List of Tables and List of Figures in a Research Paper + MS Word Tutorial (2022)

When writing for academic or professional purposes, sometimes a table or image is necessary to support and supplement your writing for your audience. Since these can be good snapshots of specific pieces of information in your written product, it is often a good idea to include a list of tables and/or list of figures after your table of contents.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

  1. Definition
  2. APA Style
  3. MLA Style
  4. Creating List of Tables or Figures in Microsoft Word

What is It

At the beginning of any published work is a collection of pages commonly called “front matter.” The front matter is usually numbered with lowercase Roman numerals and includes the abstract, any dedication or epigraph, table of contents, list of tables, list of figures, and more. A list of tables or figures will list out the tables and figures in your paper in the order in which they appear alongside the page number on which they can be found.

Whether or not you need a list for your tables and/or figures depends on your purpose for writing, your audience, and, if you’re writing a thesis or dissertation, your academic institution. If you have a lot of tables or figures sprinkled throughout your work and you want to make sure that your readers can find them easily, then a list in the front matter is the most expedient way to make that happen. Note that the APA manual requires that all tables and figures be placed in the back matter of your manuscript, following the references list.

The foreword of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed., states that its mission is to create clear, consistent rules for scientific writing and discourse. As such, the manual contains extremely detailed information about how to display results of scientific inquiry in table format. The most important thing is to make sure that the data provided in the table is easily understood by readers. All tables and figures are numbered with Arabic numerals in the order in which they first appear in the text.

The completely revamped 8th edition of the MLA Handbook states its purpose as “offering a quick but thorough introduction to the hows and whys of using sources in academic writing.” Writers following MLA style will find no official instructions on creating a list of tables or figures, but the MLA does still provide instruction as to the inclusion of tables and figures. Source information and explanatory notes, labeled “a.” should be included directly below any tables, labeled “Table.” The caption for an illustration/map/photo should include the source information and the label “Figure” may be shortened to “Fig.” An illustration containing an image of sheet music is to be labeled “Example” and may be shortened “Ex.” All of these items should be assigned an Arabic numeral. In the end, you will need to consult with your university, college or target journal to determine just what they want any front matter pages to look like.

List of Tables / List of Figures in APA Style

Since there are no explicit rules for creating a table of contents or a list of tables or figures, we will provide you with a few guidelines and examples from different university instructions. Ultimately you will need to consult your professor or the journal editorial staff for their preferences.

The APA recommends size 12pt Times New Roman font in all manuscripts and requires double spacing throughout, except for within the tables themselves. Any lists in the front matter should be formatted in the same font size and type, and with the equal spacing. All pages in an APA style manuscript must include the running head in all caps, and titles of sections of the paper (abstract, references, etc.) are centered, typed in plain font (no bold, italics, etc.), and given headline-style capitalization. The standard guideline for all pages in an APA manuscript is that pages are numbered with Arabic numerals right-justified on the same line as the left-justified running head.

Generally, tables of contents and lists of figures or tables occupy their own pages in the front matter, following the title page. The APA explicitly directs that all tables should come each on their separate pages, at the end of the manuscript, following the references. Similarly, figures should be included on different pages after the tables.

Here’s an example of what your table of contents might look like:

According to the APA, tables must be numbered and provided a short title that gives an unambiguous description of the contents. Any copyright credits and notes should be presented in a caption below the table. The caption of the figure should be a clear, but brief, explanation of the contents and serves as the title.

(Video) How to Create and Update a List of Tables or Figures in Microsoft Word

Here’s an example of what an APA style List of Tables or Figures might look like if you simply mirrored the format of the footnotes page:

If instead, you wanted to mirror the indentation of the references page, here’s what your list could look like:

Note that if your list goes onto a second page, there is no need for any extra heading, just continue the list in order and be sure to include your running head as with the rest of your manuscript.

Of course, your university or target journal may differ from these examples, either in large or small ways. Sam Houston University directs that these lists should be labeled in bold, all caps. California State University at Long Beach also instructs its thesis and doctoral students to mark their lists in bold all caps and adds that second lines should be single-spaced with a 1-inch hanging indent. The University of Utah also advises using all caps for the title “LIST OF TABLES” or “LIST OF FIGURES,” but in a unique twist, it recommends creating a list only if there are between 5 and 25 tables or figures. All of these various university style guides are consistent in requiring that the titles given in lists of tables or figures must match exactly with the text of the manuscript.

