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I want to include a small note (i.e. footnotesize) below a figure. How do I do that? If I use caption, the note has a caption size and interferes with my caption.

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You don't have to sign with your name since it automatically appears in the lower right corner of your post. –  Jubobs Nov 27 '13 at 20:33
    
Is the "note" a simple legend to the figure or is it a footnote (and, if so, where would the footnote mark go)? May it have the full width of the text block, or should the width of the note match the width of the figure it refers to? –  Mico Nov 27 '13 at 20:34
2  
I think the salient point here is that there is nothing magical about typesetting within a figure environment. Just declare the approprate style(s) and type away. –  Harald Hanche-Olsen Nov 27 '13 at 20:35
    
@HaraldHanche-Olsen - The OP appears to need some help with the "declaring the appropriate style(s)" part of the job... –  Mico Nov 27 '13 at 20:43
    
It's not a legend, but a small item of text below the caption where I can write a few notes that I do not wish to include in the main body of my text. –  Marcus Nov 27 '13 at 21:06
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2 Answers 2

To have the legend occupy the same width as the associated graph, one may encase both in a minipage environment, as is done in the following MWE (minimum working example). Note the use of \par at the end of the footnote-sized material. Without it -- or a trailing blank line, which is the functional equivalent of a paragraph break in Tex -- you'd get the smaller font size that the line spacing appropriate for the document's normal font size.

enter image description here

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[demo]{graphicx} % leave off '[demo]' in real document
\begin{document}
\hrule
(this rule just demonstrates the width of the textblock\dots)

\begin{figure}[h]
\centering
\begin{minipage}{0.65\textwidth} % choose width suitably
\includegraphics[width=\linewidth]{mygraphicfile}
{\footnotesize Here are some notes that go with the graph. Here are some 
notes that go with the graph. Here are some notes that go with the graph. 
Here are some notes that go with the graph.\par}
\end{minipage}
\caption{Historical shock decomposition, 2007Q1--2012Q4}
\end{figure}
\end{document}

Addendum: If you want the explanatory stuff to go after the caption, you could place it in its own separate minipage environment, taking care to give it the same width as the graph. (I know there's no arguing about taste, but to me placing the explanatory stuff that far away from the graph doesn't look right.)

enter image description here

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[demo]{graphicx} % leave off '[demo]' in real document
\begin{document}
\hrule
(this rule just demonstrates the width of the textblock\dots)

\begin{figure}[h]
\centering
\includegraphics[width=0.65\textwidth]{mygraphicfile}
\caption{Historical shock decomposition, 2007Q1--2012Q4}

\medskip % induce some separation between caption and explanatory material
\begin{minipage}{0.65\textwidth} % choose width suitably
{\footnotesize Here are some notes that go with the graph. Here are some notes that go with the graph. Here are some notes that go with the graph. Here are some notes that go with the graph.\par}
\end{minipage}
\end{figure}
\end{document}
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Nice! But I think the OP wants the notes to be "After the caption and before "\end{figure}"" –  Kevin C Nov 27 '13 at 23:08
    
@KevinC - Thanks for pointing this out. I'll post a second MWE. –  Mico Nov 27 '13 at 23:12
    
"width=0.65\textwidth" What are the units in 0.65 ? –  user46548 Jul 7 at 14:15
1  
@user46548 - 0.65\textwidth means "65 percent of the width of the text block". The units are immaterial, in the sense that it doesn't matter whether the parameter \textwidth was specified in cm, in, or any other valid length unit that TeX recognizes. (AFAICT, "parsec" is not recognized by TeX...) –  Mico Jul 7 at 18:05
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Here even \tiny, not only \footnotesize :-)

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{graphicx}

\begin{document}

\begin{figure}
\includegraphics[width=2cm]{it}

{\tiny I want to include a small note (i.e. footnotesize) below a figure. How do I do that? If I use caption, the note has a caption size and interferes with my caption.}
\caption{Normal text }
\end{figure}


\end{document}

enter image description here

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actually, \tiny is too tiny. \footnotesize is the usual size, even within a figure. –  barbara beeton Nov 27 '13 at 21:03
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