Figures and tables
APA does not provide precise rules for citing figures and tables. These guidelines are designed for use with data from sources such A.C. Nielsen, Passport GMID and Statistics New Zealand as well as from books and journal articles.
There are separate rules for figures and tables.
- Figures refer to graphs, flow charts, maps, drawings, photos, etc.
- Tables refer to numerical values or text displayed in orderly columns and rows
- All Figures and Tables should be numbered (e.g. Table 1, Table 2 etc.) and referred to in your document as Table 1 or Figure 1.
- Each table should have an individual title. Each word in the title should be italicized and capitalized except with, of, in, and, etc.
- All tables should be referenced in the text of the paper and in the reference list.
- UC Library database licence agreements allow students to use images in assignments. Statistics NZ also allows this. State copyright and also write: Reprinted with permission (see below).
Tables reproduced in your text
Table 1. Sales of Vitamins/Mineral & Herbal Supplements
Note. Retrieved from ACNielsen Market Information Digest New Zealand. Copyright 2011 by the Nielsen Company. Reprinted with permission.
As shown in Table 1, vitamins, minerals & herbal supplements sales ...
The Nielsen Company. (2011). Sales of vitamins/minerals & herbal supplements in New Zealand, 11 September 2010 - 11 September 2011 [Table]. Retrieved from ACNielsen Market Information Digest New Zealand.
Figures reproduced in your text
Figure 1. Youth unemployment rate vs. total unemployment rate: 2006-2011. Youth unemployment rate refers to the unemployed population aged 15-24 years old. Copyright 2013 by Euromonitor International. Reprinted with permission.
As Figure 1 shows, youth unemployment rate has risen from 9.9% to 17.7%...
Euromonitor International. (2013). Youth unemployment rate vs. total unemployment rate: 2006-2011 [Graph]. Retrieved from http://www.portal.euromonitor.com
Figure or table referred to (not reproduced)
... sales of apparel (Euromonitor International, 2012).
Euromonitor International. (2012). Sales of apparel by category, % volume growth 2006-2011 [Table]. In Apparel in China industry overview. Retrieved from http://www.portal.euromonitor.com
Creating your own figure or table
If you compile your own table or figure from data retrieved from another source (e.g. Statistics New Zealand), write ‘Adapted from’
Table 2. Median Weekly Household Income in the Auckland Region
Note: Adapted from http://nzdotstat.stats.govt.nz/wbos/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=TABLECODE2287. Copyright 2013 by Statistics New Zealand. Reprinted with permission.
... the median weekly household income in Auckland (see Table 2).
Statistics New Zealand. (2013). Median Weekly Household Income in the Auckland Region, 2008-2012 [Table]. Retrieved from http://nzdotstat.stats.govt.nz/wbos/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=TABLECODE2287
- If you create a table or figure from more than one source, list all the sources in your note and include them all in your reference list. If you have created an original table or figure from your own data, then state yourself as the copyright owner.
Figure or table from a book or journal article
For material reproduced from a journal article
Note. From “Best management practices by age” by D. Adams and B. Matthies, 2010, Journal of Management, 14(3), p. 62.
For material reproduced from a book
Note. From Management 101, p. 11, by M. Adams, 2009, Paris: Cafe College Press
See also AUT APA 6th Images.
By David Becker
Dear Style Experts,
I am creating a table that presents information from multiple sources, and I can't figure out how to cite these sources within the table. What should I do?
How you cite your sources depends on the context. If you are reproducing or adapting an existing table, you will need to seek permission and cite the source in a credit line beneath the table. Note that this credit line can identify particular sets of data in your table (e.g., “The data in column 1 are from…”). Thus, if you are adapting material from multiple sources—that is, extracting rows or columns from previously published tables and integrating them into a single table—you might need to include multiple permission statements, one for each source.
