A. One Author or EditorB. Two Authors or EditorsC. Three to Five Authors or EditorsD. Chapter in an Edited Book or TextbookE. Entry in a dictionary or encyclopediaF. No AuthorG. E-BookH. Edition other than the FirstI. TranslationJ. Government Publication
A. Journal Article with One AuthorB. Journal Article with Two AuthorsC. Journal Article with 3 - 6 AuthorsD. Journal Article with more than 7 authorsE. Magazine ArticleF. Newspaper ArticleG. Article from a DatabaseH. Google Scholar
A. Basic Web PageB. University / College WebpageC. No AuthorD. Blog postE. Online Reference EntryF. Online Government DocumentG. Document from a WebsiteH. Wikis
A. Motion PictureB. YouTube VideoC. Podcast
A. Electronic ImageB. FiguresC. Photographs and Maps
A. InterviewB. EmailC. Religious and Classical WorksD. Secondary SourcesE. Lectures / Course MaterialsF. Archival WorksG. Tweets & FacebookH. Personal Communication
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Last Updated: Jun 9, 2017 URL: http://cotr.libguides.com/apa Print Guide RSS Updates

Images, Tables, etc. Print Page

About Citing Images & Art

There are no guidelines for paintings, sculptures, or more complicated installations.

A good reference contains enough information to lead your reader to the source you used, as concisely as possible.

At a minimum, this should include the artist’s name, year(s) of fabrication, title of the work, any other necessary or relevant information (such as the medium), and the location of the work.


It is important to note that the guidelines available in the APA manual are relatively limited.  We have analysed  the guidelines closely, contacted the APA Style Editor and consulted the APA blog to provide the following guidance.

In this guide the word figure refers to all images including, Photographs, Paintings, Drawings, Charts, Diagrams, Graphs, Tables, etc

Any image used in your assignment requires a caption. If the image is not your own work it also requires an intext citation to the original source.

A caption should include

  • The word Figure with a capital letter
  • A number (from 1, in numerical order)
  • A title for the figure or brief description of the work
  • 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) 

If you got the image from

  • A BOOK, reference it as you would a quotation from a book
  • A JOURNAL, reference as you would a quotation from a journal
  • A WEB PAGE, reference it as you would a quotation from a web page

Citing Images: Basic Guidelines

Not only must you attend to copyright levels, you must find information that is often hidden.  Use these points as basic guidelines when citing images in your assignments, papers, and presentations:

  • Use consistent and and sequential figure numbering throughout your work, usually abbreviated as "Fig. 1" for example.
  • Include artist's name (lastname, firstname), date (in parentheses), title of work, and work type (in brackets).
  • Medium and measurements and institution which houses the work may be included after the work type.
  • Include the source from which the image came
  • For books, start with "From" followed by an italicized title, page number in parentheses, "by" the author, followed by date and publication information
  • For electronic resources, start with "Retrieved" and include retrieval date (month day, year) and "from: " followed by the URL.
  • Be consistent with caption display choices throughout your paper or slideshow.

Some examples:

Image scanned from a book reproduced in a text

Fig. 1. Neel, Alice (1975) Nancy and the Rubber Plant, [painting], oil on canvas,

         203.4 x 91.4 cm. From Alice Neel (pg. 144) edited by Ann Temkin, 2000,

         New York: Harry N. Abrams.

Image downloaded from ARTstor reproduced in a text
Fig. 2. Weyden, Rogier van der (1430-1432) Saint Catherine of Alexandria, [diptych panel].
         Retrieved September 30, 2009 from ARTstor: http://www.artstor.org
Image downloaded from a museum website reproduced in a text
Fig. 3. Caravaggio (ca. 1600) The Denial of Saint Peter, [painting]. Retrieved September 29,
         2009 from The Metropolitan Museum of Art website: http://www.metmuseum.org
Image downloaded from Flickr Commons reproduced in a text
Fig. 4. Eakins, Thomas (1891) William Rudolf O'Donovan, [photograph]. Archives of American
         Art, Smithsonian institution. Retrieved September 29, 2009 from Flickr Commons:
Image downloaded from Flickr (personal images uploaded by others) reproduced in a text
Fig. 5. harshilshah100 (2009) Vienna - Rathaus, [digital image]. Retrieved October 9, 2009
         from Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/harshilshah/3823135957

Image etc. taken from a book source

 Under Image

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


Fowler, M. Restraint and handing of wild and domestic animals

         Ames, IA: Wiley Blackwell.

Image taken from a journal

Under Image

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


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 groug (Annuar, Hylidae). Zoologica Scripta, 39(6), 572-590. 


Image taken from the internet

Under Image

Figure 3. Fantail vector (McMillan, 2009).


McMillan, T. (2009). Fantail vector. Retrieved from http://www.kiwiwise.co.nz/

Learn More

The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University offers an online resource which can be used in some cases.  However, it does not include everything required for citing sources in one place.

The APA citation style does not cover Canadian government sources, and has only a limited section on American government resources.

Please refer to the staff at the Library Reference Desk for clarification when citing Canadian government sources.


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