Zebra Tables

by David F. Miller

97 Reader Comments

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  1. Anyone know how to do this? I want zebra tables, but need a row to change to a certain other color when the mouse hovers over it. This needs to work in IE… :(

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  2. But scheme from Ned Baldessin isn’t work for me :(

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  3. Definitely a worthwhile technique in my opinion, and works great in html files, but I am having some issues getting the script to execute correctly on a cfm app written in fuseQ.

    The URL: http://www.gorebiz.co.nz/fbx_test/super12/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.results

    Any ideas on what I am doing wrong? The Code looks fine to me.


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  4. And take the call out of the body tag.

    <script type=“text/javascript”>
    onload = function() { tableChange () };

    function tableChange()

    var rows = window.document.getElementsByTagName(‘tr’);
    for(var i = 0; i < rows.length; i++)
    (i%2==0)? rows.item( i ).style.backgroundColor = “lightblue” : rows.item( i ).style.backgroundColor = “E0EFEE”

    } }

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  5. I’ve made a function to create rows
    but the zebra patern is not quite working.
    Can someone help me out here?

    function crtrow($tabel, $text) { 
      if (!empty($tabel)) {
      if ($class == “even”) $class=“odd”; else $class=“even”;
        echo(”<tr class=$class>

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  6. When I use the same id more than once my code doesn’t validate for xhtml. Is there a way to use this javascript by using class rather than id tags? (I’m a beginner)

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  7. Ian, as the script stands you cannot.  However, you may give each table its own id, then call each in succession:
    onload=“stripe(‘id1’, ‘#fff’, ‘#eee’);stripe(‘id2’, ‘#fff’, ‘#eee’);stripe(‘id3’, ‘#fff’, ‘#eee’);”
    Inelegant, but at least you don’t have to change the script.  Good luck!

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  8. This helps a lot on people who have a hard time of seeing what info is “all” on the line if there is a blank space between, thanks for the great article.

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  9. You know, sometimes I’m surfing all night reading stuff like this in the hope to find something good, and sometimes I do. Like now.
    About the Laptop/Handheld/Palmtop/whatever, it is possible to make a style sheet selector wich will have a high-contrast one in it… of course you could check for the OS and predefine the standard stylesheet, but hey, why not?


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  10. I use Jop’s alternate script but I just want to apply it to tables with my a specific class an i can’t make out the javascript to do it.
    As it is now it is:

    var tables = document.getElementsByTagName(“table”);

    I guess it should be something like:

    var tables = document.getElementsByClassName(“stripedtable”);

    but it doesn’t work. Anyone knows why?

    There’s also a bug when I’m trying to have another class on a <tr> like the “selected” class in the original. It works well in IE but in Opera the background of some the row above gets weird. Someone wrote something about the best way to add multiple classes from the javascript.

    As it goes now in Jop’s script it’s:

    if (! hasClass(trs[ i ]) && ! trs[ i ].style.backgroundColor) {
    trs[ i ].className = even ? “even” : “”;

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  11. AFter reading this tbrough I believe it is easier to code the alternate bar class as odd then use CSS to set the colors.  When changing a table with DW I just use the table command to modify the colors.  If I was using a database to populate the table then I would have to use a script (of some kind) but not being a java coder (I use VBscript and .asp pages) I find this a pain, as I don’t want to learn another language (having used BASIC and its variants for 40 years.) I use programming tools as adjuncts to teaching medicine.

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  12. the tables look cool but when you print them they look like crap. i have designed a solution where but its not well designed as what i do is insert a layer (that has an image that is a color and the size of the layer) underneath every other row or marked row to give it a background color. so when you print the zebra tables it looks as cool on the screen, but i am thinking there is got to be a more classful way to do what i’ve done. anyone interested in seeing this?
    any suggestions?

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  13. Hi.

    I see the itunes screenshot that u put here and i can’t remedy my dhtml obsession of clone all i see :P…

    here u have a adaptation of u’r idea to just do that itunes do (i don’t know if the mouseover that i put exists on itunes but it’s there).


    ah! u only need to write the name of song and the artist, the script itself do the count and attach the checkbox.

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  14. Here’s what I came up with:

    // apply alternating classes to lists or tables

    function colorize(itemLoc){
      var fullText = document.getElementById(itemLoc);
      var allLists = fullText.getElementsByTagName(“ul”);
      var allTables = fullText.getElementsByTagName(“table”);

      for (i=0; i<allLists.length; i++){
    if (allLists[ i ].className==“stripedList”){
    var colorElements = allLists[ i ].getElementsByTagName(“li”);
    for (var j=0; j<colorElements.length; j+=2){
    colorElements[j].className += “ dark”;
      for (k=0; k<allTables.length; k++){
    if (allTables[k].className==“stripedTable”){
    var colorElements = allTables[k].getElementsByTagName(“tr”);
    for (var l=0; l<colorElements.length; l+=2){
    colorElements[l].className += “ dark”;
      else if (allTables[k].className==“checkeredTable”){
        var colorElements = allTables[k].getElementsByTagName(“td”);
        for (var m=0; m<colorElements.length; m+=2){
          colorElements[m].className += ” dark”;
          m += 3;
          if (m < colorElements.length){
          colorElements[m].className += ” dark”;
          m -= 1;

    Call it from the body tag using:
    <body >

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  15. ‘content’ is the id of the element (in most cases, probably a div) inside of which you want to look for items to be zebra-striped. So, for example, on the site I used this for, div#content contains various lists with the class of “stripeList,” various tables with the class of “stripeTable,” and other tables with the class of “checkeredTable” (the last of which is a table with two columns, many rows, to which a style is applied (going left-to-right, row by row) to its first cell, then it’s fourth cell and fifth cell, then its eighth and nineth, and so on and so forth).

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  16. This is evil:

    <body onLoad=“function()”>

    Because it does not seperate behaviour and structure. Instead in the JS file put

    window.onload = function;

    Seperating Behaviour and Strucure is very important.

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  17. Hey Tim,

    I disagree. I went back and reviewed your lists as tables. The examples you show aren’t semantically correct, and don’t have the correct relationships that a table would.

    First look at it with style sheets turned off. The first ‘list item’ are the column headers. Then the subsequent list items are rows of ‘items’ and thier data, yet thier shown hiearchically the same as the headers. The first ‘list item’ of headers is a completely different type of data than the remaining ‘list items’ and this is reflected nowhere in the code. 

    Only a table can show the correct relationship by designating header data in a THEAD, and the body data in a TBODY. Tables also have the capability of linking individual cells with thier appropriate header, something the list example cannot do. The columns can be given a ‘title’ attirbute to add further information about the column, and because of the relationships, that title data is linked to each cell underneath it further describing the content.

    Third and final point is cells don’t always have only one header. Cells can often have larger parent headers spanning two columns, and subheads spanning one column each underneath that.

    View this link on the WC3 for an example. It’s a paragraph or two down the page.


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