I have made a building model in an energy simulation software tool. I have taken a screenshot from this model and I want to publish it in my thesis. I'm not sure if citing the software is necessary or not. The software is not merely used as a drawing tool, but also as the calculator of the energy requirements of the building. I would like to ask for an example of how such images need to be cited. Thanks in advance.

  • 4
    You don't cite the image, that was your own work. You cite the software at the point where you talk about that picture or you write about how you produced that picture. "All simulations were performed using the software package Foo. [172]"
    – user64845
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 14:08
  • 2
    A software is a commercial product and by using it as a tool you are not violating its copyright. It is not possible to cite all tools we used to finalise the thesis. Otherwise, we will cite MS Word, Latex, Photoshop, etc. If you want to mention it in the text as @DSVA suggested it is possible if you do not it is OK also.
    – Yacine
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 16:23
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    @John you don't have to cite everything but you always need to cite methods (including software) used to produce or manipulate data. So if photoshop was used for enhancing contrast in images obtained by some kind of scientific measurement you have to mention it. If itw as used to produce nice looking figures then you don't need to.
    – user64845
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 16:52
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    @DSVA I think you should make it as an answer.
    – Yacine
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 17:08

1 Answer 1


Some software may have citation requests in their web-pages. The following are a few examples

  • Matplotlib: Hunter, John D. "Matplotlib: A 2D graphics environment." Computing In Science & Engineering 9.3 (2007): 90-95.
  • MATLAB: MATLAB <version> and <toolbox>, The MathWorks, Inc., Natick, Massachusetts, United States (<year>).
  • Origin: Origin (OriginLab, Northampton, MA)

Otherwise, you may adopt the following format:

Software [version], Company, Year, Link, Last visited: Date.

Also bear it mind that you may not need to cite the software used for image production unless the software itself produces some data used for scientific inference in your work (as mentioned by @DSVA's comments).

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