Tables and Figures in MLA Format

The inclusion of visual materials such as tables and figures in your paper is to improve the understanding of information and that of the topic by the readers. Authors can embed different types of visuals, such as diagrams, photographs, musical scores, and several others. However, MLA format is used mainly by students and researchers in the humanities and education. It makes it unlikely to have papers that include raw scientific data.

The visual materials added to an MLA paper are designated as Tables and Figures. A table refers to a table containing vital information in a grid format that is needed to understand the paper. In contrast, a figure refers to a photo, image, map, graph, or chart that is required in the understanding of the paper.

pointing hand Guideline for the Inclusion of a Table in Your MLA Paper

  • A table should be presented immediately after the paragraph it was mentioned in. A table should be mentioned in the paragraph by number rather than with phrases like “the table below.” For example

The population of frogs in the basin has begun to increase since the change in climate (see table 3)

  • The table should appear flush to the left
  • At the top of the table, the number of the table should be written, followed immediately by a short descriptive title on a new line. The table number and title should be flushed to the left. For example:

Table 3

The population of frogs in the Mississippi river basin in 2017-2020

  • Immediately after the table, the source of the table should be cited by writing the word “source,” followed by a colon, and the source of the table should be written following the MLA citation style. The source should end with a period and should be formatted with a hanging indent. For example

Wright, Erin, “Effect of Climate Change on the Biosphere” River Ecology Journal, 24 (2019): 66–146.

  • The label and caption should be double spaced

pointing hand Guideline for the Inclusion of a Figure in Your MLA Paper

You treat a figure the same way you treat a table

  • A figure should be presented immediately after the paragraph it was mentioned in. A figure should be mentioned in the paragraph by its number rather with phrases like “the figure below.” Do not capitalize fig or figure. For example:

The mean score of students that take the SATs each has begun to recline in recent years (see fig 3)

  • Immediately after the figure, the number of the figure should be written, followed immediately by a short descriptive title on the same line. The figure number and title should be flushed to the left. For example

Fig 3. Mean score of students taking the SATs from 2017-2019

  • The information about the source of the figure should be on the next line after the title of the figure. It can also begin on the same line as the figure title after the word “from.” The source should end with a period and should be formatted with a hanging indent. For example

Fig 3. Mean score of students taking the SATs from 2017-2019

Isabelle Mcarthy et al., “Assessment of Changes in SATs Scores Among Students” Statistics Journal, 74 (2019): 80–146.

Or

Fig 3. Mean score of students taking the SATs from 2017-2019 from Isabelle Mcarthy et al., “Assessment of Changes in SATs Scores Among Students” Statistics Journal, 74 (2019): 80–146.

pointing hand Tips in Including Tables and Figures in MLA Format

Reproducing table and figures

When you copy or recreate a table, image, chart, graph, or photo that is not your original creation in your paper, then you are reproducing. Therefore, you must include the source of the visual material below it to indicate where you found it. You do not need to include it in your works cited list if you have not referred to it elsewhere.

Citing information from a visual material

If you are referring to information from a visual material without reproducing it in your paper, you would need to create an in-text citation as well as include it in your work cited list.

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