This guide will help you to create in-text and reference page citations in American Psychological Association (APA) style for figures that accompany your text. The information on this guide is abridged. See listed sections of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association to find more information on the topics discussed. References to these locations are bold and in parentheses, e.g., (5.20). The APA refers to images as figures. Some types of figures include: Graphs (information presented on x- and y-axes, and often illustrates quantitative data), charts (usually display non-quantitative data, e.g., flow charts), maps (spatial information), drawings (pictorial information such as illustrations and cartoons), and photographs (direct visual representation of information). (5.20-5.30)
You may choose to number your tables and figures. Use Arabic numerals in the order in which they are first mentioned in the text. Do not use suffix letters (e.g., fig.) to number them; that is, label them as Table 5 or Figure 5. (5.05)
Figures may contain legends and captions. The legend is a guide on how to read the figure and it explains the symbols that you use to illustrate your data. The text in your legend should match (font, sizing) the other lettering in the figure. Major words are capitalized in the legend.
Captions are explanations of the figure and should be concise but descriptive. They are placed directly below the figure and serve as the title of the figure. Within the caption, include any acknowledgement that a figure is reproduced or adapted from another source. Captions are double-spaced and justified to the left. (The examples on this guide are single-spaced to save space.) (5.23)
If the figure you are reproducing or adapting contains a title or caption, crop the image to remove the text and write your own description. It is best practice to not copy-and paste captions from figures; rather, explain the figure in your own words to demonstrate how it illustrates the textual content that it accompanies.
Figure 1. This is a caption and it describes the figure. Reprinted from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (p. 156), by the American Psychological Association, 2009, Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Copyright 2005 by the American Psychological Association.
Note: In creating captions for images, treat the reference similar to that of secondary sources, where the author names are not inverted (e.g., “R. H. Petrucci,” instead of “Petrucci, R. H.”), and components are separated with commas instead of periods.
Altered images: If you adapt or alter an image (anything beyond cropping), indicate in the caption that it has been altered. You can do this by changing the wording in the caption to state “Adapted” instead of “Reprinted” in the caption. (5.29)
For in-text citation pointing to figures, provide the creator and date in parentheses. The creator may be an individual person, multiple people, or an institution, agency, or organization, etc. To cite a specific part of a source (such as a page, chapter, figure, table, or equation), indicate this in your in-text citation. The word page is abbreviated and in lowercase (e.g., Smith, 2014, p. 4), while words like figure, table, and chapter are spelled out and are capitalized (e.g., Smith, 2014, Figure 4). (6.19)
(Smith, Hill, Lee, & Fine, 2013, Figure 2), subsequently cited as (Smith, et al., 2013, Figure 3)
(Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2005, Figure 3)
Images with unknown creators: If you are unable to find the creator, then use the title (or the first few words of the title), followed by the date. For example, an image titled “Newborn baby with jaundice – unisex” could be shortened to “Newborn baby with jaundice.” (6.15)
(Newborn baby with jaundice, 2015).
Multiple images from the same creator and year: If you use multiple images from the same creator with the same date, add lowercase letters to the end of the date. For example: The following drawings show a newborn with jaundice (Nucleus Medical Media, 2015a) and a newborn with Spina Bifida (Nucleus Medical Media, 2015b). On your reference page, format the dates to also include their corresponding letter. Order them so that they reflect the succession in which they first appeared in your document. (6.25)
With the example given in this paragraph, they would appear:
Nucleus Medical Media. (2015a). Newborn baby …
Nucleus Medical Media. (2015b). Spina Bifida …
Images with limited information: If you are unable to find a creator, title, and date, create a descriptive phrase (including type of work and subject) that serves as title and place it in brackets, and then use the abbreviation “n.d.” for “no date.”
([Photograph of a newborn with jaundice], n.d.)
Webpage—Image Citation APA
In-text citation: List the agency or author and the year.
… as it is revealed in MRI imaging (National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015).
Caption: If you can’t find the copyright date, don’t assume that it is not copyrighted, especially if there is very small text present in the image.
Figure X. Descriptive phrase that serves as title and description. Reprinted [or adapted] from Title of Website, by Organization Name [or A. Author], YYYY, Retrieved from http://URL. Copyright YYYY by the Name of Copyright Holder.
