Table Plugin

Control attributes of tables and sorting of table columns


The TablePlugin gives extra control of TWiki table rendering using | cell 1 | cell 2 | syntax:

  • Sort table by columns
  • Use TML (TWiki Markup Language) in table cells using |>> TML <<| syntax.
  • Support row spans using |^| syntax.
  • Change table properties, such as border width, cell spacing and cell padding.
  • Change background color and text color for header cells.
  • Change background color and text color for data cells - colors can alternate.
  • Set and override table attributes in this order:
    • Default TABLEATTRIBUTES Plugin setting in current topic.
    • A TABLEATTRIBUTES preferences setting on site-level (TWikiPreferences) or web-level (any WebPreferences), such as:
      • Set TABLEATTRIBUTES = tableborder="0" cellpadding="1" ...
    • Before a table using %TABLE{...}%.


Click on column heading text to sort by a column. Initial column will be sorted in descending order, click again to get ascending order. The type of data in the cell is determined automatically:

  • date if format is:
    • dd MMM YYYY - hh:mm (MMM is Jan, Feb, etc.)
    • dd-MMM-YY or dd-MMM-YYYY (can be / or space in place of -) (MMM is Jan, Feb, etc)
  • number is digits, with optional decimal point
  • otherwise treated as text

Using TML in table cells

A TWiki table has a line-oriented markup, e.g. normally it is not possible to use other line-oriented TML, such as bullets or nested tables.

It is possible to introduce newlines in a table cell if the cell is enclosed in double-angle brackets, such as |>> TML <<|. Example:

You write:
| *A1* | *B1* | *C1* | *D1* |
| A2 |>> B2
   * Bullet
   * list
   * is
   * possible
<<|>> C2
  | *C2.1* | *C2.2* |
  | Embedded | table |
  | possible | too |
end C2
<<| D2 |
| A3 | B3 | C3 | D3 |
        You get:
A1 B1 C1 D1
A2 B2
  • Bullet
  • list
  • is
  • possible

C2.1 C2.2
Embedded table
possible too
end C2
A3 B3 C3 D3

Row spans

Table cells with a single caret indicate follow-up rows of multi-row spans. Example:

You write:
| One One | One Two | One Three |
| ^ | Two Two | Two Three |
| Three One | ^ | Three Three |
        You get:
One One One Two One Three
Two Two Two Three
Three One Three Three

Table Attributes

Attributes are defined as a TABLEATTRIBUTES Plugin setting in this topic, a TABLEATTRIBUTES preferences setting, or on line before the table using %TABLE{...}%:

  • Supported attributes:
    Argument Comment Default value Example
    sort Set table sorting by clicking headers "on" or "off". unspecified sort="on"
    initsort Column to sort initially ("1" to number of columns). unspecified initsort="2"
    initdirection Initial sorting direction for initsort, set to "up" (descending) or "down" (ascending). unspecified initdirection="up"
    disableallsort Disable all sorting, both initsort and header sort. This is mainly used by plugins such as the EditTablePlugin to disable sorting in a table while editing the table. unspecified disableallsort="on"
    headerbg Header cell background color. "#6b7f93" headerbg="#999999"
    headerbgsorted Header cell background color of a sorted column. the value of headerbg headerbgsorted="#32596c"
    headercolor Header cell text color. "#ffffff" headercolor="#0000cc"
    databg Data cell background color, a comma separated list. Specify "none" for no color, that is to use the color/background of the page the table is on. "#edf4f9,#ffffff" databg="#f2f2f2,#ffffff"
    databgsorted Data cell background color of a sorted column; see databg. the values of databg databgsorted="#d4e8e4,#e5f5ea"
    datacolor Data cell text color, a comma separated list. unspecified datacolor="#0000CC, #000000"
    tableborder Table border width (pixels). "1" tableborder="2"
    tableframe Table frame, set to "void" (no sides), "above" (the top side only), "below" (the bottom side only), "hsides" (the top and bottom sides only), "lhs" (the left-hand side only), "rhs" (the right-hand side only), "vsides" (the right and left sides only), "box" (all four sides), "border" (all four sides). unspecified tableframe="hsides"
    tablerules Table rules, set to "none" (no rules), "groups" (rules will appear between row groups and column groups only), "rows" (rules will appear between rows only), "cols" (rules will appear between columns only), "all" (rules will appear between all rows and columns). unspecified tablerules="rows"
    cellpadding Cell padding (pixels). "0" cellpadding="0"
    cellspacing Cell spacing (pixels). "0" cellspacing="3"
    cellborder Cell border width (pixels). unspecified cellborder="0"
    valign Vertical alignment of cells and headers, set to "top", "middle", "bottom" or "baseline". unspecified valign="top"
    headervalign Vertical alignment of header cells; overrides valign. unspecified headervalign="top"
    datavalign Vertical alignment of data cells; overrides valign. unspecified datavalign="top"
    headeralign Header cell alignment, one value for all columns, or a comma separated list for different alignment of individual columns. Set to "left", "center", "right" or "justify". Overrides individual cell settings. unspecified headeralign="left,right"
    dataalign Data cell alignment, one value for all columns, or a comma separated list for different alignment of individual columns. Set to "left", "center", "right" or "justify". Overrides individual cell settings. unspecified dataalign="center"
    tablewidth Table width: Percentage of window width, or absolute pixel value. unspecified tablewidth="100%"
    columnwidths Column widths: Comma delimited list of column widths, percentage or absolute pixel value. unspecified columnwidths="80%,20%"
    headerrows Number of header rows to exclude from sort. (will be rendered in a HTML thead section) (determined automatically) headerrows="2"
    footerrows Number of footer rows to exclude from sort. (will be rendered in a HTML tfoot section) "0" footerrows="1"
    id Unique table identifier string, used for targeting a table with CSS. tableN (where N is the table order number on the page) id="userTable"
    summary Table summary used by screenreaders: A summary of what the table presents. It should provide an orientation for someone who listens to the table. unspecified summary="List of subscribed users"
    caption Table caption: A title that will be displayed just above the table. unspecified caption="Users"

