Figure and table lists in your dissertation

Date published by Date updated: March 24, 2017

Lists of figures and tables are just what they sound like: lists of all of the figures and tables that you have used in your dissertation, along with the corresponding page numbers. These lists provide readers with an overview of how you have used these items in your document and help them to find specific figures and tables of interest.

While such lists are often not required, they are recommended if you are using several figures and tables and your dissertation is running on the long side.

Use numbers and clear titles in the text

Figures and tables always need to be numbered and to have clear titles. If a figure or table is taken from (or based on) another source, you should also note that source. Are you using the APA-style? If yes, then add the source after the title of each figure or table. Also be sure to include a full reference in the bibliography.

To add numbers and titles within Microsoft Word, highlight the relevant figure or table, right-click, and select “Insert Caption…”.

For figures (or illustrations), choose the “Below selected item” position in the dialog box that appears. For tables, choose “Above selected item”.

Generate lists automatically

Once you have added all of your captions, let Word automatically generate the figure and table lists for you. Be careful, though – the list will only include items that you have marked using the “Insert Caption…” tool.

Step 1

Place your cursor where you want to create the list. The most common place for this list is immediately after the table of contents.

Step 2

In the Word menu bar, click on “References”. In the dialog box that appears, click on “Insert: Table of figures.” From there in the dialog box caption label, you can choose between a “Figure” or a “Table”, as appropriate. You can also select the lay-out that you like the best.

Consider creating additional lists

In addition to using figure and table lists, you may also find it useful to include a list of abbreviations and a glossary in your dissertation. If you go this route, use the following order:

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Article by Sarah Vinz

Sarah’s academic background includes a Master of Arts in English, a Master of International Affairs degree, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She loves the challenge of finding the perfect formulation or wording and derives much satisfaction from helping students take their academic writing up a notch.

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