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APA 6: Figures

Tips and information on using APA formatting and styling on your research

Rules of Figures

Figures include: graphs, charts, histograms, drawings, sketches of an apparatus, maps, pictures (including photographs), or any other visual depiction.

Standards for a good figure include:

  • augments rather than duplicates the text
  • conveys only essential facts
  • omits visually distracting detail
  • is easy to tread- it's elements are large enough to read with ease
  • is easy to understand, purpose is readily apparent
  • consistent with and in same style as similar figures (APA, 2010, pp. 152-153).

Using Figures

Figure Example:

Labeling Figures:

  • Use 12-point Times New Roman
  • Label for figure goes below figure
  • "Figure #." is in italics and on the same line as the title.  Make sure to use a period.
  • Title of figure in sentence case (First word and nouns/proper names are capitalized)
  • Left justified (flush with margin, not centered)

Legends and Captions:

A legend is placed within the figure and explains the symbols used.  Capitalize major words in the legend.

A caption provides both an explanation of the figure and serves as the figure title.  Keep the caption brief but descriptive.  Provide source and copyright information for reproduced (copied) figures.

Citing a Reproduced Figure from a Journal:

            Title above figure

Figure X. Title or description of figure.

            Caption below figure/table

Figure X. Figure title. Adapted (reprinted, reproduced, whatever is appropriate) from “Title of article,” by A. A. Author and B. B. Author, Year, Journal Title, Volume, p. XX. Copyright (note: write out “copyright”) Year by Publisher.



Photographs should be of professional quality and present as black-and-white images unless they include color-specific information.

If you photograph a person, obtain a signed release from that person to use the photograph.  If you include a photograph of an individual under the age of 18, obtain a signed release from that individual's guardian.