Visual elements such as graphs, charts, tables, photographs, diagrams, and also maps record your readers’ fist and help them to recognize your ideas more fully. Lock are like the illustrations that aid tell the story. These visuals aid to augment your created ideas and also simplify facility textual descriptions. Lock can help the reader recognize a complicated process or visualize fads in the data. The key concept to remember here is that visuals clarify, illustrate, and also augment your written text; they space not a replacement for written text. The old adage, “a photo is worth a thousand words” might not constantly not hold true in technical writing, but including visuals might save friend a hundreds words or so of added explanation and clarification. If you have actually visual elements in her document, they must be based on and supplement your created content. Throw in “gratuitous graphics” simply to decorate or take up an are can confuse her reader.

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It is crucial to pick the appropriate kind of visual to convey the story you want your reader to understand. If visuals space poorly chosen or poorly designed for the task, they have the right to actually confuse the reader and have negative consequences. For example, it’s really likely the the an initial thing friend noticed as soon as you opened this web page was the picture above. Did friend wonder why is the there? has it distracted you?

Conventions for Integrating Visuals in your Document

Each format of visual has its very own conventions that you will identify after you have actually seen sufficient of them. In addition, different publications have different style guides that dictate the specifically, of how to format and integrate visual elements. In general, however, whenever girlfriend integrate any type of kind the visual, you must adhere come five key rules.

Five Rules for Integrating Visual facets into her Document
Give every visual a numbered subtitle that has a clean descriptive titleRefer come the subtitle number in ~ the human body text and discuss its contentLabel all systems (x and y axes, legends, obelisk box heads, components of diagrams, etc)Provide the source of the data and/or visual picture if friend did not develop it yourselfAvoid distorting the data or image.

In addition, visual facets should additionally be surrounded with sufficient passive an are to emphasize the image and enhance its readability. If copying and also pasting one image, make certain all facets are clear and also the print size is readable. A visual that has been shrunk down to one unreadable dimension does not assist the reader understand your ideas. Anytime possible, try to orient the visual picture in the very same direction together the body text.

Examine Figure 3.4.1 below. Do you recognize what information it conveys? What story the trying to tell? What is missing?

Figure 3.4.1

If you look carefully, friend might have the ability to guess what story this graph is telling. However, the absence of a descriptive caption and labelling the axes renders it impossible to know for sure. Compare it to Figure 3.4.2 below.

Figure 3.4.2 Water intake in Edmonton throughout the 2010 gold Medal Hockey Game. <1>

Figure 3.4.2 has actually a numbered subtitle (which I have actually just referred to in mine paragraph), a descriptive title, and it has properly labelled x and also y axes and legends. Through this added information, the story beginning to take it shape. The graph speak the story that the fluxuating water need in Edmonton during the 2010 Olympic yellow medal hockey game. If you include some context that flushing of toilets is one of the main reasons of water demand, the story comes right into focus. The figure also cites the resource the graph was retrieved indigenous in the caption using an in-text citation, which is linked to a complete reference below. Therefore, if you want an ext information around this data, girlfriend can find it. The original image has actually not to be distorted in any way. Thus, Figure 3.4.2 adheres to the five crucial rules provided above.

In addition to those 5 general rules, there are particular guidelines for implementing them. These are outlined in detail in the Faculty of design Co-op occupational Term Report pointer (.pdf).

Specific Guidelines because that Integrating Graphics


Visual aspects are described as either Tables or Figures. Tables are comprised of rows and also columns and the cells usually have actually numbers in them (but may likewise have indigenous or images). Figures refer to any type of visual elements—graphs, charts, diagrams, photos, etc.—that are not Tables. They may be consisted of in the key sections of the report, or if castle contain supplemental material they may be had in an appendix. Try to ensure the figures and tables space not damaged over two pages. Tables that call for a complete page might be finest put in one appendix.

Labelling Tables and Figures

Tables and also figures have to all be labelled with numbered captions that clearly identify and describe them. Number captions are normally placed listed below the figures, if table captions have to be placed over the tables. This is because we generally read tables native the height down, and also therefore desire to check out the caption at the top. Figures are not always read optimal down. As soon as you open up a page and see a figure, the an initial thing you want to recognize is “what is that?” The caption below it should automatically identify what the number represents for the reader. If you choose to place number captions over the figures, do so repetitively throughout her document.

Use the following conventions to aid the leader in understanding your graphics:

Numbering: Table and also Figures room numbered sequentially, but separately

e.g. Table 1, Table 2, figure 1, number 2, Table 3, etc.

Captioning: after ~ the number or Table number, include a descriptive caption that clearly indicate what the figure or table illustrates without having to check out anything else on the page.

There space two systems for numbering figures and also tables within her document:

Simple continually Numbering: every figures and also tables room numbered consecutively (Figure 1, number 2, number 3, Table 1, Table 2, Table, 3 etc.) transparent the paper regardless of which ar they space in.Section-based Numbering: Within every section, figures and tables might be numbered sequentially v each ar (e.g. Table 1.1 describes the an initial table in section 1, Table 2.4 refers to the 4th table in section 2).

