Skip to main content Rasmussen College Online Library

APA Guide

Citing Tables, Graphs, & Images

Figures, including charts, graphs, and images, are cited differently than other source material. Before including an image, chart or graph in your paper, consider the following:

  • Does the image, chart, or graph increase understanding of the material presented in the research paper or is it redundant?
  • Does the image, chart, or graph distract from the information being presented in the research paper?
  • Is the image, chart, or graph easy to interpret?
  • Is the image, chart, or graph mentioned within the text of the paper?

An image is accompanied by a caption that contains the following elements:

1) Figure #

  • Should be italicized.
  • The number will reflect if it is the first (1), second (2), third (3), etc., figure in the paper.

2) Caption

  • In your caption, you should briefly explain what the figure is about and how it connects to the content of the paper. The caption information should allow the figure to stand alone.

3) Citation    

  • Rasmussen allows you to insert the words: Taken from: followed by a copy of your reference item entry from NoodleTools. Do not use a hanging indent in this case. 

4) Copyright

  • APA suggests that you use its official copyright permission wording based on the type of source used. The wording switches the normal order of a reference item entry. See Section 2.12 of the Publication Manual if you choose to use this method.
  • Copyright date and the name of copyright holder, if available.


Figure 1.  A photo of the “green flash,” an optical phenomena that many people do not believe is real.  Taken from:  Lepp, G. D. (n.d.). Green flash at sunset [Photograph]. Retrieved from Encyclopedia Britannica Image Quest database. Copyright 2012 by Photo Researchers.