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Finding and Citing Online Images

This guide is designed to provide helpful links to online image resources and help on how to cite them.

Citing images in MLA [9th ed.]

The MLA Handbook does not provide strict instructions on how to format citations for specific types of sources. Instead, a universal set of general guidelines for citation and documentation that can be applied to any source type, including tables and illustrations, are outlined. These guidelines, as well as examples from the MLA Handbook, have been followed in developing this guide for MTC students.

Guidelines for Tables and Figures


Label all visual material that is not a table (photographs, maps, drawings, graphs, or charts) as a Figure (abbreviated Fig.), assign an arabic numeral, and give a caption.

  • Label and caption appear directly below figure and have same 1" margins as paper
  • If caption provides complete source information and source is not cited in text, then the source is not needed in works cited list
  • If you provide full bibliographic details in a caption, punctuate the caption like a works-cited-list entry but do not invert the name of the author or artist that appears at the beginning of the caption (fig. 1).
  • When you refer to the figure in-text, provide the arabic numeral that corresponds to the figure. Do not capitalize figure or fig. (eg. “See fig. 7”)
  • If using a caption that points to a works-cited list, use commas to separate elements in a caption and provide full publication details in the works-cited list (fig. 2).


Figure with Complete Source Information

An example properly cited in MLA format, of a how a figure in a research paper would appear, with a caption with complete source information. No works cited entry is needed if the source is not cited in the text.

Vice President Kamala Harris and Opal Lee, left, the activist known as the grandmother of Juneteenth, watch as President Joe Biden holds the signed Juneteenth National Independence Day Act in the East Room of the White House on June 17, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

Fig. 1. Jim Watson, "Juneteenth National Independence Day Act." Tribune Content Agency Photos, 2021. Gale In Context: Biography,

In-text Citation

As depicted in "Juneteenth National Independence Day Act" (Watson), President Biden signed legislation on June 17, 2021 to make Juneteenth a federal holiday in the United States.


Figure with Caption and Corresponding Work Cited Entry

An example properly cited in MLA format, of a how a figure in a research paper would appear, with a caption found that points to a works-cited-list entry.

 Girl with a Pearl Earring, c.1665-6 (oil on canvas)

Fig. 2. Jan Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring, painting, Circa 1665-6.

Work cited entry

Vermeer, Jan (Johannes). Girl with a Pearl Earring. Circa 1665-6. Bridgeman Images, 2014. Credo Reference,

In-text citation

The Girl with the Pearl Earring (Vermeer) permanently resides in the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague.


In your research paper, position tables and illustrations as near as possible to the portions of the paper to which they associate.

  • Tables are labeled “Table”, given an arabic numeral, and titled.
  • On separate lines above the table, type both the label and title flush left capitalized as titles.
  • Immediately below the table, put the source of the table and any notes in a caption.
  • To avoid confusion between notes to the text and notes to the table, designate notes to the table with lowercase letters rather than with numerals. Double-space throughout; use dividing lines as needed. An example is provided below (table 1).


MLA Labeled Table Example

More Citation Examples

Fore more guidance on Tables and Illustrations, see MLA Style Center.


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