If a huge number the illustrations space presented, the latter option is the much better choice. This can end up being confusing, however, as soon as using sub-sections.

If the table or figure that you existing in her report to be not produced by you, yet comes from various other sources, girlfriend must encompass a recommendation for the original resource in her caption: e.g.: number 1. Network style <3>. You should ensure that all figures and also tables represent data accurately and also ethically, and also that they carry out not distort data to create bias.

Using the InsertCaption … duty will allow Word to keep track that the Figure and also Table numbering because that you, and enable you to auto-create a List the Figures and Tables at the start of your document.

If friend don’t use the Insert Caption function, climate you need to manually adjust the font of her captions to distinguish them from body text. Subtitle font is commonly slightly smaller sized than human body font and also is regularly italicized. The numbered section is often bolded in both the caption and also in the in-paragraph reference to the figure or table for ease of cross-referencing.

Referring come Tables and Figures in your Text

Any numbers or tables you use in your paper must be questioned in your text. Use the complying with guidelines when discussing and also referring come tables and figures:

Place the table/figure nearby to where it is first referred to in the text (preferably automatically below the paragraph in which the is very first mentioned).Refer come tables and also figures in your message by your numbers, not their location in the text. E.g, “See number 9 for a in-depth schematic” (not “see the figure below”); “the test outcomes are summarized in Table 1.”When referring to a number or table in your body text, it is useful to location the reference in bold font.
Selecting the appropriate Visual

Table 3.1.1 lists common kinds that visual elements used in technical writing, in addition to their general purpose or summary (for a much more detailed discussion of how and also when to usage these type of visuals, view Graves and Graves.<2> notification the “box head” on the top and “stubs” on the left room bolded and also centred to enhance readability. Tables that have text in the cells rather of number can also be described as figures. Thus, Table 3.1.1 can have to be captioned as Figure 3.7 instead.

TABLE 3.1.1 Common types of illustrative graphicsType that VisualDescription and PurposeTablesGraphsBar GraphColumn GraphLine GraphChartsPie ChartOrg. ChartFlow ChartGantt ChartIllustrationsDiagramPhotoAnimationFilm clip
Place thorough data/information in categories formatted into rows and also columns because that comparison; use when precise figures are important. Label obelisk headings (box heads) and/or rows (stubs).
Compare and contrast two or more subjects in ~ the same point in time, or compare adjust over time.
Reveal readjust in a topic at regular intervals the time.
Show the degree and direction of adjust relative to two variables; compare items over time, show frequency or distribution, or present correlations.
Display the number and also relative dimension of the departments of a subject; shows relation of components to a entirety (parts should sum to 100% to make sense).
Map the divisions and also levels of duty or hierarchy within an organization.
Show the succession of steps in a process or procedure.
Indicates timelines because that multi-stepped projects, specifically used in proposals and progress reports.
Identify the parts of a subject and their spatial or sensible relationship; emphasize information or display dimensions.
Show what a subject looks choose in realistic detail or show it gift used.
Simulate a process, operation, or incident.
Depict a process, operation, or occurrence in realistic detail.

For more information on how to layout a long report, view the Faculty of Engineering’s “Co-op occupational Term Report Guidelines.”<3>

Using what you have learned around figures and also tables, produce two various visual depictions of the data defined in the following paragraph, and caption them together Figure 1. add your descriptive caption. explain why you chose those methods and also list the pros and cons the each:

We surveyed the college student in 3 sections of ENGR 240 (total the 100 students) come gauge which facet of the writing procedure they found most challenging: Pre-writing, Drafting, or Revising. The results amongst the 3 sections to be consistent. As whole 50% that students stated that they discovered the Pre-writing phase to it is in the many challenging, when 28% uncovered the Drafting phase most complicated and 22% said the Revision phase was most challenging (see Figure 1). These results indicate that we must place much more emphasis top top teaching and practicing pre-writing strategies throughout the course.

Figure 1 and also a descriptive caption that illustrates the data above>

For a look at how professionals can animate data, inspect out Hans Rosling’s “The delight of Stats” ~ above YouTube .

Image descriptions

Figure 3.4.1 photo description:

A graph through no figure number or caption and no x or y axis labels, so that is complicated to identify what allude it is trying to make. It shows something rising and also falling during a hockey game. This thing spikes in ~ the finish of each period and drops dramatically when Canada wins.

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Figure 3.4.2 photo description:

A graph charting water intake in Edmonton during the 2010 gold Medal Hockey Game. The graphs mirrors spikes in water intake at the finish of each period, adhered to by an extremely low usage periods, specifically near the finish of the third period, and also between the finish of the game and also the medal ceremony. It likewise has a line illustrating water consumption the vault day, which was reasonably steady throughout the day.