Rowspan in simple tables

Summary:Markup to add a rowspan attribute on a simple table cell

Questions answered by this recipe

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  1. How do I specify that a cell spans 2 or more rows in a simple table?
  2. How do I lay out a simple table so that a later editor can see the scope of a rowspan?
  3. How do I lay out a simple table so that a later editor can see the scope of a colspan?


Extend simple table markup to support a rowspan.

  • download rowspan.phpΔ or (for php 5.5 and above) rowspan55.phpΔ
  • add the following line to local/config.php

The markup ||cell text+++ || adds rowspan="3" to the cell. The number of plus signs (+) defines the number of rows spanned. There must be 2 or more plus signs.

The markup ||____|| has the same effect as the markup ||||, 2 or more underscores (_) are required.

The markup ||^^^^|| has the same effect as the markup ||, 2 or more circumflex accents (^) are required.

That's all. It just works.


Simple tables can be hard to read. The recipe provides 2 simple table markup options with the sole purpose of making the table easier to edit. They have no effect whatsoever on the output. Their usage is entirely optional. Adding or removing them will not change the output.

Make rowspan more visible

|| border=1
||Spanning rows++  ||Regular text ||
||^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^||More text    ||
||Plain old text   ||Text ends    ||
||Spanning rows    ||Without using visibility markup ++||
||First column     ||
Spanning rowsRegular text
More text
Plain old textText ends
Spanning rowsWithout using visibility markup
First column

Make colspan more visible

|| border=1
||Spanning columns    ||_____________||Regular text ||
||More Regular        ||More text    ||Still more   ||
||Spanning columns    ||||Without using visibility markup ||
||____________________||Is this meaningful in the first column? ||No||It's not ||
|| Combine both markups to span three rows (''text centered'') ||____________||||
Spanning columnsRegular text
More RegularMore textStill more
Spanning columnsWithout using visibility markup
Is this meaningful in the first column?NoIt's not
Combine both markups to span three rows (text centered)

Spanning rows and columns

|| border=1
||Spanning 3 rows and 2 columns+++ ||||Regular text in third and fourth columns||||
||^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^||Second row ||Fourth column ||
||Third row       ||Fourth column  ||
||Spanning rows and columns++ ||||||Fourth column ||
||Without using visibility markup ||
Spanning 3 rows and 2 columnsRegular text in third and fourth columns
Second rowFourth column
Third rowFourth column
Spanning rows and columnsFourth column
Without using visibility markup

Release Notes

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See Also


jr with help from many others (Christian, Luigi, Peter, Pm, Simon at least).


Why doesn't this work

overlapping double rows, two columns
||Double row A ++||Column 2 ||
||_____________||Double row B ++||
||Column 1     ||^^^^^^^^^^^^^||
Double row A Column 2
Double row B
Column 1

but this does?

overlapping double rows, three columns
||Double row ++||Column 2||Row one ||
||_____________||Double row ++||Row 2||
||Column 1     ||^^^^^^^^^^^^^||Row 3||
Double row Column 2Row one
Double row Row 2
Column 1Row 3

It does what the markup specifies. Here is the HTML the first example produces, which looks exactly right:

<tr class='row1 ind1'><td  rowspan="2">Double row </td><td >Column 2</td></tr>
<tr class='row2 ind2'><td  rowspan="2">Double row </td></tr>
<tr class='row3 ind3'><td  align='left'>Column 1</td></tr>

The colspan in the first column, as specified by the ||_________|| markup, is correctly ignored. It seems to be up to the browser how it interprets the HTML.

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