In the first post of this series we looked at using org-mode to structure your notes. Today we’ll look at adding simple tables to your notes. Later we’ll see how these tables can be used for advanced features like spreadsheet style calculations, or using them as the input and/or output of code, and also how they export nicely in html or pdf documents. For now we’ll just use them as simple static tables in our notes.
I suggest adding the text below to the org file from last time to build an org-mode notebook on how to keep org-mode notebooks!
* Tables Hopefully you can see straight away that the simple structure provided by org-mode gives a nice way to keep an electronic note book. Often it is nice to include tables in our notes. Org handles this by using | to separate columns, and a line of --- (inserted with C-c -) to add horizontal lines. Exercise: start typing in this table below; type the first line in verbatim 1) when you get to the "s" of comments, press TAB to go to the next line 2) go up to the previous line and use C-c - to add the row of dashes 3) next enter a few lines of data, using TAB to go through the cells - you should notice the columns changing width as needed | ID | x | y | comments | |----+---+----+----------------| | A | 2 | 4 | blah | | B | 3 | 9 | blah | | C | 4 | 16 | blah blah blah | | D | 5 | 25 | blah | Now, you can move rows and columns around using M-arrow and insert or delete rows and columns using M-S-arrow. Try this out now. ** Creating and exporting tables You can create an empty table using C-c | to run the command org-table-create-or-convert-from-region, which will prompt for table dimensions if no region is selected. The same command can easily convert some text to a table; select the following text and use C-c | to run the command org-table-create-or-convert-from-region again to convert the text to a table ID x y A 2 4 B 3 9 C 4 16 D 5 25 You can also save tables to their own files by putting the cursor in the table and using M-x org-table-export. You'll be asked for a file name and a format. For the format, type orgtbl-to and press TAB to see the available options (e.g. orgtbl-to-csv will convert to csv in the output file). ** Formulae You can use formulae to do arithmetic on tables, and use them like a spreadsheet. This is something I keep meaning to use more often, but don't generally find I need it. One useful command is C-c + which runs org-table-sum to sum the numbers in the current column. For more on this, see e.g. this introduction. Notice that we just added a link in our org-mode file - this is a teaser for what we will cover next!