How to Cite In-Text Graphs in MLA

Graphs are an important way of illustrating the relationship between a variety of people, places, and things. Thus, it is important to learn how to cite in-text graphs in the Modern Language Association format.

Graphs and Figures

The MLA considers graphs to be figures. You may place the graphs into your essay where you see fit. When placing the graphs as part of your text, follow these guidelines:

Sequentially label each figure as Fig. 1, Fig. 2 and so on. This is how you will refer to the figures within the essay itself.


...voters reacted quite negatively to these attempts (see Fig. 1).

Give the graph a title or a caption, along with information about the source. The source citation must obey typical MLA style rules for the kind of source that it is.


Fig. 2. Relationship between voter identification measures and voter turnout. Graph from Auburn University Political Science Department. 21 Nov. 2011. Web. 05 July 2013. n. pag.

Note: Giving all of the necessary source information underneath the figure itself means that you do not need to include this information in your Works Cited Page.

Also keep in mind that graphs, like any other image, should be used sparingly in your essay. Too many images may detract from your writing, just as too many facts may detract from the specific argument you are making.