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Columns

Although DataTables can obtain information about the table directly from the DOM, you may wish to give DataTables specific instructions for each individual column. This can be done using either the aoColumnDefs parameter, or aoColumns and the object information given for each column.

The aoColumnDefs parameter and aoColumns achieve the same aim, but differ in how they work:

Both aoColumnDefs parameter and aoColumns can be used together, although aoColumnDefs is preferred due to it's flexibility. If both are used, aoColumns definitions will take the highest priority. Likewise, if the same column is targeted multiple times in aoColumnDefs, the first elements in the array will take the highest priority, and the last the lowest.

aDataSort
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Allows a column's sorting to take multiple columns into account when doing a sort. For example first name / last name columns make sense to do a multi-column sort over the two columns.

Default: null Takes the value of the column index automatically
Type: array
Code example:
   // Using aoColumnDefs
   $(document).ready( function() {
     $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumnDefs": [
         { "aDataSort": [ 0, 1 ], "aTargets": [ 0 ] },
         { "aDataSort": [ 1, 0 ], "aTargets": [ 1 ] },
         { "aDataSort": [ 2, 3, 4 ], "aTargets": [ 2 ] }
       ]
     } );
   } );
   
 
   // Using aoColumns
   $(document).ready( function() {
     $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumns": [
         { "aDataSort": [ 0, 1 ] },
         { "aDataSort": [ 1, 0 ] },
         { "aDataSort": [ 2, 3, 4 ] },
         null,
         null
       ]
     } );
   } );
asSorting
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You can control the default sorting direction, and even alter the behaviour of the sort handler (i.e. only allow ascending sorting etc) using this parameter.

Default: [ 'asc', 'desc' ]
Type: array
Code example:
   // Using aoColumnDefs
   $(document).ready( function() {
     $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumnDefs": [
         { "asSorting": [ "asc" ], "aTargets": [ 1 ] },
         { "asSorting": [ "desc", "asc", "asc" ], "aTargets": [ 2 ] },
         { "asSorting": [ "desc" ], "aTargets": [ 3 ] }
       ]
     } );
   } );
   
 
   // Using aoColumns
   $(document).ready( function() {
     $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumns": [
         null,
         { "asSorting": [ "asc" ] },
         { "asSorting": [ "desc", "asc", "asc" ] },
         { "asSorting": [ "desc" ] },
         null
       ]
     } );
   } );
bSearchable
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Enable or disable filtering on the data in this column.

Default: true
Type: boolean
Code example:
   // Using aoColumnDefs
   $(document).ready( function() {
     $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumnDefs": [ 
         { "bSearchable": false, "aTargets": [ 0 ] }
       ] } );
   } );
   
 
   // Using aoColumns
   $(document).ready( function() {
     $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumns": [ 
         { "bSearchable": false },
         null,
         null,
         null,
         null
       ] } );
   } );
bSortable
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Enable or disable sorting on this column.

Default: true
Type: boolean
Code example:
   // Using aoColumnDefs
   $(document).ready( function() {
     $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumnDefs": [ 
         { "bSortable": false, "aTargets": [ 0 ] }
       ] } );
   } );
   
 
   // Using aoColumns
   $(document).ready( function() {
     $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumns": [ 
         { "bSortable": false },
         null,
         null,
         null,
         null
       ] } );
   } );
bUseRendered
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Deprecated When using fnRender() for a column, you may wish to use the original data (before rendering) for sorting and filtering (the default is to used the rendered data that the user can see). This may be useful for dates etc.

Please note that this option has now been deprecated and will be removed in the next version of DataTables. Please use mRender / mData rather than fnRender.

Default: true
Type: boolean
Code example:

			
bVisible
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Enable or disable the display of this column.

Default: true
Type: boolean
Code example:
   // Using aoColumnDefs
   $(document).ready( function() {
     $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumnDefs": [ 
         { "bVisible": false, "aTargets": [ 0 ] }
       ] } );
   } );
   
 
   // Using aoColumns
   $(document).ready( function() {
     $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumns": [ 
         { "bVisible": false },
         null,
         null,
         null,
         null
       ] } );
   } );
fnCreatedCell
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Developer definable function that is called whenever a cell is created (Ajax source, etc) or processed for input (DOM source). This can be used as a compliment to mRender allowing you to modify the DOM element (add background colour for example) when the element is available.

