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MLA Citation Guide: Images, Artwork, Charts, Graphs & Tables

This guide shows you how to cite references in current (9th edition) MLA style

Is it a Figure or a Table?

There are two types of material you can insert into your assignment: figures and tables.

A figure is a photo, image, map, graph, or chart.

A table is a table of information.

For a visual example of each, see the figure and table to the right.

Still need help?

For more information on citing figures in MLA, see Purdue OWL.

Tips for Incorporating Images

Reproducing Images, Charts, Tables & Graphs

​Reproducing happens when you copy or recreate a photo, image, chart, graph, or table that is not your original creation. If you reproduce one of these works in your assignment, you must create a note (or "caption") underneath the photo, image, chart, graph, or table to show where you found it.

If you do not refer to it anywhere else in your assignment, you do not have to include the citation for this source in a Works Cited list.

Citing Information from an Image, Chart, Table or Graph

If you refer to information from a photo, image, chart, graph, or table but do not reproduce it in your paper, your in-text and Works Cited citations will be for the source it came from.

Figure Numbers

The word figure should be abbreviated to Fig. Each figure should be assigned a figure number, starting with number 1 for the first figure used in the assignment. E.g. Fig. 1.

Table Numbers

Each table should be assigned a table number, starting with number 1 for the first table used in the assignment. e.g. Table 1.

Title

Images may not have a set title. If this is the case give a description of the image where you would normally put the title.

Photo, Image, Graph, Chart, or Table

If you refer to information from a photo, image, chart, graph, or table but do not reproduce it in your paper, your in-text and Works Cited citations will be for the source it came from.

Examples:

If you refer to information from a table in an article in National Geographic magazine, you would cite the entire magazine article. For more information on how to cite magazine articles, refer to the Handbook's section 2.109, pp. 70-71.

If you refer to a photo that is posted on a webpage, you would cite the entire webpage. For more information on how to cite websites, and when a website is or is not a container, refer to the Handbook's section 5.34, pp. 136-136.

Photo, Image, Graph, or Chart - Inserted into Assignment (Figure)

An inserted photo, image, graph or chart is called a figure. You must create a caption for it, directly below the photo/image/graph/chart in your assignment. The caption follows this format:

Fig. #. Description of the figure from: Citation for source figure was found in (e.g. a website, a magazine article).

 

Note: If you have more than one figure in your assignment, label your figures starting at 1.

If you do not refer to it anywhere else in your assignment, you do not have to include the citation for this source in a Works Cited list.

 

Example:

Black and white male figure exercising

Fig. 1. Man exercising from: Green, Annie. "Yoga: Stretching Out." Sports Digest, 8 May 2021, p. 22. 

Example:

Yellow printed skirt by designer Annakiki. Faces on skirt.

Fig. 2. Annakiki skirt from: Cheung, Pauline. "Short Skirt S/S/ 15 China Womenswear Commercial Update." WGSN.

Table - Inserted into Assignment

If you insert a table from another source into your assignment, you must create a caption for it directly below the table. Above the table, add a label (Table X) and below this add a description of what information is contained in the table.

The caption follows this format:

Source: Citation for source table was found in (e.g. a website, a journal article).

 

Note: If you have more than one table in your assignment, label your tables starting at 1.

If you do not refer to the table anywhere else in your assignment, you do not need to include the citation for this source in the Works Cited list.

 

Example:

Table 1

Variables in determining victims and aggressors

Table from a journal listing variables in determining victims and aggressors

Source: Mohr, Andrea. "Family Variables Associated With Peer Victimization." Swiss Journal of Psychology, vol65, no. 2, 2021, pp. 107-116, Psychology Collection, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1024/1421-0185.65.2.107.

Artwork from a Book

When you refer to a photographic reproduction of an artwork, the citation is made up of two parts:

  • Part 1: Lists the original artist's name, the name of the work, and the date the work was created. 
  • Part 2: Cites where you found the reproduction of the work such as a book. The example below is for an image taken from a book with a single author. For more information on how to cite books, refer to the Handbook's section 2.107, p. 68 (titles of artworks / visual art).

Artist's Last Name, First Name. Title of Work: Subtitle if Any. Year, Location of Work. Book Title, by Author's Last Name, First Name, Publisher Name often shortened, Year of publication, p. number.

Works Cited List Example  

Da Vinci, Leonardo. Last Supper. 1498, Santa Maria della Grazie, Milan. Great Paintings of the Western World, by Gallup, Alison, et al., Barnes & Noble, 2020, p. 223. 

In-Text Citation Example

(Author's Last Name Page Number)

Example: (Da Vinci 223)

Artwork from an Online Source

When you refer to a photographic reproduction of an artwork, the citation is made up of two parts:

  • Part 1: Lists the original artist's name, the name of the work, and the date the work was created. 
  • Part 2: Cites where you found the reproduction of the work such as a website. The example below is for an image taken from a webpage written by two authors. For more information on how to cite websites, refer to the Handbook's section 2.106, p. 67

If you refer to the information from the artwork but do not reproduce it in your paper, create a citation both in-text and on your Works Cited list.

Artist's Last Name, First Name. Title of Work: Subtitle if Any. Year, Location of Work. "Title of Webpage," by Author's First Name Last Name. Title of Website, Publisher or Sponsoring Organization, Date of publication or last modified date, URL. 

 

Works Cited List Example  

Da Vinci, Leonardo. Last Supper. 1498, Santa Maria della Grazie, Milan. "The Last Supper," by Beth Harris and Steven Zucker, Khan Academy, 2015, www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ap-art-history/early-europe-and-colonial-americas/renaissance-art-europe-ap/a/leonardo-last-supper. 

In-Text Citation Example

(Author's Last Name)

Example: (Da Vinci)

 

If you place the artwork in your paper, you must label the figure. The caption should be the Works Cited list citation for the source the figure was found in. For example, if it was found on a website, cite the website. 

Label your figures starting at 1.

Information about the figure (the caption) is placed directly below the image in your assignment.

Example:

Yellow printed skirt by designer Annakiki. Faces on skirt.

Fig. 1. Da Vinci, Leonardo. Last Supper. 1498, Santa Maria della Grazie, Milan. "The Last Supper," by Harris, Beth and Steven Zucker, Khan Academy, 2015, www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ap-art-history/early-europe-and-colonial-americas/renaissance-art-europe-ap/a/leonardo-last-supper.