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Tabular material must stand alone; i.e., all symbols and abbreviations used in tables must be defined at first use. Tables must marked up by hand by the copyeditor and frequently require reorganization of the original material.


Tables are labeled with the word "Table" (initial letter capitalized), followed by the Arabic number and a period. The table must have a number, even if there is only one table in the article. The title is italic, with the first word capitalized. There is no period at the end of the title.

Table 1. Comparison of responses of CA1 and CA3 regions to hypoxia

At proof stage, avoid breaking the title on a preposition.

Table titles should be a brief statement of the contents of the table; if the title is lengthy and repeats column heads or other information in the table, the duplicate info should be deleted from the table title if possible. If the table title is already short, it is not necessary to delete words or abbreviations that are used in the table.


Table 1. Number of cycles and decrements in maximum voluntary contractions (%) when the fatigue test was performed in the abduction and flexion directions


Table 1. Number of cycles and decrements in maximum voluntary contractions for fatigue test

Table titles should be no more than four lines for a one-column table, or two lines for a two-column table. As a general rule, a table title should not exceed 25 words after editing. Always query the author when shortening a table title.

Delete "The" or "A" at the beginnign of the title.

Abbreviations are permitted in the table title, but they must be defined in the legend. Information about means ± SD, "n =" values, units of measure, or spelled-out forms of abbreviations should be moved to another part of the table or to the legend, as appropriate.


Table 1. The effects of kynurenic acid (KYN) on evoked postsynaptic potential (PSP) amplitude and input resistance; mean (SEM)


Table 1. Effects of KYN on evoked PSP amplitude and input resistance

If two titles are provided, use the more succinct one and query the author.


Every value in the body of the table should be associated with a unit of measure, which is usually stated in the stub or column head, and sometimes in the table legend. The only exception is if the value is a ratio, which is typically unitless. Delete units of measure from the table body if they are all the same, and move them to a more appropriate place. If a column contains values associated with different units of measure, it is acceptable to leave the units in the table body.

Standard deviation or standard error values must be represented by ± symbols in the column. (Authors sometimes put SD or SE values in parentheses; change to ± if this is the case.) SD/SE values must be explained in the opening statement of the legend.

Do not align columns of numbers along the decimal point. The printer will align columns according to standard specs (usually along the ± symbol, if standard deviation values are given).

Add commas to numbers of 4 or more digits (e.g., 10,000). Add a leading zero in front of the decimal point for numbers less than 1 (e.g., 0.03). Be careful not to add the zero after the decimal point, which significantly changes the value of the number (e.g., 0.03 to 0.003).

If a value is followed by a number or range in parentheses, mark a space before the opening parenthesis at first use. Numbers in parentheses are usually n values, percentages, or ranges and must be explained in the table legend.

Words like "Group" or "Subject No." should be roman when used as column heads. However, numbers or letters that refer to specific groups or subjects should be italicized when used in the body of the table.

Use en dashes for ranges; however, if the second number of a range is a negative number, use the word "to" instead. If you use "to" for one range in the table, use "to" for all ranges in the table for consistency.

–4 to –12 

Material added by the author beneath existing columns, creating a "table within a table", should be incorporated into the columns above if at all possible. If not, a "lower section" may be created with a spanner. If the lower column heads are different from those above, insert a single rule below the new column heads and add the spanner below the rule.

Tables with words as entries in the columns must be edited as follows:

For tables that are essentially lists, use the following style:

See the APS Green Style Book (Figures, Tables, Isotopes, Compounds, Equations) for examples of unusual tables.


"Rules" in a table are the horizontal lines that divide the table's title from the column heads and the body, and the body from the legend

All tables should have a double rule beneath the title, a single rule beneath the column heads, and another single rule above the legend. Any straddles in the column heads should have a rule between the straddle label and the column heads beneath it. Spanners have space above and below (12 pt and 6 pt, respectively) but no rule.

If the table as created by the author contains rules along the sides and/or within the body, mark the manuscript "rules per style only". Clarify any straddle rules. If the author drew an internal rule above a row labeled "Total" or "Mean ± SD", delete the rule and mark "no space". The only time an internal rule may be used is if a spanner introduces a different set of column heads than those used at the beginning of the table.

If the author's rules are essential to the meaning of the table, APS style permits exceptions; however, this is an infrequent occurrence.


In first-level column heads, all words with 4 or more letters should be capitalized. For hyphenated or shilled words, both parts of the word should be capitalized (e.g., "Time/Subject", "Weight-Volume")If the author uses all-cap abbreviations, spell out the abbreviation and change to capitalized/lowercase.





In second-level column heads (i.e., column heads that fall beneath a straddle), the first word is capitalized, and all following words are lowercase.

