Tables and Figures

  • In the body of your paper, information that does not appear in textual form must be formatted and labeled as either a table or figure. APA does not allow for the words graph, illustration, or chart. Refer to them as either a table or a figure. If data are presented in rows and columns, label as a table; if data are presented in a chart, graph, photo, or illustration, label as a figure.

  • In dissertations, tables and figures are inserted into the narrative as close to the text that introduces them as is practical. Do not split a table unless it is too large to fit on one entire page. Placing a table on its own landscape-oriented page is permissible. Do not place any text on a page if a table or figure takes up 75% or more of the page.

  • Tables and figures must fit within the margin specifications. Do not separate a title or caption from the table or figure it identifies.

  • Use plain type for column headings and row labels. Use sentence case for column and row text, maintaining capitalization of proper nouns and names of scales, for example. Bold type may be used for emphasis of some table data (see Table 5.3 on p. 132).

  • Limit the use of rules, or lines, to those necessary for clarity. Use horizontal lines only.

  • Table text may be single- or double-spaced; consider readability in your line-spacing decision.  

  • The font size used in tables and figures may be smaller than that used in the text; however, to ensure a professional appearance and legibility, it should be no smaller than 8 points and no larger than 12 points.

  • Tables and figures are to be numbered without a suffix or indicator of the chapter in which they appear: Table 1, Table 2, Table 3; Figure 1, Figure 2, Figure 3, and so on. In the text, capitalize the words table or figure when referring to them (for example: see Table 12). Refer to the specific table number, not to the page number on which it appears or as the table below.

  • If your table or figure is for a course paper with no intention of publication, you do not need to get permission to include it; that's considered fair use. If you're going to use it in your dissertation or doctoral study, you do need permission. The examples in the APA manual show how to note that, but some publishers will tell you specific guidelines. See ProQuest's website for more information on using copyrighted material in your study: .

  • In dissertations, if a table extends beyond one page, type the phrase table continues in parentheses flush right at the bottom of the table. Repeat the column headings on each new page (see Dissertation Guidebook, p. 42).

Example of an APA Table and an APA Figure

Tips

In the body of your paper, information that does not appear in textual form must be formatted and labeled as either a table or figure.  The Sixth Edition APA Publication Manual does not allow for the words graph, illustration, or chart.  Refer to them as either a table or a figure.


Taylor (2011) provides some great tips on formatting SPSS tables in MS Word.


Our webinar, "Tables & Figures, Scientific Abbreviations, and Other APA Nuances" is presented regularly, and you can view past recordings of that session through our webinar archive