APA Format for Tables and Figures | Annotated Examples

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

A table concisely presents information (often numbers) in rows and columns. A figure is any other image or illustration you include in your text—anything from a bar chart to a photograph.

Tables and figures differ in terms of how they convey information, but APA Style presents them in a similar format—preceded by a number and title, and followed by explanatory notes (if necessary).

APA table format

Tables will vary in size and structure depending on the data you’re presenting, but APA gives some general guidelines for their design. To correctly format an APA table, follow these rules:

  • Table number in bold above the table.
  • Brief title, in italics and title case, below the table number.
  • No vertical lines.
  • Horizontal lines only where necessary for clarity.
  • Clear, concise labels for column and row headings.
  • Numbers consistently formatted (e.g. with the same number of decimal places).
  • Any relevant notes below the table.

An example of a table formatted according to APA guidelines is shown below.

Example of a table in APA format

The table above uses only four lines: Those at the top and bottom, and those separating the main data from the column heads and the totals.

Create your tables using the tools built into your word processor. In Word, you can use the “Insert table” tool.

APA figure format

Any images used within your text are called figures. Figures include data visualization graphics—e.g. graphs, diagrams, flowcharts—as well as things like photographs and artworks.

To correctly format an APA figure, follow these rules:

  • Figure number in bold above the figure.
  • Brief title, in italics and title case, under the figure number.
  • If necessary, clear labels and legends integrated into the image.
  • Any relevant notes below the figure.

An example of a figure formatted according to APA guidelines is shown below.

Example of a figure in APA format

Keep the design of figures as simple as possible. Use colors only where necessary, not just to make the image look more appealing.

For text within the image itself, APA recommends using a sans serif font (e.g. Arial) with a size between 8 and 14 points.

For other figures, such as photographs, you won’t need a legend; the figure consists simply of the image itself, reproduced at an appropriate size and resolution.

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Numbering and titling tables and figures

Each table or figure is preceded by a number and title.

Tables and figures are each numbered separately, in the order they are referred to in your text. For example, the first table you refer to is Table 1; the fourth figure you refer to is Figure 4.

The title should clearly and straightforwardly describe the content of the table or figure. Omit articles to keep it concise.

The table or figure number appears on its own line, in bold, followed by the title on the following line, in italics and title case.

Number and title
Table 4
Literacy Rates in European Countries

Formatting table and figure notes

Where a table or figure needs further explanation, notes should be included immediately after it. These are not your analysis of the data presented; save that for the main text.

There are three kinds of notes: general, specific, and probability. Each type of note appears in a new paragraph, but multiple notes of the same kind all appear in one paragraph.

Only include the notes that are needed to understand the table or figure. It may be that it is clear in itself, and has no notes, or only probability notes; be as concise as possible.

General notes

General notes come first. They are preceded by the word “Note” in italics, followed by a period. They include any explanations that apply to the table or figure as a whole and a citation if it was adapted from another source, and they end with definitions of any abbreviations used.

General note
Note. In this research, respondents were asked to self-assess their satisfaction. Adapted from Example Book, by J. Smith, 2014, p. 234. Copyright 2016 by Oxford University Press. SL = Satisfaction level.

Specific notes

Specific notes refer to specific points in the table or figure. Superscript letters (a, b, c …) appear at the relevant points in the table or figure and at the start of each note to indicate what they refer to. They are used when it’s necessary to comment on a specific data point or term.

Specific notes
a n = 350. b Five respondents failed to complete this part of the survey.

Probability notes

Probability notes give p-values for the data in the table or figure. They correspond to asterisks (and/or other symbols) in the table or figure.

Probability notes
*p < .05. **p < .01.

Where to place tables and figures

You have two options for the placement of tables and figures in APA Style:

  • Option 1: Place tables and figures throughout your text, shortly after the parts of the text that refer to them.
  • Option 2: Place them all together at the end of your text (after the reference list) to avoid breaking up the text.

If you place them throughout the text, note that each table or figure should only appear once. If you refer to the same table or figure more than once, don’t reproduce it each time—just place it after the paragraph in which it’s first discussed.

Align the table or figure with the text along the left margin. Leave a line break before and after the table or figure to clearly distinguish it from the main text, and place it on a new page if necessary to avoid splitting it across multiple pages.

Placement of tables in APA format

If you place all your tables and figures at the end, you should have one table or figure on each page. Begin with all your tables, then place all your figures afterwards.