The %TABLE{...}% settings override TABLEATTRIBUTES preferences settings, which override the TABLEATTRIBUTES Plugin settings.

The setting disableallsort is normally not used as a TABLE or TABLEATTRIBUTES setting. Plugins such as EditTablePlugin dynamically sets disableallsort to disable sorting while editing a table. For this to work it is important that EditTablePlugin runs before TablePlugin, which is the default. The setting sort can be overwritten by a URL parameter or hidden formfield of the same name. Plugins such as EditTablePlugin can use this to disable table header sorting while in edit mode.


Use of %TABLE{...}%

Line before table: %TABLE{ sort="on" tableborder="0" cellpadding="4" cellspacing="3" cellborder="0" headerbg="#D5CCB1" headercolor="#666666" databg="#FAF0D4, #F3DFA8" headerrows="2" footerrows="1" }%

Table with two Header Rows and Footer Row
Num Status Action Who When Progress
Num Status Action Who When Progress
1 C Chose new colors John 1-Dec-02  
2 X Release John 1-Apr-02  
3   Get feedback Anne 1-Feb-02  
12 C Spec error handling Jack 1-Dec-02  
5   Abc John    

Table with 4 digit year dates and no use of %TABLE{...}%


TablePlugin and CSS

Information for programmers.

TablePlugin implements the following precedence:

  • the TABLEATTRIBUTE settings only write html styling, no CSS
  • the TABLEATTRIBUTE settings can be overridden by a skin's CSS
  • the TABLE tag attributes are converted to CSS styling, written in the head; these override any skin's CSS

CSS written by TablePlugin

.twikiTable The table
.twikiSortedCol A sorted column
.twikiSortedAscendingCol Sorted column, ascending
.twikiSortedDescendingCol Sorted column, descending
.tableSortIcon The sort icon holder (span)
.twikiFirstCol The first column
.twikiTableEven Even numbered rows
.twikiTableOdd Odd numbered rows
.twikiTableCol + column number Unique column identifier, for instance: twikiTableCol0
.twikiTableRow + type + row number Unique row identifier, for instance: twikiTableRowdataBg0

TablePlugin Global Settings

Plugin settings are stored as preferences variables. To reference a plugin setting write %<plugin>_<setting>%, for example, %TABLEPLUGIN_SHORTDESCRIPTION%

  • One line description, shown in the TextFormattingRules topic:
    • Set SHORTDESCRIPTION = Control attributes of tables and sorting of table columns

  • Set DEBUG to 1 to get debug messages in data/debug.txt. Default: 0
    • Set DEBUG = 0

  • Make all tables in a topic sortable. If this is set to all, all tables that have a header row (including those that do not have %TABLE before them) will be made sortable. If set to none, only tables with %TABLE will be sortable. Topic rendering is faster if this is set to none.
    • #Set SORT = none
    • Set SORT = all

  • Default table attributes:
    • Set TABLEATTRIBUTES = tableborder="1" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" valign="top" headercolor="#ffffff" headerbg="#687684" headerbgsorted="#334455" databg="#ffffff,#edf4f9" databgsorted="#f1f7fc,#ddebf6" tablerules="all"

Plugin Installation Instructions

This plugin is pre-installed. TWiki administrators can upgrade the plugin as needed on the TWiki server.

