How to Use Tables in Business Report Writing

Business Report Writing Course

Tables create clear blocks in business report writing. Put information that has a matrix form into a table. Following is an example of data that would be clearer as a table in business report writing because it is a matrix of information:

Your daily activities must be restricted to the following limits. You may have no more than six hours of allowed driving, meaning driving that has been assigned to you, to include traveling to the drop-off destination and returning, as well as other activities involving the vehicle, such as vehicle maintenance. That time is compensated at $17 per hour. You may have a total of two hours of non-driving duties per day. Those duties will be mostly paperwork, but may include meetings, training, and other such non-driving activities. It does not include lunch, although the time will include breaks. This time will be compensated at $17 per hour. Finally, you may have four hours of overtime maximum per day. It must be assigned by your supervisor and approved before you begin the overtime activity. The fact that it is overtime activity must be noted on your time report even though the total comes to over eight hours per day showing there must have been some overtime. Overtime is compensated at $25.50 per hour.

This is the same business report writing presented in a table format. It is much easier to read and the reader can locate information of interest to him or her instantly.

ACTIVITY DAILY TIME LIMIT COMPENSATION
Allowed driving Driving that has been assigned to you, to include traveling to the drop-off destination and returning, as well as other activities involving the vehicle, such as vehicle maintenance. 6 hours $17 per hour
Non-driving duties Mostly paperwork, but may include meetings, training, and other such non-driving activities. It does not include lunch, although the time will include breaks. 2 hours $17 per hour
Overtime Overtime must be assigned by your supervisor and approved before you begin the overtime activity. The fact that it is overtime activity must be noted on your time report even though the total comes to over eight hours per day showing there must have been some overtime. 4 hours $25.50 per hour

The guidelines for business report writing using tables follow.

Tables in Report Writing Guideline 1:

You may present tables in business report writing without lines.

You do not need the lines to create tables when writing reports. This is the same table, but without the lines. However, the longer the text in the table columns, the more the format without lines loses clarity.

ACTIVITY DAILY TIME LIMIT COMPENSATION
Allowed driving Driving that has been assigned to you, to include traveling to the drop-off destination and returning, as well as other activities involving the vehicle, such as vehicle maintenance. 6 hours $17 per hour
Non-driving duties Mostly paperwork, but may include meetings, training, and other such non-driving activities. It does not include lunch, although the time will include breaks. 2 hours $17 per hour
Overtime Overtime must be assigned by your supervisor and approved before you begin the overtime activity. The fact that it is overtime activity must be noted on your time report even though the total comes to over eight hours per day showing there must have been some overtime. 4 hours $25.50 per hour

Tables in Report Writing Guideline 2:

Insert rules to make rows in business report tables clearer.

Inserting rules (lines across the page) between the rows helps make the table clearer.

ACTIVITY DAILY TIME LIMIT COMPENSATION
Allowed driving Driving that has been assigned to you, to include traveling to the drop-off destination and returning, as well as other activities involving the vehicle, such as vehicle maintenance. 6 hours $17 per hour
Non-driving duties Mostly paperwork, but may include meetings, training, and other such non-driving activities. It does not include lunch, although the time will include breaks. 2 hours $17 per hour
Overtime Overtime must be assigned by your supervisor and approved before you begin the overtime activity. The fact that it is overtime activity must be noted on your time report even though the total comes to over eight hours per day showing there must have been some overtime. 4 hours $25.50 per hour

Tables in Business Report Writing Guideline 3:

Use fill colors and reverse out to make headings prominent.

You may also make tables in your business report writing stand out by using fill colors and reversing out. In this example, the first row is filled with black and the font is white.

ACTIVITY DAILY TIME LIMIT COMPENSATION
Allowed driving Driving that has been assigned to you, to include traveling to the drop-off destination and returning, as well as other activities involving the vehicle, such as vehicle maintenance. 6 hours $17 per hour
Non-driving duties Mostly paperwork, but may include meetings, training, and other such non-driving activities. It does not include lunch, although the time will include breaks. 2 hours $17 per hour
Overtime Overtime must be assigned by your supervisor and approved before you begin the overtime activity. The fact that it is overtime activity must be noted on your time report even though the total comes to over eight hours per day showing there must have been some overtime. 4 hours $25.50 per hour

Tables in Business Report Writing Guideline 4:

Offset columns to allow more text when writing tables.

Other formats for tables allow more text in the columns by offsetting the columns of text. The formatting takes the table further away from the appearance we normally would associate with a table, but it is still a table, formatted to give the writer more flexibility in the amount of text presented in columns.

ACTIVITY: Allowed driving
Driving that has been assigned to you, to include traveling to the drop-off destination and returning, as well as other activities involving the vehicle, such as vehicle maintenance.
DAILY TIME LIMIT: 6 hours
COMPENSATION: $17 per hour
ACTIVITY: Non-driving duties
Mostly paperwork, but may include meetings, training, and other such non-driving activities. It does not include lunch, although the time will include breaks.
DAILY TIME LIMIT: 2 hours
COMPENSATION: $17 per hour
ACTIVITY: Overtime
Overtime must be assigned by your supervisor and approved before you begin the overtime activity. The fact that it is overtime activity must be noted on your time report even though the total comes to over eight hours per day showing there must have been some overtime.
DAILY TIME LIMIT: 4 hours
COMPENSATION: $25.50 per hour

Tables in Business Report Writing Guideline 5:

Combine offset columns with lined columns when writing reports.

A final format keeps the column with longer text separate but puts the shorter columns back into a lined table format.

ACTIVITY: Allowed driving

Driving that has been assigned to you, to include traveling to the drop-off destination and returning, as well as other activities involving the vehicle, such as vehicle maintenance.

DAILY TIME LIMIT 6 hours
COMPENSATION $17 per hour
ACTIVITY: Non-driving duties

Mostly paperwork, but may include meetings, training, and other such non-driving activities. It does not include lunch, although the time will include breaks.

DAILY TIME LIMIT 2 hours
COMPENSATION $17 per hour
ACTIVITY: Overtime

Overtime must be assigned by your supervisor and approved before you begin the overtime activity. The fact that it is overtime activity must be noted on your time report even though the total comes to over eight hours per day showing there must have been some overtime.

DAILY TIME LIMIT 4 hours
COMPENSATION $25.50 per hour
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