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MLA Citation Guide (MLA 9th Edition): Charts, Graphs, Images, and Tables

  • Understanding Core Elements
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  • Writing an Annotated Bibliography
  • Academic Honesty and Citation
  • In-Text Citation
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  • Charts, Graphs, Images, and Tables
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  • In Digital Assignments
  • When Information Is Missing
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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, visit  Purdue OWL .

Reproducing Figures and Tables

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 a Photo, Image, Chart, Graph, or Table

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

If the information is part of another format, for example a book, magazine article, encyclopedia, etc., cite the work it came from. For example if information came from a table in an article in National Geographic magazine, you would cite the entire magazine article.

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.

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.

A figure refers to a chart, graph, image or photo. This is how to cite figures.

The caption for a figure begins with a description of the figure followed by the complete citation for the source the figure was found in. For example, if it was found on a website, cite the website. If it was in a magazine article, cite the magazine article.

  • Label your figures starting at 1.
  • Information about the figure (the caption) is placed directly below the image in your assignment.
  • If the image appears in your paper the full citation appears underneath the image (as shown below) and does not need to be included in the Works Cited List. If you are referring to an image but not including it in your paper you must provide an in-text citation and include an entry in the Works Cited.

Black and white male figure exercising

Fig. 1. Man exercising from: Green, Annie. "Yoga: Stretching Out." Sports Digest,  8 May 2006, p. 22. 

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.

Images: More Examples

In the works cited examples below, the first one is seeing the artwork in person, the second is accessing the image from a website, the third is accessing it through a database, and the last example is using an image from a book.

Viewing Image in Person

Hopper, Edward. Nighthawks . 1942, Art Institute of Chicago.

Accessing Image from a Website

Hopper, Edward. Nighthawks . 1942. Art Institute of Chicago, www.artic.edu/aic/collections/artwork/111628 . 

Note : Notice the period after the date in the example above, rather than a comma as the other examples use. This is because the date refers to the painting's original creation, rather than to its publication on the website. It is considered an "optional element." 

Accessing Image from a Database

Hopper, Edward. Nighthawks . 1942, Art Institute of Chicago.  Artstor , https://library.artstor.org/#/asset/AWSS35953_35953_41726475 .

Using an Image from a Book

Hopper, Edward. Nighthawks . 1942, Art Institute of Chicago. Staying Up Much Too Late: Edward Hopper's Nighthawks and the Dark Side of the American Psyche , by Gordon Theisen, Thomas Dunne Books, 2006, p. 118.

Above the table, label it beginning at Table 1, and add a description of what information is contained in the table.

The caption for a table begins with the word Source, then the complete Works Cited list citation for the source the table was found in. For example, if it was found on a website, cite the website. If it was in a journal article, cite the journal article.

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

If the table is not cited in the text of your assignment, you do not need to include it in the Works Cited list.

Variables in determining victims and aggressors

Source: Mohr, Andrea. "Family Variables Associated With Peer Victimization." Swiss Journal of Psychology,  vol .  65, no. 2, 2006, pp. 107-116.  Psychology Collection , doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1024/1421-0185.65.2.107.

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Citation guides

All you need to know about citations

How to cite a graph in MLA

MLA graph citation

It is common practice to cite the work the graph has been published in and provide the page number in the in-text citation. In case the graph has not been published in a journal article, book, or book chapter, but is rather found online take a look at our MLA photo citation guides below.

MLA citation format for a graph

  • Google Docs

To cite a graph in a reference entry in MLA style 8th edition include the following elements:

  • Author: Give the last name and name as presented in the source (e. g. Watson, John). For two authors, reverse only the first name, followed by ‘and’ and the second name in normal order (e. g. Watson, John, and John Watson). For three or more authors, list the first name followed by et al. (e. g. Watson, John, et al.)
  • Title of the graph: Titles are italicized when independent. If part of a larger source add quotation marks and do not italize.
  • Year of publication: Give the year of publication as presented in the source.
  • Title of website: If the name of an academic press contains the words University and Press, use UP e.g. Oxford UP instead of Oxford University Press. If the word "University" doesn't appear, spell out the Press e.g. MIT Press.
  • URL: Copy URL in full from your browser, include http:// or https:// and do not list URLs created by shortening services.

Here is the basic format for a reference list entry of a graph in MLA style 8th edition:

Author . Title of the graph . Year of publication . Title of website , URL .

  • Author(s) of the book: Give the last name and name as presented in the source (e. g. Watson, John). For two authors, reverse only the first name, followed by ‘and’ and the second name in normal order (e. g. Watson, John, and John Watson). For three or more authors, list the first name followed by et al. (e. g. Watson, John, et al.)
  • Title of the book:
  • Publisher: If the name of an academic press contains the words University and Press, use UP e.g. Oxford UP instead of Oxford University Press. If the word "University" doesn't appear, spell out the Press e.g. MIT Press.

Author(s) of the book . Title of the book Publisher , Year of publication .

Take a look at our works cited examples that demonstrate the MLA style guidelines in action:

Graph citation from a digital source

Masoud, Carla . Social media usage in young adults . 2017 . Psych Publish , psychology-now.org/graphs/social-media-stats/ .

Graph citation from a book

Devito, Roberto . Cheese consumption in the USA . Chicago Publishing , 2021 .

How to do an in-text citation for a graph in MLA

When citing a graph in-text using the MLA style, you'll use the surname of the creator followed by the page number in parentheses.

In practice, you can expect your graph's in-text citation to be in this format (Author, Page Number) .

If you were to cite a graph from a book, the graph should be cited in-text using the creator's name, along with the corresponding year of publication.

Citation of a graph from a book on page 193

Survey showed that 80% of high-school students were sleep-deprived (Eid, 193) .

If the creator is not mentioned, you can place the graph's title or description instead.

Citation of a graph from a source with no creator

Zinc was found to be one of the most prevalent heavy metals in the Nile River ("Levels of heavy metals in the Nile River", 198) .

If the graph is found online, do not list a page number.

Citation of a graph found online

It is estimated that 60% of start-ups go bankrupt in the first 10 years (Eid) .

mla cover page

This citation style guide is based on the MLA Handbook (9 th edition).

More useful guides

  • Citing Images in MLA 8th Edition
  • MLA Style Center Citing online images

More great BibGuru guides

  • MLA: how to cite a book chapter
  • AMA: how to cite a software manual
  • MLA: how to cite a PhD thesis

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Citation Guide (MLA 9th Edition) UNDER CONSTRUCTION

  • Images, Charts, Graphs, Maps & Tables
  • Title of source
  • Title of container
  • Contributor
  • Publication date
  • Supplemental Elements
  • Advertisements
  • Books, eBooks & Pamphlets
  • Class Notes & Presentations
  • Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
  • Government Documents

Image From a Library Database

Image from a wgsn report, work of art in a museum, gallery, etc., reproduction of a work of art in a museum, gallery, etc., image from social media (e.g. instagram, flickr, etc.), image from website or blog, image from another works cited source, image from an article or book, table inserted into a research paper.

  • Interviews and Emails (Personal Communications)
  • Journal Articles
  • Magazine Articles
  • Newspaper Articles
  • Religious Texts
  • Social Media
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Videos & DVDs
  • When Information Is Missing
  • Works Quoted in Another Source
  • In-Text Citations
  • Sample Works Cited List
  • Sample Annotations This link opens in a new window
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Is It a Figure or a Table?

A figure is a photo, image, map, graph, or chart inserted into your research paper.

A table is a table of information inserted into your research paper.

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

Non-MLA Captions

Need help captioning or citing images outside of the academic context?

Check out Fair Use: Using Images for information on how to caption someone else's image on your own website.

Generic Image Credit Format:

"Title" by A. Creator, via source (photo attribution).