Default:
Type: function
Code example:
   $(document).ready( function() {
     $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumnDefs": [ {
         "aTargets": [3],
         "fnCreatedCell": function (nTd, sData, oData, iRow, iCol) {
           if ( sData == "1.7" ) {
             $(nTd).css('color', 'blue')
           }
         }
       } ]
     });
   } );
fnRender
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Deprecated Custom display function that will be called for the display of each cell in this column.

Please note that this option has now been deprecated and will be removed in the next version of DataTables. Please use mRender / mData rather than fnRender.

Default:
Type: function
Code example:

			
iDataSort
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The column index (starting from 0!) that you wish a sort to be performed upon when this column is selected for sorting. This can be used for sorting on hidden columns for example.

Default: -1 Use automatically calculated column index
Type: int
Code example:
   // Using aoColumnDefs
   $(document).ready( function() {
     $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumnDefs": [ 
         { "iDataSort": 1, "aTargets": [ 0 ] }
       ]
     } );
   } );
   
 
   // Using aoColumns
   $(document).ready( function() {
     $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumns": [ 
         { "iDataSort": 1 },
         null,
         null,
         null,
         null
       ]
     } );
   } );
mData
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This property can be used to read data from any JSON data source property, including deeply nested objects / properties. mData can be given in a number of different ways which effect its behaviour:

  • integer - treated as an array index for the data source. This is the default that DataTables uses (incrementally increased for each column).
  • string - read an object property from the data source. Note that you can use Javascript dotted notation to read deep properties / arrays from the data source.
  • null - the sDefaultContent option will be used for the cell (null by default, so you will need to specify the default content you want - typically an empty string). This can be useful on generated columns such as edit / delete action columns.
  • function - the function given will be executed whenever DataTables needs to set or get the data for a cell in the column. The function takes three parameters:
    • {array|object} The data source for the row
    • {string} The type call data requested - this will be 'set' when setting data or 'filter', 'display', 'type', 'sort' or undefined when gathering data. Note that when undefined is given for the type DataTables expects to get the raw data for the object back
    • {*} Data to set when the second parameter is 'set'.
    The return value from the function is not required when 'set' is the type of call, but otherwise the return is what will be used for the data requested.

Note that prior to DataTables 1.9.2 mData was called mDataProp. The name change reflects the flexibility of this property and is consistent with the naming of mRender. If 'mDataProp' is given, then it will still be used by DataTables, as it automatically maps the old name to the new if required.

Default: null Use automatically calculated column index
Type: string
Code example:
   // Read table data from objects
   $(document).ready( function() {
     var oTable = $('#example').dataTable( {
       "sAjaxSource": "sources/deep.txt",
       "aoColumns": [
         { "mData": "engine" },
         { "mData": "browser" },
         { "mData": "platform.inner" },
         { "mData": "platform.details.0" },
         { "mData": "platform.details.1" }
       ]
     } );
   } );

 
   // Using mData as a function to provide different information for
   // sorting, filtering and display. In this case, currency (price)
   $(document).ready( function() {
     var oTable = $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumnDefs": [ {
         "aTargets": [ 0 ],
         "mData": function ( source, type, val ) {
           if (type === 'set') {
             source.price = val;
             // Store the computed dislay and filter values for efficiency
             source.price_display = val=="" ? "" : "$"+numberFormat(val);
             source.price_filter  = val=="" ? "" : "$"+numberFormat(val)+" "+val;
             return;
           }
           else if (type === 'display') {
             return source.price_display;
           }
           else if (type === 'filter') {
             return source.price_filter;
           }
           // 'sort', 'type' and undefined all just use the integer
           return source.price;
         }
       } ]
     } );
   } );
mRender
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This property is the rendering partner to mData and it is suggested that when you want to manipulate data for display (including filtering, sorting etc) but not altering the underlying data for the table, use this property. mData can actually do everything this property can and more, but this parameter is easier to use since there is no 'set' option. Like mData this can be given in a number of different ways to effect its behaviour, with the addition of supporting array syntax for easy outputting of arrays (including arrays of objects):

