the best data slicer!


This 3 minute screencast will show you what it's all about! (prefer reading? scroll down)


  # Install as a standalone gem
  $ gem install table_print

  # Install within rails
  In your Gemfile: gem "table_print"
  $ bundle install


The heart of table_print is - you guessed it - a table! It's an efficient way to view a list of structured data, making it easy to scan and compare across large swaths of records (and for many people, it's a comfortable return to the SQL command line output of yesteryear :)

TablePrint tries to use sensible defaults to choose the columns to show. If you're inspecting ActiveRecord objects, it uses the ActiveRecord column names. If you're not using ActiveRecord, the table_print default is to show all the methods that are defined directly on your object (nothing from superclasses/mixins).

  > tp Book.all
  AUTHOR            | SUMMARY                         | TITLE
  Michael Connelly  | Another book by Michael Con...  | The Fifth Witness
  Manning Mardale   | From acclaimed historian Ma...  | Malcolm X
  Tina Fey          | Worth it. -Trees                | Bossypants

You can customize the output to show fewer columns, or show other methods you've written on your model. Use symbols or strings to reference the columns.

  > tp Book.all, :author, "title"
  AUTHOR            | TITLE
  Michael Connelly  | The Fifth Witness
  Manning Mardale   | Malcolm X
  Tina Fey          | Bossypants


The most powerful feature of table_print is the ability to see your data in the context of other objects it relates to. You can reference nested objects with the method chain required to reach them. This example is showing data from three different tables:

  > tp Author.limit(3), "name", "books.title", ""
  Michael Connelly  | The Fifth Witness | Susan was running, fast, away...
                    |                   | Along came a spider.
                    | Malcolm X         |
                    | Bossypants        | Yes! Yes! A thousand times ye...
                    |                   | Don't see many like you aroun...
  Carrot Top        |                   |
  Milton Greene     | How I Learned     | Once upon a time, I was a sma...
                    |                   | Lemons are yellow, limes are ...
                    |                   | Never as a woman her age. I l...
                    | Desperados        | Avast.
                    |                   | Giraffes lived a peaceful exi...


Tired of typing the same thing over and over? I gotchu. You can create your own set of defaults on a per-class basis.

  tp.set Book, :id, :title # now when you print books, only id and title will be shown

  > tp Book.all
  1  | The Fifth Witness
  2  | Malcolm X
  3  | Bossypants

  # you can override your own defaults just like the built-in defaults
  > tp Book.all, :author
  Michael Connelly
  Manning Mardale
  Tina Fey

  # you can also use include/except to modify the default
  > tp Book.all, :include => [:author]
  ID | AUTHOR           | TITLE
  1  | Michael Connelly | The Fifth Witness
  2  | Manning Mardale  | Malcolm X
  3  | Tina Fey         | Bossypants

  # back to square one - print all the columns we can find
  > tp.clear Book


I'm happy to help you work through whatever problems you have, take suggestions for features, or just shoot the breeze.

I'm @archslide on twitter and @arches on github. Get in touch!

Further Reading

This is just an overview of table_print capabilities. Visit the github README for more in-depth explanation of features and options.


Perhaps you're wondering how table_print is different from some of your favorite IRB tools. Let's take 'em one by one.

First, awesome_print. It is awesome, but it's geared toward inspecting individual objects or small groups of objects. table_print makes it easy to scan a column across groups of objects and notice patterns. I like to think of them as complementary.

Second, hirb. It's a "view framework" that lets you navigate through your objects. It's geared toward browsing through a lot of data without much typing, and it supports a ton of different formats. But that comes with some heavy overhead around customization, and I have a difficult time creating the views I want to see - especially since what I want to see is constantly changing. table_print makes it easy to specify exactly what you want to see.