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Pretty-print tabular data in Python a library and a command-line utility

Pretty-print tabular data in Python a library and a command-line utility

python-tabulate

Pretty-print tabular data in Python, a library and a command-line utility.

The main use cases of the library are:

  • printing small tables without hassle: just one function call,
    formatting is guided by the data itself
  • authoring tabular data for lightweight plain-text markup: multiple
    output formats suitable for further editing or transformation
  • readable presentation of mixed textual and numeric data: smart
    column alignment, configurable number formatting, alignment by a
    decimal point

Installation

To install the Python library and the command line utility, run:

pip install tabulate

The command line utility will be installed as tabulate to bin on
Linux (e.g. /usr/bin); or as tabulate.exe to Scripts in your
Python installation on Windows (e.g.
C:\Python27\Scripts\tabulate.exe).

You may consider installing the library only for the current user:

pip install tabulate --user

In this case the command line utility will be installed to
~/.local/bin/tabulate on Linux and to
%APPDATA%\Python\Scripts\tabulate.exe on Windows.

To install just the library on Unix-like operating systems:

TABULATE_INSTALL=lib-only pip install tabulate

On Windows:

set TABULATE_INSTALL=lib-only
pip install tabulate

Build status

Build status

Library usage

The module provides just one function, tabulate, which takes a list of
lists or another tabular data type as the first argument, and outputs a
nicely formatted plain-text table:

>>> from tabulate import tabulate

>>> table = [["Sun",696000,1989100000],["Earth",6371,5973.6],
...          ["Moon",1737,73.5],["Mars",3390,641.85]]
>>> print(tabulate(table))
-----  ------  -------------
Sun    696000     1.9891e+09
Earth    6371  5973.6
Moon     1737    73.5
Mars     3390   641.85
-----  ------  -------------

The following tabular data types are supported:

  • list of lists or another iterable of iterables
  • list or another iterable of dicts (keys as columns)
  • dict of iterables (keys as columns)
  • two-dimensional NumPy array
  • NumPy record arrays (names as columns)
  • pandas.DataFrame

Examples in this file use Python2. Tabulate supports Python3 too.

Headers

The second optional argument named headers defines a list of column
headers to be used:

>>> print(tabulate(table, headers=["Planet","R (km)", "mass (x 10^29 kg)"]))
Planet      R (km)    mass (x 10^29 kg)
--------  --------  -------------------
Sun         696000           1.9891e+09
Earth         6371        5973.6
Moon          1737          73.5
Mars          3390         641.85

If headers="firstrow", then the first row of data is used:

>>> print(tabulate([["Name","Age"],["Alice",24],["Bob",19]],
...                headers="firstrow"))
Name      Age
------  -----
Alice      24
Bob        19

If headers="keys", then the keys of a dictionary/dataframe, or column
indices are used. It also works for NumPy record arrays and lists of
dictionaries or named tuples:

>>> print(tabulate({"Name": ["Alice", "Bob"],
...                 "Age": [24, 19]}, headers="keys"))
  Age  Name
-----  ------
   24  Alice
   19  Bob

Row Indices

By default, only pandas.DataFrame tables have an additional column
called row index. To add a similar column to any other type of table,
pass showindex="always" or showindex=True argument to tabulate().
To suppress row indices for all types of data, pass showindex="never"
or showindex=False. To add a custom row index column, pass
showindex=rowIDs, where rowIDs is some iterable:

>>> print(tabulate([["F",24],["M",19]], showindex="always"))
-  -  --
0  F  24
1  M  19
-  -  --

Table format

There is more than one way to format a table in plain text. The third
optional argument named tablefmt defines how the table is formatted.

Supported table formats are:

  • "plain"
  • "simple"
  • "github"
  • "grid"
  • "fancy_grid"
  • "pipe"
  • "orgtbl"
  • "jira"
  • "presto"
  • "psql"
  • "rst"
  • "mediawiki"
  • "moinmoin"
  • "youtrack"
  • "html"
  • "latex"
  • "latex_raw"
  • "latex_booktabs"
  • "textile"

plain tables do not use any pseudo-graphics to draw lines:

>>> table = [["spam",42],["eggs",451],["bacon",0]]
>>> headers = ["item", "qty"]
>>> print(tabulate(table, headers, tablefmt="plain"))
item      qty
spam       42
eggs      451
bacon       0

simple is the default format (the default may change in future
versions). It corresponds to simple_tables in Pandoc Markdown
extensions
:

>>> print(tabulate(table, headers, tablefmt="simple"))
item      qty
------  -----
spam       42
eggs      451
bacon       0

github follows the conventions of Github flavored Markdown. It
corresponds to the pipe format without alignment colons:

>>> print(tabulate(table, headers, tablefmt="github"))
| item   | qty   |
|--------|-------|
| spam   | 42    |
| eggs   | 451   |
| bacon  | 0     |

grid is like tables formatted by Emacs'
table.el package. It corresponds to
grid_tables in Pandoc Markdown extensions:

>>> print(tabulate(table, headers, tablefmt="grid"))
+--------+-------+
| item   |   qty |
+========+=======+
| spam   |    42 |
+--------+-------+
| eggs   |   451 |
+--------+-------+
| bacon  |     0 |
+--------+-------+

fancy_grid draws a grid using box-drawing characters:

>>> print(tabulate(table, headers, tablefmt="fancy_grid"))
╒════════╤═══════╕
│ item   │   qty │
╞════════╪═══════╡
│ spam   │    42 │
├────────┼───────┤
│ eggs   │   451 │
├────────┼───────┤
│ bacon  │     0 │
╘════════╧═══════╛

presto is like tables formatted by Presto cli:

>>> print(tabulate(table, headers, tablefmt="presto"))
 item   |   qty
--------+-------
 spam   |    42
 eggs   |   451
 bacon  |     0

psql is like tables formatted by Postgres' psql cli:

>>> print(tabulate(table, headers, tablefmt="psql"))
+--------+-------+
| item   |   qty |
|--------+-------|
| spam   |    42 |
| eggs   |   451 |
| bacon  |     0 |
+--------+-------+

pipe follows the conventions of PHP Markdown
Extra
extension.
It corresponds to pipe_tables in Pandoc. This format uses colons to
indicate column alignment:

>>> print(tabulate(table, headers, tablefmt="pipe"))
| item   |   qty |
|:-------|------:|
| spam   |    42 |
| eggs   |   451 |
| bacon  |     0 |

orgtbl follows the conventions of Emacs
org-mode, and is editable also
in the minor orgtbl-mode. Hence its name:

>>> print(tabulate(table, headers, tablefmt="orgtbl"))
| item   |   qty |
|--------+-------|
| spam   |    42 |
| eggs   |   451 |
| bacon  |     0 |

jira follows the conventions of Atlassian Jira markup language:

>>> print(tabulate(table, headers, tablefmt="jira"))
|| item   ||   qty ||
| spam   |    42 |
| eggs   |   451 |
| bacon  |     0 |

rst formats data like a simple table of the
reStructuredText
format:

>>> print(tabulate(table, headers, tablefmt="rst"))
======  =====
item      qty
======  =====
spam       42
eggs      451
bacon       0
======  =====

mediawiki format produces a table markup used in
Wikipedia and on other
MediaWiki-based sites:

>>> print(tabulate(table, headers, tablefmt="mediawiki"))
{| class="wikitable" style="text-align: left;"
|+ <!-- caption -->
|-
! item   !! align="right"|   qty
|-
| spam   || align="right"|    42
|-
| eggs   || align="right"|   451
|-
| bacon  || align="right"|     0
|}

moinmoin format produces a table markup used in
MoinMoin wikis:

>>> print(tabulate(table, headers, tablefmt="moinmoin"))
|| ''' item   ''' || ''' quantity   ''' ||
||  spam    ||  41.999      ||
||  eggs    ||  451         ||
||  bacon   ||              ||

youtrack format produces a table markup used in Youtrack tickets:

>>> print(tabulate(table, headers, tablefmt="youtrack"))
||  item    ||  quantity   ||
|   spam    |  41.999      |
|   eggs    |  451         |
|   bacon   |              |

textile format produces a table markup used in
Textile format:

>>> print(tabulate(table, headers, tablefmt="textile"))
|_.  item   |_.   qty |
|<. spam    |>.    42 |
|<. eggs    |>.   451 |
|<. bacon   |>.     0 |

html produces standard HTML markup:

>>> print(tabulate(table, headers, tablefmt="html"))
<table>
<tbody>
<tr><th>item  </th><th style="text-align: right;">  qty</th></tr>
<tr><td>spam  </td><td style="text-align: right;">   42</td></tr>
<tr><td>eggs  </td><td style="text-align: right;">  451</td></tr>
<tr><td>bacon </td><td style="text-align: right;">    0</td></tr>
</tbody>
</table>

latex format creates a tabular environment for LaTeX markup,
replacing special characters like _ or \ to their LaTeX
correspondents:

>>> print(tabulate(table, headers, tablefmt="latex"))
\begin{tabular}{lr}
\hline
 item   &   qty \\
\hline
 spam   &    42 \\
 eggs   &   451 \\
 bacon  &     0 \\
\hline
\end{tabular}

latex_raw behaves like latex but does not escape LaTeX commands and
special characters.

latex_booktabs creates a tabular environment for LaTeX markup using
spacing and style from the booktabs package.