"Mt. Fuji" by Yayoi Kusama, via Art + Auction vol. 34, no. 4, Nov. 2010.

Skirt by Annakiki, via WGSN.

"Angel's Flight" by Millard Sheets, via LACMA .

Beatrice Took a Photo! by mstornadox, via Tumblr .

Six Apple logos from 1976 to now, via Rob Janoff (© RobJanoff 2012).

Man stretching, via Sports Digest , 8 May 2006.

Zaha Hadid's notebooks, via "Zaha Hadid" (photo Luke Hayes).

On This Page

  • Image from a Library Database
  • Image from a WGSN Report
  • Work of Art
  • Reproduction of a Work of Art
  • Image from Social Media
  • Image from a Website or Blog
  • Using Captions Outside the Academic Context
  • MLA Formatting of Tables and illustrations Shows numbering and citation options for tables, images, and musical scores

Reproducing Figures and Tables

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.

When to Add to the Works Cited List

If the image appears in your paper and the full citation appears in the caption, it does not need to be included in the Works Cited List. If the full caption is not included in the figure's caption, include an entry in the Works Cited List.

If you are referring to an image but not including it in your paper, you must provide an in-text citation and include an entry in the Works Cited List.

If you have trouble finding specific information about an image, cite the entire book, magazine article, web site, etc. where you found it. For example if information came from a table in an article in National Geographic magazine, you would cite the entire magazine article and add the relevant page number to the caption or in-text citation.

Figure and Table 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. For example, Fig. 1 .

Do not abbreviate the word table. Each Table should be assigned a table number, starting with number 1 for the first table used in the assignment. For example, Table 1

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. Do not italicize or put this description in quotes.

Creator's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Image." Title of Journal , vol. Volume Number, Publisher Name, Date of Publication, pp. First Page - Last Page. Name of Database . 

For captions, use: Fig. #. Description of figure: from Citation.

For in-text citations, use (Fig. #) or (Creator's Last Name)

 Note : While MLA 8th edition recommends including URLs, they can be left out when citing a work found in a library database. Accessed date is also optional.

Creator or Company or Brand. Short Description from "Title of Report." Report by Author's First Name Last Name, Date of Publication. WGSN . 

Creator's Last Name, First Name. Title of Work. Date of Composition or Publication, Medium, Repository, City.

For captions, use: Fig. #. Title by artist, Citation.

If you are discussing a specific reproduction or version of a work of art, add information about where you found the image.

Creator's Last Name, First Name. Title of Work. Date of Composition or Publication, Medium, Repository, City. Title of Book or Web Site , Edition information, Contributors, Publisher, p. Page Number, URL. Accessed Date.

For captions, use: Fig. #. Description of figure: Citation.

Creator's Last Name, First Name (Username). "Title of Digital Image." Title of Website , Other Contributors, Version, Number, Publisher/Platform, Date of Publication, URL. Accessed date.

For captions, use: Fig. #. Description from: Citation.

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article." Title of Website , Other Contributors, Version, Number, Publisher/Platform, Date of Publication, URL. Accessed date.

For in-text citations, use (Fig. #) or (Author's Last Name) or  ("Words from Title or Article") .

If you are citing an image from a source already included on your Works Cited list, you do not need to list it again. Instead, use the appropriate in-text citation and add the specific page number, when available.

For captions, use: Fig. #. Description (Author's Last Name Page Number) or ("Title of Article" Page Number) .

For in-text citations, use (Fig. #) or (Author's Last Name Page Number) or ("Title of Article" Page Number)

Articles: Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article." Title of Journal , Other Contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Date of Publication, p. Page Numbers.

Books: Author's Last Name, First Name. Title of Book , Edition, Publisher, Year of Publication.

Table # Label/description <TABLE GOES HERE> Source: Citation.

For in-text citations, use (Table #)

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Citing tables, figures & images: MLA (9th ed.) citation guide

how to cite a graph in an essay mla

This guide is based on the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 9th ed. and provides selected citation examples for common types of sources.

For more detailed information, please consult the full manual: available in print and online .

Referring to a table/figure/image, and inserting a table/figure/image have different guidelines; both will be covered in this section.

See pages 6-8 (section 1.7) in the Handbook for more information on citing tables and illustrations. 

For information on how to cite images on social media sites, see Citing websites and other online media .

Referring to visual materials

To refer to a table, figure, image etc. that is within a larger work, cite using normal MLA formatting with author, title, etc.

For example, if you are citing an image from an article, your works cited would be for the entire article. The in-text citation should clearly indicate the work you are referring to.

Image of a painting found in an edited print book

Parenthetical (in-text).

Evidence of an abstract portrait can be seen Lassnig’s 1948 painting The Reader (54).

Works cited

Lassnig, M. The Reader. Maria Lassnig - ways of being , edited by Beatrice von Bormann, Antonia Hoerschelmann, and Klaus Albrecht Schröder, 1948, p.54.

Table, found in an online journal article

It is within table 1 that we can see the breakdown of how big the sample size was per year (Riddell and Riddell 337).

Riddell, Chris, and W. Craig Riddell. “Interpreting Experimental Evidence in the Presence of Postrandomization Events: A Reassessment of the Self-Sufficiency Project.” Journal of Labor Economics , vol. 38, no. 4, Oct. 2020, pp. 873–914. https://doi.org/10.1086/706513.

Inserting visual materials into your work

According to the MLA guidelines, the use of tables/images/visual material in the body of your paper should be used sparingly . Determine if this medium will best suit your purposes and consider that an image is not a substitute for an explanation, but rather something that may enhance the reading of your paper. 

Place tables and illustrations as close as possible to the related text. Here are the key rules for inserting tables and other visual materials in your text:

  • Above the table, label and number the table (e.g. Table 1, Table 2) on its own line
  • Capitalize the title and the table.
  • Place the source of the table and any notes in a caption immediately below the table, and double space throughout. 
  • Do not capitalize the word ‘table’ when referring to it in your writing.

 Images and other visuals:

  • E.g. a picture, map, diagram, graph, chart, etc.
  • Musical illustrations are an exception: they are labeled "Ex" (short for example) instead of “Fig".
  • Include a caption below the image that includes key information, or is a full citation.
  • May be the full citation, or it can be shortened to the key information (using commas); the full citation can be found in the works cited list.
  • If you provide full bibliographic details, punctuate the caption like a works cited entry, but do not invert the name of the author.
  • If the caption provides complete information about the source and it is not cited anywhere else in the text, no works cited entry is needed.

An inserted table

In the 1992 sample, (see table 1) 9601 people were interviewed, a number which decreased to 6309 people in 2006 (Platt et al., 2010).

Table in body or paper

Sample Attrition by Year and Number of Interviews Completed, for Panel A and B

Table 1

Alyssa Platt et al. “Alcohol-Consumption Trajectories and Associated Characteristics Among Adults Older Than Age 50.” Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs , vol. 71, no. 2, Mar. 2010, pp. 169–79, table 1, https://doi.org/10.15288/jsad.2010.71.169.

Platt, Alyssa et al. “Alcohol-Consumption Trajectories and Associated Characteristics Among Adults Older Than Age 50.” Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, vol. 71, no. 2, Mar. 2010, pp. 169–79, table 1, https://doi.org/10.15288/jsad.2010.71.169.

Photo found online

As illustrated in Three Planets Dance over La Silla (Beletsky), the phenomenon of 'syzygy' is when celestial bodies align in the sky (see fig. 1).

Image in body of paper 

Figure 1

Fig. 1. Yuri Beletsky, Three Planets Dance over La Silla , photograph, 2013.

Works cited 

Beletsky, Yuri. Three Planets Dance over La Silla. European Southern Observatory , 3 June 2013, www.eso.org/public/images/potw1322a/. Accessed 22 Mar. 2019.

