How To Design a Table the Right Way: Mastering Data Table Design

How to design a good data table the right way

Picture this! You’re in a world brimming with data. Here numbers and information hold the key to unlocking valuable insights. There is significance in efficiently presenting data. That informs and engages the audience. This is where the skill of data table design comes into play.

Imagine table UI designs that tell stories with their layout, capturing attention at first glance. These are the tables that not only communicate information but also leave a lasting impression on the visitors.

Now you must ask, ‘How to Design a Table the Right Way?’

Prepare yourself as we embark on this quest to data table design guidelines that weave narratives, captivate audiences, and conquer the digital landscape.

Why table UI design matter? 

When merely looked at, a data table shouldn’t be dressed up only to appeal to aesthetic senses. Nevertheless, a well-designed table can still be a work of art as long as complements the function.

So, Why the design of a table is important?

In the case of presenting a significant amount of data or a comprehensive list of items, good table UI design becomes an indispensable tool. This approach offers several advantages that greatly benefit users, allowing for clear and organized data visualization.

By implementing a well-designed table, information becomes more readable and easily digestible, ensuring a smooth and efficient user experience.

How to design a table the right way?

Tables are a great way to organize and present data. But the presentation will look cluttered and confusing to the user without a proper or, the right design.

They can be used to display information in a clear and concise way. They can help users quickly and easily find the information they are looking for. In order to be effective, tables need to be designed the right way.

The ultimate guide to table UI design

In this section, we’ll review the fundamental principles of a good table design- user interface (UI), including striped rows, sorting, filtering, pagination, visual aesthetic, table style, and table functionality.

  • Select the row style that perfectly complements your interface
  • Unnecessary non-data elements should be omitted
  • Do not over-style your table
  • Allow users to select a row/column/cell
  • Use suitable and readable fonts
  • Allow users to expand the table
  • Ensure proper data alignment and formatting of table headers
  • Search and filter options to easily locate and sort through the data
  • Merge multiple cells into one cell if the data are repetitive
  • Consider narrowing (down) your columns
  • Pagination for large data tables
  • Use striped rows for clear contrast
  • Table border or cell borders
  • Put some consideration into how your table is sorted
  • Proper font style and size
  • Hover animation for interactivity
  • Highlighting data you want to put emphasis on
  • Data table colors (don’t make it a carnival though!)

Following these data table design best practices will make your text in the grid look appealing and easy to read.

What makes a good table design?

No matter how different a table’s size, complexity, contents, or purpose may be, all of them conform to the same two basic design tenets: they must be readable and provide the reader with an overview of the data.

Tables have an undeserved reputation for being difficult to create and customize because most of us don’t have coding skills. But Ninja Tables got you covered! It’s a powerful table builder that can help you to create beautiful and effective tables with 0 lines of code.

Here are some inspiring examples of a good table design by Ninja Tables to help you design tables the right way.

Customize table style

Your audience can browse, read, and comprehend data more easily if the data table is styled properly.

Here’s how you can customize table styles in Ninja Tables:

Ninja Tables dynamic table styles

As you can see, there are 3 styling libraries and multiple options to pick your desired table style. From the “Styling” and “Other” tabs, you can-

  • Enable row hover animation
  • Customize table border, header, title, and description
  • Enable stackable table
  • Control pagination and search bar position
  • Extra CSS
  • Make header sticky and change data fonts

Table data alignment

Aligning table data in the center and leaving white spaces around makes it easier for the audience to focus on the data cell.

While doing this, make sure the header texts are center aligned as well.

center table data

Table borders

Ever seen a table without border? If the data is text-based, it probably doesn’t look that bad.

But a numeric data table requires table borders and row/column boundaries. It also separates the table header from table rows and columns. So, everything looks properly placed.

Enable or disable table borders to separate cells, rows, and columns.

Filters and sorting can help users quickly and easily find the information they are looking for in your table. Make sure to include these options in your table.

NamePositionOfficeAgeStart dateSalary
Zorita SerranoSoftware EngineerSan Francisco562012/06/01$115,000
Zenaida FrankSoftware EngineerNew York632010/01/04$125,250
Yuri BerryChief Marketing Officer (CMO)New York402009/06/25$675,000
Vivian HarrellFinancial ControllerSan Francisco622009/02/14$452,500
Unity ButlerMarketing DesignerSan Francisco472009/12/09$85,675
Timothy MooneyOffice ManagerLondon372008/12/11$136,200
Tiger NixonSystem ArchitectEdinburgh612011/04/25$320,800
Thor WaltonDeveloperNew York612013/08/11$98,540
Tatyana FitzpatrickRegional DirectorLondon192010/03/17$385,750
Suki BurksDeveloperLondon532009/10/22$114,500
Sonya FrostSoftware EngineerEdinburgh232008/12/13$103,600
Shou ItouRegional MarketingTokyo202011/08/14$163,000
Shad DeckerRegional DirectorEdinburgh512008/11/13$183,000
Serge BaldwinData CoordinatorSingapore642012/04/09$138,575
Sakura YamamotoSupport EngineerTokyo372009/08/19$139,575
Rhona DavidsonIntegration SpecialistTokyo552010/10/14$327,900
Quinn FlynnSupport LeadEdinburgh222013/03/03$342,000
Prescott BartlettTechnical AuthorLondon272011/05/07$145,000
Paul ByrdChief Financial Officer (CFO)New York642010/06/09$725,000
Olivia LiangSupport EngineerSingapore642011/02/03$234,500
Michelle HouseIntegration SpecialistSidney372011/06/02$95,400
Michael SilvaMarketing DesignerLondon662012/11/27$198,500
Michael BruceJavascript DeveloperSingapore292011/06/27$183,000
Martena MccrayPost-Sales supportEdinburgh462011/03/09$324,050
Lael GreerSystems AdministratorLondon212009/02/27$103,500
Jonas AlexanderDeveloperSan Francisco302010/07/14$86,500
Jennifer ChangRegional DirectorSingapore282010/11/14$357,650
Jennifer AcostaJunior Javascript DeveloperEdinburgh432013/02/01$75,650
Jenette CaldwellDevelopment LeadNew York302011/09/03$345,000
Jena GainesOffice ManagerLondon302008/12/19$90,560