Column alignment

tabulate is smart about column alignment. It detects columns which
contain only numbers, and aligns them by a decimal point (or flushes
them to the right if they appear to be integers). Text columns are
flushed to the left.

You can override the default alignment with numalign and stralign
named arguments. Possible column alignments are: right, center,
left, decimal (only for numbers), and None (to disable alignment).

Aligning by a decimal point works best when you need to compare numbers
at a glance:

>>> print(tabulate([[1.2345],[123.45],[12.345],[12345],[1234.5]]))
----------
    1.2345
  123.45
   12.345
12345
 1234.5
----------

Compare this with a more common right alignment:

>>> print(tabulate([[1.2345],[123.45],[12.345],[12345],[1234.5]], numalign="right"))
------
1.2345
123.45
12.345
 12345
1234.5
------

For tabulate, anything which can be parsed as a number is a number.
Even numbers represented as strings are aligned properly. This feature
comes in handy when reading a mixed table of text and numbers from a
file:

>>> import csv ; from StringIO import StringIO
>>> table = list(csv.reader(StringIO("spam, 42\neggs, 451\n")))
>>> table
[['spam', ' 42'], ['eggs', ' 451']]
>>> print(tabulate(table))
----  ----
spam    42
eggs   451
----  ----

Custom column alignment

tabulate allows a custom column alignment to override the above. The
colalign argument can be a list or a tuple of stralign named
arguments. Possible column alignments are: right, center, left,
decimal (only for numbers), and None (to disable alignment).
Omitting an alignment uses the default. For example:

>>> print(tabulate([["one", "two"], ["three", "four"]], colalign=("right",))
-----  ----
  one  two
three  four
-----  ----

Number formatting

tabulate allows to define custom number formatting applied to all
columns of decimal numbers. Use floatfmt named argument:

>>> print(tabulate([["pi",3.141593],["e",2.718282]], floatfmt=".4f"))
--  ------
pi  3.1416
e   2.7183
--  ------

floatfmt argument can be a list or a tuple of format strings, one per
column, in which case every column may have different number formatting:

>>> print(tabulate([[0.12345, 0.12345, 0.12345]], floatfmt=(".1f", ".3f")))
---  -----  -------
0.1  0.123  0.12345
---  -----  -------

Text formatting

By default, tabulate removes leading and trailing whitespace from text
columns. To disable whitespace removal, set the global module-level flag
PRESERVE_WHITESPACE:

import tabulate
tabulate.PRESERVE_WHITESPACE = True

Wide (fullwidth CJK) symbols

To properly align tables which contain wide characters (typically
fullwidth glyphs from Chinese, Japanese or Korean languages), the user
should install wcwidth library. To install it together with
tabulate:

pip install tabulate[widechars]

Wide character support is enabled automatically if wcwidth library is
already installed. To disable wide characters support without
uninstalling wcwidth, set the global module-level flag
WIDE_CHARS_MODE:

import tabulate
tabulate.WIDE_CHARS_MODE = False

Multiline cells

Most table formats support multiline cell text (text containing newline
characters). The newline characters are honored as line break
characters.

Multiline cells are supported for data rows and for header rows.

Further automatic line breaks are not inserted. Of course, some output
formats such as latex or html handle automatic formatting of the cell
content on their own, but for those that don't, the newline characters
in the input cell text are the only means to break a line in cell text.

Note that some output formats (e.g. simple, or plain) do not represent
row delimiters, so that the representation of multiline cells in such
formats may be ambiguous to the reader.

The following examples of formatted output use the following table with
a multiline cell, and headers with a multiline cell:

>>> table = [["eggs",451],["more\nspam",42]]
>>> headers = ["item\nname", "qty"]

plain tables:

>>> print(tabulate(table, headers, tablefmt="plain"))
item      qty
name
eggs      451
more       42
spam

simple tables:

>>> print(tabulate(table, headers, tablefmt="simple"))
item      qty
name
------  -----
eggs      451
more       42
spam

github tables:

>>> print(tabulate(table, headers, tablefmt="github"))
| item   | qty   |
| name   |       |
|--------|-------|
| eggs   | 451   |
| more   | 42    |
| spam   |       |

grid tables:

>>> print(tabulate(table, headers, tablefmt="grid"))
+--------+-------+
| item   |   qty |
| name   |       |
+========+=======+
| eggs   |   451 |
+--------+-------+
| more   |    42 |
| spam   |       |
+--------+-------+

fancy_grid tables:

>>> print(tabulate(table, headers, tablefmt="fancy_grid"))
╒════════╤═══════╕
│ item   │   qty │
│ name   │       │
╞════════╪═══════╡
│ eggs   │   451 │
├────────┼───────┤
│ more   │    42 │
│ spam   │       │
╘════════╧═══════╛

pipe tables:

>>> print(tabulate(table, headers, tablefmt="pipe"))
| item   |   qty |
| name   |       |
|:-------|------:|
| eggs   |   451 |
| more   |    42 |
| spam   |       |

orgtbl tables:

>>> print(tabulate(table, headers, tablefmt="orgtbl"))
| item   |   qty |
| name   |       |
|--------+-------|
| eggs   |   451 |
| more   |    42 |
| spam   |       |

jira tables:

>>> print(tabulate(table, headers, tablefmt="jira"))
| item   |   qty |
| name   |       |
|:-------|------:|
| eggs   |   451 |
| more   |    42 |
| spam   |       |

presto tables:

>>> print(tabulate(table, headers, tablefmt="presto"))
 item   |   qty
 name   |
--------+-------
 eggs   |   451
 more   |    42
 spam   |

psql tables:

>>> print(tabulate(table, headers, tablefmt="psql"))
+--------+-------+
| item   |   qty |
| name   |       |
|--------+-------|
| eggs   |   451 |
| more   |    42 |
| spam   |       |
+--------+-------+

rst tables:

>>> print(tabulate(table, headers, tablefmt="rst"))
======  =====
item      qty
name
======  =====
eggs      451
more       42
spam
======  =====

Multiline cells are not well supported for the other table formats.

Usage of the command line utility

Usage: tabulate [options] [FILE ...]

FILE                      a filename of the file with tabular data;
                          if "-" or missing, read data from stdin.

Options:

-h, --help                show this message
-1, --header              use the first row of data as a table header
-o FILE, --output FILE    print table to FILE (default: stdout)
-s REGEXP, --sep REGEXP   use a custom column separator (default: whitespace)
-F FPFMT, --float FPFMT   floating point number format (default: g)
-f FMT, --format FMT      set output table format; supported formats:
                          plain, simple, github, grid, fancy_grid, pipe,
                          orgtbl, rst, mediawiki, html, latex, latex_raw,
                          latex_booktabs, tsv
                          (default: simple)

Performance considerations

Such features as decimal point alignment and trying to parse everything
as a number imply that tabulate:

  • has to "guess" how to print a particular tabular data type
  • needs to keep the entire table in-memory
  • has to "transpose" the table twice
  • does much more work than it may appear

It may not be suitable for serializing really big tables (but who's
going to do that, anyway?) or printing tables in performance sensitive
applications. tabulate is about two orders of magnitude slower than
simply joining lists of values with a tab, coma or other separator.

In the same time tabulate is comparable to other table
pretty-printers. Given a 10x10 table (a list of lists) of mixed text and
numeric data, tabulate appears to be slower than asciitable, and
faster than PrettyTable and texttable The following mini-benchmark
was run in Python 3.6.8 on Ubuntu 18.04 in WSL:

===========================  ==========  ===========
Table formatter                time, μs    rel. time
===========================  ==========  ===========
csv to StringIO                     8.2          1.0
join with tabs and newlines        10.8          1.3
asciitable (0.8.0)                205.2         24.9
tabulate (0.8.5)                  421.7         51.2
PrettyTable (0.7.2)               787.2         95.6
texttable (1.6.2)                1123.4        136.4
===========================  ==========  ===========

Version history

The full version history can be found at the changelog.

How to contribute

Contributions should include tests and an explanation for the changes
they propose. Documentation (examples, docstrings, README.md) should be
updated accordingly.

This project uses nose testing
framework and tox to automate testing in
different environments. Add tests to one of the files in the test/
folder.

To run tests on all supported Python versions, make sure all Python
interpreters, nose and tox are installed, then run tox in the root
of the project source tree.

On Linux tox expects to find executables like python2.6,
python2.7, python3.4 etc. On Windows it looks for
C:\Python26\python.exe, C:\Python27\python.exe and
C:\Python34\python.exe respectively.

To test only some Python environements, use -e option. For example, to
test only against Python 2.7 and Python 3.6, run:

tox -e py27,py36

in the root of the project source tree.

To enable NumPy and Pandas tests, run:

tox -e py27-extra,py36-extra

(this may take a long time the first time, because NumPy and Pandas will
have to be installed in the new virtual environments)

See tox.ini file to learn how to use nosetests directly to test
individual Python versions.

GitHub