Image with full bibliographic information in the caption

Figure 2

Fig. 1 Fred Davis, Haida Angel. Topographies : Aspects of Recent B.C. Art , edited by Grant Arnold, Monika Kin Gagnon, Doreen Jensen. Vancouver Art Gallery, 1996.

Still using MLA 8?

We've now updated our citation guides to MLA 9, but you can still use the printable version of our MLA 8 citation guide. 

Need more help? Check our Ask a Librarian services .

MLA Citation Guide: Images (Figures) & Tables

  • In-Text Citations
  • Books & eBooks
  • Web & Social Media
  • Audiovisual
  • Images (Figures) & Tables
  • Annotated Bibliography

Images (Figures) / Tables: Ground Rules

In MLA style, a 'figure' is "illustrative visual material other than a table—for example, a photograph, map, drawing, graph, or chart" (Behind the Style). A 'table' comprises columns and rows of text and/or numbers.

There are some variations between citing figures and tables, but they both follow the same basic rules. Both have to include a:

  • Label and Number
  • Caption and/or Source Information  

Each of these components is doing something different, and is positioned above and below your figure/table, according to a which type you are using.

Note: Every figure you include has to have a matching entry in your Works Cited list (exceptions explained in "FIGURES" example)

Note: Position your figures or tables as close as possible to the text to which they relate.

Images / Figures: Examples

Below are the four most frequently used forms for citing images (figures). These can be used to create entries in a Works Cited list and/or to provide the appropriate bibliographical materials to accompany figures you might include in your project.

  • Image / Artwork from a Database
  • Image / Artwork from a Website

Artist Lastname, Firstname.  Title of the Artwork . Date of Composition, Name of the Institution that

houses the artwork,  Database,  URL.  (omit http:// or https://)

Lichtenstein , Roy. Foot and Hand . 1964, Roy Lichtenstein Foundation,  Artstor,

library.artstor.org/#/asset/LICHTENSTEIN_1039656284.

In text:  (Lichtenstein)

Follow as the "Image / Artwork from a Database" example, and add:  Accessed Day Month Year.

houses the artwork. URL. (omit http:// or https://)  Accessed Day Month Year.

Gamble, Sidney.   Man on Rope Bridge . 1917, Duke University Libraries:

            Digital Collections. repository.duke.edu/dc/gamble/gamble_060A_32

            Accessed 23 Dec. 2019.

In text:  (Gamble)

  • Physical Work of Art
  • Artwork Reproduced in a Book

Artist Lastname, Firstname.  Title of the Artwork . Date of Composition,

            Name of the Institution that houses the artwork, City of the Institution.

Sargent, John Singer.   Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau).  1883-84,

            Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

In text:   (Sargent)

Follow as for the "Physical Work of Art" example, adding information about the book:

houses the artwork, City of the Institution.  Title of the Book,  Publisher, Date of publication,

Page number(s).

Itten, Johannes.  The Encounter . 1916, Kunsthaus, Zurich.  The Prestel Dictionary of Art and Artists

in the Twentieth Century,  Prestel, 2000, p.165.

In text:  (Itten)

Photographs, artwork, maps, graphs, charts, etc. should be labeled Figure (usually abbreviated as Fig. ), given a number (start at '1' and continue), and a caption . 

Captions can be short, in which case you would add a full citation to your Works Cited list.  However, if the caption includes complete bibliographical information about the source, and the source is not cited elsewhere in your text, you do not have to create an entry in your Works Cited list. Capitalize captions as you would any title in MLA style -- do not use 'all caps'!

Labels and captions for figures are usually:

  • Below the figure
  • Aligned with the left margin, maintaining one inch margins throughout
  • Double-spaced between elements

____________________________________________________________________________

In the example below, because all the citation components are provided, an entry in the Works Cited list would not be needed.  An alternative is to provide a shorter caption:  Fig 1.  Dorothea Lange's "Destitute Pea Pickers ."  This shorter caption would need a full citation in the Works Cited list.

how to cite a graph in an essay mla

Fig. 1. Dorothea Lange. Destitute Pea Pickers in California, a 32-year-old Mother of Seven

Children .  1936, Getty Images ,  www.gettyimages.com/pictures/destitute-pea-pickers-in-california-a- 32-

year-old-mother-of-news-photo-90768141. Accessed 10 Jan. 2020. 

Tables include columns of text and/or numbers. Tables are labeled as 'Table' and given a number, followed by a short title. If desired, a note can be added below the table, and is indicated with a lower case super-script letter, starting with. a

In this case, the bibliographic information is added below the table, starting with the word 'Source:' 

______________________________________________________________________________

Social Media Use Over Time (2013-2019) a

how to cite a graph in an essay mla

Source: "Social Media Fact Sheet: Social Media use Over Time." Pew Research Center, 12 June 2019,

www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/social-media/. Accessed 12 Jan. 2020.

a. This table includes responses for 2013 through 2019 to the question: "How Many Social Media Sites Do You Use?" The complete table lists responses from 2005 through 2019.

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MLA Citation Guide (MLA 8th Edition): Images, Charts, Graphs, Maps & Tables

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  • Figure (Photo, Image, Graph, or Chart)

Image from Microsoft Clip Art

  • Google Map Inserted into a Research Paper

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 .

Reproducing Figures and Tables

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 a Photo, Image, Chart, Graph, or Table

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

If the information is part of another format, for example a book, magazine article, encyclopedia, etc., cite the work it came from. For example if information came from a table in an article in National Geographic magazine, you would cite the entire magazine article.

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.

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.

Seneca Libraries recommends that clip art images from Microsoft programs such as Word and Microsoft PowerPoint not be given a full citation. Instead put a note in-text after the image to specify which software package the clip art image came from, e.g. Image from Microsoft Word 2010.

Figure (Photo, Image, Graph, or Chart) Inserted Into a Research Paper

The caption for a figure begins with a description of the figure, then the complete Works Cited list citation for the source the figure was found in. For example, if it was found on a website, cite the website. If it was in a magazine article, cite the magazine article.

Label your figures starting at 1.

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

If the image appears in your paper the full citation appears underneath the image (as shown below) and does not need to be included in the Works Cited List. If you are referring to an image but not including it in your paper you must provide an in-text citation and include an entry in the Works Cited List.

Fig. 1. Man exercising from: Green, Annie. "Yoga: Stretching Out." Sports Digest,  8 May 2006, p. 22. 

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.

Image Reproduced from Google Maps

Note: This is a Seneca Libraries recommendation.

Fig. X. Description of the figure from: "City, Province." Map,  Google Maps.  Accessed Access Date.

map of Newnham Campus, 404 and Finch

Fig. 1. Map of Newnham Campus, Seneca College from: "Toronto, Ontario." Map,  Google Maps.  Accessed 23 Apr. 2014. 

Table Inserted Into a Research Paper

Source: Citation for source table was found in.

Above the table, label it beginning at Table 1, and add a description of what information is contained in the table.

The caption for a table begins with the word Source, then the complete Works Cited list citation for the source the table was found in. For example, if it was found on a website, cite the website. If it was in a journal article, cite the journal article.

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

If the table is not cited in the text of your assignment, you do not need to include it in the Works Cited list.

Variables in determining victims and aggressors

Source: Mohr, Andrea. "Family Variables Associated With Peer Victimization." Swiss Journal of Psychology,  vol .  65, no. 2, 2006, pp. 107-116, Psychology Collection , doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1024/1421-0185.65.2.107.

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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 .

Abbreviating Months

In your works cited list, abbreviate months as follows: 

January = Jan. February = Feb. March = Mar. April = Apr. May = May June = June July = July August = Aug. September = Sept. October = Oct. November = Nov. December = Dec.

Spell out months fully in the body of your paper. 

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.

