How to cite figures in apa

Published on November 5, 2020 by Jack Caulfield. Revised on September 27, 2021.

This article reflects the APA 7th edition guidelines. Click here for APA 6th edition guidelines.

An APA image citation includes the creator’s name, the year, the image title and format (e.g. painting, photograph, map), and the location where you accessed or viewed the image.

Format Last name , Initials . ( Year ). Image title [ Format ]. Site Name . or Museum , Location . URL
Reference list van Gogh, V. (1889). The starry night [Painting]. Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NY, United States. https://www.moma.org/collection/works/79802
In-text citation (van Gogh, 1889)

You can create your citations automatically with Scribbr’s free APA citation generator.

Table of contents

  1. Citing images accessed online
  2. Citing images viewed in person
  3. Including images as figures

Citing images accessed online

For online images, include the name of the site you found it on, and a URL. Link directly to the image where possible, as it may be hard to locate from the other information given.

Format Last name , Initials . ( Year ). Image title [ Format ]. Site Name . URL
Reference list Thompson, M. (2020). Canyon wren [Photograph]. Flickr. https://flic.kr/p/2icfzq4
In-text citation (Thompson, 2020)

Missing information

It can often be hard to find accurate information about images accessed online. Try looking for alternate sources of an image, checking image sites like Flickr that provide reliable information on their images, or finding a different image in cases where the one you planned to use has no reliable information.

However, if you do need to cite an image with no author, date or title listed, there are ways around this.

For untitled images, include a description of the image, in square brackets, where the title would usually go. If there is no publication date, add “n.d.” in place of the date, and add the date that you accessed the image.

Reference list Google. (n.d.). [Google Maps map of Utrecht city center]. Retrieved January 10, 2020, from https://goo.gl/maps/keKNQZHZTS7ticwb8
In-text citation (Google, n.d.)

For images where the creator is unknown, you can use the title or description in the author position.

Reference list [Photograph of a violent confrontation during the Hong Kong protests]. (2019). https://twitter.com/xyz11111112
In-text citation ([Confrontation during Hong Kong protests], 2019)

Citing images viewed in person

If you viewed an image in person rather than online—for example in a museum or gallery, or in another text—the source information is different.

For images viewed in a museum or gallery, you include the name and location of the institution where you viewed the image.

Format Last name , Initials . ( Year ). Image title [ Format ]. Museum , Location .
Reference list Goya, F. (1819–1823). Saturn devouring his son [Painting]. Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain.
In-text citation (Goya, 1819–1823)

Location information includes the city, state/province (abbreviated), and country, e.g. Sydney, NSW, Australia. Omit the state/province if not applicable.

Citations for images sourced from a print publication such as a book, journal, or magazine include information about the print source in which the image originally appeared:

American Psychological Association. (2020). Sample conceptual model [Infographic]. In Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed., p. 238). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000

Are your APA in-text citations flawless?

The AI-powered APA Citation Checker points out every error, tells you exactly what’s wrong, and explains how to fix it. Say goodbye to losing marks on your assignment!

How to cite figures in apa

Including images as figures

When you include the image itself in your paper, it should be properly formatted as an APA figure, with a number, a descriptive title, and an entry in your list of figures if you have one.

The title of a figure should appear immediately above the image itself, and will vary according to the type of image cited. For example, an artwork is simply the work’s title.

How to cite figures in apa

Note that any figures that you didn’t create yourself should appear both in your list of figures (if you have one) and on your reference page. Figures you create yourself only appear in the list of figures.

A figure may be a chart, a graph, a photograph, a drawing, or any other illustration or nontextual depiction. Any type of illustration or image other than a table is referred to as a figure.

Figure Components

  • Number: The figure number (e.g., Figure 1) appears above the figure in bold.
  • Title: The figure title appears one double-spaced line below the figure number in Italic Title Case.
  • Image: The image portion of the figure is the chart, graph, photograph, drawing, or other illustration itself.
  • Legend: A figure legend, or key, if present, should be positioned within the borders of the figure and explain any symbols used in the figure image.
  • Note: A note can appear below the figure to describe contents of the figure that cannot be understood from the figure title, image, and/or legend alone (e.g., definitions of abbreviations, copyright attribution). Notes are double-spaced and flush left. Not all figures include notes.

General rules

  • In the text, refer to every figure by its number. For example, As shown in Figure 1, .
  • There are two options for the placement of figures in a paper. The first option is to place all figures on separate pages after the reference list. The second option is to embed each figure within the text.
  • If you reproduce or adapt a figure from another source (e.g., an image you found on the internet), you should include a copyright attribution in the figure note, indicating the origin of the reproduced or adapted material, in addition to a reference list entry for the work. Include a permission statement (Reprinted or adapted with permission) only if you have sought and obtained permission to reproduce or adapt material in your figure. A permission statement is not required for material in the public domain or openly licensed material.
  • Important note for postgraduate students and researchers: If you wish to reproduce or adapt figures that you did not create yourself in your thesis, dissertation, exegesis, or other published work, you must obtain permission from the copyright holder/s, unless the figure is in the public domain (copyright free), or licensed for use with a Creative Commons or other open license. Works under a Creative Commons licence should be cited accordingly. See Using works created by others for more information.

