The term figure refers to any graphical display used to present information or data,1 including statistical graphs, maps, algorithms, illustrations, computer-generated images, and photographs. Figures may be used to clarify or explain methods, to present evidence and quantitative results, to highlight trends and relationships among data, to clarify complex concepts, or to illustrate items or procedures. Figures should be accurate, clear, and concise.
In scientific articles, selection of a particular type of figure depends on the purpose and type of information being displayed. Some of the most common types of figures in biomedical publications are discussed herein.