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APA Style Guide: 7th Edition

General Information & Checklist

A figure is a graph, chart, map, drawing, photograph, image, or graphical display that is embedded in your work.

A figure must:

  • be directly and clearly related to the content of the document
  • present information that can't be conveyed through textual description alone
  • be numbered clearly at the top left, starting with Figure 1
  • include a brief but clear title one double-spaced line below the table number

The following is an example of a figure:

The following checklist may be helpful in ensuring that your figure communicates most effectively and conforms to APA Style and formatting conventions:

  • Is the figure necessary?
  • Does the figure belong in the article, or can it be placed in the supplemental materials?
  • Is the figure being submitted in a file format acceptable to the publisher?
  • Has the file been produced at a sufficiently high resolution to allow for accurate reproduction?
  • Are figures of equally important concepts prepared according to the same size and scale?
  • Are all figures numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals in the order in which they are first mentioned in the text? Is the figure number bold and flush left?
  • Are all figures called out or referred to in the text?
  • Is the figure title brief but explanatory? Is it written in italic title case and flush left?
  • Is the figure image simple, clear, and free of extraneous detail?
  • Are all elements of the image clearly labeled?
  • Are the magnitude, scale, and direction of grid elements clearly labeled?
  • Has the figure been formatted properly? Is the font sans serif within the image portion of the figure and between 8 and 14 points in size?
  • Are all abbreviations explained, as well as the use of symbols?
  • Does the legend, if included, appear within or below the image? Are the words in the legend written in title case?
  • Have all substantive modifications to photographic images been disclosed?
  • Are the figure notes, if needed, in the correct order? Are the notes double-spaced and flush left and in the same font as the text of the paper?
  • If all or part of a figure is reprinted or adapted, is there a copyright attribution?


The information above is adapted from page 232:
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). (2020). American Psychological Association.