Biology papers often have explanations of key points in "boxes", which are typeset like figures, i.e. they are floating, but they are not numbered as figures and they usually have a frame around them or a shaded background. I would like to achieve the same effect in a LaTeX document.

That is, I would like to have a floating element in my document that is similar to a figure in that it consists of an image an a caption, but:

  • there should be some title text (so the layout is title, then figure, then caption text)
  • it should have a frame drawn around the whole thing (i.e. around the title, figure and the caption)
  • it should not say "Figure 1" in front of the caption
  • it should not affect the numbering of subsequent figures
  • it should look as unobtrusive as possible, since it's not strictly part of the format for the conference I'm submitting to. So just a plain frame is preferred, without colour, shading, rounded corners etc.

For bonus points, it would be nice to automatically number these as "Box 1", "Box 2" and so on, though I don't strictly need that since my document only has one box.

I can find solutions to each of these things individually and could cobble them all together, but that feels like a bit of a hack and it would be good to have a clean solution.


1 Answer 1


Use tcolorbox.



\newtcolorbox[auto counter]{mybox}[2][]{float,title={Box~\thetcbcounter: #2},#1}



\begin{mybox}[floatplacement=t,label={box:first}]{My Box}
  Lorem ipsum

\begin{mybox}[floatplacement=b,label={box:second}]{My Box}
  Dolor sit amet


For more info see Boxes~\ref{box:first} and~\ref{box:second}.


enter image description here

  • Thanks, this works and I'm able to adjust the appearance appropriately. However, no matter what I do I cannot get the box to appear on page 1 where it belongs - even if I put it before the abstract, it still comes out at the top of page 2. This was not the case when I was using a figure environment for the same content. Do you have any idea how I might resolve that?
    – N. Virgo
    May 22, 2017 at 2:35
  • Actually I guess that might be because the extra margins have made the box taller and thinner than the figure was. (It's a two column layout.) I'll play around with the options and see if I can fix that.
    – N. Virgo
    May 22, 2017 at 2:37

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