What?

tinytable is a small but powerful R package to draw beautiful tables in a variety of formats: HTML, LaTeX, Word, PDF, PNG, Markdown, and Typst. The user interface is minimalist and easy to learn, while giving users access to powerful frameworks to create endlessly customizable tables.

https://vincentarelbundock.github.io/tinytable/

Why?

There are already many excellent table-drawing packages in the R ecosystem. Why release a new one? As the maintainer of modelsummary, I needed a table-drawing package which was:

  • Simple: Streamlined, consistent, and uncluttered user interface, with few functions to learn.
  • Flexible: Expressive frameworks to customize tables in HTML and LaTeX formats.1
  • Zero-dependency: Avoid importing any other R package.2
  • Concise: Draw beautiful tables without typing a lot of code.
  • Safe: User inputs are checked thoroughly, and informative errors are returned early.
  • Maintainable: A small code base which does not rely on too many complex regular expressions.
  • Readable: HTML and LaTeX code should be human-readable and editable.
  • Free: This package will always be free. Tiny tables for a tiny price!

To achieve these goals, the design philosophy of tinytable rests on three pillars:

  1. Data is separate from style. The code that this package creates keeps the content of a table separate from the style sheet that applies to its cells. This is in contrast to other R packages that modify the actual text in each cell to style it. Keeping data and style separate allows tinytable to create human-readable files which are easy to edit, debug, and extend. It also enables developers to keep a simpler code base, with minimal use of messy regular expressions.

  2. Flexibility. Users’ needs are extremely varied, and a table-drawing package must be flexible enough to accomodate different ideas. To achieve this, tinytable builds on battle-tested and versatile frameworks like Bootstrap for HTML and tabularray for LaTeX.

  3. Lightweight is the right weight. Some of the most popular table-drawing packages in the R ecosystem are very heavy: A single library() call can sometimes load upwards of 65 R packages. In contrast, tinytable imports zero 3rd party R package by default.

Installation

tinytable is a relatively new package with rapid development. If you want to benefit from the latest features—showcased on the package website—you should install from R-Universe:

install.packages("tinytable", repos = "https://vincentarelbundock.r-universe.dev")

Alternatively, you can install it from CRAN:

install.packages("tinytable")

Restart R completely for the installation to take effect.

First steps

The best feature of tinytable is its simplicity. To draw a table, simply call the tt() function with your data frame as the first argument:

library(tinytable)

x <- mtcars[1:5, 1:5]

tt(x)


More complex tables can be created by calling arguments and chaining functions together. In the next example, we add a caption, footnote, colors, styles, and spanning column headers:

cap <- "A simple \\texttt{tinytable} example."
not <- "Nullam odio est, ullamcorper scelerisque lectus a, eleifend luctus nisl. Etiam ullamcorper, nibh vel interdum auctor, odio nulla mollis tortor, vel fringilla ante quam quis est."

tt(x, 
   caption = cap, 
   notes = not, 
   width = .5) |> 
 style_tt(
   i = 1:3,
   j = 1:2,
   background = "teal",
   color = "white",
   bold = TRUE) |>
 group_tt(
   j = list("Halloumi" = 1:2, "Tofu" = 4:5))


Tutorial

The tinytable 0.3.0.10 tutorial will take you much further. It is available in two formats:

Footnotes

  1. Other formats like Markdown and Typst are also available, but less flexible.↩︎

  2. Some extra packages can be imported to access specific functionality, such as integration with Quarto, inserting ggplot2 objects as inline plots, and saving tables to PNG images or PDF documents.↩︎