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 table in an article in National Geographic magazine, you would cite the entire magazine article. For more information on how to cite magazine articles, look at the  How do I Cite: Magazine Articles  section of this site. 

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, look at the  How do I Cite: Websites section of this site. 

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:

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

Fig. 1.  Man exercising from: Green, Annie. "Yoga: Stretching Out."  Sports Digest,  8 May 2006, p. 22. 

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:

  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.

Variables in determining victims and aggressors

Source: Mohr, Andrea. "Family Variables Associated With Peer Victimization."  Swiss Journal of Psychology,  vol .  65, no. 2, 2006, 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, look at the How do I Cite: Books section of this site. 

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.

Artwork from an Online Source

  • 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, look at the  How do I Cite: Websites section of this site. 

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 Webapge," by  Author's First Name Last Name.   Title of Website,  Publisher or Sponsoring Organization, Date of publication or last modified date, URL. Accessed Day Month Year site was visited .

 Note : Date of access is now optional in MLA 8th edition. If no publication date is included, we recommend including the date you last accessed the site.

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.

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. Accessed 14 July 2018.

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Reproducing vs. Just Citing 

This happens if you only cite information from an image, infographic, chart, table, or graph and do not reproduce it in your paper. If you're only citing information from an image, infographic, Chart, Table or Graph:

  • Provide an in-text citation. Use the citation format of the source where the image is found. (e.g., if you find the image on a website, use the in-text citation of a website). 
  • Cite the image in your Works Cited List. Use the citation format of the source where the image is found. (e.g., if you found the image on a website, cite the website). 

Reproducing happens when you copy or recreate an image, infographic, table, graph, or chart 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. 

Inserting a Table You Reproduced

  • Start by adding a label for your table (e.g., Table 1, bolded and aligned to the left) followed by a description of what information is contained in the table. 
  • Below the table, add the word Adapted from: followed by the full citation for the source where you found the information. For example, if you found the information on a website, use the Works Cited list citation format for citing a website. For sources with individual authors, do not invert the first and last names at the beginning of the citation.
  • If the table is not cited in the text of your assignment, you do not need to include it in your Works Cited list.  

Variables in determining victims and aggressors

Adapted from: Andrea Mohr. "Family Variables Associated With Peer Victimization."  Swiss Journal of Psychology,  vol .  65, no. 2, 2006, pp. 111.  Gale Psychology Collection ,  https://doi.org/10.1024/1421-0185.65.2.107 . PDF download. 

Your Photographs & Images

If you reproduce your own photograph or image in your coursework, you do not need to cite it. However, Simmons Library recommends adding a figure note beneath the image that reads "Photograph by author" or "Image by author."

Inserting a Table You Adapted from Multiple Sources

  • Start by adding a label for your table (e.g., Table 1, bolded) followed by a description of what information is contained in the table. 
  • Below the table, add the word  Adapted from:  followed by the full citation for the sources where you found the information. For example, if you found the information on a website, use the Works Cited list citation format for citing a website. For sources with individual authors, do not invert the first and last names at the beginning of the citation.
  • List your sources in alphabetical order by the author's last name. Separate each source with a semi-colon (;).

Total downloads (in millions) of communication apps Discord, Telegram and WeChat through Apple App store and Google Play store in September 2020

Adapted from: Airnow. "Leading communication apps in the Google Play Store worldwide in September 2020, by number of downloads."  Statista , Oct. 2020.; Airnow. "Leading social networking apps in the Apple App Store worldwide in September 2020, by number of downloads."  Statista , Oct. 2020.

Inserting an Image Reproduced from a Source

If you are recreating visual material which is not a table (e.g., infographic, maps, photo, graph):

  • Under the image, add a figure number (e.g., Fig. 1.) and short description. 
  • Add the full citation after the description. Follow the citation template for your source. For example, if you're citing an infographic from a website, use the template for citing infographics posted on a website. For sources with individual authors, do not invert the first and last names at the beginning of the citation.
  • If the image is not cited in the text of your assignment, you do not need to include it in your Works Cited list.  

Fig. 1. Annie Green. "Yoga: Stretching Out."  Sports Digest,  8 May 2006, p. 22. 

Yellow printed skirt by designer Annakiki. Faces on skirt.

Fig. 2. Pauline Cheung. "Short Skirt S/S/ 15 China Womenswear Commercial Update."  WGSN , 4 June 2016, p. 2. 

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how to cite a graph in an essay mla

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Is It a Figure or a Table?

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You Can Also:

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 .

The caption for a figure begins with a description of the figure, then the complete Works Cited list citation for the source the figure was found in. For example, if it was found on a website, cite the website. If it was in a magazine article, cite the magazine article.

Label your figures starting at 1.

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

If the image appears in your paper the full citation appears underneath the image (as shown below) and does not need to be included in the Works Cited List. If you are referring to an image but not including it in your paper you must provide an in-text citation and include an entry in the Works Cited List.

Fig. 1. Man exercising from: Green, Annie. "Yoga: Stretching Out." Sports Digest,  8 May 2006, p. 22. 

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.

Note: This is a Seneca Libraries recommendation.

Fig. X. Description of the figure from: "City, Province." Map,  Google Maps.  Accessed Access Date.

map of Newnham Campus, 404 and Finch

Fig. 1. Map of Newnham Campus, Seneca College from: "Toronto, Ontario." Map,  Google Maps.  Accessed 23 Apr. 2014. 

Source: Citation for source table was found in.

Above the table, label it beginning at Table 1, and add a description of what information is contained in the table.

The caption for a table begins with the word Source, then the complete Works Cited list citation for the source the table was found in. For example, if it was found on a website, cite the website. If it was in a journal article, cite the journal article.

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

If the table is not cited in the text of your assignment, you do not need to include it in the Works Cited list.

Variables in determining victims and aggressors

Source: Mohr, Andrea. "Family Variables Associated With Peer Victimization." Swiss Journal of Psychology,  vol .  65, no. 2, 2006, pp. 107-116, Psychology Collection , doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1024/1421-0185.65.2.107.

Reproducing Figures and Tables

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 a Photo, Image, Chart, Graph, or Table

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

If the information is part of another format, for example a book, magazine article, encyclopedia, etc., cite the work it came from. For example if information came from a table in an article in National Geographic magazine, you would cite the entire magazine article.

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.

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.

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How to Cite a Graph in a Paper

Last Updated: November 7, 2022 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Megan Morgan, PhD . Megan Morgan is a Graduate Program Academic Advisor in the School of Public & International Affairs at the University of Georgia. She earned her PhD in English from the University of Georgia in 2015. There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 294,293 times.

Sometimes you may find it useful to include a graph from another source when writing a research paper. This is acceptable if you give credit to the original source. To do so, you generally provide a citation under the graph. The form this citation takes depends upon the citation style used in your discipline. Modern Language Association (MLA) style is used by English scholars and many humanities disciplines, while authors working in psychology, the social sciences and hard sciences often use the standards of the American Psychological Association (APA). Other humanities specialists and social scientists, including historians, use the Chicago/Turabian style, and engineering-related fields utilize the standards of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Consult your instructor before writing a paper to determine which citation style is required.

Citing a Graph in MLA Style

Step 1 Refer to the graph in your text.

  • For example, you might refer to a graph showing tomato consumption patterns this way: "Due to the increasing popularity of salsa and ketchup, tomato consumption in the US has risen sharply in recent years (see fig. 1)."

Step 2 Place the caption underneath the graph.

  • Figures should be numbered in the order they appear; your first graph or other illustration is "Fig. 1," your second "Fig. 2," and so on.
  • Do not italicize the word “Figure” or “Fig.” or the numeral.

Step 3 Provide a brief description of the graph.

  • For example, “Fig. 1. Rise in tomato consumption in the US, 1970-2000...”

Step 4 List the author's name.