List of Tables / List of Figures in MLA Style

Like the APA, the MLA does not provide explicit instructions on the inclusion of tables of contents, lists of tables, or lists of figures.

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University recommends following the style guide that best aligns with the student’s discipline and does provide that, as necessary, lists of tables and/or figures should be included, pages numbered using lower-case Roman numerals centered on the bottom of the page, following the table of contents.

How to Create a List of Tables or Figures in a Microsoft Word Document

Note that these instructions and screenshots were generated using Office 365 (version 15.27) for Mac. Your version might look a little bit different, but if you’re using Microsoft Word you will have all of the same functionality.

(Video) Easiest way to Create List of Tables and Figures

Now that you’ve decided to add a list of tables or figures to your document, you’ll want to know the best way to insert it. Throughout this document note that roughly the same steps would be used to make a list of figures, but we’re just going to refer to tables for simplicity’s sake.

The first step is knowing how to modify Styles in a Word document. Styles are great for making your text consistent in different areas of your paper, and they’re especially handy for quickly and easily creating a List of Tables. Once you learn this skill, you can use them for Tables of Contents, captions for figures, and more!

Step one is to go open the Styles Pane, click on the arrow on Caption Style, and from the drop-down menu click on Modify Style.

The APA Manual recommends using Times New Roman font in size 12pt., but leaves an allowance for a sans serif font in figures.

In the Formatting section, you’ll want to modify the font, font size, color, and spacing to match the rest of your document.

When you’re done, click OK and then you’re just about ready to insert your first table.

Click on the References ribbon bar and click on Insert Caption, in the dialogue box click on AutoCaption.

Now every time you add a table, it can be automatically numbered. This is an extra-handy feature for when you forget a table and have to go back in and add one in the middle later. Your document will now automatically renumber all of your tables!

In the dialogue box that opens up, make sure that the checkmark next to Microsoft Word Table—or whatever source you’re using to add your tables—is selected and click okay.

(Video) How to insert a list of tables or figures in Word

After this step is completed, you can head over to the Insert ribbon bar and add your first table of whatever size and style you need. Notice that your label and automatic number will appear, then just hit return and add your table title. Make sure to change the style of the label (Table X) to “Normal” so it won’t be a duplicate entry in your list.

Fill in your data and adjust your table appearance as needed.

Once your tables have all been added, you’re ready to make your list. Place your cursor wherever you want your listing to appear. This should be a new page in the front matter of your document. Click on references on the ribbon bar and then Insert Table of Figures.

In the dialogue box under Caption label select Table, under Formats click From template, and then deselect Include label and number. Since you’re going to label the page as a list of tables and then number the entries, it will be redundant to include Table X alongside the titles. Then click on Modify.

In the Style dialogue box click on Modify again to change the font of the entries in your List so they will match the rest of your document.

When the Modify Style dialogue box opens, change the font, font size, and spacing as needed to match the rest of your document.

Click OK three times to close all of the dialogue boxes, and you will see your list of table titles appear. As a final step, you can simply add your label to the top of the page and then number your entries.

(Video) How to create a list of table (or figures) in a Masters or PhD thesis

If, after you’ve made your list you realize that you’ve forgotten a table (or more) in your document, then changing your list is easy once you’ve got the basics! Just add your table to your text wherever you need it (remember your numbers will auto-update), then place your cursor somewhere in your list, go back up to the References Ribbon Bar, and click Update Table next to the Insert Table of Figures button. Then click on Update entire table and click OK (if you change anything else in the paper that might adjust the page numbers you can click Update page numbers only—this is a good last step to remember to do before finalizing your document, just in case anything has changed since your last update).

When your list is updated you will lose your numbers, but you can add them back in (check that the font matches) and you’re good to go!

Now you have a list of all of the tables in your document in a consistent and easily updateable format, with even, professional spacing on the tab leader (the dots between the words and the numbers).

You would follow the same basic process for adding a figure and list of figures to your document. To cover the nuances, here’s an example from our sample paper on Hulu and Netflix.

