# Cont: Equal cell width (right and centre aligned content)

One of my last posts was on how to define the width of a column in a table (see here).

The parbox (p), which is used by Latex when you define the column width, will by default align its content on the left. This can be changed, but is a bit tricky.

The keyword is:

\raggedleft, \centering or \raggedright

Raggedleft will align text on the right-hand side, leaving whatever white space remains (ragged) on the left.
For a better understanding, let’s define right alignment of the text as a new column type, which can than be used in the very same way as pre-defined column types.
Defining a new column type needs the following package:

\usepackage{array}

\newcolumntype{x}[1]{% >{\raggedleft\hspace{0pt}}p{#1}}%

The argument is the width of the column.

Now simply use “x{2cm}” instead of “p{2cm}”, for columns which align text on the right. By changing \raggedleft to \centering, you can align text in the centre.

Example:

\begin{table}\centering \begin{tabular}{|l|x{4.5cm}|x{4.5cm}|}\hline Nb. & Advantage & Disadvantage\tabularnewline\hline 1 & a & b \tabularnewline\hline 2 & b & a \tabularnewline\hline \end{tabular} \end{table}

Note:
An important last thing to mention, you cannot end lines with “\\”, as you defined your own column type. Therefore, I am using \tabularnewline in the example. If you want to save time, you might define your own command as follows:

\newcommand{\tn}{\tabularnewline}

Or even:

\newcommand{\tnhl}{\tabularnewline\hline}

#### 14 Responses to “Cont: Equal cell width (right and centre aligned content)”

• Dirk
\newcolumntype{x}[1]{%
>{\raggedleft\hspace{0pt}}p{#1}%

leaves me with error message:

Paragraph ended before (backslash)newcol@ was complete

Any ideas?

• tom

Hi Dirk,

Thanks for your comment, there was a parenthesis missing, I corrected it.

Cheers,
Tom

• stefan08

Hi Tom,

\\ would work like \tabularnewline again if you insert the command \arraybackslash, for instance:

\newcolumntype{x}[1]{%
>{\raggedleft\arraybackslash}p{#1}}%

It’s defined in array.sty: \def\arraybackslash{\let\\\tabularnewline}

Stefan

• nguyenminhhaivn

I have a problem with tables in LaTeX. I want the text in the first row to be centered and the text in the second row to be flushed left. Hope you can help me. Thanks in advance.

• tom

Hi,

You can control the alignment within a cell using “\multicolumn”. Let me give you a simple example:

\begin{table}[ht]
\centering
\begin{tabular}{lrr}
& \multicolumn{1}{c}{Exp. 1}
& \multicolumn{1}{c}{Exp. 2}\\
Setting A& 5.43498289 & 4.309872395\\
Setting B& 5.7098429109890 & 4.10983901\\
\end{tabular}
\end{table}%

If you need separation lines, you have to use \vline and \hline between cells.

Tom.

• Hans

Thanks a lot for this post. It helped me out!

Hans

• James

You are a hero!!!!!!!

• Norm

Thanks for this post; I’ve been trying to figure this out for a while and you’re the only person who has had an answer so far.

• Juho Vepsäläinen

Thanks a lot. Your post was exactly what I needed.

• Al

Thanks a lot! It really helped me. But can you explain what should I do, if I want to center my text not only horizontally but vertically?

• tom

Thanks for this question. That’s an easy one :-). Use ‘m’ instead of ‘p’ to vertically align your text within a cell. Hence your column type definition would look like this:

\newcolumntype{x}[1]{%
>{\raggedleft\hspace{0pt}}m{#1}}%

Cheers,
Tom.

• Alp

This was a great help, thank you.