APA Style for Figures and Tables (4-12)


The 6th edition APA Style Guide gives
us guidelines for how to format figures and tables. We are going to learn how
tables and figures are to be labeled and titled for publication, or for a class
paper. They are different from each other, and those horizontal lines on the
table are called “rules”. Of course, there are some rules about rules. Tables are a
visual display of data. They can show lots of data in a little space. The lines
on the table are called “rules.” At a minimum, you need one rule across the
width of the top of the table, and one rule across the width of the bottom of
the table. Typically, however, you will see a third
rule across the width of the first row of the table, There are never any
vertical lines in APA tables. And, as with all text in APA style document, the font
is black. Times New Roman is preferred. You should use black lines for your
rules. Color is never used in APA style. So here are the rules for rules: at the
least, you need a top and a bottom. Although adding a third is pretty common.
Stay horizontal – never vertical. And black lines matter. All graphs charts,
histograms, drawings, sketches of an apparatus, pictures, bar napkin scrawls,
any other visual depiction is called a “figure.” Figures include any visual
depiction that is not a table. Both tables and figures are consecutively
numbered, but tables and figures are numbered independently. So you may have
Table 1, Table 2, Figure 1, then Table 3, Figure 2, etc. When labeling
tables in APA style, the label for a table goes above the table. Start with a
capital T “Table” and then the table number. There is no period following the
table number. Now create a new line. The title of the table is in title case. All
words are capitalized, except for unimportant words like a, an, and the. Put
the title of the table in italics and the title is left-justified, meaning that
it is hard against the left margin, not centered or right justified. And it does
not end with a period. If the title of the table extends to a second line, that
line is not indented. When labeling figures in APA style, the label for the
figure goes below the figure. Underneath your figure, type capital F “Figure” and
then the figure number, followed by a period. The figure number and period are all
in italics. Leave one space and on the same line, continue by typing the title
of the figure in sentence case. Only the first word and any proper nouns are
capitalized. As with tables, the title of the figure is left-justified and does
not end with a period. Compare the figure and the table here and notice the
difference in the formatting between them. If you plan to use a figure from
SPSS for a thesis dissertation or publication, there are some additional
tricks that you should know about formatting figures. As a rule, SPSS output
is NEVER in APA style. It always requires some degree of formatting. For graphs
especially, the SPSS defaults must be changed to conform to APA style. Now you know how to label and title both
tables and figures for publication or class papers. If you want to learn more
about creating tables in APA style, I have another video that covers that
topic in depth.

22 Replies to “APA Style for Figures and Tables (4-12)

  1. I thank you so much. I have both an electronic and paper copy of APA 6th addition but still there is a lack of APA statistical style including tables and figures. Love it!!!!

  2. Excellent video. One which I wish I had watched at the start of my PhD. Would highly recommend this video to all PhD and research students.

  3. Thank you for this video. However there seems to be a discrepancy between the information in this video and the APA manual. Page 171 of the manual has the figure title at the top of the figure not the bottom. Can you tell me which is correct please?

  4. If the figure has a source (author/data), does it go below (in a new line) the title? And what about the font sizes of the figure labels and captions?

  5. I'm trying to format a kind of a complicated table, can I use more rules. Is there a limit for the number of horizontal lines?

  6. Good information, but the statement “black lines matter” is offensive and I’m quite surprised that a professor wouldn’t know that. Did you not think blacks were smart enough to need this information or do you just not respect all students?

  7. Good presentation but these rules piss me the hell of. Completely artificial nonsense (especially considering there are dozens of style guidelines) that sucks up time researching these petty rules for every last detail of your document that could be spent on things that actually matter…. "use title case here", "use sentence case there", "words longer than 5 letters get capitalized, even though they are propositions… because I say they do", "use italics there", "don't use color, because… reasons!", "put a period", "don't put a period!", "first give the first name then the last name for editors, and don't abbreviate the first name", "first give the last name, then the first name for authors. But abbreviate the first name!" … Stupid.

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