3.4.1 Images, charts and graphs

Images, charts and graphs

Key Concept: All visual content core to the learning on the module must have a suitable accessible equivalent

When providing images, charts and graphs you will need to  consider: sourcing, resizing, referencing and ensuring accessibility.

Sourcing images

You can of course use your mobile phone or a more sophisticated camera for creating your own photographs and images, for example capturing whiteboard content from tutorials.

Alternatively you can use images from online repositories which grant permission for re-use. Look for ‘attribution’ or ‘license’ information. Images licensed using Creative Commons, for example those found through Flickr’s Creative Commons search or Unsplash, are free for educational use as long as the source is attributed.

Please note the advice provided by the Library when using third-party copyrighted images.


All images, charts and graphs should be provided with an accurate reference, appropriate to the style used in your Department. This encourages correct referencing in students and allows students to follow up the original data.

Creating images, charts and graphs

As general guidance for file types: save as JPG for photos and save as PNG where there is detail or text included.


Images can be created of your computer screen using screenshots. This is useful for providing guidance on software or interactive resources. On a PC, use the PrtScn button on your keyboard to copy the screen to the clipboard. On a Mac, press Command (⌘) + Shift + 4 to select an area of the screen to capture and the screenshot is saved to the desktop.

You can then load into an image programme to tweak the screenshot or paste directly into a PowerPoint slide. It is worth cropping to the area of the screen you are explaining and resizing the image so that detail is clear.

Charts and graphs

Screenshot of an Excel bar chartCharts and graphs created in Excel can be copied and pasted into an image program (Windows Paint) or a PowerPoint slide. They can then be saved as a PNG file to use on the VLE or on other platforms.


Screenshot of a PowerPoint SmartArt templateDiagrams and graphics that represent relationships or processes can be created using PowerPoint’s SmartArt tool. This provides a number of templates for your diagram that just require text to be added in the placeholders. The SmartArt graphic adapts automatically should you need to add in extra placeholders. Other presentation platforms, such as Prezi, also provide layouts and templates to show relationships and processes.


Screenshot of SankeyMATICYou may wish to explore third-party tools to create infographics and visualisations. These tools allow you to present large amounts of complex data or present ideas visually. Some of the infographics are interactive, for example using Google Fusion Tables, and others you can export as PDF or PNG image files.



You will need to adjust the size of most images you upload to Yorkshare. In particular, images taken directly off a camera will be several MB in size and could be resized to smaller files, ideally less than 1MB. This makes accessing the image quicker and saves space on Yorkshare and student devices. When the image is embedded in a content item it should also be resized in terms of how it displays on the screen. Otherwise it will be difficult to view as a whole image on mobile devices.



Where an image, chart or graph is used for a learning activity, an accessible equivalent must be provided. This ensures students who have a visual impairment are able to use the resource, hence will not be unfairly disadvantaged in the learning of the module. Examples of accessible equivalents include:

  • Text summaries of the image or data
  • Provision of the original data source
  • Audio descriptions of the image or data

Accessible practice includes catering for students with colour blindness by ensuring colour is not used as a sole distinguishing feature in data, for example a chart with red and green data lines should also have different line styles. Accessible practices are outlined below and should become part of your standard practice when using Yorkshare.

Developing practice

Adding to your Yorkshare VLE site

Images can be uploaded directly into Yorkshare using the text editor on Items, Folders, Learning Objects and collaborative spaces such as the Blog, Discussion Board and Wiki tools.