I have the same question as this question except that I don't see how to do so other than in elisp. I am using Ruby, but I suppose the question applies to other languages as well. If I return an array of arrays as the value result of some code, I want to have it formatted as a table headed with the column names.

Here is the solution to what I want in elisp:

#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp :results value table
  '(("First" "Second")
    (a b) (c d))

| First | Second |
| a     | b      |
| c     | d      |

But I've tried variants of this in Ruby with no luck. For example:

#+BEGIN_SRC ruby :results value table
    [ [ 'First', 'Second'],
      [ :a, :b ],
      [ :c, :d ]

| (First Second) | :hline | (:a :b) | (:c :d) |

Which is not what I want. So, what is the incantation to use here?

  • 1
    You could try the colnames header argument, for example :colnames '("First" "Second").
    – mutbuerger
    Jan 6, 2017 at 15:59
  • 1
    Thanks, but I'm looking for a way to do it from within the code. Jan 6, 2017 at 21:08

1 Answer 1


For others who may want to know the answer, I finally figured it out. In the case of ruby, you should insert a nil where you want the hline to appear. Org represents a table as an array of arrays.

Here is what I used to discover the right incantation for ruby:

#+NAME: test
|  Ref | Value |
| 0001 | blue  |
| 0002 | red   |

#+HEADER: :colnames no
#+HEADER: :hlines yes
#+HEADER: :results value raw
#+BEGIN_SRC ruby :var tab=test

[["Ref", "Value"], nil, [1, "blue"], [2, "red"]]

So to generate a table with column headers and an hline, just produce an array of arrays with the first sub-array an array of headings and the second element a nil instead of a sub-array.

Just use a SRC block for your favorite language to discover how it represents headings.

  • The same idea works for Python: supplying a None as a row will produce a hline.
    – mike3996
    Mar 14, 2021 at 12:13

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