88 Tables & Textboxes

You can create tables and textboxes of many sizes and shapes using the Pressbooks visual editor. This chapter will walk you through the options for each tool. Please note that the table tool is currently under renovation, and not all options may be available at this time.  Read on for more information on:


Pressbooks offers two ways to create tables in your books. The first is through the visual editor toolbar, which allows you to create basic tables for all your book formats. The second method uses the TablePress plugin, which is available only on PressbooksEDU networks. The TablePress plugin lets you build dynamic, interactive tables which can be sorted, filtered, and searched in the webbook and exported as static tables to PDF and ebook formats.

Visual Editor Table Tool

To access the table tool, look for the table icon on the visual editor toolbar. Follow the steps below to create your table.

1. Click the table icon on the visual editor toolbar

2. Hover over Table and then select the initial row and column layout you’d like for your table from the grid that appears

The table tool open on the chapter editor

Once you’ve selected the number of cells, the table tool will close and your table will appear. At this point you can now enter your content or style the table.

A table with six cells

Table Structure

There are many options for customizing your table. To modify the structure of the table for CellsRows, or Columns, follow these steps:

  1. Click and highlight the cells, rows, or columns you wish to modify
  2. Open the table tool
  3. Hover over CellRow, or Column depending on your needs
  4. Select the action you want to occur

This tool allows you to complete the following actions:

  • Insert another table within a cell
  • Edit cell, row and column properties
  • Merge and split cells
  • Add and remove rows and columns
  • Copy, cut and paste rows and columns

Table menu open on the chapter editor page

The two other settings that appear on the table menu include Delete table and Table properties. To delete your table, click anywhere inside the table, then open the table tool menu and select Delete table. For further styling options, click within the table and then select Table properties. 

Table Properties

Through Table Properties, you can:

  • Adjust the width and height of your table
  • Adjust the cell padding and cell spacing
  • Increase or decrease the weight of the border
  • Add a caption
  • Change the alignment
  • Change the class

Table properties window in your chapter editor

Adjust Width and Height

Width and Height properties in the table properties window


The width of your table is set as a percentage of the page size or as a pixel value. For print and fixed format export versions of your book, this width size remains static.

In responsive versions of your book (for instance, your webbook or EPUB file), tables with percentage widths will be responsive to the device  – for example, a reader viewing the table on their phone will see a far narrower table than a reader that view the same table on a large computer. Both readers see the entire table within their screen.

A table set in pixels will be static on all exports and not responsive to the device. Actual displayed widths may also vary depending on the content inside the table. For instance, if the content inside the table exceeds the width percentage or pixel value you’ve set, the table will still expand past those parameters to display all of the content.

By default, the width of your table will be set at 100%. This means that the table will take up the entire width of its parent element (typically, the page) and end at the left and right margins. You can increase or decrease your table’s width by changing the percentage or settings a pixel value.

To set a percentage width: Enter “50%” (or other value) next to Width in the Table Properties window

To set a pixel width: Enter “50px” (or other value) next to Width in the Table Properties window

Width property set to 50%

A table with a 50% width would render like this in the webbook:

A table set at 100% width and a table set at 50% width


Table height, by contrast, is measured only in pixels, or “px” because height is static across all export types.

There is a minimum height pixel value that you can set a table to, and the minimum height will depend on how many rows your table has. A two-row table, for example, cannot have a pixel height value of less than 50px; the table will return to the default size if a value lower than that is entered.

To set a pixel height: Enter “100px” (or other value) next to Height in the Table Properties window.

The height property in the table properties window

Tables with custom heights may look like this in your webbook:

Tables at default, medium, and large heights.

Adjust Cell Padding & Spacing

NOTE: These options aren’t currently supported, but watch this space! We’ve got improvements in the works.

Change Border Weight

You can increase or decrease the weight of your border by changing the quantity next to Border in the Table Properties window.

The default weight for the border is “1.” The higher the number, the thicker the width of your table’s external border will be.

Table properties window with the border property highlighted

NOTE: The Border property is not fully supported at this time, and cannot be used when working with Full Grid tables. But watch this space! We’ve got improvements in the works.

Table Captions

The table caption option can be enabled by checking the box next to Caption on the Table Properties window. Be sure to click OK after you’ve enabled this feature.

Table properties window with caption property highlighted

After, you’ll see a blank space above your table in the visual editor. Click in this space to type your table caption.

Visual editor with table caption highlighted

The caption will display below your table in your Pressbooks webbook.

A table caption below a table in the webbook.

In your ebook and print exports, the caption will display on top of the table.

The caption above the table in the PDF export


You can change the alignment of your table by clicking on the Alignment dropdown menu in the Table Properties menu.

The default alignment for all tables is “None.” You can change the alignment to Left or Right.

Table properties with alignment property highlighted

Your aligned tables should look like this in your webbook and exports:

None, Right, and Left aligned tables

Right and left aligned tables will also automatically have body text wrap around them in your webbook.

Text wrapped around tables in the webbook.

This wrapping feature is not yet available for exports other than the webbook.

NOTE: While there is currently an option to align tables at center, we do not fully support the feature at this time. Watch this space for improvements to our table options.


You can change the class of your table by clicking on the dropdown menu next to Class in the Table Properties window. Each class defines a preset look for the table.

