In APA Style, all types of graphical displays other than tables are considered figures.
The basic components of a figure include the following:
More examples may be found on pp. 233-250 of the manual.
Number all figures that are part of the main text (i.e., not part of an appendix or supplemental materials) using Arabic numerals--for example, Figure 1, Figure 2, and Figure 3.
Assign numbers in order which each figure is first mentioned in the text.
Write the word "Figure" and the number in bold and flush left.
Give every figure a brief but clear and explanatory title; the basic content of the figure should be easily inferred from the title.
Write the figure title in italic title case below the figure number and double-space the figure number and title.
Avoid overly general and overly detailed figure titles.
The image part of the figure (e.g., graph, chart, diagram) should be saved in a resolution sufficient to allow for clear printing or viewing.
Limit the number of different shadings used in a single graphic. If different shadings are used to distinguish bars or segments on a graph, choose shadings that are distinct.
Avoid the use of gridlines in figures unless the gridlines will substantially aid readers in understanding the content. Likewise, avoid 3-D effects for mere decoration.
If a figure contains citations to other works, use an in-text citation.
For more information, see pp. 227-229 of the manual.
A legend (or key) explains any symbols, line styles, or shading or pattern variants used in the image portion of the figure. Only figures that have symbols. line styles, or shadings needing definition should include legends.
The lettering of the legend should be of the same kind and proportion as. that appearing in the rest of the figure. Capitalize words in the legend using title case.
When possible, placed legends within or below the image instead of to the side to avoid having empty space around the legend.
Figures may have three kinds of notes:
A general note should explain units of measurement, symbols, and abbreviations that are not included in the legend or defined elsewhere in the figure. Explain the use of shading, color, and any design element that carries meaning.
Also include in the general note any acknowledgment that a figure is reprinted or adapted from another source. Placed explanations of abbreviations and copyright attributions for reproduced figures last in the general note.
A specific note explains a particular element of the figure and appears in a separate paragraph below any general notes. Specific notes are indicated by superscript lowercase letters.
Place any superscripts for specific notes near the element being identified.
It is preferable to report exact p values; however, if statistically significant values are marked with asterisks or daggers in the figure, explain them in a probability note.