Figure 1. A short description of this table. Reprinted from Spina Bifida Homepage, by the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015, Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/spinabifida/facts.html. Copyright n.d. by the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Reference page citation: Create a descriptive title that indicates its format and place it brackets if no title is present.
|Organization Name [or Author, A.]. (YYYY). Title of image. [Format]. Webpage Title [or Database Name]. Retrieved from http://URL|
National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). [Drawing of spina bifida with details]. Spina Bifida Homepage. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/spinabifida/facts.html
Tip: If there is very small text on the image, zoom in to reveal who owns the copyright. Due to the fact that images on the web are formatted in a low resolution, the copyright information might be indecipherable. You may want to try a reverse image search using Google Images (https://images.google.com/) if you want to find the same image at a higher resolution. Either click on the camera icon on the search bar to upload an image or you can simply paste the URL in which you found the image. Another option is to drag-and-drop an image into the search bar from your computer. When you get your results, choose “Search Tools” and then select “More sizes.” You might be able to find an image with higher resolution that is better suited for print
Tip: If you use a website for both an image and text, and the content is on separate pages, add lowercase letters to your dates, and create separate entries on your reference page.
Online Image Database—Image Citation APA
In-text citation: Capitalize all words of the agency, and include the date.
The drawing of the unisex newborn baby with jaundice (Nucleus Medical Media, 2015) displays…
Caption: Look on the bottom of the webpage to find copyright date(s). Database name is italicized.
Figure X. Descriptive phrase that serves as title and description. Reprinted [or adapted] from Title of Database, by Organization Name, YYYY, Retrieved from http://URL. Copyright YYYY by the Name of Copyright Holder.
Figure 2. A short description of this table. Reprinted from Smart Imagebase, by Nucleus Medical Media, 2015, Retrieved from http://ebsco.smartimagebase.com/newborn-baby-with-jaundice-unisex/view-item?ItemID=10483. Copyright 1997-2016 by Nucleus Medical Media.
Reference page citation: Include the URL. Try to find the “persistent link” on the page. You can test if a link is persistent by opening another browser and pasting the link into the address bar. Include the format (drawing, photograph, chart, etc.) after the title in brackets.
Organization Name. (YYYY). Title of image. [Format]. Database Name. Retrieved from http://URL
Nucleus Medical Media (2015). Newborn baby with jaundice–Unisex [Drawing]. Smart Imagebase. Retrieved from http://ebsco.smartimagebase.com/newborn-baby-with-jaundice-unisex/view-item?ItemID=10483
Tip: Check out the HPHY Research Guide Images tab to find images.
Journal—Image Citation APA
In-text citation: Cite the specific part of a source instead of the page number.
Data has shown (Ware, Kulesz, Williams, Juranek, Cirino, & Fletcher, 2016, Table 3) that…
Caption: Include the journal as holding copyright if none other is listed.
Figure X. Descriptive phrase that serves as title and description. Reprinted [or adapted] from “Title of Article,” by A. Surname, YYYY, Journal Title, Vol(#), pp. XX–XX. Copyright YYYY by the Name of Copyright Holder.
Figure 3. A short description of this table. Reprinted from “Gray Matter Integrity within Regions of the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortical-Subcortical Network Predicts Executive Function and Fine Motor Dexterity in Spina Bifida” by A. Ware, P. Kulesz, V. Williams, J. Juranek, P. Cirino, & J. Fletcher, 2016, Neuropsychology, 30(4), p. 497. Copyright 2016 by Neuropsychology.
Reference page citation: Simply cite the journal.
Book—Reference Page formula:
Author, A. A. (YYYY). Title of book. Publication City, ST: Publisher.
Petrucci, R. H., Harwood, W. S., Herring F. G., & Madura, J. D. (Eds.). (2008). General chemistry: Principles and modern Applications. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Pretice Hall.
Tips: Look in the book’s front matter (e.g., the table of contents) and back matter (e.g., appendices) for lists of illustrations and/or photo credits. Use information from the captions to generate a descriptive title if one is not given and place it within brackets.