# Argument of \caption@ydblarg has an extra }

A misleading error message from the following code:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{graphicx}
\usepackage{subfig}

\begin{document}

\begin{figure}[!ht]
\centering%
\subfloat[]{
\label{subfig1}
\includegraphics[width=.4\linewidth]{fig1.pdf}%
}%
\subfloat[]{
\label{subfig2}
\includegraphics[width=.4\linewidth]{fig2.pdf}
}%
\label{myfig}
\caption{A caption for figures \subref{subfig1} and \subref{subfig2}.}
\end{figure}

\end{document}


gives

! Argument of \caption@ydblarg has an extra }.
<inserted text>
\par
l.19 ...es \subref{subfig1} and \subref{subfig2}.}

?


What have I done wrong? I can't see any extra } anywhere.

• You need to protect \subref, i.e. \protect\subref{subfig1} Feb 19, 2015 at 9:38
• Aah. I have no idea what fragile commands and protect are, but now I know where to begin. Thanks very much @karlkoeller! Feb 19, 2015 at 9:49

The easiest solution in these cases is to add \protect in front of the usual suspects; \subref is one of them because it has a *-variant.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{graphicx}
\usepackage{subfig}

\begin{document}

\begin{figure}[!ht]
\centering
\subfloat[]{%
\label{subfig1}%
\includegraphics[width=.4\linewidth]{fig1.pdf}%
}%
\subfloat[]{%
\label{subfig2}%
\includegraphics[width=.4\linewidth]{fig2.pdf}%
}

\caption{A caption for figures \protect\subref{subfig1} and \protect\subref{subfig2}.}
\label{myfig}

\end{figure}

\end{document}


Note where I added/removed % at end of lines and the position of \label{myfig} after \caption.

This might be annoying if you have several appearances of \subref in moving arguments. In this case you can “robustify” the command:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{graphicx}
\usepackage{subfig}
\usepackage{etoolbox} % for \robustify

\robustify{\subref}

\begin{document}

\begin{figure}[!ht]
\centering
\subfloat[]{%
\label{subfig1}%
\includegraphics[width=.4\linewidth]{fig1.pdf}%
}%
\subfloat[]{%
\label{subfig2}%
\includegraphics[width=.4\linewidth]{fig2.pdf}%
}

\caption{A caption for figures \subref{subfig1} and \subref{subfig2}.}
\label{myfig}

\end{figure}

\end{document}


Another solution is to avoid subfig for subcaption, which is the path I'd recommend:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{graphicx}
\usepackage{subcaption}

\begin{document}

\begin{figure}[!ht]
\centering
\subcaptionbox{\label{subfig1}}{%
\includegraphics[width=.4\linewidth]{fig1.pdf}%
}%
\subcaptionbox{\label{subfig2}}{%
\includegraphics[width=.4\linewidth]{fig2.pdf}%
}

\caption{A caption for figures \subref{subfig1} and \subref{subfig2}.}
\label{myfig}

\end{figure}

\end{document}

• Great answer, thanks! Can you explain why the \qquad line doesn't need a %? Feb 19, 2015 at 10:25
• @jozxyqk A space/end-of-line is ignored after a control sequence (whose name consists of letters). Feb 19, 2015 at 10:31
• The \protect method also solved my problem with an equivalent error using inparaenum inside a caption - had to apply it to \begin, \end and each \item Jan 27, 2016 at 3:22
• Another 'suspect' turned out to be the \linebreak. Using \protect\linebreak also helped. Jan 25, 2020 at 13:11
• Using \protect also solves problems caused by hyperlink in captions. Aug 13, 2020 at 16:05