  • integer - treated as an array index for the data source. This is the default that DataTables uses (incrementally increased for each column).
  • string - read an object property from the data source. Note that you can use Javascript dotted notation to read deep properties / arrays from the data source and also array brackets to indicate that the data reader should loop over the data source array. When characters are given between the array brackets, these characters are used to join the data source array together. For example: "accounts[, ].name" would result in a comma separated list with the 'name' value from the 'accounts' array of objects.
  • function - the function given will be executed whenever DataTables needs to set or get the data for a cell in the column. The function takes three parameters:
    • {array|object} The data source for the row (based on mData)
    • {string} The type call data requested - this will be 'filter', 'display', 'type' or 'sort'.
    • {array|object} The full data source for the row (not based on mData)
    The return value from the function is what will be used for the data requested.

Default: null Use mData
Type: string
Code example:
   // Create a comma separated list from an array of objects
   $(document).ready( function() {
     var oTable = $('#example').dataTable( {
       "sAjaxSource": "sources/deep.txt",
       "aoColumns": [
         { "mData": "engine" },
         { "mData": "browser" },
         {
           "mData": "platform",
           "mRender": "[, ].name"
         }
       ]
     } );
   } );

 
   // Use as a function to create a link from the data source
   $(document).ready( function() {
     var oTable = $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumnDefs": [ {
         "aTargets": [ 0 ],
         "mData": "download_link",
         "mRender": function ( data, type, full ) {
           return 'Download';
         }
       } ]
     } );
   } );
sCellType
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Change the cell type created for the column - either TD cells or TH cells. This can be useful as TH cells have semantic meaning in the table body, allowing them to act as a header for a row (you may wish to add scope='row' to the TH elements).

Default: td
Type: string
Code example:
   // Make the first column use TH cells
   $(document).ready( function() {
     var oTable = $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumnDefs": [ {
         "aTargets": [ 0 ],
         "sCellType": "th"
       } ]
     } );
   } );
sClass
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Class to give to each cell in this column.

Default: Empty string
Type: string
Code example:
   // Using aoColumnDefs
   $(document).ready( function() {
     $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumnDefs": [ 
         { "sClass": "my_class", "aTargets": [ 0 ] }
       ]
     } );
   } );
   
 
   // Using aoColumns
   $(document).ready( function() {
     $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumns": [ 
         { "sClass": "my_class" },
         null,
         null,
         null,
         null
       ]
     } );
   } );
sContentPadding
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When DataTables calculates the column widths to assign to each column, it finds the longest string in each column and then constructs a temporary table and reads the widths from that. The problem with this is that "mmm" is much wider then "iiii", but the latter is a longer string - thus the calculation can go wrong (doing it properly and putting it into an DOM object and measuring that is horribly(!) slow). Thus as a "work around" we provide this option. It will append its value to the text that is found to be the longest string for the column - i.e. padding. Generally you shouldn't need this, and it is not documented on the general DataTables.net documentation

Default: Empty string
Type: string
Code example:
   // Using aoColumns
   $(document).ready( function() {
     $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumns": [ 
         null,
         null,
         null,
         {
           "sContentPadding": "mmm"
         }
       ]
     } );
   } );
sDefaultContent
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Allows a default value to be given for a column's data, and will be used whenever a null data source is encountered (this can be because mData is set to null, or because the data source itself is null).

Default: null
Type: string
Code example:
   // Using aoColumnDefs
   $(document).ready( function() {
     $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumnDefs": [ 
         {
           "mData": null,
           "sDefaultContent": "Edit",
           "aTargets": [ -1 ]
         }
       ]
     } );
   } );
   
 
   // Using aoColumns
   $(document).ready( function() {
     $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumns": [ 
         null,
         null,
         null,
         {
           "mData": null,
           "sDefaultContent": "Edit"
         }
       ]
     } );
   } );
sName
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This parameter is only used in DataTables' server-side processing. It can be exceptionally useful to know what columns are being displayed on the client side, and to map these to database fields. When defined, the names also allow DataTables to reorder information from the server if it comes back in an unexpected order (i.e. if you switch your columns around on the client-side, your server-side code does not also need updating).

