Skip to main content

APA 6th edition Referencing guide: Images and Figures

This guide will show you all you need to know about APA.

How to reference Artwork?

APA does not provide specific rules or examples for citing images so you may see variations on other guides.  This only occurs with images and figures.  Note: the following is just an interpretation of the rules.

Figures - graphs, flow charts, maps, drawings, photographs etc. & ‚ÄčTables - information displayed in orderly columns and rows.

With Figures you could in theory be mentioning them 4 times. 

  • List of Figures in Table of Contents
  • Intext Citation
  • Label under the Image/Figure
  • Full reference at back of work.
Basic Format:
Intext Citation:
(Artist surname, year) (Van Gogh, 1889)
Reference List:

Artist Surname, First Initial. Second Initial. (Year). Title of the artwork [Format]. Retrieved from URL

Van Gogh, V. (1889). Irises [Painting]. Retrieved from

Images and Figures

Format: Author(s) Surname/Last name, Initials. (Year). Title. Place of publication: Publisher.

An image from a book is treated similar to any other material referred to within a book.  

Format as above for the Reference list.

Intext citation

Is the picture of the Sunflowers the most iconic artwork in the world (Wallace, 1972)?

Reference List:  

Wallace, R. (1972) The world of Van Gogh, 1853-1890.  New York: Time-Life Books.

Image reproduced from a book source

Figure 1. Social distances of animals (Fowler, 2008, p. 13)

Reference List

Fowler, M. (2008). Restraint and handing of wild and domestic animals (3rd ed.). Ames, IA: Wiley Blackwell.

Treat like a journal article.  Format: Author(s) Surname/Last name, Initials. (Year). Article title. Journal title, Volume, Page numbers.

Only differences to a journal article reference will be the inclusion of a List of Figures in a Table of Contents and a Figure number as a label under the image/Figure.

Figure 2. Male holotye of Hypsiboas gladiator (Kholer et al., 2010, p. 584).

Reference List

Kohler, J., Koscinski, D., Padial, J. M., Chaparro, J. C., Handford, P., Lougheed, S. C., & Riva, I. (2010). Systematics of Andean gladiator frogs of the Hypsiboas pulchellus species group (Anura, Hylidae). Zoologica Scripta, 39(6), 572-590. doi:10.111/j.1463-6409.2010.00448.x  

Figure 3 displays the beauty of the panda.

Figure 3A ponderous panda.  Reprinted from National Geographic by S. Pradhan, 2016, Retrieved from

Pradhan, S. (2016) A ponderous panda [Photograph]. Retrieved from

Figure 4.  Perugini, C. E. (1878 ) Girl reading. From Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester.  Retrieved from Reprinted with permission.

Reference List

Perugini, C. E. (1878) Girl Reading. [Painting] Retrieved from Reprinted with permission.

A caption should include

  • The word Figure (with a capital letter and in italics)
  • A number (from 1, in numerical order)
  • A title for the figure or brief description of the work
  • If the title is standalone then put in italics but if part of a greater work then do not.
  • An in text citation for the reference of the source (if not your own work), which includes the Author(s), date and page number for the source, i.e. (Smith, 2010, p.13)

Note that if you modify or create a table from raw data found elsewhere e.g. Central Statistics Office then you should replace the word 'Reprinted' with 'Adapted'.

Similiar to Figures you could in theory be mentioning the Table 4 times;

  • List of Tables (always different to list of Figures)
  • Intext Citation
  • Caption
  • Reference List

Intext Citation

According to the CSO (Table 1) only 17% of all age groups have not used the internet between 2010 and 2015.

Title above the Table:

Table 1 Descriptive title, e.g. Table 1 When People last used the Internet by Age Group in Ireland.

Caption/Label below table

Note. From 'When people last used the internet by age group'. Copyright 2014 by Central Statistics Office. Reprinted with permission.

Reference List:

Central Statistics Office (2014) 'When people last used the internet by age group' [Table] Retrieved from

  • Tables are different to Figures in that they are normally in a row-column structure.
  • All tables must be referred to in text.
  • The information that should appear in the Note below the table must include the following: Reprinted from Title of Work, by Author.  Retrieved from....Date of Copyright by Copyright Holder.
  • This work must have a full bibliographic entry in your Reference List even though the information in the Note field uses a lot of the same information.

If in doubt check with me at

Loading ...