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Next step is to align columns. As you as you can see, for example, in our spanners, the cells use right aligned texts. That’s not particularly nice to read, especially because this species name should always refer to the two cells below it. So it would be great if the text in that cell is centered.

For readability of your tables certain data types should use different alignments. For example, for texts it’s best if you use left alignment. That’s because we read from left to right and if all the texts are aligned at the same vertical line, then it’s easier to read. Otherwise, our eyes always have to find the beginning of the next line.

For numbers it’s different. There, you should move everything to the right. This way, you can easily compare digits one by one.

flextable(penguin_counts_wider) |> 
    island = 'Island',
    year = 'Year',
    Adelie_female = 'Female',
    Adelie_male = 'Male',
    Chinstrap_female = 'Female',
    Chinstrap_male = 'Male',
    Gentoo_female = 'Female',
    Gentoo_male = 'Male'
  ) |> 
    values = c('', 'Adelie', 'Chinstrap', 'Gentoo'),
    colwidths = c(2, 2, 2, 2)
  ) |> 
    values = c('Penguins in the Palmer Archipelago', 'Data is courtesy of the {palmerpenguins} R package')
  ) |> 
  align(i = 3, align = 'center', part = 'header') |> 
  # it's already left-aligned but for demo purposes we do it again
  align(j = 'year', align = 'right', part = 'body') |> 

Your Turn

Center the spanners, i.e. the group labels "50s-70s" and "80s-20s". After the exercise, your table should look like this:

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