Referring to tables and figures in the text

Avoid making redundant statements about your tables and figures in your text. When you write about data from tables and figures, it should be to highlight or analyze a particular data point or trend, not simply to restate what is already clearly shown in the table or figure:

  • As Table 1 shows, there are 115 boys in Grade 4, 130 in Grade 5, and 117 in Grade 6 …
  • Table 1 indicates a notable preponderance of boys in Grade 5. It is important to take this into account because …

Additionally, even if you have embedded your tables and figures in your text, refer to them by their numbers, not by their position relative to the text or by description:

  • The table below shows…
  • Table 1 shows…
  • As can be seen in the image on page 4…
  • As can be seen in Figure 3…
  • The photograph of a bald eagle is an example of…
  • Figure 1 is an example of…

Frequently asked questions about APA tables and figures

When should I use a table or figure to present data?

In an APA Style paper, use a table or figure when it’s a clearer way to present important data than describing it in your main text. This is often the case when you need to communicate a large amount of information.

Before including a table or figure in your text, always reflect on whether it’s useful to your readers’ understanding:

  • Could this information be quickly summarized in the text instead?
  • Is it important to your arguments?
  • Does the table or figure require too much explanation to be efficient?

If the data you need to present only contains a few relevant numbers, try summarizing it in the text (potentially including full data in an appendix). If describing the data makes your text overly long and difficult to read, a table or figure may be the best option.

Should I include lists of my tables and figures?

APA doesn’t require you to include a list of tables or a list of figures. However, it is advisable to do so if your text is long enough to feature a table of contents and it includes a lot of tables and/or figures.

A list of tables and list of figures appear (in that order) after your table of contents, and are presented in a similar way.

Should I include tables and figures in the reference list?

If you adapt or reproduce a table or figure from another source, you should include that source in your APA reference list. You should also acknowledge the original source in the note or caption for the table or figure.

Tables and figures you created yourself, based on your own data, are not included in the reference list.

How do I cite an image on my title page?

In most styles, the title page is used purely to provide information and doesn’t include any images. Ask your supervisor if you are allowed to include an image on the title page before doing so. If you do decide to include one, make sure to check whether you need permission from the creator of the image.

Include a note directly beneath the image acknowledging where it comes from, beginning with the word “Note.” (italicized and followed by a period). Include a citation and copyright attribution. Don’t title, number, or label the image as a figure, since it doesn’t appear in your main text.

Is this article helpful?
Jack Caulfield

Jack is a Brit based in Amsterdam, with an MA in comparative literature. He writes for Scribbr and reads a lot of books in his spare time.


June 1, 2022 at 1:35 PM

I have a question regarding the format of numbers in tables. How should these look like?

0.05 or .05?
0.09 or .09?

Thanks in advance!


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
June 2, 2022 at 12:26 PM

Hi Stefan,

APA has specific guidelines for whether to include the leading zero (the zero before the decimal point), depending on what statistics you are reporting. You can read these guidelines here. The basic rule is that you shouldn't include the zero if the statistic you're reporting can never be greater than 1.


Mario Ciancaglini
March 1, 2022 at 8:13 PM


Where in the APA 7th Edition did you find the placement of figures after the reference list? I couldn't find it and wanted to be certain prior to submitting my work.

Thank you.


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
March 3, 2022 at 11:27 AM

Hi Mario,

This is covered in section 7.6 of the manual, "Placement of tables and figures." Hope that helps!


Baback D.
December 5, 2021 at 11:11 AM

Thank you so much for this. I also read a lot of your answers to people's questions and it seems like you really care. I really appreciate it man. Have a wonderful time


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
December 6, 2021 at 2:58 PM

Thanks for your kind comment!


October 10, 2021 at 2:14 AM

I have read somewhere in APA 7 that we can place wide tables in landscape page orientation. So can we place our wide figures also in landscape orientation?
And while doing so, where do we place the note for the figure; in a landscape orientation or a portrait?


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
October 11, 2021 at 2:52 PM

Good question! It seems logical that this would be an option for figures as well as tables, but it's actually not a possibility that APA mentions or gives any examples of; they only state that you can do this with tables, not with figures. So if you want to strictly follow APA guidelines, I would suggest not presenting figures in this way.

If you do decide to present a figure in landscape orientation, I suggest using landscape orientation for the figure number, title, and note(s) as well, so that all the text on the page is oriented the same way.


September 29, 2021 at 3:36 AM

I have 2 questions:
1. concerning line spacing inside the table, must it be 1.5 lines?
2. regarding uppercase and lowercase in the table, must it be uppercase and lowercase?
Thanks in advance.


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
October 4, 2021 at 1:18 PM

Hi Ahmet,

APA states that single spacing, 1.5 spacing, or double spacing are all valid options within a table. Just be consistent in which one you use.

In terms of capitalization, they state that the title above the table should be written in title case (all important words capitalized), whereas text inside the table should be in sentence case (only the first word of each sentence/phrase capitalized).


Andries Vroegrijk
September 20, 2021 at 2:11 PM

Hi Jack,

Should tables and figures be numerbered seperately or successively?

Table 1, Figure 2, Table 3, Figure 4 etc.
Table 1, Figure 1, Table 2, Figure 2 etc.


