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3 Tables

Org comes with a fast and intuitive table editor. Spreadsheet-like calculations are supported in connection with the Emacs calc package (see the Emacs Calculator manual for more information about the Emacs calculator).

Org makes it easy to format tables in plain ASCII. Any line with ‘|’ as the first non-whitespace character is considered part of a table. ‘|’ is also the column separator. A table might look like this:

     | Name  | Phone | Age |
     | Peter |  1234 |  17 |
     | Anna  |  4321 |  25 |

A table is re-aligned automatically each time you press <TAB> or <RET> or C-c C-c inside the table. <TAB> also moves to the next field (<RET> to the next row) and creates new table rows at the end of the table or before horizontal lines. The indentation of the table is set by the first line. Any line starting with ‘|-’ is considered as a horizontal separator line and will be expanded on the next re-align to span the whole table width. So, to create the above table, you would only type


and then press <TAB> to align the table and start filling in fields. Even faster would be to type |Name|Phone|Age followed by C-c <RET>.

When typing text into a field, Org treats <DEL>, <Backspace>, and all character keys in a special way, so that inserting and deleting avoids shifting other fields. Also, when typing immediately after the cursor was moved into a new field with <TAB>, S-<TAB> or <RET>, the field is automatically made blank.

Creation and conversion
C-c |
Convert the active region to table. If every line contains at least one TAB character, the function assumes that the material is tab separated. If every line contains a comma, comma-separated values (CSV) are assumed. If not, lines are split at whitespace into fields.
If there is no active region, this command creates an empty Org table. But it's easier just to start typing, like |Name|Phone|Age C-c <RET>.
Re-aligning and field motion
C-c C-c
Re-align the table without moving the cursor.
Re-align the table, move to the next field. Creates a new row if necessary.
Re-align, move to previous field.
Re-align the table and move down to next row. Creates a new row if necessary.
Column and row editing
Move the current column left/right.
Kill the current column.
Insert a new column to the left of the cursor position.
Move the current row up/down.
Kill the current row or horizontal line.
Insert a new row above the current row. With a prefix argument, the line is created below the current one.
C-c -
Insert a horizontal line below current row. With a prefix argument, the line is created above the current line.
C-c <RET>
Insert a horizontal line below current row, and move the cursor into the row below that line.
C-c ^
Sort the table lines in the region. The position of point indicates the column to be used for sorting, and the range of lines is the range between the nearest horizontal separator lines, or the entire table.

Further reading
Chapter 3 of the manual
Bastien's table tutorial
Bastien's spreadsheet tutorial
Eric's plotting tutorial