Trying to clean up the table below. Which colons should I use and which do I need to remove? Keep the red, remove the blue or go for blue and remove red? What about the yellow ones? Or do not use any colons at all? What about the Property column head?

enter image description here


3 Answers 3


In my opinion... remove them all!

The use of a table implies some specific usage of headers, columns and rows. Any punctuation like : or . is irrelevant on this context.

So play with the spacing, font, weight, backgrounds and colors.

But there is a small chance that the green one has some sense. n_n. You could complement its meaning aligning that word to the right. But that word is competing with the header "Country". Basicly you have a small table with headers as a header on the other table.

Either you remove the word "Property", or move the word "Country" to that place.

One reason I would leave the word "Country" as you have it now, is that there would be some aditional columns D, E, F, with another category like "Continent".


The colons add nothing and may confuse, as they draw the reader's eye rightwards (which is partly why it looks like 'Property' governs 'UK'). I would rarely use colons in a table, if at all - primarily:

  • where the colon is not the final character in the cell (e.g. the cell contains one or more complete sentences), or
  • in the leftmost column in a table where the formatting is very subtle (or liable to be lost entirely) and the leftmost column is a header for the row, i.e. without the colon, the user would be unable to identify the structure of the table.

To further dissassociate 'Property' from the individual countries, consider styling it as 'Country' and aligning it vertically with either 'Country' (i.e. above the dividing line) or even level with the dividing line.

Consider also using a smaller font size for the countries themselves.

Finally, is the text 'Property' useful in any way? Why not remove it entirely?


After years working in the corporate field and facing countless similar tables, my advice is you remove all the colons and your "property" column head. People are used to reading tables without the need for these. Much more relevant is how you format your tables and the lines/spacing which separate the information.

I just found this and think it sums up all the relevant stuff enter image description here

  • 1
    Excellent find (because all are excellent points) but would you mind adding where you found it? (I know there are credits at the very end. But still.)
    – Jongware
    Oct 15, 2016 at 10:01
  • It shows up in the link Ryan referred to above.
    – Lucian
    Oct 15, 2016 at 11:24
  • Source of the image: darkhorseanalytics.com/blog/clear-off-the-table Aug 23, 2019 at 13:48

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