  • “Fig. 1. Rise in tomato consumption in the US, 1970-2000. Graph from John Green...”

Step 5 Provide the title of the book or other resource.

  • You also italicize the title of a website, such as this: Graph from State Fact Sheets...

Step 6 Include the book's location, publisher, and year inside parentheses.

  • “Fig. 1. Rise in tomato consumption in the US, 1970-2000. Graph from John Green, Growing Vegetables in Your Backyard', (Hot Springs: Lake Publishers, 2002).
  • If the graph came from an online source, follow the MLA guidelines for citing an online source: give the website name, publisher, date of publication, media, date of access, and pagination (if any -- if not, type “n. pag.”).
  • For example, if your graph came from the USDA website, your citation would look like this: “Fig. 1. Rise in tomato consumption in the US, 1970-2000. Graph from State Fact Sheets. USDA. 1 Jan 2015. Web. 4 Feb. 2015. n. pag.”

Step 7 Finish with a page number and the resource format.

  • Fig. 1. Rise in tomato consumption in the US, 1970-2000. Graph from John Green, Growing Vegetables in Your Garden , (Hot Springs: Lake Publishers, 2002), 43. Print." [6] X Research source
  • If you give the complete citation information in the caption, you do not need to also include it in your Works Cited page.

Citing a Graph in APA Format

Step 1 Refer to the figure in your text.

  • For example, you could write: “As seen in Figure 1, tomato consumption has risen sharply in the past three decades.”

Step 2 Place the citation underneath the graph.

  • Figures should be numbered in the order they appear; your first graph or other illustration is Figure 1 , the second is Figure 2 , etc.
  • If the graph has an existing title, give it in “sentence case.” This means you only capitalize the first letter of the first word in the sentence, as well as the first letter after a colon.

Step 3 Provide a brief description of the graph.

  • For example: Figure 1. Rise in tomato consumption,1970-2000.
  • Use sentence case for the description too.

Step 4 Begin your citation information.

  • If the graph you’re presenting is your original work, meaning you collected all the data and compiled it yourself, you don’t need this phrase.
  • For example: Figure 1. Rise in tomato consumption,1970-2000. Reprinted from...

Step 5 List the volume's name, then the page number in parentheses.

  • For example: Figure 1. Rise in tomato consumption,1970-2000. Reprinted from Growing Vegetables in Your Backyard (p. 43),

Step 6 Follow with author, date of publication, location, and publisher.

  • For example: Figure 1. Rise in tomato consumption,1970-2000. Reprinted from Growing Vegetables in Your Backyard (p. 43), by J. Green, 2002, Hot Springs: Lake Publishers.

Step 7 End with copyright information for the graph if you plan to publish the paper.

  • Figure 1. Rise in tomato consumption, 1970-2000. Reprinted from Growing Vegetables in Your Backyard (p. 43), by J. Green, 2002, Hot Springs: Lake Publishers. Copyright 2002 by the American Tomato Growers' Association. Reprinted with permission. [13] X Research source

Citing a Graph Using Chicago/Turabian Standards

Step 1 Place the citation underneath the graph.

  • For example, “Fig. 1. Rise in tomato consumption..."

Step 3 List the graph's author, if available.

  • Fig. 1. Rise in tomato consumption (Graph by American Tomato Growers' Association. In Growing Vegetables in Your Backyard . John Green. Hot Springs: Lake Publishers, 2002, 43). [18] X Research source

Citing a Graph in IEEE Format

Step 1 Provide a title for the graph.

  • If this marks the first time you've used this source, assign it a new number.
  • If you've already used this source, refer back to the original source number.
  • In our example, let's say this is the fifth source used in your paper. Your citation, then, will begin with a bracket and then "5": "[5..."

Step 3 Provide the page number where you found the graph.

  • TOMATO CONSUMPTION FIGURES [5, p. 43].
  • Be sure to list complete source information in your endnotes. [21] X Research source

Community Q&A

Community Answer

You Might Also Like

Cite the WHO in APA

  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_tables_figures_and_examples.html
  • ↑ https://research.moreheadstate.edu/c.php?g=610039&p=4234946
  • ↑ https://otis.libguides.com/mla_citations/images
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/14/
  • ↑ https://aut.ac.nz.libguides.com/APA7th/figures
  • ↑ https://www.lib.sfu.ca/help/cite-write/citation-style-guides/apa/tables-figures
  • ↑ https://guides.himmelfarb.gwu.edu/c.php?g=27779&p=170358
  • ↑ https://graduate.asu.edu/sites/default/files/chicago-quick-reference.pdf
  • ↑ https://guides.unitec.ac.nz/chicagoreferencing/images
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/chicago_manual_17th_edition/cmos_formatting_and_style_guide/general_format.html
  • ↑ https://libguides.dickinson.edu/c.php?g=56073&p=360111
  • ↑ https://guides.lib.monash.edu/c.php?g=219786&p=6610144
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/ieee_style/tables_figures_and_equations.html
  • ↑ https://www.york.ac.uk/integrity/ieee.html

About This Article

Megan Morgan, PhD

To cite a graph in MLA style, refer to the graph in the text as Figure 1 in parentheses, and place a caption under the graph that says "Figure 1." Then, include a short description, such as the title of the graph, and list the authors first and last name, as well as the publication name, with the location, publisher, and year in parentheses. Finish the citation with the page number and resource format, which might be print or digital. If you want to cite a graph in APA, Chicago, or IEEE format, scroll down for tips from our academic reviewer. Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Citing a Photo, Image, Graph, or Chart with MLA

Cite a graph.

The rules for citing a graph are the same for citing a photo, illustration, map, or diagram. Place the image in the body of the essay where it is pertinent to the subject matter, and give the citation after labeling it with "Fig." and a number. Use the numbers consecutively from 1 on.

how to cite a graph in an essay mla

Fig. 1.  Party agree graph from:  McCready, Ryan. "5 Ways Writers Use Misleading Graphs To Manipulate You [INFOGRAPHIC]."  Venngage,  9 Sep 2018. 

Continue to Use Double Spacing

The citation should be double spaced and the only difference should be the notation "Fig." and the number which should be bold with periods after the notation and number as shown here.

example of graph in essay

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Images, Charts, Tables, Graphs - MLA

  • Images Inserted in Essays and Presentations
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Images Inserted in Essays and Visual Presentations

When you insert an image into your essay or visual presentation, you need to provide a caption.

MLA guidelines for illustrative visual material other than tables (photos, maps, graph, chart, line drawing, etc.):

  • Images should be labeled Figure (usually abbreviated Fig.), assigned a numeral and given a caption (information about the source)
  • Type both label and caption directly below the image
  • If the caption provides complete bibliographic information about the source and the source is not otherwise cited in the text, no entry is needed for the source in the works cited list
  • If full bibliographic details are provided in the caption, punctuate the caption like a works-cited entry but do not invert the name of the creator
  • Otherwise, use commas to separate elements in a caption and provide full publication details in the works-cited list

photograph Doreothea_Lange_Toward_LA_1937

Fig.1. Dorothea Lange. Toward Los Angeles, California.  1937. Library of Congress: Farm Security Administration.

Tables Inserted in Essays and Visual Presentations

  • A table is usually labeled Table, numbered and titled
  • Type both label and title on separate lines above the table, capitalize as you would a title (not all caps)
  • Place the source of the table and any notes in a caption immediately below the table (designate notes to the table with lowercase letters rather than numerals)
  • Contents of the table should be double-spaced
  • Use dividing lines as needed for clarity
  • If the caption provides complete bibliographic information about the source and the source is not otherwise cited in the text, no entry is needed for the source in the works cited list

Table 1                                                                                                                                                       Title of Table, Capitalized.

Source information for the table.  If the caption provides complete bibliographic information about the source and the source is not otherwise cited in the text, no entry is needed for the source in the works cited list

  a. Any notes about the information presented in the table. 