  • For an automated installation, run the configure script and follow "Find More Extensions" in the in the Extensions section.

  • Or, follow these manual installation steps:
    • Download the ZIP file from the Plugins home (see below).
    • Unzip in your twiki installation directory. Content:
      File: Description:
      data/TWiki/TablePlugin.txt Plugin topic
      data/TWiki/VarTABLE.txt TABLE variable documentation topic
      lib/TWiki/Plugins/ Plugin Perl module
      lib/TWiki/Plugins/TablePlugin/ Plugin core module
    • Set the ownership of the extracted directories and files to the webserver user.
    • Make sure the dependencies listed in the table below are resolved. None

  • Plugin configuration and testing:
    • Run the configure script, enable the plugin in the Plugins section
    • Configure the plugin: See plugin settings above.
    • Check above example if the table renders as expected
    • Try click on heading to sort. Other tables should also be sortable

Plugin Info

Plugin Author: TWiki:Main.JohnTalintyre, TWiki:Main.PeterThoeny
Copyright: © 2001-2003 TWiki:Main.JohnTalintyre,
© 2001-2015 Peter[at],,
© 2005-2015 TWiki:TWiki.TWikiContributor
License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
Plugin Version: 2015-07-28
2015-07-28: TWikibug:Item7679: TablePlugin may not put the default style on Fast CGI or mod_perl
2015-02-16: TWikibug:Item7604: Switch from GPL v2 to v3
2014-12-08: TWikibug:Item7594: Fix issue where bullet list was not closed properly at end of table cell (introduced 2014-12-08)
2014-12-08: TWikibug:Item7594: Support table cells with TML
2014-01-21: TWikibug:Item7416: TablePlugin causes an error with an illegal date such as 2013-00-00
2013-09-25: TWikibug:Item7151: Fix documentation to use Webster spelling
2013-06-21: TWikibug:Item7283: Auto-detect number of header rows when sorting; fix headerrows parameter issue
2013-01-28: TWikibug:Item7091: Use TWISTY in installation instructions and change history
2012-11-14: TWikibug:Item7020: Categorize TWiki Variable TABLE
2012-10-29: TWikibug:Item7015: Fix for "Cannot handle date (0, 0, 0, 14, 2, 1100)" error on very early date
2012-09-07: TWikibug:Item6837: Doc fixes
2011-07-27: TWikibug:Item6779: Fix for tables rendering too dark in Firefox 4
2011-07-15: TWikibug:Item6764: Minor fix to remove warning message in error log
2011-07-09: TWikibug:Item6725: Change global package variables from "use vars" to "our"
2010-05-16: 1.2 TWikibug:Item6433 - doc improvements
2010-03-31: 1.12 TWikibug:Item6414 - fixed incorrect sorting of ISO dates. -- Peter Thoeny
2010-03-21: 1.11 TWikibug:Item6406 - fixed incorrect sorting for negative numbers. -- TWiki:Main/BryanKitts
2010-03-08: 1.1 TWikibug:Item6405 - fixed incorrect sorting for numbers with decimal places. -- Peter Thoeny
30 Sep 2008: 1.035 Fix sorting of attachment date column.
03 Aug 2008: 1.034 TWiki 4.2.1 release version
20 Mar 2008: 1.033 TWikibug:Item5387: allow rowspanned columns to contain HTML tags; otherwise it is impossible to add an invisible anchor to a rowspanned cell
16 Dec 2007: 1.030: Kenneth Lavrsen: Fixed the problem of tables being sorted by by TablePlugin while the table is being edited by plugins such as EditTablePlugin. This required adding a new attribute disableallsort so plugins such as EditTablePlugin can temporarily disable all sorting for a table. Additionally the CGI variable (URL parameter or hidden formfield) sort can be set to "off" which disables all header sorting in the topic. This is used by plugins such as EditTablePlugin to disable the sorting by clicking header fields during editing of tables. Ref: TWikibug:Item5135 and TWikibug:Item2690.
03 Dec 2007: Arthur Clemens: Fixed rendering and order of html elements thead, tfoot and tbody; corrected id parameter.
