Items are most easily compared reading down

In general, the independent variables in a table should be placed across the horizontal rows, and the items in columns should be the dependent variables. This rule is based on the simple precept that it is easier to compare like elements or work with numerical data when reading down, rather than across. (Try subtracting one number from another horizontally rather than in the usual vertical format, if you need first-hand proof.)

Data in columns are usually more concise as well. For example, when a wide table such as Table 3.3 is flipped so that the dependent variables are in columns, the result (Table 3.4) is visibly more compact.

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