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Division of Research and Graduate Studies


Table and figure placement and referencing in the text are among the most difficult of all formatting problems. Following are some general guidelines for you to keep in mind as you put your final thesis draft into finished form.

  • All tables and figures should be referred to in the text, numbered consecutively (with Arabic numerals), and placed as close as possible to the original text reference.
  • Table captions are placed above the table. Figure captions are placed beneath the figure.
  • Tables and figures should be able to stand alone, without any text explanation. This means that each should contain all relevant information, including complete source information as in the References listing, and be complete in itself without reference to text or any preceding or subsequent tables and figures.
  • Text material should highlight analysis or findings, summarizing only important details rather than reiterating the entire table or figure. If you can restate the material in your table or figure clearly in a sentence or two, you probably don’t need them.
  • The term “figure” includes all types of graphic illustrations: charts, graphs, photographs, illustrations, maps, etc.
  • Tables and figures may be placed broadside (landscaped); in such cases, place the top of the table/figure at the 1.5” binding edge. You may resize material after inserting as an object onto the page. 
  • When referring back to tables and figures over three text pages earlier, include page numbers for the reader’s benefit. 

Having trouble making tables? View the tutorial to learn how.