Go to the References ribbon bar and click on Insert caption. Select Figure and click OK. Give your figure a caption. This serves as the explanation and the title and will appear in your list.

Insert your list of figures the same way you did with your list of tables.

Jeremy Corden

(Video) How to insert or update List of Figures in Thesis automatically in MS Word

FAQs

How do I create a list of tables and figures in Word? ›

First add captions to your figures, and then use the Insert Table of Figures command on the References tab. Word then searches the document for your captions and automatically adds a list of figures, sorted by page number.

How do I make a list of tables and figures? ›

To create a combined list of tables and figures
  1. After the table of contents, click where you want to insert the list.
  2. In the Insert menu, pull down to Index and Tables.
  3. Click Table of Figures.
  4. Check Include label and number, Show page numbers, Right align page numbers. ...
  5. Click Options. ...
  6. Click OK. ...
  7. Click OK.

How do you list a table in a research paper? ›

All tables should be labeled and formatted in APA style with numbering, title, notes, borders, etc. Tables should be placed after the paragraph where they are first mentioned. If a table continues is very large, it can start on the next page after it is mentioned.

How do I get a list of tables in Word? ›

And I'm going to type in here list of tables because the list of tables doesn't automatically come

How do I format a table of figures in Word? ›

On the Insert menu, click Index and Tables, and then click the Table of Figures tab. Click Options, and then select the Style check box. On the Style pop-up menu, click the style name that is used for the figure captions, and then click OK. In the Formats box, click From template, and then click Modify.

Where do you put a list of tables and figures in thesis? ›

Where does your list of figures and tables go? Your list of tables and figures should go directly after your table of contents in your thesis or dissertation.

How do I create figures in Word? ›

How To Create A Table Of Figures In Word (& Table Of Tables!) - YouTube

What should be included in a list of figures? ›

The list of figures identifies the titles and locations of visuals (figures, drawings, photos, maps) in administrative or research documents. Articles in periodicals do not use lists of figures. Figures concentrate information in unusual ways and show critical details, configurations, and evidence.

How do you insert figures in Word? ›

How to Insert Figure Captions and Table Titles in Microsoft Word

Which comes first list of figures or tables? ›

The List of Figures is placed immediately after the List of Tables (or if you do not have a List of Tables directly after your Table of Contents.).

What is the difference between list of tables and list of figures? ›

Tables are numerical values or text displayed in rows and columns. A Figure is any type of illustration (chart, graph,photograph, drawing maps ...)

What is the difference between table and figure in research paper? ›

Figures include drawings, illustrations, and photos, and tables are compilations of all the data in the form of rows and columns.

What is a table of figures in a report? ›

In addition to the Table of Contents, a Table of Figures and Tables is usually required in a report. It is situated immediately after the Table of Contents. It contains a list of figures, statistical tables, diagrams and graphs, including their titles.

What are table of figures? ›

A table of figures is a list, sorted by page number, of the captions pulled from figures, images, or tables in your document. It's like a table of contents, but it's a table of anything to which you can add a caption.

How do I add a list to a table? ›

Steps to insert list of tables and figures in Word
  1. Place the cursor where you want to add the list.
  2. Go to the References tab.
  3. Click Insert Table of Figures in the Caption group.
  4. In the Table of the Figures dialog box select the relevant Caption Label (Table, Figure, & Equation etc…)
20 Dec 2019

What is the first step to create a table of contents in a Word document using a built in style? ›

Creating a table of contents in a Microsoft Word document is a two-step process. First, identify the text that you want to appear in the Table of Contents. Second, tell Word to insert the Table of Contents. Having created your Table of Contents, you can then customize it in several ways, to suit your needs.

Where does the table of figures go in a document? ›

Where does your list of figures and tables go? Your list of tables and figures should go directly after your table of contents in your thesis or dissertation.

How do you label tables and figures in a dissertation? ›

Tables, figures, illustrations, and other such items should be identified with the word "Table", "Figure", or other appropriate descriptor, and include a title and/or caption. The title or caption must be included in the List of Tables, List of Figures, or other list.

How do you label figures in a research paper? ›

Figures should be:

Labeled (under the figure) with the figure number and appropriate descriptive title (“Figure” can be spelled out [“Figure 1.”] or abbreviated [“Fig. 1.”] as long as you are consistent). Numbered in the order they appear in the text.

