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The cells_column_spanners() function is used to target the cells that contain the table column spanners. This is useful when applying a footnote with tab_footnote() or adding custom style with tab_style(). The function is expressly used in each of those functions' locations argument. The 'column_spanners' location is generated by one or more uses of the tab_spanner() function or the tab_spanner_delim() function.


cells_column_spanners(spanners = everything())



Specification of spanner IDs

<spanner-targeting expression> // default: everything()

The spanners to which targeting operations are constrained. Can either be a series of spanner ID values provided in c() or a select helper function. Examples of select helper functions include starts_with(), ends_with(), contains(), matches(), one_of(), num_range(), and everything().


A list object with the classes cells_column_spanners and location_cells.

Overview of location helper functions

Location helper functions can be used to target cells with virtually any function that has a locations argument. Here is a listing of all of the location helper functions, with locations corresponding roughly from top to bottom of a table:

  • cells_title(): targets the table title or the table subtitle depending on the value given to the groups argument ("title" or "subtitle").

  • cells_stubhead(): targets the stubhead location, a cell of which is only available when there is a stub; a label in that location can be created by using the tab_stubhead() function.

  • cells_column_spanners(): targets the spanner column labels with the spanners argument; spanner column labels appear above the column labels.

  • cells_column_labels(): targets the column labels with its columns argument.

  • cells_row_groups(): targets the row group labels in any available row groups using the groups argument.

  • cells_stub(): targets row labels in the table stub using the rows argument.

  • cells_body(): targets data cells in the table body using intersections of columns and rows.

  • cells_summary(): targets summary cells in the table body using the groups argument and intersections of columns and rows.

  • cells_grand_summary(): targets cells of the table's grand summary using intersections of columns and rows

  • cells_stub_summary(): targets summary row labels in the table stub using the groups and rows arguments.

  • cells_stub_grand_summary(): targets grand summary row labels in the table stub using the rows argument.

  • cells_footnotes(): targets all footnotes in the table footer (cannot be used with tab_footnote()).

  • cells_source_notes(): targets all source notes in the table footer (cannot be used with tab_footnote()).

When using any of the location helper functions with an appropriate function that has a locations argument (e.g., tab_style()), multiple locations can be targeted by enclosing several cells_*() helper functions in a list() (e.g., list(cells_body(), cells_grand_summary())).


Use the exibble dataset to create a gt table. We'll add a spanner column label over three columns (date, time, and datetime) with tab_spanner(). The spanner column label can be styled with tab_style() by using the cells_column_spanners() function in locations. In this example, we are making the text of the column spanner label appear as bold.

exibble |>
  dplyr::select(-fctr, -currency, -group) |>
  gt(rowname_col = "row") |>
    label = "dates and times",
    columns = c(date, time, datetime),
    id = "dt"
  ) |>
    style = cell_text(weight = "bold"),
    locations = cells_column_spanners(spanners = "dt")

This image of a table was generated from the first code example in the `cells_column_spanners()` help file.

Function ID


Function Introduced

v0.2.0.5 (March 31, 2020)