Introduction – Creating an HTML-Table

What is HTML_Table?

HTML_Table offers an interface for create a HTML table. You can work with the table like a spreadsheet. Instead of working with HTML code and linear adding of cells, you can address and fill cells independend of there position. There is no different, whether you start with fill a cell at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of the table, a row or a column.

The autoGrow and autoFill value

The autoGrow flag

Normaly, you would define a table with a constant number of rows and columns. But sometimes, you does not know, how many rows or columns you need: ie. transforming user input or the result of a database query to an HTML table.

In this case, you should enable the autoGrow feature. In this mode, HTML_Table adds new rows or columns automatically, if you use a cell address located in a not existing row or column.

The autoFill value

If you create a table of data, sometimes you have not to fill all cells with different values. Perhaps you do not know the value for a cell, or you want to insert a default value - ie. retrieving data about users. Not every user has a mobile, a email address etc., in this case, an "n/a" should be inserted into that specific cell.

So, simply define "n/a" as autoFill value and fill only the cells where data exist. You need not to fill every cell; unfilled cells contain automatically an "n/a".

Creating a table

The demonstation data

Our HTML table to create should contain the following data:

= array(
'0' => array('Bakken''Stig'''''),
'1' => array('Merz''Alexander'''''),
'2' => array('Daniel''Adam''''')


Let us now start by creating a new instance of HTML_Table. The table should be 600 pixel wide. We do not know the quantity of the data to insert into the table - so we enable the autoGrow feature. Unfilled cells should contain an "n/a".

require_once 'HTML/Table.php';

$attrs = array('width' => '600');
$table = new HTML_Table($attrs);

Setting table attributes is also possible by using the setAttributes() method. Therefore, the example from above can also be written as:

require_once 'HTML/Table.php';

$attrs = array('width' => '600');
$table = new HTML_Table();
// [...]

Add data rows

Now process every data entry. Here we use also the alternate feature of HTML_Table. Every second row will be colored red.

for ($nr 0$nr count($data); $nr++) {
$table->setHeaderContents($nr+10, (string)$nr);
  for (
$i 0$i 4$i++) {
    if (
'' != $data[$nr][$i]) {
$altRow = array('bgcolor' => 'red');

Add header cells

Now we want to define the cells in the first row and column as header cells. It should looks like a spreadsheet application, so we want to use the color "silver" as the background colour for each header cell. The first row contains a column headline, the first column the number of the data set row.

$hrAttrs = array('bgcolor' => 'silver');

Print the table

It is done! Our table is finished, now we can output the table as HTML code.

echo $table->toHtml();

The output will look like this:

<table width="600">
    <th bgcolor="silver">&nbsp;</th>
    <th bgcolor="silver">Surname</th>
    <th bgcolor="silver">Name</th>
    <th bgcolor="silver">Website</th>
    <th bgcolor="silver">EMail</th>
    <th bgcolor="silver">0</th>
    <th bgcolor="silver">1</th>
    <td bgcolor="red">Merz</td>
    <td bgcolor="red">Alexander</td>
    <td bgcolor="red"></td>
    <td bgcolor="red"></td>
    <th bgcolor="silver">2</th>

Using thead, tfoot and tbody

If you want to divide your tables into thead, tfoot and tbody groups, you need to get table objects using getHeader(), getFooter(), and getBody(), which you can then use like the normal table object.

= new HTML_Table();
$head =& $table->getHeader();
$foot =& $table->getFooter();
$body =& $table->getBody();

In this example, there is no content set for the tfoot group. Therefore, only thead and tbody will be rendered.

The rendering order is thead, then tfoot and as the last group tbody. This is not a bug but intended behaviour because that's the way it is defined in the (X)HTML Standard.

Since release 1.8.0 getBody() and several other methods like setCellAttributes() accept an optional numeric parameter $body that allows you to generate multiple tbody groups in your table. A new group can be generated by using addBody() or, if the autoGrow feature is enabled, by using a new number in one of the mentioned method calls.

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Last updated: Sat, 16 Feb 2019 — Download Documentation
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