not to select the first row as label. For more information about cells with images, see the article about parsing markdown. Additionally, if you'd like to have a column with country flags, see this article. Heres a small snippet of the data we used:

    Country 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964
    Afghanistan 32.29 32.74
    Angola 33.25
    Albania 62.28
    United Arab Emirates 52.26
    Argentina 65.02


    Check & Describe

    Datawrapper automatically detects empty cells (in red) and assigns null-values. These will simply not be charted so you don't have to worry about them. You will also notice that Datawrapper automatically identifies the values as either a number, text, or date. If you see that your data was recognized in the wrong format, change the format in your CSV/XLS, then import it again into Datawrapper. 

    Click on  "Proceed" at the bottom left to go to Step 3: Visualize.



    The chart type to choose here is "Table". Experienced users of Datawrapper will know that, but if you are just starting out, it is important to know that with the selection of this chart type, the options and features available for this chart will change in the sections: Refine, Annotate, and Design. We cover how to customize your table in a separate tutorial found here.

    You will now see a table, without a title, descriptions or customized colors.  Next, you want to refine, annotate & define this chart.   We cover this in a separate short tutorial found here.

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