Frequently Asked Question List for TeX


What is the difference between array and tabular environments

The tabular environment is the general solution to typeset tables. In math mode, you’ll usually be told to use the array environment, but tabular would work too. So, what is the difference?

The array environment is indeed for math mode, and cell contents will be typeset in math mode (in textstyle by default). You don’t need to use $...$ inside it, so it will save you some typing. Notice that inside an array, the p, m and b specifiers switch cell contents to text mode.

While array requires being in math mode, the tabular environment can be used both in text and math mode, and its contents will be typeset in text mode.

array and tabular environments share a lot of things, but also involve some specific parameters. As an example, the space between two columns is set separately, using \arraycolsep for array and \tabcolsep for tabular.

A very useful LaTeX package is named array. Despite its name, it provides advanced functionnalities for both array and tabular environments (and their relatives).

FAQ ID: Q-arraytab
Tags: tables