Citing Tables and Figures

Citing tables and figures

Table or Figure?  

Tables can contain text or numbers organised in rows and columns.  Columns may also have headings.  A table is used to display data.  

Figures are illustrations, bar charts, pie charts, graphs etc.  

If you use information from another source and it is not entirely your own work – you must provide a reference for it.   

Citing and Referencing Tables  

The table below is taken from National Records of Scotland’s website.   

Give any tables you use a number in the order of use – this is our first table so it is number one.  

Underneath the table give a short description.  You must also state if it is only part of the whole or you have adapted it.  

Table Example: Extract from the National Records of Scotland, Top 100 Baby Names

T‌able 1: Extract from the National Records of Scotland top 100 baby names 2020.

To cite in text:

To refer to the table in your work you need the author and date of publication. 

According to the National Records of Scotland (2021) Jack remained the most popular baby name for boys born in Scotland in 2020. 

The most popular name given to baby girls born in Scotland in 2020 was Isla (National Records of Scotland, 2021). 

Reference list example:

NATIONAL RECORDS OF SCOTLAND, 2021. Babies' First Names 2020 [online]. National Records of Scotland. [viewed 24 May 2021]. Available from:

Citing and Referencing Figures 

A figure refers to any image or illustration you use in your work.   

If the figure is taken from any other source you must provide a citation and a reference. 

If the figure shows your own work you do not need a reference only a number and description – for example a graph or chart which details the results of your own research, own artwork or a photograph that you have taken. 

All figures are given a number in order of use and a description. 

Example Figure: Popularity of the name Taylor by year of birth from National Rec

Figure 1: Popularity of the name Taylor by year of birth from National Records of Scotland (2020). 

To cite in text: 

Don’t restate the information shown in the figure but let your readers know the key points. 

Figure 1 taken from the National Records of Scotland (2020) shows the name Taylor was most popular for girls born in 1999 and for boys in 2004.  

Figure 1 shows us that the name Taylor is used for both girls and boys (National Records of Scotland, 2020). 

Reference list example:

NATIONAL RECORDS OF SCOTLAND, 2020. Babies' First Names [online]. National Records of Scotland. [viewed 24 May 2021]. Available from:  


If you have a lot of tables or figures in your work you may want to provide a list after your table of contents.  

Remember – any tables and figures created by you, based on your own data or work, are not included in the reference list.  Tables and Figures copied whole, part or adapted from more than one source must be referenced.