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I'm putting two figures above each other with \subfloat from the subfig package. Their captions are empty as I just want to describe the figures with the main caption, but I still want the (a) and (b) subcaptions to show up, so that I've got something to refer to.

How can I put those tiny subcaptions to the right of the subfloats instead? They're eating my precious vertical space.

Here is a minimal working (but not as I'd like to) example:




    \caption{This is the text that describes \subref{label-1} and \subref{label-2}.}



I started looking at the subcaption package, but it claims to be incompatible with subfig.

share|improve this question
Would you be able to include a full compilable MWE? – Werner Dec 16 '11 at 18:27
@Werner: Sure, I've added one now. – Tim N Dec 16 '11 at 18:42
I am interested in seeing a solution to this problem, but are you sure you want to do this? In languages that read from left-to-right, having the caption on the right hand side of the figure might be distracting. – cmhughes Dec 16 '11 at 18:52
@cmhughes: The actual pictures are plots with the Y-axis to the left, and I don't want too much text in different fonts close to each other. I was browsing through a textbook using this technique though, so I suppose it isn't horrible. Thanks for your comment, I hadn't thought of it. – Tim N Dec 16 '11 at 18:56
up vote 8 down vote accepted

You can use the \sidesubfloat command provided by the floatrow package (this, however, will put the subcaptions to the left of the subfloats):



  \caption{Two subfigurfes with their caption beside}\label{fig:test}


enter image description here

share|improve this answer
+1. Note that \centering is in effect by default with floatrow. – lockstep Dec 16 '11 at 18:41
@lockstep: you're right. Thanks! – Gonzalo Medina Dec 16 '11 at 18:42
Thanks! I'll accept your answer as that's what I ended up doing, even though Werner answered the actual question :) – Tim N Dec 18 '11 at 23:33
@TimN: Well, that's a bummer. :) – Werner Dec 19 '11 at 0:57

Here is an option:

enter image description here

\usepackage[demo]{graphicx}% http://ctan.org/pkg/graphicx
\usepackage{subfig}% http://ctan.org/pkg/subfig
\newsubfloat{figure}% Allow sub-figures
  \raisebox{\dimexpr-.5\height-1em}{\includegraphics{pic-1.png}}\ \subfloat[\label{label-1}]{} \\[\topskip]
  \raisebox{\dimexpr-.5\height-1em}{\includegraphics{pic-2.png}}\ \subfloat[\label{label-2}]{}
  \caption{This is the text that describes \protect\subref{label-1} and \protect\subref{label-2}.}

The above example typesets the image (dropped by a half its height) and then inserts an empty \subfloat for captioning/referencing purposes.

share|improve this answer
Thank you! What does [\topskip] do? – Tim N Dec 18 '11 at 23:28
While \` causes a line break, adding an optional <len>` (that is, using \\[<len>] you can specify the line break gap. So, I specified a vertical gap of \topskip for the line break. See the difference when using something like \\[\baselineskip] or \\[40pt], for example. – Werner Dec 19 '11 at 0:50
Ah, I didn't realise `\` was a command, much less that it had an argument. Another new thing I've learnt today! – Tim N Dec 19 '11 at 0:55

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