The width of columns is automatically determined by the table editor. And also the alignment of a column is determined automatically from the fraction of number-like versus non-number fields in the column.
Sometimes a single field or a few fields need to carry more text, leading to inconveniently wide columns. Or maybe you want to make a table with several columns having a fixed width, regardless of content. To set1 the width of a column, one field anywhere in the column may contain just the string ‘<N>’ where ‘N’ is an integer specifying the width of the column in characters. The next re-align will then set the width of this column to this value.
|---+------------------------------| |---+--------| | | | | | <6> | | 1 | one | | 1 | one | | 2 | two | ----\ | 2 | two | | 3 | This is a long chunk of text | ----/ | 3 | This=> | | 4 | four | | 4 | four | |---+------------------------------| |---+--------|
Fields that are wider become clipped and end in the string ‘=>’. Note that the full text is still in the buffer but is hidden. To see the full text, hold the mouse over the field—a tool-tip window will show the full content. To edit such a field, use the command C-c ` (that is C-c followed by the backquote). This will open a new window with the full field. Edit it and finish with C-c C-c.
When visiting a file containing a table with narrowed columns, the
necessary character hiding has not yet happened, and the table needs to
be aligned before it looks nice. Setting the option
org-startup-align-all-tables will realign all tables in a file
upon visiting, but also slow down startup. You can also set this option
on a per-file basis with:
#+STARTUP: align #+STARTUP: noalign
If you would like to overrule the automatic alignment of number-rich columns to the right and of string-rich column to the left, you can use ‘<r>’, ‘<c>’2 or ‘<l>’ in a similar fashion. You may also combine alignment and field width like this: ‘<r10>’.
Lines which only contain these formatting cookies will be removed automatically when exporting the document.