Tables & Figures
The term “table” describes any tabulated data. If you have information organized into columns and rows, it should be designated as a table.
The term “figure” describes photographs, charts, maps, graphs, drawings, diagrams, or any other non-text material.
List of Tables & List of Figures
List of Tables and List of Figures pages should follow the same formatting standards. For a visual demonstration of these guidelines, see the sample List of Tables page (PDF).
- Entry text should not touch or overlap with page numbers.
- Table and Figure titles should stand alone on the left side of the page. Any line after the first should be indented to be left-aligned with the first line.
Naming and Numbering
- Each table and figure must be labeled with an identifying number.
- Tables and figures should be numbered in separate series.
- For each table and figure, the title/number and full caption should be identical to how it appears in the text.
- Do not abbreviate “Table” or “Figure.”
- Include either caption titles (if you have them) or the full caption text, as it appears in the text. The goal is to provide the reader with some context if they are trying to find a particular table or figure.
- If a caption takes up multiple lines, any line after the first should be aligned with the start of the first line.
- Captions must end with a period.
In-Text Tables and Figures
Tables and Figures Location
The placement of tables and figures may be handled in one of the following ways:
- Each table and figure may be inserted in close proximity to where it is first mentioned in the text.
- Tables and figures may be grouped at the end of each chapter.
- Tables and figures may be grouped at the end of the document.
- Every table and figure requires a descriptive caption.
- Captions must end with a period.
- There must be some clear differentiation between titles and captions. You can do this in three ways:
- Make the title bold, but leave the caption un-bold.
- Include some sort of punctuation (a period or colon) between the title and the caption text.
- Italicize the title.
- Table captions should appear above the associated table.
- Figure captions should appear below the associated figure.
- Unless formatted as a multi-page table or figure (with a “Continued” caption — see below instructions), the entire caption must appear on the same page as the associated table or figure.
For improved readability of your document, format your tables and figures consistently, according to the below spacing guidelines:
- There should be a standard amount of space between captions and the associated table or figure. There should also be a minimum, standard amount of space that separates tables and figures (including their captions) from the body text above and below it.
- Captions should not be touching or nearly touching the associated table or figure.
- The space separating figures and tables from the surrounding body text should be at least as large as your line-spacing.
Multi-page Table (Table Continued)
- Typically, the entire table title and caption should appear directly above every table, on the same page.
- For example: “Table 1. Sample Caption.”
- If a table spans multiple pages, the line above the table on its first page should be the usual title with the associated caption.
- For any pages after the first, the line above the table should be the title, with “continued” in parentheses
- For example: “Table 1 (continued).”
- For a visual demonstration of both multi-page Tables and multi-page Figures, click here.
Multi-page Figure (Figure Continued)
The rules for figures that span multiple pages are slightly different than they are for tables.
- Typically, the entire figure title and caption should appear directly below every figure, on the same page.
- If the caption is too long to be placed below the figure, or if the figure spans multiple pages, it must be formatted as a figure continued.
- In this case, the figure title and caption should be centered (horizontally and vertically) on its own page that appears in the text before the associated figure.
- After this title and caption page, the figure should continue with no other titles or captions below it.
If your table or figure is too wide to fit legibly within the 1 inch margins of a standard, portrait-oriented page, you can feature it on a landscape-oriented page. For more info about how to accomplish this in Microsoft Word, see the ETD Info and Technical Help page.