I have a table with the first column containing a (sometimes multi-row) description and the second a number.

Which is the best vertical alignment for the number?

Top: enter image description here centered: enter image description here or bottom: enter image description here ?

1 Answer 1


I would definitly go with Top.

Why not Bottom?

Bottom is awful because it doesn't make sense when you're reading. You are reading through the descriptor and then look over at the number, suddenly you're not sure anymore what line the descriptors were in. You end up using wrong numbers because there are no lines that define visible borders. Imagine looking up those number at 2 AM with no coffee.

Why not Middle?

The style is not uniform. As this is nothing concept alike or close to a graphic, this is impractical for the workflow. You have to look up the line of the number every time, because it's different due to the length of the descriptor. It's unnecessary additional work.

Why Top?

While this choice does seem lame and everything and not so "grouping" like the middle alignment at the first glance, top gives you a good idea of the size and complication how a number is built. If you see a lot of spacing to the next number, you can immediately spot with your eye without reading the text that this number isn't just "apples". You will expect something like "apples that have been grown during the last rain period, while taking in account the latest insect plague which happened around the last summer month of the summer of 2015". You can build logic structures in your head much faster.

Also, it doesn't matter for top how many lines of description there are, line 1 always gives you the key information "oy mate you're in for a ride" when you see a large number creeping up with a ton of text beside it that might reach below your screen border.

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