# How to add a table description to a longtable?

I am very new to Latex and really need help. I am trying to format a longtable such that under the caption I can insert a description of the table. I tried with \multicolumn, but then the first column got really long and the text didn't fit the page. Does anyone have experience with this? Thank you!

\begin{longtable}[c]{p{1cm}p{6cm}p{3.5cm}p{5cm}}
\caption{Overview bank sample \label{Overview sample compilation}}
\hline
\textbf{Rank} & \textbf{Bank name}  &   \textbf{Home country} &   \textbf{Local Index}\\
\hline

\endfirsthead
\hline
\multicolumn{4}{r}{Continuation of Table \ref{Overview sample compilation}}\\
\hline
\textbf{Rank} & \textbf{Bank name}  &   \textbf{Home country} &   \textbf{Local Index} \\
\hline
\endhead

\hline
\endfoot

\endlastfoot
1             & Allied Irish Banks                                                         & Ireland               & ISEQ20                   \\
2             & Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentina                                             & Spain                 & IBEX 35                  \\
3             & Banco Santander                                                            & Spain                 & IBEX 35                  \\
4             & Bank of America                                                            & United States         & S\&P 500                 \\
5             & Bank of Montreal                                                           & Canada                & S\&P TSX Composite Index \\
6             & Barclays                                                                   & United Kingdom        & FTSE 100                 \\
7             & BNP Paribas                                                                & France                & CAC 40                   \\
8             & Citigroup                                                                  & United States         & S\&P 500                 \\
9             & Commerzbank                                                                & Germany               & DAX 30                   \\
10            & Credit Suisse                                                              & Switzerland           & Swiss Market Index       \\
11            & Deutsche Bank                                                              & Germany               & DAX 30                   \\
12            & HSBC                                                                       & United Kingdom        & FTSE 100                 \\
13            & ING Groep                                                                  & Netherlands           & AEX                      \\
14            & JP Morgan Chase                                                            & United States         & S\&P 500                 \\
15            & KBC Groep                                                                  & Belgium               & BEL20                    \\
16            & Lehman Brothers                                                            & United States         & S\&P 500                 \\
17            & Merrill Lynch                                                              & United States         & S\&P 500                 \\
18            & Morgan Stanley                                                             & United States         & S\&P 500                 \\
19            & National City Corporation                                                  & United States         & S\&P 500                 \\
20            & PNC Financial Services                                                     & United States         & S\&P 500                 \\
21            & Royal Bank of Scotland                                                     & United Kingdom        & FTSE 100                 \\
22            & Societe Generale                                                           & France                & CAC 40                   \\
23            & SunTrust Bank                                                              & United States         & S\&P 500                 \\
24            & U.S. Bancorp                                                               & United States         & S\&P 500                 \\
25            & UBS                                                                        & Switzerland           & Swiss Market Index       \\
26            & UniCredit SPA                                                              & Italy                 & FTSE MIB                 \\
27            & Washington Mutual                                                          & United States         & S\&P 500                 \\
28            & Wells Fargo                                                                & United States         & S\&P 500                 \\
\hline
\multicolumn{4}{l}{Source: Own depiction based on Bloomberg database.}
\hline
\end{longtable}
• Please make your code compilable by adding the documentclass as well as the relevant packages. (See: minimal working example (MWE)). There are also at least two \\ missing. One after the \caption, the other after the "Source" multicolumn. – leandriis Aug 18 '19 at 10:12
• Using \multicolumn{4}{p{\textwidth-2\tabcolsep}}{<your descrition text>}\ in combination with the calc package might give you the desired result. – leandriis Aug 18 '19 at 10:18
• Unrelated to the question, but you might be interested in using booktabsfor horizontal lines with improved spacing. If you don't want to manually number the rows in your table, you might be interested in the following answer: tex.stackexchange.com/a/21245/134144 – leandriis Aug 18 '19 at 10:26

## 2 Answers

I propose this layout, based on threeparttablex, which brings the functionalities of threeparttable to longtable, with a slightly different syntax. In particular, it lets you insert table notes anywhere you please in the table, so I decided to insert them just after the caption. I had to \makecell here and there to make the table fit between margins.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{longtable,booktabs}
\usepackage{threeparttablex, caption}
\usepackage{makecell}
\providecommand\TPTLsourcename{\textit{Source}}
\let\source=\TPTLsourcename

\begin{document}

\begin{ThreePartTable}
\begin{TableNotes}[para, flushleft]
\source: Own depiction based on Bloomberg database. Blah blah blah. Blah blah blah. Blah blah blah. Blah blah blah.
\end{TableNotes}
\centering
\begin{longtable}{@{}c l l l@{}}
\caption{Overview bank sample \label{Overview sample compilation}}\\[-2ex]
\insertTableNotes \\
\addlinespace[2ex]
\toprule
\textbf{Rank} & \textbf{Bank name} & \textbf{Home country} & \textbf{Local Index}\\
\midrule
\endfirsthead
\midrule
\multicolumn{4}{r}{Continuation of Table \ref{Overview sample compilation}}\\
\midrule
\textbf{Rank} & \textbf{Bank name} & \textbf{Home country} & \textbf{Local Index} \\
\midrule
\endhead

