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APA 6th Edition Referencing: Images

This is a Wintec guide to help you with referencing in the American Psychological Association (APA) style.

Referencing Visual Media

Some types of visual media are particularly difficult to reference because the creators, owners or location of the original source of an image can be hard to find.

The difference between images, figures, and tables

  • Images are a type of figure. They are visual depictions e.g. pictures, photographs etc.
  • Figures are charts, graphs, photographs, drawings or any other illustration.
  • Tables are numerical values or textual information displayed in columns and rows.
  • At times the difference between figures and tables can be unclear, but tables are almost always displayed as row-column format. ANY other illustration is referred to as a figure. 

For your undergraduate assignments cite tables, figures and images as you would do for a direct quotation (author, date, page number) in a caption under the image, and ensure that this citation links to a full reference in your reference list.   

For postgraduate assignments and if you are intending to publish your work, APA requires tables, figures and images that have been reproduced or adapted from another source to have a full reference and a note providing permission statements and/or copyright information, refer to the APA manual for guidance.

Using Clipart and public domain images

Generally most clipart does not need permission to be reproduced, but you should still provide a credit line and ideally a full reference.​  See the example below as to how this may look:

 In text


Figure 1. Marshmallow on stick (source: bpcomp, 2009).


Example—reference list entry
bcomp. (2009, May 24). Marshmallow on stick [image]. Retrieved from


If there are no authors, then put the name of the site it’s from (eg., if there is no date given then (n.d.), if there is no title then use “ <insert your own description of the image here>”.


Depending on where the image is from, there could be a copyright statement/Creative commons license, if so this should be included too.


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