Tables and Figures in APA Format

Visual materials like tables and figures are needed in a paper to quickly and efficiently present a large amount of information to readers. It is used to assist communication and not a means of using up space or hiding significant results amidst a pile of complicated data. However, there exist some specific guidelines for formatting tables and figures and referring to them in the text of an APA style paper.

Tables are typically visual displays that are comprised of rows and columns containing information that is made of a combination of numbers and text. Figures, on the other hand, are graphical representations such as a graph, charts, drawing or photographs that are mostly used to explain the methodology and result of a paper.

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Basic Guidelines for Formatting Tables in APA Style

These are the main rule to follow when formatting an APA table:

check-mark Every table must have a table number situated above the table, written in bold

check-mark Immediately after the table number should be a brief title written in italics and title case

check-mark There should no use of vertical lines, and very few horizontal lines should be used.

check-mark Notes should be included when necessary below the table.

check-mark The text should be written in times new roman, 12pts font size and double spaced

Table Number and Title

The tables are numbered for the sole purpose of being referred to in your text. For example:

The number of illiterates in Europe has begun to decline as shown in table 2

When the table is taking from another source, it is treated as a quote, and anytime the table is being referred to in the text, the citation should follow immediately. For example:

The number of illiterates in Europe has begun to decline, as shown in table 2 (Morgan, 2006, p. 200).

The title of the table should be clear and concise in describing the contents of the table. The table number and the title should appear above the table. For example

Table 2

Illiteracy Rate In Europe


Below your table, if necessary, you can include a note to explain the table. The note after the table is preceded by the word “note” in italics, followed by a period. If the table was copied or adapted from another source, it is important to include the source information following APA citation format in the note.

However, the explanation about the table should come first, followed by “Adapted from” if the table was copied with some adjustment or “Reprinted from” if the table was copied exactly. For example:

Note. In this research, respondents were asked to state their level of literacy and their individual perception of learning. Adapted from “literacy level in Europe,” by Morgan, O.A., 2008, journal of statistics, 20(2), p. 200.

Basic Guidelines for Formatting Figures in APA Style

These are the main rule to follow when formatting an APA figure:

  • The legends and labels within the image should have the same font type and size as that of the main text
  • The figure number should be written above the table in italics
  • The caption for the figure should be written on the same line as the number, written in plain text. For example:

Figure 1. Photograph of the Grand Canyon.

  • The figure should include legends that explain the meaning of the symbols, shadings, and colors that cannot be directly labeled.
  • The source information of the figure should be included immediately after the title of the figure. For example:

Figure 1. photograph of the Grand Canyon. Copyright 2005 by O. Morgan. Reproduced with permission.

  • Figures are to be numbered in order as they appear in the text

It is important to note that for every table and figure copied or adapted from another source, an entry of the citation should be included in the reference list.

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