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Referencing style - Chicago: Captions for Illustrations and Tables

A guide to using the Chicago citation referencing style for footnotes and reference lists.

Captions for Illustrations and Tables

You must include a caption below illustrations, tables and figures which you include in your document. Captions give descriptions or explanations of a figure. Each figure starts with a figure number.

If you are not the author of the figure, you must include reference information in the caption. You must also include the work from which you sourced the figure in your bibliography. For example, if you sourced the figure from a work such as a book or website, you will include a reference for that work (see Fig. 2 below, from a book). For more information, see the Chicago Manual of Style, 3:30.

Fig. 1. The widespread distribution of the Pilotus flower and its spreading habit make it a favourite in landscape gardening. Denisbin, Pilotus Flower, 2012, photograph, accessed July 27, 2021,


Fig. 2. Illustration by Sir John Tenniel, Through the Looking-Glass, in Lewis Carrol, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (Philadelphia: Henry Altemus, 1897), 21,


Adapted tables and figures

If you have adapted a table or figure, or created it from another author's existing data, you must provide an attribution which is prefaced with the words "adapted from" to acknowledge this. For more information, see the Chicago Manual of Style, 3:37.

Fig 3. Pre- and post-COVID-19 annual changes in Real GDP for Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand. This figure shows the year-on-year percentage change in annual constant price GDP calculated using the expenditure approach. Adapted from "World Economic and Financial surveys", International Monetary Fund, accessed July 27, 2021,


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