Images, Charts, Tables, Graphs Not Inserted but Referred to into Essays & Presentations

If you refer to information from an image, chart, table or graph, but do not insert it in your essay or presentation, create a citation both in-text and on your Works Cited list.

If the information is part of another format, for example a book, magazine article, encyclopedia, etc., cite the work it came from.

  • Example: if information came from a table in an article in National Geographic magazine, you would cite the entire article.
  • Example citation:
  • MLA Style Center - How to Cite an Image Examples for images viewed online, in person and in print.

If you are only making a passing reference to a well known image, you would not have to cite it, e.g. describing someone as having a Mona Lisa smile.

Additional Resources

  • MLA Tables, Figures, and Examples - Purdue Online Writing Lab Examples and guidelines for using visual materials in MLA style.
  • MLA Style Center - Tables and Illustrations Guidelines and examples for incorporating visual images in MLA style.

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MLA Format | Complete Guidelines & Free Template

Published on December 11, 2019 by Raimo Streefkerk . Revised on January 17, 2024 by Jack Caulfield.

The MLA Handbook provides guidelines for creating MLA citations and formatting academic papers. This quick guide will help you set up your MLA format paper in no time.

Start by applying these MLA format guidelines to your document:

  • Times New Roman 12
  • 1″ page margins
  • Double line spacing
  • ½” indent for new paragraphs
  • Title case capitalization for headings

Download Word template Open Google Docs template

(To use the Google Docs template, copy the file to your Drive by clicking on ‘file’ > ‘Make a copy’)

Table of contents

How to set up mla format in google docs, header and title, running head, works cited page, creating mla style citations, headings and subheadings, tables and figures, frequently asked questions about mla format.

The header in MLA format is left-aligned on the first page of your paper. It includes

  • Your full name
  • Your instructor’s or supervisor’s name
  • The course name or number
  • The due date of the assignment

After the MLA header, press ENTER once and type your paper title. Center the title and don’t forget to apply title-case capitalization. Read our article on writing strong titles that are informative, striking and appropriate.

MLA header

For a paper with multiple authors, it’s better to use a separate title page instead.

At the top of every page, including the first page, you need to include your last name and the page number. This is called the “running head.” Follow these steps to set up the MLA running head in your Word or Google Docs document:

  • Double-click at the top of a page
  • Type your last name
  • Insert automatic page numbering
  • Align the content to the right

The running head should look like this:

MLA running head

The Works Cited list is included on a separate page at the end of your paper. You list all the sources you referenced in your paper in alphabetical order. Don’t include sources that weren’t cited in the paper, except potentially in an MLA annotated bibliography assignment.

Place the title “Works Cited” in the center at the top of the page. After the title, press ENTER once and insert your MLA references.

If a reference entry is longer than one line, each line after the first should be indented ½ inch (called a hanging indent ). All entries are double spaced, just like the rest of the text.

Format of an MLA Works Cited page

Generate accurate MLA citations with Scribbr

Prefer to cite your sources manually? Use the interactive example below to see what the Works Cited entry and MLA in-text citation look like for different source types.

Headings and subheadings are not mandatory, but they can help you organize and structure your paper, especially in longer assignments.

MLA has only a few formatting requirements for headings. They should

  • Be written in title case
  • Be left-aligned
  • Not end in a period

We recommend keeping the font and size the same as the body text and applying title case capitalization. In general, boldface indicates greater prominence, while italics are appropriate for subordinate headings.

Chapter Title

Section Heading

Tip: Both Google Docs and Microsoft Word allow you to create heading levels that help you to keep your headings consistent.

Tables and other illustrations (referred to as “figures”) should be placed as close to the relevant part of text as possible. MLA also provides guidelines for presenting them.

MLA format for tables

Tables are labeled and numbered, along with a descriptive title. The label and title are placed above the table on separate lines; the label and number appear in bold.

A caption providing information about the source appears below the table; you don’t need one if the table is your own work.

Below this, any explanatory notes appear, marked on the relevant part of the table with a superscript letter. The first line of each note is indented; your word processor should apply this formatting automatically.

Just like in the rest of the paper, the text is double spaced and you should use title case capitalization for the title (but not for the caption or notes).

MLA table

MLA format for figures

Figures (any image included in your paper that isn’t a table) are also labeled and numbered, but here, this is integrated into the caption below the image. The caption in this case is also centered.

The label “Figure” is abbreviated to “Fig.” and followed by the figure number and a period. The rest of the caption gives either full source information, or (as in the example here) just basic descriptive information about the image (author, title, publication year).

MLA figure

Source information in table and figure captions

If the caption of your table or figure includes full source information and that source is not otherwise cited in the text, you don’t need to include it in your Works Cited list.

Give full source information in a caption in the same format as you would in the Works Cited list, but without inverting the author name (i.e. John Smith, not Smith, John).

MLA recommends using 12-point Times New Roman , since it’s easy to read and installed on every computer. Other standard fonts such as Arial or Georgia are also acceptable. If in doubt, check with your supervisor which font you should be using.

The main guidelines for formatting a paper in MLA style are as follows:

  • Use an easily readable font like 12 pt Times New Roman
  • Set 1 inch page margins
  • Apply double line spacing
  • Include a four-line MLA heading on the first page
  • Center the paper’s title
  • Indent every new paragraph ½ inch
  • Use title case capitalization for headings
  • Cite your sources with MLA in-text citations
  • List all sources cited on a Works Cited page at the end

The fastest and most accurate way to create MLA citations is by using Scribbr’s MLA Citation Generator .

Search by book title, page URL, or journal DOI to automatically generate flawless citations, or cite manually using the simple citation forms.

The MLA Handbook is currently in its 9th edition , published in 2021.

This quick guide to MLA style  explains the latest guidelines for citing sources and formatting papers according to MLA.

Usually, no title page is needed in an MLA paper . A header is generally included at the top of the first page instead. The exceptions are when:

  • Your instructor requires one, or
  • Your paper is a group project

In those cases, you should use a title page instead of a header, listing the same information but on a separate page.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Streefkerk, R. (2024, January 17). MLA Format | Complete Guidelines & Free Template. Scribbr. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/mla/formatting/

Is this article helpful?

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Home / Guides / Citation Guides / MLA Format / How to Cite an Essay in MLA

How to Cite an Essay in MLA

The guidelines for citing an essay in MLA format are similar to those for citing a chapter in a book. Include the author of the essay, the title of the essay, the name of the collection if the essay belongs to one, the editor of the collection or other contributors, the publication information, and the page number(s).

Citing an Essay

Mla essay citation structure.

Last, First M. “Essay Title.” Collection Title, edited by First M. Last, Publisher, year published, page numbers. Website Title , URL (if applicable).

MLA Essay Citation Example

Gupta, Sanjay. “Balancing and Checking.” Essays on Modern Democracy, edited by Bob Towsky, Brook Stone Publishers, 1996, pp. 36-48. Essay Database, www . databaseforessays.org/modern/modern-democracy.

MLA Essay In-text Citation Structure

(Last Name Page #)

MLA Essay In-text Citation Example

Click here to cite an essay via an EasyBib citation form.

MLA Formatting Guide

MLA Formatting

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Citation Examples

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  • Website (no author)
  • View all MLA Examples

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To cite your sources in an essay in MLA style, you need to have basic information including the author’s name(s), chapter title, book title, editor(s), publication year, publisher, and page numbers. The templates for in-text citations and a works-cited-list entry for essay sources and some examples are given below:

In-text citation template and example:

For citations in prose, use the first name and surname of the author on the first occurrence. For subsequent citations, use only the surname(s). In parenthetical citations, always use only the surname of the author(s).

