X-ray absorption spectroscopy and photoemission electron microscopy are techniques commonly used to determine the magnetic properties of thin films, crystals, and heterostructures. Recently, these methods have been used in the study of magnetoelectrics and multiferroics. The analysis of such materials has been compromised by the presence of multiple order parameters and the lack of information on how to separate these coupled properties. In this work, we shed light on the manifestation of dichroism from ferroelectric polarization and atomic structure using photoemission electron microscopy and x-ray absorption spectroscopy. Linear dichroism arising from the ferroelectric order in the PbZr 0.2Ti 0.8O 3 thin films was studied as a function of incident x-ray polarization and geometry to unambiguously determine the angular dependence of the ferroelectric contribution to the dichroism. These measurements allow us to examine the contribution of surface charges and ferroelectric polarization as potential mechanisms for linear dichroism. The x-ray linear dichroism from ferroelectric order revealed an angular dependence based on the angle between the ferroelectric polarization direction and the x-ray polarization axis, allowing a formula for linear dichroism in ferroelectric samples to be defined.