You commonly see references to "the figure below" and "the table below" in literature.

In the table above [2], one can see..

However, LaTeX provides \ref, which acts as a hyperlink.

Is it better LaTeX style to omit the words "table below" and simply cite your own table as a reference?

So the sentence above would read

In [2], one can see..

Where [2] is a \ref'd table element in the same document.

However one cannot tell if the hyperlinked element is a table or an image from the sentence now. Perhaps a better alternative is

In the table [2], one can see..

Which is the better LaTeX style?

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    The last (... in Table~\ref{..}, one can see ... - note the tie) is perhaps the most commonly used, in my opinion. It is also possible to use hyperref's \autoref{..} capability. – Werner Jul 13 '12 at 19:04
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    The appropriate way to refer to your table in the text is dependent upon the specific style you are using, such as MLA, APA, Gregg, etc. You will have to check with the respective style guide for the specific requirements. – R. Schumacher Jul 13 '12 at 19:35
  • @R.Schumacher I suppose you're right. Now that you say that, I don't think this is such a good question. – bobobobo Jul 13 '12 at 21:01
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    have you seen the varioref package? – cmhughes Jul 13 '12 at 21:27
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    related question: Referencing to "above" or "below"? – doncherry Jul 14 '12 at 10:12

You are asking "Which is the better LaTeX style?"

I would say we should not speak here of LaTeX style, in my opinion is is a general style of handling references to tables or figures in a book or thesis.

Because a thesis has to be true and unambiguous, it is important, that each table or figure in your document must be referenced at least once. Thus each table and figure gets his own number you have to reference to. (Referencing only "see table above" is not realy clear, if there are more than on tables above ... Referencing to only 15.3 could be a figure, a table or something else. Always add the kind of reference to be clear, like figure~15.3)

A good example for an unmistakable reference would be "figure 15.3" for the third figure in chapter 15 and "figure 15.2" for the second figure in chapter 15. With LaTeX you write figure~\ref{fig:label} to get a reference to the figure you labeled with \label{fig:label}.

If your reference has to point to a figure/table on the same page this reference is clear enouph. If your reference points to a figure/table two or more pages behind or before, you make it easy for the reader to find the referenced object with the reference see figure~\ref{fig:label} on \pageref{fig:label}. This will result for example in "see figure 15.3 on page 122".

Package varioref makes referencing easier, because you have only to write figure~\vref{fig:label} to get a proper reference in your document. If necceccary varioref adds by his own the pagenumber.

Package cleveref allows you to omit figure etc. You must only reference with \cref{fig:label} to get a complete reference in your document.

For more informations please have a look into the package documentations.

  • I don't follow your reasoning: how does having a reference to every table and figure make a work more true and less ambiguous? – clemens Sep 4 '12 at 7:27
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    There can't be a missleading reference. "See figure 15.3" is realy clear, "see figure above" not (which one of the 30 figures is ment? Perhaps the floating figure is now below?). A figure or table which is not referenced is useless for the work. I do not know where it belongs to. And I do not want to guess it ... – Mensch Sep 4 '12 at 15:20
  • Ah, I misunderstood you: you mean the reference itself should be unambiguous! Well, that's of course true. – clemens Sep 4 '12 at 15:22

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