We are extremely excited to have our first release of the gt package available in CRAN! The name gt is short for “grammar of tables” and the goal of gt is similar to that of ggplot2, serving to not just to make it easy to make specific tables, but to describe a set of underlying components that can be recombined in different ways to solve different problems.
If you ever need to make beautiful customized display tables, I think you’ll find gt is up to the task. You can install gt 0.2 from CRAN with:
For an initial release, it’s pretty big! There are so many ways to structure a table, apply formatting and annotations, and style it just the way you want. Currently gt renders tables to the HTML output format (and has the ability to export to image files). We plan to also support the LaTeX and RTF output formats in the near future.
Let’s get acquainted with our model of a table
We decided to formalize the parts of a table—and give them names—so that we have some language to act on. The larger components of a table (roughly from top to bottom) include the table header, the column labels, the stub and stub head, the table body, and the table footer. Within each of these components, there may be subcomponents (e.g., the table header contains a title and subtitle, the table body contains individual cells, etc.). Understanding how the parts fit together will make more sense with this diagram:
Learning new vocabulary is definitely a pain, but we believe it’s worthwhile. Like ggplot2, the new words take some getting used to, but we believe learning them will improve your ability to analyze and understand existing tables, and then successfully recreate them in gt.
Examples with the
exibble dataset is included in gt and its raison d’etre is
to be a small dataset (8 rows and 9 columns) with different column types
for experimenting with formatting. It fits easily on a single screen
when printed as a tibble and rendered as a gt table, making it easy
to see the results of our gt experimentation.
exibble ## # A tibble: 8 x 9 ## num char fctr date time datetime currency row group ##
## 1 0.111 apricot one 2015-01… 13:35 2018-01-01 02… 50.0 row_1 grp_a ## 2 2.22 banana two 2015-02… 14:40 2018-02-02 14… 18.0 row_2 grp_a ## 3 33.3 coconut three 2015-03… 15:45 2018-03-03 03… 1.39 row_3 grp_a ## 4 444. durian four 2015-04… 16:50 2018-04-04 15… 65100 row_4 grp_a ## 5 5550 five 2015-05… 17:55 2018-05-05 04… 1326. row_5 grp_b ## 6 NA fig six 2015-06… 2018-06-06 16… 13.3 row_6 grp_b ## 7 777000 grapefru… seven 19:10 2018-07-07 05… NA row_7 grp_b ## 8 8880000 honeydew eight 2015-08… 20:20 0.44 row_8 grp_b
A simple table
Let’s use that dataset to make the ‘Hello, World!’ of gt tables:
exibble %>% gt()
Just like how the
ggplot() function is the entry point to ggplot2
serves as the first function to call for making gt tables.
Formatting data in columns
exibble dataset is blessed with an array of column types. This
makes it a snap to experiment with gt’s collection of
functions, which format the input data values.
Let’s test as many formatter functions as possible. Here’s the plan:
numdisplay numbers with exactly 2 decimal places using
- show nicely formatted dates in
- format the 24-h time values in
- make the datetimes in
datetimeformatted as such with the
- transform the
fmt_currency()to show us values in the euro currency (
currency = "EUR")
Phew! Here’s the code and the corresponding gt table:
exibble %>% gt() %>% fmt_number(columns = vars(num), decimals = 2) %>% fmt_date(columns = vars(date), date_style = 6) %>% fmt_time(columns = vars(time), time_style = 4) %>% fmt_datetime(columns = vars(datetime), date_style = 6, time_style = 4) %>% fmt_currency(columns = vars(currency), currency = "EUR")
As can be seen, entire columns had formatting applied to them in very specific ways. There is some finer control available as well. We can style a subselection of rows in any given column and there are quite a few ways to specify the target rows (e.g., row indices, row names in the stub, conditional statement based on column data, etc.).
This only scratches the surface of what is possible in formatting the
table body, there are more
fmt_*() functions. If they don’t exactly
suit your needs you can use the general
fmt() function and
provide your own transformation function.
A table with a header and a footer
exibble %>% gt() %>% tab_header( title = md("This is the `exibble` dataset in **gt**"), subtitle = "It is one of six datasets in the package" ) %>% tab_source_note(md("More information is available at `?exibble`."))
Adding new parts to the table is typically done by using a few
functions. Notice that we could style our text using Markdown with the
Adding a stub and organizing rows into row groups
exibble dataset has the
group columns, which were
purposefully included for experimentation with the table stub and with
row groups. Rather than explaining those components at length, let’s
revise the above code so that these columns are used to create those
exibble %>% gt(rowname_col = "row", groupname_col = "group") %>% tab_header( title = md("This is the `exibble` dataset in **gt**"), subtitle = md("We can use the `row` and `group` columns to structure the table") ) %>% tab_source_note(md("More information is available at `?exibble`."))
This change effectively gives us row labels in a separate area to the
left (the stub), and, row group labels above each grouping of rows.
This is great for data that naturally falls into groupings. And worry
not, if the initial order isn’t what you expected or wanted, the
function can be used to reorder the groupings.
Using spanner column labels
Just as with the stub, we can create groupings of columns with
spanner column labels that encompass one or more columns. The
function makes this possible. By providing a
label and a selection of
columns the new label is placed above those columns and the associated
horizontal rule will span across. Should the
columns not be adjacent
to each other,
will automatically gather them together.
exibble %>% gt(rowname_col = "row", groupname_col = "group") %>% tab_spanner(label = "Dates and Times", columns = matches("date|time")) %>% tab_header( title = md("This is the `exibble` dataset in **gt**"), subtitle = md("We can use the `tab_spanner()` function to organize and label columns") ) %>% tab_source_note(md("More information is available at `?exibble`."))
More… so much more
It’s really not possible to explore much of what gt can do in a
short blog post. You can do many more useful things like inserting
footnotes, modifying text, borders, and fills, and, adding summary rows.
Here’s an example of how the
pizzaplace dataset can look with a little
gt code (not shown here but available in this
Getting started with gt can be a risk-free experience with the gt Test Drive. Hit the button below to be transported to an RStudio Cloud project with examples galore:
To make it easy to experiment with making gt tables, we included
six datasets in the
exibble. Strangely enough, each of these datasets is
celebrated with a circular logo.
(Each of these datasets has a unique story in the world of gt so the deluxe graphics are warranted.)
While we’re only getting started on this package we feel things are really coming along. But sure to visit and engage with us at the gt issue tracker. We want to hear of any bugs, usage questions, or great ideas you might have to make this package better. Thanks!