Units of measure that are applied to all the values in a column should inserted after the column label, preceded by a comma (e.g., "Amplitude, nA"; "Velocity, m/s"). Be careful to avoid ambiguity, and remember that any unit mentioned in the column head must apply to all values in the column.


Time Window, h
0.2–1.7 17.–3.2 24.0–25.5
0 0
0 33 100

In the above example, the values in the columns are percentages. The unit of measure h does not apply to the values in the columns; it applies to the three different time windows and therefore should be inserted after each time range.


Time Window
0.2–1.7 h 17.–3.2 h 24.0–25.5
0 0
0 33 100

The words "all values are given in percent (%)," or something to that effect, may be included in the figure legend.

Mean, SE (or SD), or Range should not be used as column heads as a general rule; the table should be edited so that these data can be combined into a single column.

The author is permitted to use n (generally meaning "number of subjects") as a column head; if so, the first sentence of the legend must define n as shown above. However, the notation "n = ..." is not permitted beneath a column head. It should be moved to the legend. The author is permitted to use "Number of..." as a column head. A number sign ("#") is not permitted.


A "straddle" is a column head that spans two or more subheads, which are then called "second-level" column heads. Most authors use straddle heads effectively, but many do not indicate how many columns the straddle covers. The copy editor must clearly mark which columns the straddle affects. Query the author if you are uncertain.

You may introduce a straddle if doing so simplifies the table; e.g., if two or more column heads repeat information, the repeated information may be moved to a straddle that spans those columns. Simple column heads (e.g., "5.8 mM [K+]o" and "1 mM [K+]o") do not need a straddle.

Do not create a second level of straddles unless absolutely necessary.

Units of measure that apply to the values in the columns should be inserted after the straddle head, preceded by a comma. Alternatively, in some cases units of measure may be added to the legend; e.g., "Values are... expressed in ms".


The "stub" is the left-most column of the table, usually containing the list of subjects or instances to which the values in the table body apply. The stub column is the only column that does not require a column head.

The first word of each stub entry should be capitalized. First-level entries are flush left. Subentries should be indented one em. Subsequent levels of entries are indented one additional em for each level. Mark run-ins so that table setters can follow guidelines for overruns depending on the number of levels.

Mean and SD (or SE) or n values as entries in the stub column should be avoided. If possible, combine Mean and SD data into one row; n values can be placed in parentheses and also combined in a single row.


Solution 1
Mean 9.8
SD 3.0
n 6


Solution 1 9.8 ± 3.0 (6)

"Values are given as means ± SD; n = number of test animals," or similar wording should be placed in the figure legend.

APS style permits the use of a second set of fences (square brackets) in an entry, but this situation does not occur often. In most cases, there will be a range or an n value.

Units of measure that apply to the entries in the row to the right of the stub follow the stub entry, preceded by a comma. If the unit of measure applies to the stub entry but not to the values in the row to the right, then the unit of measure is inserted in parentheses after the stub entry.

The dosage of a substance is always given in parentheses:

SITS (0.5 mM)
Prazosin (0.1 mg/kg)

If "(n = )" is gvien after each stub entry, create a new column with head n and move the n values for each entry in the stub column to the new column. Defined n in the legend.

When an author uses a spanner, it should be moved to the stub column as a first-level stub entry if the stub has only one level of entries to start with. Spanners should be reserved for tables that are divided into sections (e.g., A and B), for divisions of a table that has multiple levels in the stub column, or when the spanner is not related to the stub column head.

Sometimes the stub contains a column of numbers or letters as designators for several experiments, test subjects, etc. The column head for the stub should read "Experiment", "Cell", "Monkey", etc. Do not use a number sign (i.e., "#"). The numbers (or letters) in the stub itself should be italic; the column head should be roman. If the column of numbers are subentries underneat a first-level entry (e.g., "Cell", "Experiment", etc.), move the first-level entry up to the column head and change the numbers to first-level stub entries.


Spanners are used to divide a table into sections that are distinctly labeled (e.g., "A", "B", etc.). The spanner label is italic, capitalized, and centered in the table body. In text, refer to specific sections of a table as "Table 1A", "Table 1B", etc.

Spanners go beneath the rule under the column heads. Do not repeat the column heads for further sections if they are the same sections above, and mark the table for space above (12 pt) and below (6 pt) the spanner. However, if even one column head is different, they all must be repeated, in which case, the spanner again goes beneath the rule under the new column heads.

If multiple levels (3 or more) are used in the stub, the first-level entry should be changed to a spanner, thereby eliminating the need for multiple indents. This change is particularly useful if the stub entries are long, resulting in additional indents for overruns.


The legend should be one paragraph with a paragraph indent.

