Skip to Main Content

Using Charts Effectively

This guide is a general overview of creating and using charts including best practices in chart design.

Can I Use A Chart I Did Not Create?

Copyright Protected

Some graphics are copyright protected and cannot be used without the author’s permission and / or paying a usage fee. Other graphics are in “public domain” and therefore not subject to copyright. Here is a flowchart that will help you determine if a graph is free to use with no limitations.

    Give Attribution

If you are using a graph that you found in an e-book, a library database, or elsewhere, be sure and list the source underneath the image. The APA citation below represents a graph retrieved from the library’s Statista database.

To find examples of MLA, Chicago, citation styles, use the Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL) website,



Correct Citation Format  for Chart Shown Above (APA Style)

Internet World Stats. (n.d.). Countries with the highest number of internet users as of December 2017 (in millions). In Statista - The Statistics Portal. Retrieved May 28, 2019, from

University of Michigan - Dearborn Logo
  • 4901 Evergreen Road
    Dearborn, MI 48128, USA
  • Phone: 313-593-5000
  • Contact us