24 Nov 2007: Arthur Clemens: Fixed sorting of columns with only icons; also removed TWiki formatting before sorting.
06 Oct 2007: 15180: PTh: Added VarTABLE to have it listed in TWikiVariables
27 Jun 2007: 1.024 - 1.027 Various small bug fixes.
24 Jun 2007: 1.023: Arthur Clemens: Inline styles are now written to the head; updated default sort icons (from TWikiDocGraphics).
23 Jun 2007: 1.022: Arthur Clemens: Fixed styling of param tablerules on Internet Explorer.
23 May 2007: 1.021: Michael Daum: Fixed css attribute priority to cooperate nicely with skin themes.
27 Dec 2006: 1.020: Kenneth Lavrsen: Fixed initsort so all tables can be initsorted and not only the first. When you sort a table by clicking on the header of a column the table gets sorted accordingly. When you click the header of another table the previously sorted table goes back being sorted as specified by initsort.
13 Dec 2006: 1.019: Arthur Clemens: Prevent sorting of columns that do no exist.
02 Dec 2006: 1.018: Arthur Clemens: Data rows now start with first datacolor and databgcolor.
26 Nov 2006: 1.017: Arthur Clemens: Better support for tablerules.
24 Nov 2006: 1.016: Arthur Clemens: Added new attribute cellborder.
25 Oct 2006: 1.015: Arthur Clemens: Added support for background colors of sorted column. Columns can be unsorted - sorting order is now: sort ascending, sort descending, unsort. Added attributes headervalign and datavalign.
16 Aug 2006: Michael Daum: Added CSS support for even/odd table rows
13 Dec 2005: Arthur Clemens: Added support for id, summary and caption
05 Mar 2005: 1.014: Crawford Currie eliminated deprecated handlers for Dakar
01 Aug 2004: Arthur Clemens: Added CSS support for first column and ascending/descending table headers
21 Mar 2004: PTh: Internal change: Fixed reference to unofficial variable
01 Jan 2004: PTh: Alternating data row colors restart again after each header row
01 Dec 2003: PTh: Fixed error when footerrows was specified on an empty table, contributed by TWiki:Main/PaulineCheung
24 May 2003: PTh: New |^| rule for multi row span (TWiki:Main/WalterMundt); added tableframe and tablerules (TWiki:Main/JohannesMartin); ignore columnwidths for multi column span; validate headerrows and footerrows (TWiki:Main/DarrylGreen); fixed link color problem and up/down icon color problem for dark header background
17 Dec 2002: PTh: Removed individual table Plugin settings; added TABLEATTRIBUTES Plugins setting and TABLEATTRIBUTES preferences setting
15 Dec 2002: PTh: Added headerrows and footerrows params (TWiki:Main/DarrylGreen, TWiki:Main/WoutMertens); added tablewidth and columnwidths params (TWiki:Main/ThorstenSommermann)
09 Dec 2002: PTh: Added headercolor and datacolor parameters
05 Jun 2002: PTh: Added "none" value to databg parameter (suggested by TWiki:Main/TaitCyrus); fixed sorting by stripping HTML tags, removing links and making sort ignore case (suggested by TWiki:Main/ShawnBradford)
13 Mar 2002: PTh: Added TWiki:Main/ShawnBradford 's initsort and initdirection
12 Mar 2002: PTh: Added valign, headeralign and dataalign; fixed bug of swapped cellpadding/cellspacing; fixed warning of uninitialized value
05 Jan 2002: PTh: Fixed sorting bug of cells with leading white space
06 Dec 2001: PTh: Fixed date sorting bug
03 Dec 2001 PTh: Fixed sort="off" bug and more
29 Nov 2001: PTh: Fixed Perl warnings
16 Nov 2001: PTh: Added table border, cell spacing, cell padding, gif files
07 Oct 2001: JT: Initial version
CPAN Dependencies: none
Other Dependencies: none
Perl Version: 5.0
Plugin Home:

Related Topics: VarTABLE, TWikiPreferences, TWikiPlugins, StandardColors

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Topic revision: r37 - 2015-07-28 - TWikiContributor
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