Traditionally, quality-of-life researchers describe states of health for patients to rate either in narrative form or in table form, but evidence about which format patients prefer is limited. The authors performed 2 randomized studies to test whether patients prefer the table or narrative format and whether the format of presentation influences how patients rate health states. Approximately three-fourths of patients with gastrointestinal disease or chronic airflow limitation preferred the table format. There were no differences in patients’ ratings of 3 described health states or of their own health. Investigators should consider using the table presentation for describing health states to subjects who are not familiar with these states of health.