When faced with a simple multiplication problem, the student locates the two known factors, one on the top row of the table and one on the left column, and locates where the row and column intersect. The number found at the intersection is the solution.
When using a times table, there is no difference between multiplying a row by a column and multiplying a column by a row because of the commutative property. This means that the intersection of column 2 and row 9 has the same solution as the intersection of column 9 and row 2, both of which result in 18.
While times tables are made with an easy-to-read layout, their purpose is usually to streamline memorization of basic multiplication problems by students. A common recommendation is to first memorize the table between column and row 5, therefore starting with the smallest factors.
Times tables are also used to point out various patterns that help students to memorize problems that involve certain factors. For example, the table makes it obvious that any variable multiplied by a factor of 2 is the same as adding the variable to itself. Also, the times table shows that every whole number multiplied by a factor of 5 ends in either 0 or 5, while every whole number multiplied by a factor of 10 always ends in 0.