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Writing in the Health Sciences: Tables and Figures

A Resource for Faculty and Students

Tables

Within research reports, Tables graphically represent the data being tabulated. A writer can present information within tables to condense the space needed to present the compiled data. Tables can also help make comparisons between exact numbers more apparent. Tables should not be used excessively and should only reiterate what has already been stated in the text. Formatting guidelines need to be adhered to and so be sure to examine the style manual required by your publication. Often tabular data sets within software programs such as Excel can generate their own tables.

Table Generating Tools

The below table generating tools are all free to use and incorporate features which can not only construct tables but allow for conversion of HTML, CSS, and other formats. 

LaTex Tables Generator

DivTable

RapidTables

Truben

Canva

Free Data Generator

Supsystic

IANR Media

Figures

Graphic illustrations that visually represent a table's data or act as standalone image are called Figures and can be an essential component of research reports. Figure options include charts, bar and scatter graphs, photographs or drawings, and other data presentation objects. They may also require lots of formatting. As with tables, figures should always mirror the text's criteria and, like tables should be included within the body of the report whenever possible. Often the best way to design figures is in black and white; however, some manuscripts may need to be enhanced by color images or graph dynamics.

Image-Making Software

ImageJ - this software developed by the NIH is a Java-based image processing program that helps users build images through open source programming.

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) - a free and open-source tool used for image editing.

Inkscape - open source vector graphics creator and editor with additional raster graphics capabilities.

ImageMagick - a similar open-source graphics creator with a very versatile application for converting numbers image files and formats.

Improving Your Tables and Figures

APA Tables & Figures

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