If the table body contains SD or SE values, the legend should begin with a "means ±" statement. If all the values in the table body have SD values, the opening statement may read, "Values are means ± SD." (Or, "Values are means ± SE", as appropriate.) If some of the columns do not contain SD/SE values, specify which values are stated as means ± SD/SE. Carefully follow the manuscript; SD and SE are not the same thing. Change "SEM" to "SE", however.

If values follow the main entry in parentheses, the explanation must be added following the "mean" statement. For example:

Values are means ± SD; number of ... is in parentheses.
Values are means ± SD with number of ... in parentheses.

Values are means ± SD; range is in parentheses.
Values are means ± SD with range in parentheses.

Values are means ± SD; values in parentheses are percentages.
Values are means ± SD with percentages in parentheses.

If "n" is not defined, insert a statement as appropriate and query author to complete. Use the above wording for consistency; use "is" or "are" instead of "represent", "show", "depict", etc.

APS style encourages placing units of measure in the column heads or the stub; however, occasionally the meaning of the table is clearer if the unit of measure is placed in the legend — e.g., if every value in the table body uses the same unit of measure.

Use numerals for both single- and double-digit numbers, even if not followed by a unit of measure. Spell out numerals at the beginning of the sentence.

Abbreviations and Definitions

Abbreviations should be listed at the end of the legend. Do not begin a new paragraph. All abbreviations in a table must be defined in order of appearance (top to bottom, left to right). List the abbreviation, then a comma, then the definition, separated from the next abbreviation and definition by a semicolon. Do not insert "and" before the last entry.

SHR, spontaneously hypertensive rats; MAP, mean arterial pressure; RBF, renal blood flow; L-NAME, Nω-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester; SNP, sodium nitroprusside.

Abbreviations may be combined. This is useful if the copy editor has to write out some or all of the abbreviations. It is not necessary to combine if the author has listed them separately.

SA and TA, slowly and transiently adapting, repectively. 

If terms are repeated in table legends after Table 1, do not define them.

Be aware of terms that do not need to be defined, and do not insert or query for author to insert. Also, do not define terms that do not require expansion: statistical terms (P, r, R2, df); chemical compounds and ions (AgCl2, Mg2+), units of measure, and other standard abbreviations that are not spelled out. Infrequently, the table may cnotain multiple abbreviations or symbols previously defined in a glossary or in text. In such a case, the legend may state "See glossary/text for abbreviations," to avoid making the legend excessively long. The copy editor must make a judgment call as to the legibility of the article; clarity must not be compromised. When in doubt, query.

If "NS", "NA", "ND", or a similar abbreviation is used as a column entry, it must be defined in the abbreviation section.

Footnote Symbols

Do not begin a new paragraph to define footnote symbols; footnote definitions should follow immediately after the list of abbreviations.

Journal style is to use the minimum number of footnotes possible in the table body. Read all footnotes first and decide if they can be combined into a general statement (usually they must be changed slightly). Symbols that denote an abbreviation should be deleted, and the abbreviation defined as above (or the abbreviation may be spelled out in the table, removing the need to define it).

If the table contains four or fewer footnotes, use the following symbols, in order:

* (asterisk)
† (dagger)
‡ (double dagger)
§ (section symbol)

If the table contains five or more footnotes, use superscripted lowercase letters (e.g., a, b, c, etc.) instead. It is unusual to have a large number of lettered footnotes, except in a table with a large number of stated P values.

If a value has more than one footnote associated with it, use commas to separate the footnote symbols if you are using lowercase letters. No commas are necessary if you are using asterisk, dagger, etc.

49.0 ± 2.3*†

49.0 ± 2.3a,b,d

Order footnote symbols from left to right and top to bottom, per CBE. APS style permits the author to use an alternate order if the order is logical and consistent. If you change the order, query.

If a symbol is used in an empty entry to indicate "NS", "ND", "NA", or similar abbreviation, delete the symbol, insert the abbreviation as the entry, and define the abbreviation in the abbreviation section.

Change words "Asterisk indicates" to symbol, e.g.:


Asterisk indicates P < 0.05.


*P < 0.05.


Table callouts are indicated in manuscript with the «tbc*» code, where * is a numeral corresponding to the number of the table. It should be placed immediately in front of the number when mentioned in text.

Table «tbc1»1 shows...

Tables must be cited in text in order of appearance. If the author fails to cite a table in text, insert a table callout at an appropriate location and query author.

If tables are cited out of order, investigate, check with the author, and renumber all mentions of the table in text and in the table's title. Tables must be in order at first pages.

Tables may be mentioned in the abstract, but do not place callouts there.

If a table is cited in text and no corresponding table is provided in the manuscript, contact the author immediately.

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last edited 08/17/03