How to quote an image in PowerPoint

Who I am
Matthew M. White
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Graphics and images can make a presentation much more effective. Luckily, the internet is full of great images you can use for this purpose, but not all of them are free.

When you decide to include a licensed image in your presentation, it will be necessary to cite its source and creator.

In this article, you'll find out why it's important to cite images in your presentations and learn how to do it right.

Why cite an image?

Just because an image is available online doesn't mean it's free. In fact, the author or copyright holder of an image can demand that their work be taken down if it is used without permission. Under copyright laws, the downloading and use of images is illegal unless their use is approved. And simply providing a link to the source page won't solve the problem. This is why a proper citation is important.

APA vs. MLA vs. Chicago Style

There are several styles of image quotes. All include references and text citations, but they vary in format. Here are the citation and reference formats for the most common styles:

WHAT Styles:

The citation provided in the text should contain the surname of the author and the year of publication of the image in parentheses, i.e. (Author, year).

The reference should include:

  • Author's first and last name, separated by a comma;
  • The year of publication in parentheses;
  • The title of the image and, in square brackets, its format;
  • The name of the website from which the image was taken;
  • URL

All points must be divided by a point.

MP Style:

The in-text citation will contain only the author's last name in parentheses.

The reference should look like this:

  • Author's last name, a comma, then first name;
  • Image title in quotes;
  • Site name, written in italics, followed by the citation date (in DD-Month-YYYY format) and the URL, all separated by commas.


Chicago style may not require a reference entry – an in-text citation may suffice. However, if you need to insert a full citation, the entry will include:

  • Surname and first name of the author, interrupted by a comma;
  • The title of the image in italics;
  • Date in Month-DD, YYYY format;
  • Format d’image;
  • Site name and URL, with a comma in between.

You must separate each dot with a dot.

Now that you understand the different quote styles and how they look, here's how to quote a photo on different devices.

How to Cite a Photo in PowerPoint on a Windows PC

On a Windows PC, you can use the PowerPoint desktop or online version. The method of inserting citations will be the same:

  1. Navigate to the slide that contains the photo you need to quote.
  2. Click "Insert" in the menu bar.
  3. In the toolbar under the menu, click on "Text box".
  4. Click and drag below the photo to create a box. You will insert the citation in this box.
  5. Double-click inside the box to start writing.
  6. Italicize the font by selecting the "I" under "Font" or by pressing Ctrl+i on your keyboard.
  7. Type "Figure 1.", followed by a short sentence describing the photo. Finally, enter the reference text according to the style you have chosen. Note that all text should be italicized.

How to Cite a Photo in PowerPoint on a Mac

To cite a photo on a Mac, follow this method:

  1. On the slide containing the photo, open the “Insert” menu.
  2. In the menu, click on "Text box".
  3. You will see a text box appear. Drag it under the photo. Don't worry about the size of the box – you can change it once you've created the quote.
  4. Double click on the box and a blinking cursor will appear inside.
  5. Click the "I" located below the font type drop-down menu or press Command+i on the keyboard to make the text italic.
  6. Type “Figure 1.”, then write a one-sentence description of the photo. After that, insert the reference in the style of your choice.

How to Cite a Photo in PowerPoint on an iPad

Quoting photos on an iPad follows a relatively simple method:

  1. When you open your presentation, navigate to the slide containing the photo you want to quote.
  2. Press "Insert" or "Home".
  3. Select the "Text box" option.
  4. Tap and drag the box below the photo.
  5. Once the box is in place, press it again. You will see a menu appear. Select "Edit Text".
  6. Italicize the text by pressing the "I" under "Home".
  7. Start typing the quote. First, enter “Figure 1.”, follow that with a brief description of the photo, and finally write the reference in your chosen style.

How to Cite a Photo in PowerPoint on the iPhone App

You can quote a photo in PowerPoint on your iPhone using the same method that applies to iPad:

  1. Open the PowerPoint app on your phone, enter your presentation, and find the slide with the photo.
  2. From the “Home” or “Insert” menu, choose “Text Box”.
  3. Place the new text box below the photo by tapping and dragging the box.
  4. When the box is in the correct position, press it again. Next, tap "Edit Text" in the menu that appears.
  5. Press the "I" in the "Home" menu to activate the italic font.
  6. Type “Figure 1.” in the text box. Then, insert a sentence describing the photo and, after that, the citation reference, following APA, MLA or Chicago style.

How to Cite a Photo in PowerPoint on Android App

To quote a photo on the Android app, follow these steps:

  1. Open the app and corresponding presentation and navigate to the slide containing the photo you need to quote.
  2. You will see a toolbar at the bottom of the screen. Find and press the icon with the letter A in a rectangle – this is the button to create a text box.
  3. The text box will appear in the center of the slide. Press inside the box to start writing.
  4. A different toolbar will appear above the virtual keyboard. Press the “I” on this toolbar to make your text italic.
  5. Begin the citation with “Figure 1.” Follow this with a short description of the photo, then write the reference using the appropriate citation style.

Use images correctly in your presentations

Citing photos in your PowerPoint presentations doesn't require a lot of extra work, but it does make the presentation much more ethical and professional. On top of that, you could avoid any copyright issues if you cite the photos you use correctly.

Now that you have learned how to insert correct citations, you can create an effective and interesting presentation using illustrative photos. All you have to do is choose the best possible images, and your presentation will be immediately enriched.

Have you been able to cite photos in PowerPoint successfully? What citation style did you use? Tell us in the comments section below.

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