Identify the most critical information within your data table that you want to draw attention to.

Improving the overall visual hierarchy of the table enhances user experience and engagement. It helps to design better data tables while increasing the likelihood of data retention and understanding.

For example, a pricing table with a tier pricing system where you want people to focus on the column in the middle. Simply highlight it and make it larger to create the illusion of the “best price.”

price table by ninja tables

Table background colors

Talk about appeal and aesthetics and we come with coloring table cells, backgrounds, and all things customizable with pretty colors!

Use colors on your data table smartly. For example, separating the header and table body with two different colors.

Ninja Tables design and coloring panel can help you pick the perfect color for your table and you can view it in real-time.

christmas product table colors

Configure stackable tables for mobile devices

Let’s face it. You can’t overlook the huge group of people who are more comfortable using their mobile phones than desktops.

So, your data table needs to appear nicely, without swiping left/right to see the columns that don’t fit on a small screen. Check out Ninja Table’s stackable option.

Enable “Stackable Table Configuration” and customize for mobile devices to turn each row into smaller tables.

stackable table configuration

Breakpoints for responsive table design

In Ninja Tables, you can choose what column you want to show on what device.

Hide a column for the desktop and the desktop users will see a “+” sign on the front-end. If they click the “+” sign, the hidden column will appear.

Table responsiveness breakpoint

Conditional formatting

It’s hard to quickly find information, particularly, numeric values in a large set of data cells and columns. Just imagine, you need to quickly find multiple vendor orders/shipments in metric ton ratio such as 10-20 for a specific year.

Apply conditions that correspond to cell values.

Ninja Table easily lets you highlight or change cell content reacting to a specified condition.

Conditional Formatting

Merge table cells

If a data table has multiple identical data in consecutive cells, you might wanna try merging those cells into one big cell.

This way, your audience won’t get bored reading the same word more than twice. It’s just another advantage of using a table instead of long paragraphs!

merge cells in a column
Merged cells in a row

Dynamic data table

A table is only required when it can showcase all types of dynamic data that will take up a big chunk of space as a paragraph.

Add dynamic data like buttons, links, or multimedia to design a stunning table.

  • A table with multiple columns can present multiple data types
  • You can add icons, links, a rating system, etc. to make UX more pleasant
  • Actionable buttons also help to create a good impression
  • A better media visualization option using the lightbox feature enhances the UI
  • Show necessary links, download option, or embed videos
  • Make tables interactive with checkboxes or radio buttons
Dynamic Data in Tables

A table’s design not only depends on its layout but also on the data it presents. Make the tables appear smart and informative with dynamic data.

Hover animation

Interactive data tables are more popular than static tables. Add hover animation to your table rows for cool visual relief.


800 MHz 1 Core ARM v6


Adreno 200


Qualcomm MSM7227


278.34 MB


178.39 MB

Network Data

2G/ 3G / HSDPA 7.2


Android 2.3.7

Screen Size

3.5 inch


HVGA (480*320) ~165 ppi pixel density

Shot Mode

Single/ Smile / Continuous / Panorama

product specification table
product specification table
Mode Name

galaxy s9 plus

Brand Name


Enabling hover animation can turn every boring table fun!

Bulk Action

Enable users to pick and alter several things at once. Common actions become available at the top of the table once the rows have been chosen. By grouping together repetitive processes, this functionality can help users save a lot of time.

ninja tables demo

Visualize table data with charts

You can create much more than just data tables with this plugin.

Create horizontal charts, line charts, or even pie charts for better visualizing your business purpose such as internal progress, and comparison for monthly inflow or outflow.

Ninja Charts is a free chart addon that turns all your table data into stylish WordPress charts within a minute!

Ninja Charts chart types


There’s no way around the need to invest in a quality data table if you want to showcase all your dynamic data better.

Designing useful data tables that offer users value and utility is easier said than done, but it is fully possible with the right tool.

The tips and examples by Ninja Tables in this post will inspire you to produce fantastic work of your own.

Your creative instinct and access to Ninja Tables Pro is the only next big step you need to grasp all the professional design hacks to design the data table the right way!

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Ninja Tables– Easiest Table Plugin in WordPress

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