Inserting an Excel Chart Into an APA Style Paper Using MS Word 2007 – How It’s Done

APA (American Psychological Association) is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. This resource, revised according to the 6th edition, second printing of the APA manual, offers examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, end notes/footnotes, and the reference page. Your essay should be typed, double-spaced on standard-sized paper (8.5″ x 11″) with 1″ margins on all sides. APA recommends using 12 pt. Times New Roman font. Your essay should include four major sections: the Title Page, Abstract, Main Body, and References.

In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to insert and format an Excel chart into an APA style paper using MS Word 2007.

Before you start! We have to follow a figure checklist to make sure that the Excel chart is compatible with our APA style paper. This figure checklist is what we are normally dealing with figures (i.e. charts, pictures etc…) in APA style papers.

Figure Checklist

  • Is the figure necessary?
  • Is the figure simple, clean, and free of extraneous detail?
  • Are the data plotted accurately?
  • Is the grid scale correctly proportioned?
  • Is the lettering large and dark enough to read? Is the lettering compatible in size with the rest of the figure?
  • Are parallel figures or equally important figures prepared according to the same scale?
  • Are terms spelled correctly?
  • Are all abbreviations and symbols explained in a figure legend or figure caption?
  • Are the symbols, abbreviations, and terminology in the figure consistent with those in the figure caption?
  • Are the figures numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals?
  • Are all figures mentioned in the text?

Let’s Get Started!

Step 01: Open MS Excel and plot the data accurately. Pay special attention on identifying variables, measured units and scale

Step 02: Create the chart using the data plotted above. Select the best chart type which can clearly represent your data. Avoid the temptation to use the special effects available in most advanced software packages. While three-dimensional effects, shading, and layered text may look interesting to the author, overuse, inconsistent use, and misuse may distort the data, and distract or even annoy readers. Remember, you should draw the reader’s attention in the data, not the design of the chart.

Step 03: Remove the chart title, because we use it for the chart caption. Name the chart axis (both x and y) titles with clearly indicating the units.

Step 04: Use grid lines and data labels in needed.

Step 05: Pay enough attention on the size and color of text elements in the chart. Too large or too small text is unreadable as well as distract the readers

Step 06: Pay special attention on the legend. The symbols of the legend and that of the chart elements should be identical in shape, size and color.

Step 07: Copy the Excel chart into your APA style paper document. Use normal copy and paste commands in Excel and Word 2007 to do that.

Step 08: Add the figure caption at the below the chart. For the figure number, type Figure X. Then type the title of the figure in upper and lowercase letters. Follow the title with a legend that explains the symbols in the figure and a caption that explains the figure. Captions serve as a brief, but complete, explanation and as a title. For example, “Figure 4. Population” is insufficient, whereas “Figure 4. Population of Grand Rapids, MI by race (1980)” is better. You can use Insert caption command of the captions group in the References tab (appropriate text formatting will be automatically applied).

Step 09: You are done! no more steps further…

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