More information & examples from the APA Style Manual p225–250

From a book

Figure reproduced in your text

Note format – for notes below the figure

Example:

How to cite figures in apa

This is clearly indicated in Figure 1.

Reference list entry:

Rasmussen, E. J. (2009). Employment relations in New Zealand (2nd ed.). Pearson.

Referring to a figure in a book

If you refer to a figure included in a book and do not include it in your text, format the in-text citation and the reference list entry in the usual way, citing the page number where the figure appears.

. interpretations of the portrait Mona Lisa (Gombrich 1995, p. 203).

Reference list entry:

Gombrich, E. H. (1995). The story of art (16th ed.). Phaidon.

From an article

Figure reproduced in your text

Note format – for notes below the figure

Example:

How to cite figures in apa

As shown in Figure 2, there are five groups of factors that influence.

Reference list entry:

Jahan, N., & Rahman, S. (2016). Factors that obstruct tourism development in Bangladesh. CLEAR International Journal of Research in Commerce & Management, 7(9), 48–55.

Referring to a figure in an article

If you refer to a figure in an article and do not include it in your text, format the in-text citation and the reference list entry in the usual way for an article, citing the page number where the figure appears.

Published on November 6, 2020 by Jack Caulfield. Revised on March 15, 2021.

This article reflects the APA 7th edition guidelines. Click here for APA 6th edition guidelines.

To cite a dictionary definition in APA Style, start with the author of the dictionary (usually an organization), followed by the publication year, the word you’re citing, the dictionary name, the publisher (if not already listed as author), and the URL.

Table of contents

  1. How to cite an online dictionary entry
  2. How to cite a print dictionary

How to cite an online dictionary entry

Online dictionaries tend to be continuously updated, so you usually won’t have a specific publication date. In this case, write “n.d.” (no date) in place of the year and include a retrieval date:

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Citation. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved October 21, 2020, from https://​www.merriam-webster.com/​dictionary/​citation

How to cite a print dictionary

Citing from a print dictionary differs in that you’ll always be using a specific edition with a publication date, so this information should appear in your citation. Do not list the publisher a second time if it is already listed in the author position.

Format Publisher Name . ( Year ). Entry name . In Dictionary name ( Edition , p. Page number ). Publisher .
Reference entry HarperCollins. (2019). Rehabilitate. In Collins English dictionary (8th ed., p. 672).
In-text citation (HarperCollins, 2019)

Print dictionaries still don’t usually list authors, although in some specialist dictionaries an author may be listed. If an author for the individual entry is listed, list them in the author position instead of the publisher, and do include the publisher at the end.

The UpToDate database contains peer-reviewed medical articles that are periodically updated by experts in the field; as such, it is a popular source for writers to cite in APA Style.

Cite an article from UpToDate like you would an entry in an online reference work or chapter in an edited book. Here is an example citation:

Williams, J., & Nieuwsma, J. (2016). Screening for depression in adults. In J. A. Melin (Ed.), UpToDate. Retrieved February 1, 2017, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/screening-for-depression-in-adults

  • In text: (Williams & Nieuwsma, 2016).

Here are some notes about the components of the reference:

  • Use the authors of the article as the authors in the reference.
  • For the year in the reference, use the year listed after “this topic last updated.”
  • For the title, use the title of the article.
  • Use the name of the deputy editor(s) for the article as the editor(s) of the reference work. Section editors do not need to be listed in the reference.
  • Write UpToDate in italics as the name of the reference work.
  • Provide a retrieval date because the content will change over time.
  • Provide a URL for retrieval of the article.

 Do you have additional questions about citing the UpToDate database? Leave a comment below.

Comments

The UpToDate database contains peer-reviewed medical articles that are periodically updated by experts in the field; as such, it is a popular source for writers to cite in APA Style.

Cite an article from UpToDate like you would an entry in an online reference work or chapter in an edited book. Here is an example citation:

Williams, J., & Nieuwsma, J. (2016). Screening for depression in adults. In J. A. Melin (Ed.), UpToDate. Retrieved February 1, 2017, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/screening-for-depression-in-adults

  • In text: (Williams & Nieuwsma, 2016).

Here are some notes about the components of the reference:

  • Use the authors of the article as the authors in the reference.
  • For the year in the reference, use the year listed after “this topic last updated.”
  • For the title, use the title of the article.
  • Use the name of the deputy editor(s) for the article as the editor(s) of the reference work. Section editors do not need to be listed in the reference.
  • Write UpToDate in italics as the name of the reference work.
  • Provide a retrieval date because the content will change over time.
  • Provide a URL for retrieval of the article.

 Do you have additional questions about citing the UpToDate database? Leave a comment below.