Figure vs Table: Difference and Comparison

We have been blessed with the gift of knowledge that is encapsulated in the form of books. Now, information is not only contained in books, but there are other platforms to display vast volumes of information.

As the rate of literacy increased, new ways of recording and depicting information have come about. Figures and Tables are two such forms by which vast information is made available to people in a more comprehensive manner.

Key Takeaways

  1. Figures are visual representations of data, such as graphs, charts, or images, while tables display data in a grid format using rows and columns.
  2. Figures help readers understand complex relationships or trends, whereas tables provide precise numerical values for easy comparison.
  3. Choosing between a figure and a table depends on the type of data being presented and the author’s goals.

Figure vs Table

The difference between Figure and Table is that while both are ways in which vast volumes of information are made available to the readers in a concise version, the former depicts information in the form of pictures, drawings, clip art, etc., on the other hand, the latter represents information in sets of rows and columns.

Figure vs Table

A figure depicts volumes of information with the help of visual aids. A person seeing this does not necessarily have to know how to read and write but can infer the meaning by simply looking at the figure. However, sometimes certain words are written in a figure to help explain their meaning better.

A table, on the other hand, is again the depiction of voluminous information in a manner that will not overwhelm them but will equip them with knowledge.

These contain a series of rows and columns, each of which depicts a different detail, and sometimes it is compared against one another to conclude.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonFigureTable
FormVisual aids such as photos, drawings, etc.With series of rows and columns
PurposeTo help draw inferences from a certain photo or drawing that depicts something through itTo help compare or distinguish or divide information under different heads
Method of LabellingThe label that is put under a figure is always referred to as a caption and the method of labeling is ‘captioning’The label that is put under a table is always referred to as ‘numbering’ it
Abbreviated Version‘Fig.’No abbreviation
Frequency of AppearanceIts frequency of occurrence is quite the same in almost all the subjectsIt is used more in maths, science, and economics related subjects

What is Figure?

A figure depicts volumes of information with the help of visual aids. A person seeing this does not necessarily have to know how to read and write but can infer the meaning by simply looking at the figure. However, sometimes certain words are written in a figure to help explain their meaning better.

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The main purpose that it serves is that it helps to draw inferences from a certain photo or drawing that depicts something through it. One important fact that should be mentioned is that when labelling a figure, the label is called a caption. For instance, “Fig. 1 Shows the process of digestion.”

It can be referred to as ‘Fig.’ instead of Figure. Its frequency of occurrence is quite the same in almost all the subjects.

Generally, whenever a piece of information has to be explained through a figure, that figure should be accommodated on the same page as that of the information to avoid confusing the reader.

All the figures should be numbered to ensure that even if a certain figure is not on the same page as the information, the reader can always refer to the number of the Figure to know what the author is talking about.

A subject like economics employs the aid of both figures and tables. Most of the mathematical calculations are done in a tabular form, whereas the graph that is to be plotted based on these results is depicted in the form of a Figure.

figure 1

What is Table?

A table is again the depiction of voluminous information in a manner that will not overwhelm them but will equip them with knowledge. These contain a series of rows and columns, each of which depicts a different detail, and sometimes it is compared against one another to conclude.

The main purpose that it serves is that it helps in comparing or distinguishing, or dividing information under different heads. A table is labelled by numbering it. For instance, “Table 2.0 represents the crops grown in Uganda in the Summer and Winter Seasons.” 

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It does not have an abbreviation and is referred to as a Table all through the text. Tables are widely used in science, commerce, as well as humanities-related subjects.

Ideally, whenever a piece of information has to be depicted in the form of a table, that table should be placed on the same page as that of the information to avoid confusing the reader.

All the tables should be numbered to ensure that even if a certain table is not on the same page as the information, the reader can always refer to the number of the Table to know what the author has depicted earlier or later in his text.

table

Main Differences Between Figure and Table

  1. A figure employs visual aids to depict the information. In contrast, a table uses a series of rows and columns to depict the information
  2. The purpose that a figure serves is that helps to draw inferences from a certain photo or drawing that depicts something through it. On the other hand, the main purpose that it serves is that it helps in comparing or distinguishing, or dividing information under different heads.
  3. Where the label of a figure is called captioning, the label of a table is called numbering the table. It is advisable to ensure that the figure or table depicted is on the same page as the information that has been explained.
  4. While the shortened version of Figure is Fig., there is no shortened version of Table.
  5. The frequency of occurrence of a figure is quite the same in almost all the subjects. However, a table is used more in subjects related to maths, science, and economics.
Difference Between Figure and Table
References
  1. https://aip.scitation.org/doi/abs/10.1063/1.342976
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03610918008812164?journalCode=lssp20

Last Updated : 11 August, 2023

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11 thoughts on “Figure vs Table: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The post provides a clear definition of figures and tables and explains how they can be used to display information effectively.

    Reply
  2. The post’s explanation of figures and tables is informative and provides a sound understanding of their purposes and methods of labeling.

    Reply
  3. The comparison between figures and tables is insightful and well-organized. It helps readers understand their distinct features.

    Reply
  4. This post offers valuable information on the uses of figures and tables in disseminating information, helping readers make informed decisions about which method to use.

    Reply
  5. The post’s content effectively elucidates the differences between figures and tables, making it a valuable resource for understanding these data presentation elements.

    Reply
  6. The article’s emphasis on the labeling and depiction methods of figures and tables enhances readers’ knowledge of how information can be presented.

    Reply
  7. The explanation of figures and tables, along with their unique purposes and abbreviated forms, is illuminating and aids in comprehending their usage.

    Reply
    • I agree, it is helpful to understand how each one should be used based on the type of data being presented and the author’s goals.

      Reply
  8. The detailed explanation of tables and figures, including the parameters of comparison, is an excellent resource for people looking to understand data presentation methods.

    Reply
  9. The elaboration on the purposes and frequency of appearance of figures and tables is insightful and contributes to a deeper understanding of their roles in data representation.

    Reply

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