What is the correct way of referencing an equation, figure of table inline?

I would currently say something like:

It can be seen from Equation (11) that . . .


Inspection of Figure (3) shows . . .

Is this method—capital letter for Equation/Figure/Table and the actual reference in round brackets—acceptable?

  • 2
    I leave away the (), but I would not fault somebody for writing it exactly like you did, and it is certainly style / venue dependent. Check out other papers in your targeted journal / conference.
    – xLeitix
    Commented Jun 1, 2014 at 12:18
  • Is this for a thesis or a journal/conference publication?
    – adipro
    Commented Jun 1, 2014 at 20:16
  • Well the question is for technical report writing in general, but I am starting on my masters thesis so this is probably the method I am planning on using.
    – Jonny
    Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 5:46
  • Use LaTeX and let it figure out inline referencing style. Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 10:49
  • Related: academia.stackexchange.com/a/15704/1471
    – yo'
    Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 21:35

2 Answers 2


As far as I know, the standard in mathematics is:

  • Put parentheses around equation numbers; don't use the word "Equation" unless after a period.

  • "Figure/Table/Algorithm X", with no parentheses. Parentheses are reserved for equations, and square brackets for citations.


This follows from (11). Equation (12) does not hold in this case. See Figure 13 for further information.

In your LaTeX source, use from~\eqref{someref} and Figure~\ref{someother}, with nonbreaking spaces and \eqref for the equations.

(The standard in mathematics is LaTeX; Word is often frowned upon.)

That said, as already stated in aeismail's answer, every journal has its own house style, which may override the standard.

EDIT: see also the answers to Referencing non-equations as to why adding "Equation" is not a good idea: not all numbered formulas are equations.

  • In your LaTeX source, ... (The standard in mathematics is LaTeX; Word is often frowned upon.) In the interest of generality, most journals I'm familiar with provide templates for both Word and LaTeX formats.
    – Mad Jack
    Commented Jun 1, 2014 at 18:09
  • 2
    @user11192 Regardless of what options the journals offer, very few mathematicians (or theoretical computer scientists or other people in very mathematical fields) write papers in anything other than LaTeX. Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 18:37
  • @DavidRicherby Yes, I am aware of that.
    – Mad Jack
    Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 19:36

As a generic style, your method is probably the most frequently encountered. However, just about every publisher has its style guide, which usually includes instructions for exactly this sort of reference. Those guidelines should be followed when available; if not, then you are free to use whatever format you wish, so long as you use it consistently.

  • 1
    I don't think I've ever seen "Figure (3)" with the parentheses (theoretical computer science, maths). Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 20:50

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