HTML Tables: Here’s How To Make Your First Table

Short Explanation About HTML Table

  • A table is defined using the <table> element, and contains a number of table cells ( <td>, for “table data” ) which are organized into table rows ( <tr>). The markup (HTML code) for a table is always based on rows, never columns.
  • Table cells which act as column headers or row headers should use the <th> (table header) element.
  • Table cells can be merged using the colspan and rowspan attributes.
  • Tables can be broken into sections using the following elements:
    • <thead> — Table header
    • <tbody> — Table body
    • <tfoot> — Table footer
  • A caption can be added to a table using the <caption> element.
  • You can use <col> and <colgroup> to define table columns for styling. However, there are a number of limitations with this practice.
  1. Table Code Sample: Simple Table

    Here is an example of a simple table. Copy this code into your editor and run it in your browser. If you haven’t got one, check my earlier post about Top 5 PHP Editor (IDE) for Web Developers.

    		<th>Favorite Color</th>

  2. Table Code Sample: Complex Table

      <caption>A complex table</caption>
          <th colspan="3">Invoice #123456789</th>
          <th>14 January 2025
          <td colspan="2"><strong>Pay to:</strong><br> Acme Billing Co.<br> 123
            Main St.<br> Cityville, NA 12345</td>
          <td colspan="2"><strong>Customer:</strong><br> John Smith<br> 321
            Willow Way<br> Southeast Northwestershire, MA 54321</td>
          <th>Name / Description</th>
          <td>Staples (box)</td>
          <th colspan="3">Subtotal</th>
          <th colspan="2">Tax</th>
          <th colspan="3">Grand Total</th>
          <td>$ 118.80</td>

What You Can Do Next

There is a CSS template to make a good styled HTML table very easily called Bootstrap. Simply load the bootstrap CSS in your HTML using <link> tag, and then use classes provided by bootstrap to style your table. For example, you can customize color, add striped rows to your table using one single parent class, nicely styled borderless table, hoverable rows, and many more. Try it yourself by reading Bootstrap documentation about tables here.

Keep in mind that example tables in this post is just static tables, meaning that the content inside the tables are hardcoded. When making a table in a site, commonly we must make the data dinamic. For example, the data is taken from database and the content keeps changing. I will explain this in the next post about how to make a dynamic table using PHP and HTML.


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