Is there a web app that can create ASCII-art tables like this one?:

------------------------------------------------
|           | ColA            | ColB           |
------------------------------------------------
| Row1      | CellA1          | CellB1         |
------------------------------------------------
| Row2      | CellA2          | CellB2         |
------------------------------------------------
| Row3      | CellA3          | CellB3         |
------------------------------------------------

It doesn't have to use ASCII (it can be Unicode), I meant ASCII in the sense of ASCII art.

This would be useful for sites that don't support proper tables (like Stack Exchange).

closed as off-topic by Alex, Jacob Jan Tuinstra, ale, Sathya Sep 18 '14 at 8:52

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Application/website recommendations are off-topic and out of scope. It is better instead to use a particular web app or website and ask for help in any issues you have with it specifically." – Alex, Jacob Jan Tuinstra, ale, Sathya
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

up vote 79 down vote accepted

Now there is: Format Text as Table.

I've been meaning to create this utility for a while. I was actually inspired by MySQL's command line utility and the lack of tables on SO. So thanks for reminding me to make it.

And thanks to @Lipis for the Unicode char idea.

Here's an example of the output:

+------+--------+--------+
|      | ColA   | ColB   |
+------+--------+--------+
| Row1 | CellA1 | CellB1 |
| Row2 | CellA2 | CellB2 |
| Row3 | CellA3 | CellB3 |
+------+--------+--------+
  • 2
    I don't always want to fire up Excel to put in a table. Would you consider allowing other delimiters (comma, 2+ spaces, semicolon...) to be used in your utility? – Kevin Vermeer May 9 '11 at 22:19
  • 1
    this is excellent! referenced at meta.stackexchange.com/questions/96125/… – Jeff Atwood Jun 23 '11 at 9:08
  • @KevinVermeer: I made it so that you can type the tab character in the edit box. Does that solve the problem, or do you still want other delimiters? – Senseful Dec 22 '11 at 2:00
  • I really like this tool, but it has problems dealing with blank/empty cells from excel – Forward Ed May 7 '16 at 23:51
  • 2
    @EdwardFalk: I just fixed it and updated the link! – Senseful Aug 28 '16 at 6:29

The following utility (created by me) may come in handy for such scenarios : http://plaintexttools.github.io/plain-text-table/

screenshot

Usage is fairly simple and intuitive, thanks to the spreadsheet like editing capabilities of handsontable . Also it handles multi-line cells neatly.

  • Looks very nice. I would add a screenshot to make it stand out more !! – Jacob Jan Tuinstra Jan 18 '14 at 14:43
  • @JacobJanTuinstra Thanks for the feedback. Updated the answer as per your suggestions. – lorefnon Jan 18 '14 at 15:32
  • This one is superb. I'll be bookmarking this one. – Edward Falk Jun 29 '16 at 2:11

While not especially for tables, Asciiflow is a generic tool for this kind of thing.

Since the OP specifically says:

It doesn't have to use ASCII (it can be Unicode)

I thought I'd share the link for the (mysql / unicode / html) table generator created by a SE user for use on SE I found on superuser. I found it quite useful to get unicode tables (which I sometimes prefer over the Windows-1252 compatible "ASCII" art). And this tool lets you compare the outputs, as well as getting a HTML formatted table, too.

Example to show my workflow:
I'm making a web app for my bookkeeper to calculate sales tax and I am doing math on months and quarters so that the tool always automatically displays "last quarter's sales tax info". Since I'm always thinking of arrays starting with 0, I needed to embed a simple table outlining the months in each quarter to keep the values sorted in my head.

1) To get the table started, I used this generator (listed on both this and the other QA) with its Excel-like input interface to actually create the data, as the unicode tool wants pre-formatted text. I type in the values then select them and CTRL-C to get my tab delimited table:

Quarter Numbers Names
Q1  1, 2, 3 Jan, Feb, Mar
Q2  4, 5, 6 Apr, May, Jun
Q3  7, 8, 9 Jul, Aug, Sep
Q4  10, 11, 12  Oct, Nov, Dec

2) went to senseful's generator and pasted into the input area. I played with each of the 3 options and I liked the Unicode Art option the best:

╔═════════╦════════════╦═══════════════╗
║ Quarter ║  Numbers   ║     Names     ║
╠═════════╬════════════╬═══════════════╣
║ Q1      ║ 1, 2, 3    ║ Jan, Feb, Mar ║
║ Q2      ║ 4, 5, 6    ║ Apr, May, Jun ║
║ Q3      ║ 7, 8, 9    ║ Jul, Aug, Sep ║
║ Q4      ║ 10, 11, 12 ║ Oct, Nov, Dec ║
╚═════════╩════════════╩═══════════════╝

Note that for the table to show up correctly on a web page, the character set must be specifically set for UTF-8:

<meta content='text/html; charset=UTF-8' http-equiv='Content-Type'/>

  • You know that the accepted answer is the tool you suggest and it is posted by the author you mention, right ? :) – Gabriele Petrioli Apr 6 '14 at 10:07
  • yes... between this and another answer, I wanted to show my workflow, since either by themselves didn't help my situation and would have required transcribing the whole table. Together, I didn't need to type all that info in by hand. – Chris K Apr 10 '14 at 20:28
  • I have updated lorefnon.me/plain-text-table You can now directly generate the desired Unicode Art output (see the style option Double Border) – Jmini Apr 8 '15 at 20:52

You can also use this tool for mysql tables: MySQL Table to text

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.