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APA Citation Style: Images

This guide provides information on the 7th edition of APA Citation Style as used at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.

General Format for Online Images

  Template Example
In-text citation (Author Surname, year of publication) (Baumel, 2010)
Reference list entry Artist Surname, First Initial. Second Initial. (Year of publication). Title of the image [Format]. Title of Website. URL Baumel, A. (2010). Cholera treatment center in Haiti [Online image]. Doctors Without Borders.

Incorporating Images in Course Assignments

Figures and images adapted from other sources require a reference list citation according to the type of source being cited, but require a figure number, caption, and copyright attribution in place of the in-text citation. You are still required to include a reference list citation using the example listed at the top of the Images tab of the APA guide.

Begin the caption with the word "Figure" and a number, provide your own caption for the image, and then insert the image below. Follow this with a copyright attribution statement.

Example of In-Text Copyright Attribution:

Figure 1

Proper Desk Setup

Note. Adapted from Making the office safe, by Larry Smith, 2016, Pearson Publishers.


Exceptions to the Copyright Act typically allows you to include images in your course assignments without obtaining prior permission from the copyright holder. Images that are in the public domain or listed as "no attribution required" do not require a copyright attribution. It is good practice to seek out permission to use an image and to consistently attribute images in your work.

These guidelines vary from what is expected in the Business Report Writing Guidelines. Check with your instructor to clarify their expectations for attributing images.

What if. . .

Scenario Solution In-text citation example Reference list entry example
No author and no date

In-text: List a short snippet of the title in quotes (or the entire title in quotes if only a few words). Use n.d. in place of date.

Reference list: List the title in italics in place of the author, following with the format in square brackets.

("Actinomycotic gingivitis," n.d.)

Actinomycotic gingivitis (confirmed by biopsy) [Online image]. (n.d.). Stedman's Online.

No author, no date, and no title

In-text: List a short snippet of the title you have created in quotes (or the entire title in quotes if only a few words). Use n.d. in place of date.

Reference list: Provide a brief description of the work in square brackets including the format. Do not follow up with another format statement.

("Untitled image," n.d.) [Untitled online image of a sleeping dog]. (n.d.). Sleeping Animals.
No date

In-text: Use n.d. in place of date.

Reference list: use n.d. in place of date.

(Calgary Humane Society, n.d.) Calgary Humane Society. (n.d.). Puppy picture [Online image].
No title provided

In-text: No change from standard template.

Reference list: Provide a brief description of the work including format in square brackets.

(MEG Energy, n.d.) MEG Energy. (n.d.). [Diagram of steam assisted gravity drainage].
You cite an image you took yourself

You are not required to cite images you took yourself. Instead, provide a self attribution in text following the format listed on this guide.

Check with your instructor to clarify their expectations for self-citing different formats. If your instructor requires you to cite yourself, follow the general format for online images and leave out the URL.

Follow the copyright attribution example under Incorporating Images in Course Assignments Not required for images you took yourself
You cite an image from a book or article Cite the source type that the image is contained within - for example, if you are citing an image in a book, cite the book itself and provide a page number in your in-text citation. Case by case basis - no change from standard template Case by case basis - cite according to the source type you found

Many images on the web do not have easily identifiable author, title, or date information. Try to locate missing information by right-clicking on the image and viewing the properties and/or looking for information within the page on which the image is found.

Is your scenario not covered in this table? Try consulting the official APA Style Blog's detailed information about elements of reference list entries and missing reference information or ask your liaison for help.

Need Help Finding Images?

Looking for images that have an appropriate licence for use in your project? Check out the Finding Images guide.

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