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Statistical Standards
Statistical Standards Program
 
Table of Contents
 
Introduction
1. Development of Concepts and Methods
2. Planning and Design of Surveys
3. Collection of Data
4. Processing and Editing of Data
5. Analysis of Data / Production of Estimates or Projections
6. Establishment of Review Procedures
7. Dissemination of Data
 
Glossary
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C

 
·Sample Table
·Introduction
·Major Types of Tables
·Tabular Format
·Table Titles
·Boxheads
·Table Stub
·Body
·Tabular Notes
·Sizing a Table
·Appendix
 
Appendix D
 
Publication information

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APPENDIX C: NCES GUIDELINES FOR TABULAR PRESENTATIONS (2002 Edition)


SIZING A TABLE

Most NCES publications are printed on paper that is 8 1/2 x 11 inches. The "image" size (area occupied by printed matter) is expected to be about 6 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches, including space for the page number.

It is well to note that, although this section focuses on ways to reduce dimensions, do so within reason. The problems of table layout usually are those of too much rather than too little, and too much vacant space within a table is no less a fault than others.

Some ways to improve the appearance and reduce one or both dimensions include pruning, internal revision, and font reduction, now discussed in that order. (See Spacing in the Column Head and Vertical Spacing in the Stub.)


Pruning
Trimming a table to alter its shape aims to prune its outline to the desired proportion. Of course, internal symmetry also is desirable within reason¾such as relatively even spacing among the structural elements of the column heads, data columns, and stub captions. Here are some suggestions.

To reduce the width of a table, try¾

  1. Typing wide column headings or stub captions on several lines, dividing words if necessary.
     
  2. Using spanner (multicolumn) headings over related column headings to avoid the repetition of duplicating words.
     
  3. Paring unnecessary words in or abbreviating the stub captions and column headings. (See Wording and Punctuation in the Column Head and Wording and Punctuation in the Stub.)
     
  4. Rounding columns of figures.

To reduce the length of a table, try¾

  1. Typing column headings or stub captions on fewer lines by abbreviating or by placing more words on each line.
     
  2. Removing the blank lines in the column headings or stub captions. (See Spacing in the Column Head and Vertical Spacing in the Stub.)
     
  3. Omitting a blank line above or below headnotes (See Headnotes.)
     
  4. Omitting the blank line below the first footnote or placing two or more footnotes on one line.
     
  5. Examining the stub to eliminate unnecessary nondata captions.
     
  6. Paring unnecessary words in column heads and stub captions by using spanner headings.

Internal Revision
Sometimes an odd-shaped table can be tailored to fit a single page by revising its internal structure. For example, if the table is very wide and short, the table may be "turned," by reversing the functions and positions of the stub and the boxhead. (See Arranging Figures for Ease of Comparison.) Or, the boxhead may be divided into two levels, repeating the stub as below:

Example of boxhead on two levels. First boxhead is Research grants and Training grants for 1970, 1980, and 2000. Next boxhead is Formula grants and Project grants for 1970, 1980, and 2000

Conversely, if the table is narrow and much too long for the page, using a double-up table format may shorten it. In less drastic situations, some data columns or data lines may be eliminated by incorporating low-yield categories, or more of them, in an "other" (residual) category or by eliminating categories entirely if they yield no data.

Spacing Reduction
Blank lines can be variably sized. By reducing the vertical spacing from a full line to three-quarters or one-half a line, the size of a table may be reduced and the number of printed pages may be reduced.

Font Reduction
Smaller fonts can be used to reduce tables that are too long and/or too wide. It is often desirable to reduce statistical tables for other reasons also. With exceptionally long tables, the number of printed pages may be long. By using a smaller font, the number of printed pages may be substantially cut, thus making the publication easier to use as well as lowering the printing, storage, and mailing costs. And many tables are easier to read a slightly smaller size. Note, however, that a minimum practical font size is 9.


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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education