How do I add a title to a table of figures in Word? ›

Click on the figure or table where you want the caption to appear. On the References tab, click the Insert Caption button. In the Caption window, in the Label menu, select the label Figure or Table. In the Position menu, select where you want the caption to appear.

How do I insert multiple table of contents in Word? ›

Then go to the INSERT tab, click Quick Parts, and Field. Then scroll down and click TC. Type the name of the subsection, then check TC entry in doc with multiple tables. This will add a switch to the code – the \f switch – that enables us to add multiple Tables of Contents.

Can you combine list of figures and tables? ›

As long as the captions/titles of figures and tables have the same paragraph style applied (in general this would be "Caption"), all you need to do is this: Insert > Index and Tables. In the dialog box, select the "Table of Figures" tab at the top. It does not matter what you select under "Caption label"

How do you write a list of figures? ›

Title this section in all capital letters as “LIST OF FIGURES”. List each new figure caption on a new line and capitalise the start of each word. Write the figure number on the left, then caption label and finally the page number the figure corresponds to on the right-hand side.

How do you insert a list in Word? ›

To start a numbered list, type 1, a period (.), a space, and some text. Word will automatically start a numbered list for you. Type* and a space before your text, and Word will make a bulleted list. To complete your list, press Enter until the bullets or numbering switch off.

How do you list tables and figures in APA? ›

You have two options for the placement of tables and figures in APA Style: Option 1: Place tables and figures throughout your text, shortly after the parts of the text that refer to them. Option 2: Place them all together at the end of your text (after the reference list) to avoid breaking up the text.

How do I create figures in Word? ›

How To Create A Table Of Figures In Word (& Table Of Tables!) - YouTube

Can you combine list of figures and tables? ›

As long as the captions/titles of figures and tables have the same paragraph style applied (in general this would be "Caption"), all you need to do is this: Insert > Index and Tables. In the dialog box, select the "Table of Figures" tab at the top. It does not matter what you select under "Caption label"

What are the list of figures in research? ›

The list of figures identifies the titles and locations of visuals (figures, drawings, photos, maps) in administrative or research documents. Articles in periodicals do not use lists of figures. Figures concentrate information in unusual ways and show critical details, configurations, and evidence.

What is a figure in a research paper? ›

Figures are visual presentations of results. They come in the form of graphs, charts, drawings, photos, or maps. Figures provide visual impact and can effectively communicate your primary finding.

What is list format in Word? ›

A list style is a style that contains various levels of formatting. A list style is similar to an outline numbered list, but it's a bit less flexible and most appropriate for use with more basic outlines. A list style contains paragraph number (or bullet) formatting for up to nine levels of an outline.

How do I make a list into a paragraph in Word? ›

Click on the layout tab > Data group > Convert to Text button (it is right on the end of the ribbon), From the displayed dialog, select "Separate with paragraph marks" option then click on OK.

How do I create a multi level list in Word? ›

Define a new list style
  1. Select the text or numbered list you want to change.
  2. On the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, click the arrow next to Multilevel List. ...
  3. Specify a name for your new list style.
  4. Choose the number to start the list at. ...
  5. Choose a level in the list to apply your formatting.

Do tables or figures come first? ›

If on separate pages, tables come before figures. Tables and figures require a table or figure number, title, and a caption. The number (e.g., Table 1 or Figure 1) appears above the table or figure in the left-margin and in bold.

Do tables and figures go before or after references? ›

Tables should appear at the end of your paper, after the reference list and before any appendixes. Every table needs a unique title after its label.

Should I include a list of figures? ›

APA doesn't require you to include a list of tables or a list of figures. However, it is advisable to do so if your text is long enough to feature a table of contents and it includes a lot of tables and/or figures.

How do I add a title to a table of figures in Word? ›

Click on the figure or table where you want the caption to appear. On the References tab, click the Insert Caption button. In the Caption window, in the Label menu, select the label Figure or Table. In the Position menu, select where you want the caption to appear.

What is a table of figures in a report? ›

In addition to the Table of Contents, a Table of Figures and Tables is usually required in a report. It is situated immediately after the Table of Contents. It contains a list of figures, statistical tables, diagrams and graphs, including their titles.

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