\midrule
\endfoot
\bottomrule
\endlastfoot
1 & Allied Irish Banks &
Ireland & ISEQ20 \\
2 & \makecell[tl]{Banco Bilbao Vizcaya\\ Argentina} &
Spain & IBEX 35 \\
3 & Banco Santander &
Spain & IBEX 35 \\
4 & Bank of America & United
States & S\&P 500 \\
5 & Bank of Montreal &
Canada & \makecell[tl]{S\&P TSX \\ Composite Index} \\
6 & Barclays & United
Kingdom & FTSE 100 \\
7 & BNP Paribas &
France & CAC 40 \\
8 & Citigroup & United
States & S\&P 500 \\
9 & Commerzbank &
Germany & DAX 30 \\
10 & Crédit Suisse &
Switzerland & Swiss Market Index \\
11 & Deutsche Bank &
Germany & DAX 30 \\
12 & HSBC & United
Kingdom & FTSE 100 \\
13 & ING Groep &
Netherlands & AEX \\
14 & JP Morgan Chase & United
States & S\&P 500 \\
15 & KBC Groep &
Belgium & BEL20 \\
16 & Lehman Brothers & United
States & S\&P 500 \\
17 & Merrill Lynch & United
States & S\&P 500 \\
18 & Morgan Stanley & United
States & S\&P 500 \\
19 & National City Corporation & United
States & S\&P 500 \\
20 & PNC Financial Services & United
States & S\&P 500 \\
21 & Royal Bank of Scotland & United
Kingdom & FTSE 100 \\
22 & Société Générale &
France & CAC 40 \\
23 & SunTrust Bank & United
States & S\&P 500 \\
24 & U.S. Bancorp & United
States & S\&P 500 \\
25 & UBS &
Switzerland & Swiss Market Index \\
26 & UniCredit SPA &
Italy & FTSE MIB \\
27 & Washington Mutual & United
States & S\&P 500 \\
28 & Wells Fargo & United
States & S\&P 500 \\
\end{longtable}
\end{ThreePartTable}

\end{document}

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{longtable,booktabs}
\begin{document}

\begin{longtable}{c l l l}
\caption{Overview bank sample \label{Overview sample compilation}}\\
\toprule
\textbf{Rank} & \textbf{Bank name}  &   \textbf{Home country} &   \textbf{Local Index}\\
\midrule
\endfirsthead
\midrule
\multicolumn{4}{r}{Continuation of Table \ref{Overview sample compilation}}\\
\midrule
\textbf{Rank} & \textbf{Bank name}  &   \textbf{Home country} &   \textbf{Local Index} \\
\midrule
\endhead

\midrule
\endfoot
\midrule
\multicolumn{4}{l}{Source: Own depiction based on Bloomberg database.}\\
\midrule
\endlastfoot
1             & Allied Irish Banks                                                         &
Ireland               & ISEQ20                   \\
2             & Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentina                                             &
Spain                 & IBEX 35                  \\
3             & Banco Santander                                                            &
Spain                 & IBEX 35                  \\
4             & Bank of America                                                            & United
States         & S\&P 500                 \\
5             & Bank of Montreal                                                           &
Canada                & S\&P TSX Composite Index \\
6             & Barclays                                                                   & United
Kingdom        & FTSE 100                 \\
7             & BNP Paribas                                                                &
France                & CAC 40                   \\
8             & Citigroup                                                                  & United
States         & S\&P 500                 \\
9             & Commerzbank                                                                &
Germany               & DAX 30                   \\
10            & Credit Suisse                                                              &
Switzerland           & Swiss Market Index       \\
11            & Deutsche Bank                                                              &
Germany               & DAX 30                   \\
12            & HSBC                                                                       & United
Kingdom        & FTSE 100                 \\
13            & ING Groep                                                                  &
Netherlands           & AEX                      \\
14            & JP Morgan Chase                                                            & United
States         & S\&P 500                 \\
15            & KBC Groep                                                                  &
Belgium               & BEL20                    \\
16            & Lehman Brothers                                                            & United
States         & S\&P 500                 \\
17            & Merrill Lynch                                                              & United
States         & S\&P 500                 \\
18            & Morgan Stanley                                                             & United
States         & S\&P 500                 \\
19            & National City Corporation                                                  & United
States         & S\&P 500                 \\
20            & PNC Financial Services                                                     & United
States         & S\&P 500                 \\
21            & Royal Bank of Scotland                                                     & United
Kingdom        & FTSE 100                 \\
22            & Societe Generale                                                           &
France                & CAC 40                   \\
23            & SunTrust Bank                                                              & United
States         & S\&P 500                 \\
24            & U.S. Bancorp                                                               & United
States         & S\&P 500                 \\
25            & UBS                                                                        &
Switzerland           & Swiss Market Index       \\
26            & UniCredit SPA                                                              &
Italy                 & FTSE MIB                 \\
27            & Washington Mutual                                                          & United
States         & S\&P 500                 \\
28            & Wells Fargo                                                                & United
States         & S\&P 500                 \\
\end{longtable}
\end{document}

And if your description is too long for aline, use:

\multicolumn{4}{l}{\parbox{\dimexpr\textwidth-2\tabcolsep}{%
Source: Own depiction based on Bloomberg database. ... more text}}

And if your tabular is too wide, then use package xltabular and

\begin{xltabular}{\linewidth}{c X l l}
[...]
\multicolumn{4}{p{\dimexpr\textwidth-2\tabcolsep}}{Source: Own depiction based on Bloomberg database.}\\
• Coud you please explain where exactly we can find the descriotion that the OP requested in their question: " such that under the caption I can insert a description of the table"? – leandriis Aug 18 '19 at 10:22
• Other than that, please note that the table is too wide for the textwidth of a standard article documentclass. You might want to add a comment on that, too. – leandriis Aug 18 '19 at 10:23