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Harvard Referencing for Visual Material

This guide provides examples on how to reference visual material using the Harvard referencing style.

Images used as Figures

What should be included:

Where you include any images in your essay, thesis or work, you can describe them as figures. You will need to include them in reference.

  • Figures need to be numbered e.g. Figure 1. or Fig.1 or Figs. 1,2,3. and captioned (described),  place caption directly under the image.
  • Number all Figures in the order they first appear in the text. 
  • Figures must be referred to in the main body of the text.
  • Refer to them in the text by their number.

In-text citations should include the author/artist/designer and date.

The Reference List should include the author/artist/designer, date, title, format, publisher, viewed date and <URL>.

Example image with caption:

Photograph of an RMIT building
Figure 1: RMIT buildings - Brunswick Campus by Margund Sallowsky, RMIT University, 2006.


Figure 1. (Margund Sallowksy 2006) captures the inventive building design at Brunswick Campus

Reference list:

Sallowksy, M 2006, RMIT buildings - Brunswick Campus, digital image, RMIT University, viewed 12 January 2012, <>.


Graphic information

Table, diagram or flowchart can be described as figure.

Example of graphic information (figure) with caption.


Figure 2. Melbourne's total water usage each day, includes business and household usage, 2017

  • Figure needs to be numbered e.g. Figure 2. and captioned (described).
  • All Figures should be numbered in the order they first appear in the text. 
  • Figures must be referred to in the main body of the text by their number

In-text citations should include the author and date OR author, date and figure number.

The Reference List should include the author, date of publication, Title, Publisher, Place of publication, viewed date and <URL>.


Figure 2 shows............(Melbourne Water 2017)

All data collected (Melbourne Water 2017, figure 2.) points to...

Reference list:

Melbourne Water 2017, Water Data 11 September 2017, Melbourne Water, Victoria, viewed 11 September 2017, <>.