figures and tables
A table usually shows numerical values (e.g., means and standard deviations) and/or textual information (e.g., lists of stimulus words, responses from participants) arranged in columns and rows. A figure may be a chart, graph, photograph, drawing, plot, infographic, or any other illustration that is not a table.
The goal of any table or figure is to help readers understand your work. The best tables and figures are also attractive and accessible to all users. The APA Style guidelines for tables and figures help ensure your visual displays are formatted clearly and consistently, thus contributing to the goal of effective communication.
In papers written for classes and submitted to journals, every table and figure should include a caption, honoring these common practices:
- The caption for a figure appears below the graphic; for a table, above. It is easy to get this wrong accidentally.
- Typically, boldface or underscore the word “Figure” or “Table” and the associated number in the caption, then present the caption in plain text with only the initial letter of the caption and any proper names in the caption capitalized (see example below).
- Always concentrate on completeness and concreteness as you caption figures and tables. “Figure 3: Air flow” is far less illuminating and accurate than the following: