How to Cite Images in a PowerPoint: APA Style Guide

Citing images in a PowerPoint presentation according to the APA format might seem tricky, but it’s quite straightforward once you know the steps. Essentially, you need to provide enough information for your audience to be able to locate the image themselves, including the creator’s name, the year the image was created, a title or description, and the source URL if applicable.

After you complete the citation action, the image in your PowerPoint will have a proper reference that follows APA guidelines. This enables your audience to track down the image source if they need to, and it ensures you are not infringing on copyright laws.


When you’re whipping up a PowerPoint presentation, whether it’s for a class project, a business meeting, or a conference, using images can make your slides more engaging and informative. However, using images comes with the responsibility of proper citation. You can’t just pluck images from the depths of the internet without giving credit to the creators—it wouldn’t be ethical or legal.

Understandably, you might scratch your head thinking about the proper way to cite images according to the American Psychological Association (APA) format. Fear not, it’s not rocket science, and it’s crucial for academic integrity and respecting intellectual property rights. Remember, citing sources is not just a tedious task; it’s a way to lend credibility to your work and avoid the pitfalls of plagiarism.

Citing images according to APA is relevant not only to students but also to professionals and researchers who use visual aids to support their presentations. It’s a skill that, once mastered, will serve you well throughout your academic and professional career. So, let’s dive in and figure out how to get those citations picture-perfect!

The step-by-step tutorial to cite images in a PowerPoint according to the APA

The following steps will lead you through the process of citing images in your PowerPoint presentation according to APA guidelines.

Step 1: Find the necessary information for the citation

Identify the creator’s name, the year the image was created, a title or description, and the URL if the image is from an online source.

When you find an image you want to use, make sure to note down all the required information for the citation. If you’re using an image from a book or a magazine, the same rules apply—note the publication details.

Step 2: Place the citation on the slide with the image

Add a text box on the slide and input the citation information underneath or beside the image.

Make sure your text is readable against the slide background and is in a font and size that is consistent with the rest of your presentation. The citation should be discreet but still legible.

Step 3: Format the citation according to APA style

In the text box, format your citation as follows: (Creator’s Last Name, Year). If there’s a title, include it in italics, followed by the URL if applicable.

The APA style is pretty particular about formatting, so double-check you’ve got the right punctuation and italicization.


Enhances credibilityBy citing images correctly, you demonstrate academic honesty and respect for the original creator’s work.
Avoids plagiarismProper citation ensures that you are not unlawfully claiming someone else’s work as your own.
Assists audienceA citation allows your audience to find the original source themselves, which is helpful for further research.


Can be time-consumingFinding all the necessary information and formatting it correctly might take a bit of time.
Occupies slide spaceCitations can take up valuable space on your PowerPoint slide, which could be used for other content.
Might distractIf not placed discreetly, citations could distract the audience from the image or the message it conveys.

Additional Information

Citing images in your PowerPoint presentations is not just about avoiding plagiarism; it’s about building a presentation that is credible and professional. When you include citations, you show that you have done your research and you value the work of others. Additionally, APA citations are not set in stone; they are periodically updated, so make sure you’re using the most current guidelines.

Remember, when in doubt, provide more information rather than less. If you can’t find a date for an image, use “n.d.” for no date. If you can’t find the creator’s name, use “Anon” for anonymous. And if the image title is not available, provide a brief description in square brackets. Lastly, always check your institution’s or publisher’s citation policy, as they may have specific requirements.


  1. Find the creator’s name, year, title/description, and URL.
  2. Add a text box for the citation on the slide.
  3. Format citation in APA style: (Creator’s Last Name, Year).

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I can’t find the image’s creation date?

If the date is not available, use “n.d.” which stands for “no date” in your citation.

Do I need to cite images that are common knowledge or in the public domain?

Yes, you should still cite these images to acknowledge the source, even if they don’t require permission to use.

Can I place the image citations on a separate slide at the end of the presentation?

While it’s more common to place citations directly on the slide with the image, you can include a separate reference slide at the end if you prefer.

How should I cite an image that I created myself?

If you created the image, simply note that it is your own work. You can use the caption “Image created by the author” or something similar.

What if the image is from a print source, not online?

Follow the same steps, but instead of a URL, include the publication information in your citation (e.g., book title, magazine name, page number).


Citing images in a PowerPoint presentation according to the APA guidelines is an essential skill that upholds academic integrity and respects the work of creators. Proper citations not only prevent plagiarism but also support your credibility as a presenter. Remember, whether the images are from the web, a book, or created by you, they deserve to be cited correctly.

By taking the time to include accurate citations, you enhance the quality and professionalism of your presentation. As we continue to rely on visual aids to communicate complex ideas, let’s give credit where credit is due and cite images diligently.

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