If you are simply pulling data from multiple sources, rather than repurposing columns or rows from preexisting tables (the data are not subject to copyright, but their presentation is), then it may be appropriate to just include standard author–date text citations within the table. This type of table is often used to summarize the results of multiple studies, which makes it easier for readers to digest the information, and is commonly used in meta-analyses. Below is a sample table in which each row represents a different study:
Summary of Studies Included in Meta-Analysis on the Effectiveness of Rocking Out Like No One’s Watching (ROLNOW)
Dumile & Jackson (2015)
Garcia, Homme, Oliveri, & Bjork (2014)
Iyer, Lehman, & Sorey (2014)
Onuki, Agata, & Hamamoto (2014)
Although studies are usually cited in the first column of a summary table, I’ve come across tables that list the citations in one of the middle columns or across the first row. Some tables might include multiple citations in a single column or row if these studies share similar features. How you choose to organize the contents of your table will depend on context and how you want readers to process the information.
It’s worth noting that the order of the rows in Table 1 reflects the alphabetical order of the citations as they would appear in the reference list. Even though APA Style does not address this directly, organizing the rows or columns of a table in this manner is a standard convention for summary tables. It also follows the general APA Style guideline about alphabetizing multiple sources within the same parenthetical citation to match how they are ordered in the reference list (see pp. 177—178 in the Publication Manual). If it makes more sense to organize the rows and columns in your table using a different standard—again, depending on the context—feel free to do so. Just make sure that readers can easily follow the flow of information!
In some cases, you may not want to devote an entire row or column to citing resources. Or, perhaps your citations apply to just a few cells or particular pieces of data. If so, it may be appropriate to cite your sources, using the author–date format, in one of two ways. First, you could include parenthetical citations within the table itself next to the relevant information, just as you would do with a standard text citation. Another approach would be to cite your sources below the table in a general note—as demonstrated in the Table 1 note from Sample Paper 1 on page 52 of the Publication Manual—or in multiple specific notes that connect your citations to particular cells via superscript, lowercase letters (see pp. 138–139 in the Publication Manual for more details). This latter method can be handy if one source applies to more than one cell and is used in the example table below, but parenthetical citations within the cells would be equally acceptable.
Sample Responses to the ROLNOW Survey
How cool did you feel?
“Cool as a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce.”a
“Not at all cool. I actually felt kind of dorky.”b
How motivated and energized did you feel?
“I felt ready to take on the world!”c
“Not very. I almost fell asleep!”b
How happy were you?
“I was completely elated and filled with positive thoughts!”d
“I was pretty happy, but I don’t think rocking out had anything to do with it.”a
How physically attractive did you feel?
“I felt pretty, oh so pretty!”e
“I was a gyrating mess of flailing limbs, so I probably didn’t look all that attractive.”c
aDumile and Jackson (2015, p. 31). bIyer, Lehman, and Sorey (2014, p. 79). cOnuki, Agata, and Hamamoto (2014, p. 101). dGarcia, Homme, Oliveri, and Bjork (2014, p. 47). eAtashin (2013, p. 56).
You may have noticed a few differences between the citations in Tables 1 and 2. One is that the Table 2 notes—unlike the rows in Table 1—are not alphabetized. Specific notes are organized according to where the superscripts appear in the table, following the left-to-right and top-to-bottom order described on page 138 in the Publication Manual. Another difference is that Table 1 includes ampersands, whereas Table 2 spells out and. Although and is usually written instead of & when the authors are listed before the parenthetical citation, page 175 in the Publication Manual states that ampersands should be used within the body of the table (and should still be used outside of parentheses in table notes, as shown in the Table 1 note from Sample Paper 1). This helps save space because two fewer characters can sometimes make all the difference in such tight quarters. Finally, direct quotations are presented in Table 2, so the citations in the table note include page numbers. However, you do not need to include page numbers when citing numerical data, as in Table 1.
The example tables in this post offer a very limited scope when considering the many different types of tables that can be found in the wilds of academic publishing—and they are admittedly a tad sillier than is typical. However, the general citation guidelines they present can be easily adapted to just about any kind of table you might need to create. To find example tables that are more relevant to your needs, I recommend combing through journals that follow APA Style.