Default: Empty string
Type: string
Code example:
   // Using aoColumnDefs
   $(document).ready( function() {
     $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumnDefs": [ 
         { "sName": "engine", "aTargets": [ 0 ] },
         { "sName": "browser", "aTargets": [ 1 ] },
         { "sName": "platform", "aTargets": [ 2 ] },
         { "sName": "version", "aTargets": [ 3 ] },
         { "sName": "grade", "aTargets": [ 4 ] }
       ]
     } );
   } );
   
 
   // Using aoColumns
   $(document).ready( function() {
     $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumns": [ 
         { "sName": "engine" },
         { "sName": "browser" },
         { "sName": "platform" },
         { "sName": "version" },
         { "sName": "grade" }
       ]
     } );
   } );
sSortDataType
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Defines a data source type for the sorting which can be used to read real-time information from the table (updating the internally cached version) prior to sorting. This allows sorting to occur on user editable elements such as form inputs.

Default: std
Type: string
Code example:
   // Using aoColumnDefs
   $(document).ready( function() {
     $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumnDefs": [
         { "sSortDataType": "dom-text", "aTargets": [ 2, 3 ] },
         { "sType": "numeric", "aTargets": [ 3 ] },
         { "sSortDataType": "dom-select", "aTargets": [ 4 ] },
         { "sSortDataType": "dom-checkbox", "aTargets": [ 5 ] }
       ]
     } );
   } );
   
 
   // Using aoColumns
   $(document).ready( function() {
     $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumns": [
         null,
         null,
         { "sSortDataType": "dom-text" },
         { "sSortDataType": "dom-text", "sType": "numeric" },
         { "sSortDataType": "dom-select" },
         { "sSortDataType": "dom-checkbox" }
       ]
     } );
   } );
sTitle
Show details

The title of this column.

Default: null Derived from the 'TH' value for this column in the original HTML table.
Type: string
Code example:
   // Using aoColumnDefs
   $(document).ready( function() {
     $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumnDefs": [ 
         { "sTitle": "My column title", "aTargets": [ 0 ] }
       ]
     } );
   } );
   
 
   // Using aoColumns
   $(document).ready( function() {
     $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumns": [ 
         { "sTitle": "My column title" },
         null,
         null,
         null,
         null
       ]
     } );
   } );
sType
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The type allows you to specify how the data for this column will be sorted. Four types (string, numeric, date and html (which will strip HTML tags before sorting)) are currently available. Note that only date formats understood by Javascript's Date() object will be accepted as type date. For example: "Mar 26, 2008 5:03 PM". May take the values: 'string', 'numeric', 'date' or 'html' (by default). Further types can be adding through plug-ins.

Default: null Auto-detected from raw data
Type: string
Code example:
   // Using aoColumnDefs
   $(document).ready( function() {
     $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumnDefs": [ 
         { "sType": "html", "aTargets": [ 0 ] }
       ]
     } );
   } );
   
 
   // Using aoColumns
   $(document).ready( function() {
     $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumns": [ 
         { "sType": "html" },
         null,
         null,
         null,
         null
       ]
     } );
   } );
sWidth
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Defining the width of the column, this parameter may take any CSS value (3em, 20px etc). DataTables applies 'smart' widths to columns which have not been given a specific width through this interface ensuring that the table remains readable.

Default: null Automatic
Type: string
Code example:
   // Using aoColumnDefs
   $(document).ready( function() {
     $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumnDefs": [ 
         { "sWidth": "20%", "aTargets": [ 0 ] }
       ]
     } );
   } );
   
 
   // Using aoColumns
   $(document).ready( function() {
     $('#example').dataTable( {
       "aoColumns": [ 
         { "sWidth": "20%" },
         null,
         null,
         null,
         null
       ]
     } );
   } );