How to Cite a Picture in PowerPoint

Using images in PowerPoint presentations can make them more visually engaging and help communicate ideas more effectively. However, it’s important to provide proper attribution whenever you use content created by someone else. Failing to cite non-original images in your PowerPoint slides could potentially lead to copyright infringement.

This article will walk you through the key steps for properly citing images in PowerPoint presentations.

Why Image Citations Matter

Citing images serves multiple important purposes:

  • It gives credit to the original creator and shows that you have permission to reuse their work. Many images online are protected by copyright and require attribution.
  • It allows your audience to verify the source and accuracy of the content. Citations enhance credibility.
  • It helps you avoid plagiarism or misrepresenting the ownership of creative work. Using others’ images without permission can have legal consequences.

In short, by properly citing non-original images in your PowerPoint slides, you are being ethical, establishing credibility, and protecting yourself.

Step 1: Gather Key Details About the Image

Before inserting an image into your PowerPoint presentation, take note of the following details:

  • Creator/Artist: The individual or entity that created the image content. This is often listed below or adjacent to the image on the source website.
  • Title: The official or unofficial name given to the image by its creator.
  • Date: The year the image was created.
  • Source Website: The website where you found the downloadable image file.

You’ll need this info later when constructing your citations.

Step 2: Insert the Image in Your Slide

Once you’ve gathered the key details on an image, insert it into your PowerPoint slide.

You can do this by:

  • Downloading the image file and inserting it from your computer
  • Copying the image URL and inserting it directly using the “Pictures” function

Position the image appropriately alongside any text or other content on that slide.

Step 3: Add a Basic Citation

The most basic citation should go directly under the inserted image and include:

  • Creator name
  • Image title in quotation marks
  • Date of creation
  • Source website

For example:

"San Francisco Skyline" by John Smith, 2022,

This covers the essential information needed to credit the source.

Step 4: Add More Context (Optional)

For a more complete citation, you can include additional context, such as:

  • The type of image (photograph, drawing, diagram, etc.)
  • The copyright holder (if different than creator)
  • The license that allows you to reuse it (Creative Commons, public domain, used with permission, etc.)

For example:

"San Francisco Skyline" by John Smith, 2022, photograph,, CC0 Creative Commons license.

Providing license info reassures viewers that you have the right to reuse the image.

Step 5: Include References (Optional)

For a polished, academic presentation, also include full references on a separate references slide at the end, formatted according to a style guide like MLA, APA or Chicago.

These references can link to each in-text image citation via numbers or author-date combinations. This fully documents the source and allows audiences to easily verify images.

Step 6: Add Alternative Text (For Accessibility)

To make your presentation accessible for those using screen readers, you should also add alternative (ALT) text descriptions to each image.

To add ALT text in PowerPoint:

  1. Right click the image and select “Format Picture”
  2. Click the “Alt Text” tab
  3. Enter a description of the image content/purpose in the description field

Common Image Source Types

The details required for citations vary slightly depending on where you found the image, such as:

  • Websites: List website name, URL, date accessed
  • Stock Sites: Include provider name, specific image ID, subscription type
  • Books/Articles: Include all bibliographic details per style guide
  • Museums/Galleries: List institutional details and accession numbers

Refer to citation style guides for examples.

Automated Image Citation Generators

Manually compiling citations for multimedia can be time consuming. Using an automated citation generator tool can save effort.

Some top options for auto-generating image and media citations in PowerPoint include:

  • Scribbr
  • BibMe
  • CiteThisForMe
  • EasyBib
  • Citationsy

However, always double-check computer-generated citations for accuracy before including them in your presentations. Automated tools may occasionally introduce data errors.

Key Takeaways

Citing visual media properly is crucial for creating professional, ethical presentations:

  • Provide basic attribution under each image with creator/title/date/source details
  • Include richer context like media type, copyright holder names, and reuse licenses
  • List full references on a separate slide
  • Add ALT text descriptions to enhance accessibility
  • Use citation generators, but confirm accuracy

Properly formatted citations reinforce your credibility while protecting content creators. Overall, citations indicate respect for other experts in your field and demonstrate good scholarly practice.