Citation in prose:

First mention: Annette Wheeler Cafarelli

Subsequent occurrences: Wheeler Cafarelli

Parenthetical:

….(Wheeler Cafarelli).

Works-cited-list entry template and example:

The title of the chapter is enclosed in double quotation marks and uses title case. The book or collection title is given in italics and uses title case.

Surname, First Name. “Title of the Chapter.” Title of the Book , edited by Editor(s) Name, Publisher, Publication Year, page range.

Cafarelli, Annette Wheeler. “Rousseau and British Romanticism: Women and British Romanticism.” Cultural Interactions in the Romantic Age: Critical Essays in Comparative Literature , edited by Gregory Maertz. State U of New York P, 1998, pp. 125–56.

To cite an essay in MLA style, you need to have basic information including the author(s), the essay title, the book title, editor(s), publication year, publisher, and page numbers. The templates for citations in prose, parenthetical citations, and works-cited-list entries for an essay by multiple authors, and some examples, are given below:

For citations in prose, use the first name and surname of the author (e.g., Mary Strine).

For sources with two authors, use both full author names in prose (e.g., Mary Strine and Beth Radick).

For sources with three or more authors, use the first name and surname of the first author followed by “and others” or “and colleagues” (e.g., Mary Strine and others). In subsequent citations, use only the surname of the first author followed by “and others” or “and colleagues” (e.g., Strine and others).

In parenthetical citations, use only the author’s surname. For sources with two authors, use two surnames (e.g., Strine and Radick). For sources with three or more author names, use the first author’s surname followed by “et al.”

First mention: Mary Strine…

Subsequent mention: Strine…

First mention: Mary Strine and Beth Radick…

Subsequent mention: Strine and Radick…

First mention: Mary Strine and colleagues …. or Mary Strine and others

Subsequent occurrences: Strine and colleagues …. or Strine and others

…. (Strine).

….(Strine and Radick).

….(Strine et al.).

The title of the essay is enclosed in double quotation marks and uses title case. The book or collection title is given in italics and uses title case.

Surname, First Name, et al. “Title of the Essay.” Title of the Book , edited by Editor(s) Name, Publisher, Publication Year, page range.

Strine, Mary M., et al. “Research in Interpretation and Performance Studies: Trends, Issues, Priorities.” Speech Communication: Essays to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Speech Communication Association , edited by Gerald M. Phillips and Julia T. Wood, Southern Illinois UP, 1990, pp. 181–204.

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MLA (Modern Language Association) Style is most commonly used for papers in the liberal arts and humanities.

QUICK LINKS:  *Links to Purdue OWL MLA 9th Edition*

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Fresno State library MLA Citation Guide (4-page pdf)   *MLA 8th Edition - update pending*

F resno State Library’s MLA Quick Guide is based on the 8th edition. *Only use it if your instructor has specified MLA 8th edition.* The handout is being updated, and you can get the updated information in the print handbook or on the Purdue OWL web site.  TUTORIALS:

MLA Style Essay Format (walks you through the basics of setting up your paper in Word)

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In-text citation

Reference list.

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Audiovisual
  • Books and chapters
  • Government and industry publications
  • Legal sources
  • Theses and course materials
  • Web and social media

Other sources

  • Print this page
  • Other styles AGLC4 APA 7th Chicago 17th (A) Notes Chicago 17th (B) Author-Date Harvard MLA 9th Vancouver
  • Referencing home

(Author's surname Year)

Author's surname (Year)

This was seen in an Australian study (Couch 2017)

Couch (2017) suggests that . . .

  • List the authors names in the same order as they appear in the article.
  • Go to Getting started > In-text citation to view other examples such as multiple authors.

Use tables for exact values and information that is too detailed for the text. Use a table only if there isn't a simpler way to present your content such as a list or a diagram.

Tables should include a caption title row and column headings, information (exact values)

In-text table captions

Use Table 1, Table 2 etc to caption tables.

See the Style Manual section on t ables .

Author A or Name of Agency (Year) Title of data set [data set], Name of Website, accessed DD Month YYYY. URL

National Native Title Tribunal (2014) Native Title determination outcomes [data set], accessed 4 January 2020. data.gov.au/data/dataset/native-title-determination-outcomes

  • If no date, use n.d.

Personal communication and confidential unpublished material

A Author, personal communication, Day Month Year.

A Author, Type of Confidential Unpublished Material, Day Month Year.

M Smith (personal communication, 8 February 2020) wrote . . .

The radiologist's findings were further confirmed (P Alan, radiology report, 6 March 2021) . . .

  • Don’t include an entry in the reference list.
  • Personal communication may include materials such as emails from unarchived sources, private memos or unrecorded interview conversations.
  • Confidential material may include medical charts, patient health records and other internal reports containing private information.
  • Permission from the source is necessary before paraphrasing or citing from a confidential document.
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MLA Formatting Quotations

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MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (8 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

When you directly quote the works of others in your paper, you will format quotations differently depending on their length. Below are some basic guidelines for incorporating quotations into your paper. Please note that all pages in MLA should be double-spaced .

Short quotations

To indicate short quotations (four typed lines or fewer of prose or three lines of verse) in your text, enclose the quotation within double quotation marks. Provide the author and specific page number (in the case of verse, provide line numbers) in the in-text citation, and include a complete reference on the Works Cited page. Punctuation marks such as periods, commas, and semicolons should appear after the parenthetical citation.

Question marks and exclamation points should appear within the quotation marks if they are a part of the quoted passage, but after the parenthetical citation if they are a part of your text.

For example, when quoting short passages of prose, use the following examples:

When using short (fewer than three lines of verse) quotations from poetry, mark breaks in verse with a slash, ( / ), at the end of each line of verse (a space should precede and follow the slash). If a stanza break occurs during the quotation, use a double slash ( // ).

Long quotations

For quotations that are more than four lines of prose or three lines of verse, place quotations in a free-standing block of text and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, with the entire quote indented 1/2   inch  from the left margin while maintaining double-spacing. Your parenthetical citation should come  after the closing punctuation mark . When quoting verse, maintain original line breaks. (You should maintain double-spacing throughout your essay.)

For example, when citing more than four lines of prose, use the following examples :

Nelly Dean treats Heathcliff poorly and dehumanizes him throughout her narration: They entirely refused to have it in bed with them, or even in their room, and I had no more sense, so, I put it on the landing of the stairs, hoping it would be gone on the morrow. By chance, or else attracted by hearing his voice, it crept to Mr. Earnshaw's door, and there he found it on quitting his chamber. Inquiries were made as to how it got there; I was obliged to confess, and in recompense for my cowardice and inhumanity was sent out of the house. (Bronte 78)

When citing long sections of poetry (four lines of verse or more), keep formatting as close to the original as possible.

In his poem "My Papa's Waltz," Theodore Roethke explores his childhood with his father:

The whiskey on your breath Could make a small boy dizzy; But I hung on like death: Such waltzing was not easy. We Romped until the pans Slid from the kitchen shelf; My mother's countenance Could not unfrown itself. (qtd. in Shrodes, Finestone, Shugrue 202)

When citing two or more paragraphs, use block quotation format, even if the passage from the paragraphs is less than four lines. If you cite more than one paragraph, the first line of the second paragraph should be indented an extra 1/4 inch to denote a new paragraph:

In "American Origins of the Writing-across-the-Curriculum Movement," David Russell argues,

Writing has been an issue in American secondary and higher education since papers and examinations came into wide use in the 1870s, eventually driving out formal recitation and oral examination. . . .

From its birth in the late nineteenth century, progressive education has wrestled with the conflict within industrial society between pressure to increase specialization of knowledge and of professional work (upholding disciplinary standards) and pressure to integrate more fully an ever-widening number of citizens into intellectually meaningful activity within mass society (promoting social equity). . . . (3)

Adding or omitting words in quotations

If you add a word or words in a quotation, you should put brackets around the words to indicate that they are not part of the original text:

If you omit a word or words from a quotation, you should indicate the deleted word or words by using ellipses, which are three periods ( . . . ) preceded and followed by a space. For example:

Please note that brackets are not needed around ellipses unless they would add clarity.