Table classes from the table properties menu

All tables default to the Standard class. You can choose any of the following classes:

  • Standard
  • No lines
  • Lines
  • Shaded
  • Full Grid
  • Standard Lanscape*
  • No lines Landscape*
  • Lines Landscape*
  • Shaded Landscape*
  • Full Grid Landscape*
NOTE: Landscape table classes (denoted with an asterisk*) will only appear landscape in PDF format. These tables will display in ebook and webbook formats in normal portrait format.

Tables with different classes applied.

Be sure to click OK after you make any changes to the class.


Users on one of our hosted PressbooksEDU networks, also have access to the TablePress tool. This plugin allows you to create and display dynamic tables in your webbook that users can sort, filter, and search within. For more information on TablePress, go to https://tablepress.org.

Before you can create or import tables using the TablePress tool, the plugin must first be activated in your book. To do this, select Plugins from the left sidebar menu, then find TablePress in the plugins list and click Activate. If you do not see the option to activate this plugin, contact your network manager.

Once TablePress has been activated, you should see a TablePress link in your left sidebar menu. To begin creating your tables, open TablePress from the new sidebar menu option, then follow these steps.

  1. Select the Add New tab from the top of the page, or from the left sidebar menu
  2. Enter your table name and an optional description of the table, then select the number of rows and columns you’d like your table to have
  3. Click Add Table

The Add New Table form for the TablePress plugin

Once you click Add Table, you’ll be brought to your new table and will be able to enter content into the cells. Find the table in the Table Content panel, and click any cell to enter your data.

Table content panel for the TablePress plugin

The TablePress plugin includes a plethora of settings to allow you to customize the table. Configure your table to the needs of your project using the Table Manipulation, Table, Table Options, and Features panels.

Configuration options for TablePress tables.

You can also choose to Copy Table, Export Table, or Delete Table using the tabs at the bottom of the page.

When your table is complete, click Save Changes at the top or bottom of the page. Saved tables will appear on the All Tables page.

Other Options

TablePress also allows you to perform a few other actions, available from the tabs at the top of the page:

  • Import: Import tables in CSV, HTML, JSON, XLS, or XLSX format into TablePress to place them in your book
  • Export: Export existing tables you’ve created in Pressbooks to your device as CSV, HTML, or JSON files
  • Plugin Options: Add Custom CSS to style your tables

Adding TablePress Tables to a Chapter

Once you’ve activated TablePress and created your table, you can follow these steps to place it in your chapter:

  1. Go to All Tables and find the table you’d like to place in the chapter
  2. Hover over the title of your table, then click Show Shortcode
  3. Copy the shortcode and click OK
  4. Navigate to your chapter
  5. Paste the shortcode into visual editor where you want the table to appear
  6. Save the chapter

TablePress shortcode

The table won’t display in your visual editor; you’ll just see the shortcode.

TablePress shortcode in the visual editor

However, the table will appear in your webbook when you view the chapter.

TablePress in a webbookTablePress tables also appear in PDF and ebook exports.


The Pressbooks textbox tool allows you to place text with frames to have it stand apart from the rest of the text in the body of your book. The structure and color of textboxes may vary from theme to theme. You can also choose between standard, basic textboxes and educational textboxes premade for exercises and other elements find within textboxes and educational materials.

To add a textbox to your post, click on the toggle bar at the top right to show the full formatting toolbar.

toggle toolbar
Toggle toolbar

Then find the “Textboxes” menu and make your selection. This will insert an empty textbox into your post. Alternatively, you can highlight your text first, then choose the textbox style you need and see it appear with your text already inside:

Choose your textbox style
Choose your textbox style

Textboxes can serve many purposes, and Pressbooks has several preset styles to suit your needs, including many that are useful for textbooks and workbooks. Some of the more specialized styles include:

Learning Objectives

Type your learning objectives here.

  • First
  • Second

Key Takeaways

Type your key takeaways here.

  • First
  • Second


Type your exercises here.

  • First
  • Second


Type your examples here.

  • First
  • Second

How To Customize Your Textbox Colors

To change your textbox colors from their default palette, follow these steps:

1. Go to Appearance > Theme Options from the left-hand menu of your book’s dashboard

Click Appearance, then Theme Options, then Global Options

2. Scroll down to see your customization options for Examples, Exercises, Key Takeaways, and Learning Objectives 

You can select colors for the header color, header background, and background for each of these four textbox types.

3. Click Select Color next to the element you’d like to change (Header Color, Header Background, or Background)

The graphic user interface that you can select your new color from.

This opens up the color picker. You can input your own color hex code, choose a color from the bottom row, pick a hue from the spectrum, and pick a shade from the sidebar. Click Default to return the element color to its default.

4. Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page

All textbox color customizations will affect every textbox of that specified type in your book. For example, if you change the Key Takeaways Header Background to green here, all Key Takeaways in your book will now have a green header background.

This change affects all export types. You can see the new, custom color textboxes in your visual editor.

You can now see the customized textbox in your visual editor, webbook, and exports.

Custom Textboxes

You can also insert a custom textbox using the textbox menu, which allows you to add a custom CSS class that you can then style in the CSS editor. You can also customize the existing styles if you’re confident with CSS. For more on this, see our guide chapter on customizing your CSS.

NOTE: Some textboxes can be a little temperamental; in particular the standard and shaded styles don’t like you hitting “Enter,” which will create a new textbox below the existing one. To get around this, you need to use a soft return by hitting “Shift+Enter” to get a new line.

Prefer to watch and learn? Here’s a brief visual intro to adding textboxes and tables in Pressbooks.


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Pressbooks User Guide Copyright © 2012 by Book Oven Inc. (Pressbooks.com) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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