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How to Present Tables and Figures in APA Style (7th edition)?

This handout discusses how to present tables and figures in APA style. APA Style offers a specific guideline for formatting tables and figures. In the 7th edition guideline, APA updated the formatting of tables and figures. This article shows how to format numbers, titles, bodies, headings, and notes in APA style.

29.11.2020

How to Present Tables and Figures in APA Style (7th edition)?

This handout discusses how to present tables and figures in APA style. To give you an opportunity to practice your proofreading, we have left a few spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors in the text. See if you can spot them! If you spot the errors correctly, you will be entitled to a 10% discount.

American Physiological Association (APA Styleoffers a specific guideline for formatting tables and figures. In the 7th edition guideline, APA updated the formatting of tables and figures.

Table Setup in APA Style

According to APA style, in formatting tables, the following rules should be followed:

  • Table number should be in plain text and placed above the table.

  • The brief title of the table should be in italics and title case and should be placed below the table number.

  • Table should have no vertical lines and should have as few horizontal lines as possible.

  • Table notes should be included only as needed.

APA Sample Table

Table 1

Cronbach's Alpha Scores for Measurement Models

Measurement models

Number of items

Threshold

Cronbach’s alpha

HRQoL

8

.70

.846

Burnout

12

.70

.982

Job stress

16

.70

.918

Groupthink

18

.70

.852

The following diagram created by American Physiological Association (APA) illustrates the basic table components in APA style.

apa format tables and figures

(Source: APA 7th edition, 6.10.2020)

Table Number

  • The number of the table (e.g., Table 1, Table 2) should appear above the table title.

  • The body should be in boldface, and tables should be numbered in the order in which they are mentioned in the text.

  • Note that APA 7th edition update requires the table numbers in bold

Table Title

  • Each table should have a brief and descriptive title, and the title should be placed in one double-spaced line below the table number.

  •  It should be capitalized and italicized as exemplified below:

Table 2

Numbers of Teachers by Tenure

Table Heading

  • Each table should contain a column heading.

  • Besides, some tables may have decked heads, table, and column spanners.

  • Column headings should be centered and capitalized in sentence case.

  • The details of these headings can be found in APA publication manual.

Table Body

  • A table body should include all the rows and columns, including the heading row.

  • As mentioned earlier, an APA formatted table should have no vertical lines. It should have as few horizontal lines as possible.

  • The body can be single-spaced, double-spaced, or one-and-a-half-spaced.

  • APA suggests that the information in the leftmost column or stub column of the table body should be left-aligned, while the heading should be centered.

  • It also suggests that the information in all other cells be centered. However, when you think left-aligning the information would improve the readability, then it can be left-aligned. It is especially important when those cells include lots of text.

Table Notes

  • When necessary, notes explaining the table should be added below the table. Notes should be included when adding them is necessary to understand the data presented in your table.

  • As emphasized by APA 7th edition, ‘‘three types of notes (general, specific, and probability) appear below the table as needed to describe contents of the table that cannot be understood from the table title or body alone (e.g., definitions of abbreviations, copyright attribution, explanations of asterisks used to indicate p values)’’ (APA 7th edition, 2020).

Figure Setup in APA Style

According to APA style, in formatting figures, the following rules should be followed:

  • Figure number should be in plain text, boldface, and placed above the figure.

  • The brief title of the figure should be in italic and title case and should be placed below the figure number.

  • Figure notes should be included when necessary and appear below the figure.

  • Notes come in three types of notes as they would be for tables: general, specific, and probability notes.

APA Sample Figure

Figure 1

The Number of Private Schools by Districts

apa format tables and figures

The following diagram created by American Physiological Association (APA) illustrates the basic figure components in APA style.

apa format tables and figures

(Source: APA 7th edition, 6.10.2020)

Figure Number

  • The number of the figure (e.g., Figure 1, Figure 2) appears above the figure and should be in boldface.

  • Figures should be numbered in the order in which they are mentioned in the text.

  • Note that APA 7th edition requires the figure numbers in bold

Figure Title

  • A figure should have a brief and descriptive title, and the title should be placed one double-spaced line below the figure number.

  • The title should be capitalized and italicized as exemplified below:

Figure 2

The Number of Private Schools by Districts

Image

  • A graph, chart, photograph, drawing, or other illustration consists of the image portion of a figure.

  • APA guide suggests that when the text appears in the image of the figure, a sans serif font between 8 and 14 points should be adopted.

Figure Legend

  • When the figures have legends, they should be positioned within the borders of the figure.

  • They should explain any symbols used in the figure image.

  • Words in the legend should be capitalized in title case.

Table Notes

  • When necessary, notes explaining the figure should be added below the table.

  •  Notes should be included when adding them is necessary to clarify and describe the content of the figure.

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apa format tables and figures

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