I would like to italicize my figure captions and make them smaller. How can I do that?

3 Answers 3


It can be done by loading the caption package and by choosing options or \captionsetup, for instance:


The caption package provides a lot more feature and is very well documented.

  • 3
    How can you make it even smaller?
    – Malabarba
    Dec 15, 2010 at 22:29
  • 15
    Instead of small, you could choose footnotesize or scriptsize as property for the font option.
    – Stefan Kottwitz
    Dec 15, 2010 at 22:42
  • 1
    Is there a simple way to get a size in between footnotesize and small? Small is just slightly to big.
    – Marten
    Jun 19, 2014 at 20:07
  • 2
    what is the size of small? is it relative to the main font size?
    – Ahmad
    May 25, 2016 at 15:18

KOMA-Script provides commands for customizing fonts of certain elements:

  • \setkomafont{element}{commands}
  • \addtokomafont{element}{commands}
  • \usekomafont{element}

The latter can be used for using the configured font for further elements. Among the supported elements are caption and captionlabel.

So here we could write:


figure with smaller italic caption

  • 1
    This answer requires familiarity with KOMA-Script. I went through the manual and I still don't understand whether I should use a certain package or what a minimum working example looks like.
    – kon psych
    May 8, 2015 at 7:08
  • 2
    @kon I use scrartcl as document class, and it was very easy to apply. Just put the two lines in the header, no extra package necessary.
    – luckyrumo
    Jun 27, 2015 at 22:19
  • 2
    While it’s probably obvious to most, captionlabel is “Figure X” (at the left) and caption is your actual caption text (to the right).
    – caw
    Jul 29, 2019 at 20:11

The memoir document class has this baked in. The provided functionality allows adjustments to the following parameters:

  • The font commands used for the caption label (the Figure x: part).

  • The delimiter that separates the label from the caption.

  • The font commands used for the caption text that follows the label.

  • The alignment/justification of the caption (left, right, hanging indent, etc)

And much more. See section 10.6 of the memoir manual for full details.

Memoir also includes support for things such as sub-captions and side-captions. Chapter 10 of the manual describes all this and much more.

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