APA 6th Edition Tables and Figures – Format & Examples

19.12.22 Structure and sections Time to read: 5min

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The subsequent article focuses on the proper formatting and use of tables and figures according to the guidelines by the 6th edition of the APA style manual. Tables and figures in APA style are essential tools to display complex data and information to support the understanding of the text. To maintain academic integrity and accuracy in academic writing, it is crucial to obtain a good understanding of the rules for the use of tables and figures.

APA 6th Edition Tables and Figures – In a Nutshell

Key points in APA 6th edition tables and figures guidelines include:

  • Tables must be numbered and have titles.
  • Figures must also be numbered.
  • Only include information that adds value, avoid redundancy.
  • You can include tables and figures throughout the text, or list them all together at the end of the paper.

Definition: APA 6th edition tables and figures

APA 6th edition tables and figures is a set of guidelines that are widely used in professional and academic writing. They are structured and visually engaging ways of presenting information or data. Tables are usually used to display statistics or raw data in rows and columns. This allows for easy interpretation and comparison of results or values. Figures present information in a visual manner, such as graphs, charts, drawings, maps, or photographs. According to APA guidelines, both tables and figures should be clearly labelled, titled, and referenced in the text, providing a comprehensive understanding of the data or information presented.

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APA 6th edition tables and figures: Tables

As per APA 6th edition tables and figures guidelines, tables must follow these formatting rules:

  1. Each table must be numbered in order of appearance.
  2. Write a title for each table, under the table number.
  3. Avoid using vertical lines to separate columns.
  4. Place notes below the table.

APA 6th edition tables and figures: Table number and title

APA 6th edition tables and figures guidelines state that tables must be numbered and have a title, so they’re easier to reference throughout the text. Formatting rules are:

  1. The table number appears first, in its own line and in plain text.
  2. The table title goes below the number, using title case and italics.
  3. The title must be short and descriptive.


Table 1

Life Satisfaction Scores by Age Group

APA 6th edition tables and figures: Table body

The table body must also conform to APA 6th Edition Tables and Figures guidelines.

  • Use horizontal lines to structure the body and add clarity (e.g. to separate column heading from data).
  • Label each column and each row.
  • Keep labels short and descriptive.
  • Be consistent when presenting numerical data (e.g. always show the same amount of decimals).
  • In Word, create a table by clicking on Insert > Table, and choosing the correct number of rows and columns.

APA 6th edition tables and figures: Table notes

Add explanatory notes below a table if they help understand better table data. Ensure notes follow these APA 6th edition tables and figures guidelines:

General notes

  1. Use them to reference a table source where applicable, to clarify abbreviations, or to add general explanations about the table.
  2. Add the word “Note” below the table, italicized, and close with a period.


Note. SD = Standard Deviation.

Specific notes

  1. Use them to clarify or expand on specific data.
  2. Use superscript letters in the table and in the corresponding note.
  3. Specific notes are place below General notes.


a T-test data. b Chi-square test data.

APA 6th edition tables and figures: Figures

In APA 6th edition tables and figures guidelines, figures include any in-text images, whether they are graphs, photos, infographics, diagrams, etc.

Figures must appear in the following format:

  1. Figures don’t need a title.
  2. Figures must be numbered in order of appearance. Numbers go below the image, are italicized, and followed by a period.
  3. Add a figure caption immediately after the period, to briefly describe the image.
  4. Include labels and legends in the figure, keeping the same font type or size used in the main text.

APA 6th edition tables and figures: Figure design and legend

When designing a figure, keep the visuals as simple as possible. You can use different colors if they provide clarification.

A figure legend consists of text that helps the reader understand the figure. Its purpose is to avoid sending the reader to other parts of the paper to gather crucial information about the figure. As per APA 6th edition tables and figures guidelines, legends should appear below the figure, after the figure number, and in plain text.

X You don’t need to include a legend when the figure is a photo.

In the example figure above, the legend is “Undergraduate” and “Postgraduate”.

APA 6th edition tables and figures: Figure number and caption

According to APA 6th edition tables and figures guidelines, a figure number is required to establish the flow of information. Numbers are placed below the figure, following the order in which figures appear in the text. Figure numbers are written in italics, concluding with a period.

The caption provides additional information about the figure. Depending on which type of figure is involved, captions may include:

  • The figure title.
  • A concise description if the figure has no title.
  • The figure source, if copied or adapted from external sources.
  • Captions go immediately after the figure number and are formatted in plain text using sentence case capitalization.


Figure 1. Income distribution in inner-city London. Adapted from Office for National Statistics, June 2019.

APA 6th edition tables and figures: Placement

APA style guidelines give you two options for the placement of tables and figures.

Option 1: Within the text, after the sections that refer to them.
Option 2: List all tables and figures together at the end of the paper or article, after the reference list.
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APA 6th edition tables and figures: In-text

Refer to tables and figures in the text only to comment on specific points, not to offer general information that can be easily gathered from the information on tables and figures.


Table 3 describes the statistical results of the study we carried out in 2015, where 105 participants were recruited …

Table 3 shows a statistically relevant correlation between age group 1 and life satisfaction scores. This is confirms the hypothesis …

The examples below illustrate how to refer to table and figure numbers in the text:

Example 1

The table below describes …

Table 1 describes …


Example 2

The photograph of microscopic analysis shown below was obtained …

Figure 3 was obtained …


Example 3

From the image on the following page, we can infer that …

From image 2, we can infer that …


Either after the section that mentions them, or after the reference list.

No, only use them if they add valuable information that helps understand tables better.

You can use them but always state their source in the table Notes and in the reference list.