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
September 21, 2021 at 1:55 PM

Hi Andries,

Tables and figures should each have their own separate numbering system. So Table 1, Table 2, Figure 1, Figure 2; the numbering shouldn't be combined.


Andries Vroegrijk
September 21, 2021 at 7:28 PM

Thought so, thanks!!


September 14, 2021 at 12:24 AM


if these are two parts of the same table, shall I better name them e.g. Table 5.1 and Table 5.2? Or keep them Table 5 and Table 6? Please advise.

Thank you!


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
September 21, 2021 at 1:54 PM

Hi Daria,

If the tables can't be combined to simply appear as one table, it's probably better to just label them separately, Table 5 and Table 6. APA doesn't mention specific numbering systems for multi-part tables like you refer to.


September 14, 2021 at 12:20 AM


Could you please let me know how to cite the table that is created myself but where I used the quotes from other words; or the 2nd option, where I rephrased the quotes (so information is still taken from the publication)?

Also if I add the quotes to the table, should I include the in-text citation after each quote?

Thank you!


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
September 21, 2021 at 1:51 PM

Hi Daria,

In that situation, I would recommend including an acknowledgement of where the quotes/paraphrases come from in the note below the table. This could be phrased something like "Quotations taken from [Source information]." You can read more about citing adapted information in tables and figures here. I wouldn't recommend using citations after each quote, just a general acknowledgement in the note below the table.


August 29, 2021 at 6:34 PM

If I'm using a table with text in, does APA allow for the use of & throughout the table, or can it only be used when in parentheses? So, in a column headed "Participants", can I write "doctors & nurses" or do I have to write "doctors and nurses"?


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
August 30, 2021 at 1:47 PM

Hi Natalia,

APA mentions that ampersands should be used in citations in tables and figures, whether or not those citations appear in parentheses—e.g. Smith & Jones (2003). But they don't specify that you should use ampersands in other contexts within a table or figure, and I can't find any examples of this in the tables and figures they show in the manual. So I would suggest that you stick to "doctors and nurses."


August 28, 2021 at 3:08 AM

Hello :)
So the Specific Notes for a table are indicated by superscript lowercase letters (e.g., a, b, c) but how about Figures? Is it the same? I can't find anything in the APA7.
Help would be great.. Greetings!


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
August 30, 2021 at 1:39 PM

Hi Lena,

Yes, specific notes are formatted in the same way for both tables and figures, using superscript letters.


July 31, 2021 at 11:02 PM

In the results section of my research paper, I have two graphs. I tried to make them both fit on one page, but it's just not going to work. Is it ok to leave a large gap at the end of one page, and then put the next graph (figure 2) at the top of the next page.


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
August 2, 2021 at 3:05 PM

Hi Hayley,

Yes, I think if it's not possible to fit both figures on one page, your best option is to just place them on consecutive pages like that. You could also consider whether the two figures need to appear together; the usual guideline is to place each figure after the first point where it's mentioned in the text. So if both figures are mentioned at the same point, your approach makes sense, but if not, each one can appear separately at the relevant point in the text, avoiding this issue.


July 16, 2021 at 9:24 PM

Please for personally made graph, how should I reference them? someone told me that I should add "original" with the title, but I have not found anything about this issue :(
thank you!


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
July 20, 2021 at 4:05 PM

Hi Badiya,

It's not necessary to do anything special to indicate that a table or figure is your own work. It's only necessary to specify when a table or figure is adapted or reprinted from another source. If you don't specify this, the table or figure is just assumed to be your own work; there's no need to specifically write "original."


Marina Alexandreas
June 30, 2021 at 2:25 PM

For the abbreviations in the notes section of a table, how do I separate one abbreviation from the other? do I use a comma, a period, semi colon?


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
July 5, 2021 at 3:35 PM

Hi Marina,

You can separate them using semicolons, with a period at the end of the note. E.g.:

Note. OIC = International Olympic Committee; SWOT = strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.


Mario Gk
June 9, 2021 at 3:44 PM

I need to add some photos inside the paper.
Do I need to refer to the source of the photos?

Also is ot ok to place three photos in the same row for comparing purposes?
For example 3 photos of three species of shellfish to indicate the similarities between them.

Thank you for your time!


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
June 14, 2021 at 4:50 PM

Hi Mario,

Yes, unless they're your own photos, you need to state the source where you found them. You can include this information in the general note underneath the figure. The source(s) should also be included in your reference list at the end.

And yes, it's fine to include three photos at the same point, if you think it's the best way to present them. When they're included together like that, you can consider them to all be part of the same figure (i.e. the three pictures might be collectively called Figure 1, rather than Figures 1, 2 & 3). Make sure to include the source information for all three photos in the note in that case (though don't repeat yourself if they all come from the same source).

Hope that helps!


