# Table Printer excercise

I'm new to Python and I came to the following excercise:

Write a function named printTable() that takes a list of lists of strings and displays it in a well-organized table with each column right-justified. Assume that all the inner lists will contain the same number of strings. For example, the value could look like this:

tableData = [['apples', 'oranges', 'cherries', 'banana'],
['Alice', 'Bob', 'Carol', 'David'],
['dogs', 'cats', 'moose', 'goose']]


Your printTable() function would print the following:

  apples Alice  dogs
oranges   Bob  cats
cherries Carol moose
banana David goose


My solution is this:

table_printer.py

tableData = [['apples', 'oranges', 'cherries', 'banana'],
['Alice', 'Bob', 'Carol', 'David'],
['dogs', 'cats', 'moose', 'goose']]

def printTable(tableData):
"""
Print table neatly formatted:
e.g:

[['apples', 'oranges', 'cherries', 'banana'],
['Alice', 'Bob', 'Carol', 'David'],
['dogs', 'cats', 'moose', 'goose']]

becomes:

apples Alice  dogs
oranges   Bob  cats
cherries Carol moose
banana David goose
"""
# make list of ints to store later max len element of each list
colWidths =  * len(tableData)

# Store maxlen of each list
i = 0
while i < len(tableData):
colWidths[i] = len(max(tableData[i], key=len))
i = i + 1

# Print formatted
for x in range(len(tableData)):
for y in range(len(colWidths)):
print(tableData[y][x].rjust(colWidths[y]), end=' ')
print(end='\n')

printTable(tableData)


I wonder if this is a good solution or if there is an easier/better way. It took me quite some time to come up with a solution. Still I feel its probaly not very elegant. Maybe I'm overcomplicating it because I came from C/C++ where you oftenly have to do stuff by hand.

I read that it's often not a good idea in python to write loops like in other languages with explicit indices (what I basically did here). Are there any alternatives?

• You can compute the maximal length on each row by np.array([np.array(max([len(xii) for xii in xi])) for xi in tableData]) which returns [8 5 5]. These numbers will be used to format the strings. – Sigur Nov 23 '18 at 2:11

## 1 Answer

Here is my proposal. It is shorter than OP's solution, specially to compute the length of each word to be used in the format procedure while printing.

In a single line, we obtain a 1D array with maximal lengths.

import numpy as np

tableData = [['apples', 'oranges', 'cherries', 'banana'],
['Alice', 'Bob', 'Carol', 'David'],
['dogs', 'cats', 'moose', 'goose']]

max_len = np.array([np.array(max([len(xii) for xii in xi])) for xi in tableData])

for col in range(len(tableData)):
for i in range(len(tableData)):
print ("{:>%d}" % max_len[i]).format(tableData[i][col]),
print ""


Output

  apples Alice  dogs
oranges   Bob  cats
cherries Carol moose
banana David goose

• Hello. While the solution is a nice one, your answer just provides and alternative to OP's code which is not what this site is about. Please expand your answer and explain how you're improving OP's solution. – яүυк Nov 24 '18 at 12:48
• @яүυк, hello. Since my knowledge is not big, I tried to improve it. To be true, my code is shorter but I am not sure if it is more efficient. What do you think? – Sigur Nov 24 '18 at 13:37