When omitting words from poetry quotations, use a standard three-period ellipses; however, when omitting one or more full lines of poetry, space several periods to about the length of a complete line in the poem:

IMAGES

  1. MLA: how to cite a graph

    how to cite a graph in an essay mla

  2. 4 Ways to Cite a Graph in a Paper

    how to cite a graph in an essay mla

  3. Mla graph citation. MLA Formatting and Style Guide. 2022-11-15

    how to cite a graph in an essay mla

  4. 4 Ways to Cite a Graph in a Paper

    how to cite a graph in an essay mla

  5. MLA Format

    how to cite a graph in an essay mla

  6. How to Write a Bibliography in Mla Format

    how to cite a graph in an essay mla

VIDEO

  1. Reading, Writing & Education : How to Write a College Essay (MLA, APA, Chicago Styles)

  2. Formatting Your MLA Essay (Word)

  3. Creating a Works Cited

  4. 9nov 2023 ieltsexam writing task1 line graph

  5. Formatting Your MLA Essay (Docs)

  6. How do I use tables, graphs, pictures, or figures in an APA essay?

COMMENTS

  1. Charts, Graphs, Images, and Tables

    A figure refers to a chart, graph, image or photo. This is how to cite figures. The caption for a figure begins with a description of the figure followed by the complete citation for the source the figure was found in. For example, if it was found on a website, cite the website. If it was in a magazine article, cite the magazine article.

  2. MLA Tables, Figures, and Examples

    MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

  3. MLA: how to cite a graph

    In a book. To cite a graph in a reference entry in MLA style 8th edition include the following elements: Author: Give the last name and name as presented in the source (e. g. Watson, John). For two authors, reverse only the first name, followed by 'and' and the second name in normal order (e. g. Watson, John, and John Watson).

  4. Images, Charts, Graphs, Maps & Tables

    If you have trouble finding specific information about an image, cite the entire book, magazine article, web site, etc. where you found it. For example if information came from a table in an article in National Geographic magazine, you would cite the entire magazine article and add the relevant page number to the caption or in-text citation.

  5. Citing tables, figures & images: MLA (9th ed.) citation guide

    Tables: Above the table, label and number the table (e.g. Table 1, Table 2) on its own line. Provide a title for the table that is descriptive of the table's content on a line below. Capitalize the title and the table. Place the source of the table and any notes in a caption immediately below the table, and double space throughout.

  6. MLA Citation Guide: Images (Figures) & Tables

    In MLA style, a 'figure' is "illustrative visual material other than a table—for example, a photograph, map, drawing, graph, or chart" (Behind the Style). A 'table' comprises columns and rows of text and/or numbers. There are some variations between citing figures and tables, but they both follow the same basic rules. Both have to include a:

  7. Images, Charts, Graphs, Maps & Tables

    If you refer to information from the photo, image, chart, graph, or table but do not reproduce it in your paper, create a citation both in-text and on your Works Cited list. If the information is part of another format, for example a book, magazine article, encyclopedia, etc., cite the work it came from.

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

    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.

  9. MLA Citation Guide (9th Edition): Images, Charts, Graphs, & Tables

    If you're only citing information from an image, infographic, Chart, Table or Graph: Provide an in-text citation. Use the citation format of the source where the image is found. (e.g., if you find the image on a website, use the in-text citation of a website). Cite the image in your Works Cited List.

  10. Research Guides: MLA Citation: Images, Charts, Graphs, Maps & Tables

    If you refer to information from the photo, image, chart, graph, or table but do not reproduce it in your paper, create a citation both in-text and on your Works Cited list. If the information is part of another format, for example a book, magazine article, encyclopedia, etc., cite the work it came from.

  11. 4 Ways to Cite a Graph in a Paper

    To cite a graph in MLA style, refer to the graph in the text as Figure 1 in parentheses, and place a caption under the graph that says "Figure 1." Then, include a short description, such as the title of the graph, and list the authors first and last name, as well as the publication name, with the location, publisher, and year in parentheses.

  12. Statistics and Visuals

    In this graph, each of these bars represents a student (each student gets a different color). This is an example of using too much make-up. While the graph does convey a lot of information, it is hard to read. The following graph is much better, and it actually gives you some useful information regarding the class:

  13. Student's Guide to MLA Style (2021)

    This guide follows the 9th edition (the most recent) of the MLA Handbook, published by the Modern Language Association in 2021. To cite sources in MLA style, you need. In-text citations that give the author's last name and a page number. A list of Works Cited that gives full details of every source. Make sure your paper also adheres to MLA ...

  14. Citing a Graph with Data

    Cite a Graph. The rules for citing a graph are the same for citing a photo, illustration, map, or diagram. Place the image in the body of the essay where it is pertinent to the subject matter, and give the citation after labeling it with "Fig." and a number. Use the numbers consecutively from 1 on.

  15. LibGuides: Research Guide: Citations: MLA Images and Visual

    If you refer to information from an image, chart, table or graph, but do not insert it in your essay or presentation, create a citation both in-text and on your Works Cited list. If the information is part of another format, for example a book, magazine article, encyclopedia, etc., cite the work it came from.

  16. Tables, Images, & Appendices

    Tables, Images, & Appendices. For some papers and reports, you may choose to add a table, graph, chart, or image within the body of the draft. Or you may choose to include an appendix at the end of your paper. These can help to provide a visual representation of data or other information that you wish to relay to your reader.

  17. MLA Format

    Works Cited page. The Works Cited list is included on a separate page at the end of your paper. You list all the sources you referenced in your paper in alphabetical order. Don't include sources that weren't cited in the paper, except potentially in an MLA annotated bibliography assignment.. Place the title "Works Cited" in the center at the top of the page.

  18. MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics

    In-text citations: Author-page style. MLA format follows the author-page method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the page number (s) from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken must appear in the text, and a complete reference should appear on your Works Cited page. The author's name may appear either in the ...

  19. How to Cite an Essay in MLA

    In-text citation template and example: For citations in prose, use the first name and surname of the author (e.g., Mary Strine). For sources with two authors, use both full author names in prose (e.g., Mary Strine and Beth Radick). For sources with three or more authors, use the first name and surname of the first author followed by "and ...

  20. MLA: Citing Within Your Paper

    An in-text citation can be included in one of two ways as shown below: 1. Put all the citation information at the end of the sentence: 2. Include author name as part of the sentence (if author name unavailable, include title of work): Each source cited in-text must also be listed on your Works Cited page. RefWorks includes a citation builder ...

  21. MLA

    Fresno State library MLA Citation Guide (4-page pdf) *MLA 8th Edition - update pending*. F resno State Library's MLA Quick Guide is based on the 8th edition. *Only use it if your instructor has specified MLA 8th edition.*. The handout is being updated, and you can get the updated information in the print handbook or on the Purdue OWL web site.

  22. PDF The Purdue OWL: Citation Chart 1

    MLA citation involves recording the author's name in the physical text. The author's name is also the first to appear in the "Works Cited" page at the end of an essay. The most recent MLA formatting can be found in the eighth edition of the MLA manual. Note that the MLA 8th ed. extensively references the notion of a "container" in ...

  23. Other sources

    Citing and referencing: Images, graphs, tables, data sets. Images (including photographs, charts, graphs and diagrams) are cited by using captions to label the image and provide information about its source. Images are referred to as figures (e.g. Figure 1) in the body of the text. Use the same locator (e.g. Figure 1) to caption the image.

  24. MLA Formatting Quotations

    MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (8 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.