June 2, 2021 at 3:14 PM


Is it possible to place some figures/tables within the text and some at the end after the references?


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
June 7, 2021 at 5:16 PM

Hi Vincent,

APA recommends sticking to just one approach or the other (all in the text or all at the end). If your issue is that some of your tables and figures feel less essential to your argument than others, you could consider 1) whether they need to be included at all, and if so, 2) whether they might fit better in an appendix. An appendix would also appear at the end of the text—but note that even figures and tables in an appendix should be mentioned at some point in the text, otherwise they're not considered relevant.


May 6, 2021 at 7:42 PM

Hi! Thank you for the article and thorough explanation. I have a question about table placement that I cannot seem to find the answer for no matter where I look. I am editing someone's doctoral thesis and helping them place their tables and figures correctly. Let's say they've written the following in a single paragraph:

The results of the concurrent validity presented show... (Table 2.2). The plot shows... (Figure 2.1). The researchers have edited... (Table 2.3)

These are sentences I made up just for the sake of the question, they have all been written in the same paragraph. Following the APA guidelines of embedding a table or figure directly after the part it was mentioned in, how would I proceed here? Would I list Table 2, Figure 1, and Table 3 all after each other? Or should I suggest they divide the paragraph into separate sentences with the corresponding table/figure in between each one?


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
May 10, 2021 at 3:47 PM

Hi Vanessa,

In that case, in my opinion it would make most sense to split the paragraph up, showing each table/figure after the reference to it. Though I don't think the other option would be incorrect either, it seems less elegant.

Another option to consider: APA also allows you to place all tables and figures at the end (after the reference list) instead of interspersed throughout the text. This would avoid this particular issue of course, though it has other downsides in terms of the accessibility of the tables and figures.


May 1, 2021 at 8:58 PM

How do I use more than one table or refer to more than one table?
(Tables 8, 9, & 10).
As shown in Tables 8, 9, and 10


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
May 3, 2021 at 5:00 PM

Hi Corinne,

Yep, just like you do in your comment! Use an ampersand if it's within parentheses and the word "and" if not.


Karen Crosby
April 10, 2021 at 10:38 PM

If I have a figure in Chapter 2 Figure 1 and then I have a figure with different information in Chapter 4 - is that new figure in Ch 4 - Figure 1 or is it Figure 2


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
April 16, 2021 at 3:56 PM

Hi Karen,

APA's recommendation for papers is to number your figures consistently throughout the text, in the order in which they are discussed. So your second figure would just be Figure 2, regardless of the chapter in which it appears. The exception is if you include a figure or table in an appendix; these should be labeled separately from those in the main text. You can read more about appendices here if that's relevant for you.


March 30, 2021 at 10:40 AM

What font size is acceptable for the "note" under a figure? Should it be consistent with the font size used throughout the paper or can it be smaller?


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
April 6, 2021 at 3:58 PM

Hi Anne,

Notes under a table or figure should appear in the same font size used throughout the paper, double-spaced and left-aligned like the rest of the text.


Karen Cinq-Mars
March 3, 2021 at 6:59 PM

I'm trying to figure out how to cite the authors of various articles that I'm providing a lit. review on. I'm creating a table referencing each article and comparing them within the article so I need to know how many authors I list before I put in et al.


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
March 8, 2021 at 5:23 PM

Hi Karen,

You can check out our article here for guidance on when to use "et al." in APA in-text citations and reference entries.


February 26, 2021 at 5:48 AM

After the "figure 1" title does the spacing remain double-spaced or is it single-spaced?


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
March 1, 2021 at 2:56 PM

Hi Kylene,

Yes, figure and table numbers and titles are double-spaced to match the rest of the text.


January 23, 2021 at 12:06 PM

What happens if the table falls onto two pages? Do you place it before the alinea it is mentioned in? Or do you place it on the top op the next page? Or do you leave it cut in half?


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
January 26, 2021 at 3:31 PM

Hi Chantal,

If it's possible to fit the table onto one page by placing it at the start of a new page, you should do so, even if this means not placing it straight after the paragraph it's mentioned in. If it's impossible to fit the table onto one page, split it across as many pages as necessary, but repeat the column headings at the top of each page to make it easy to read.


S. E.
August 28, 2020 at 3:25 AM

Regarding the font used in a table (according to APA 7th edition) - can the font in a table be different from the font used in the rest of a paper? My dissertation is written in 12 point Times New Roman, and I would like to display a table using 10 point Arial for better fit. According to section 2.19 in the APA 7th edition manual, other fonts may be used in figures, and I interpret 'other fonts' to mean other than the rest of the paper --- but I do not see anything about tables. Any advice, please?


Shona McCombes
Shona McCombes (Scribbr Team)
September 3, 2020 at 1:55 PM


According to APA guidelines, you should use the same font in tables as you use in the rest of your paper. Hope that helps!


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