Caption of a Figure, Table, Etc.


Wrapper element for the textual description that is associated with (part of) a Figure, Table (XHTML table model), etc. This is the title for the figure or the description of the figure that prints or displays with the figure.

In print or on display, a caption is usually recognizable because it is not part of the ordinary text flow; it sits just under, above, beside, or in the same small window or page area as the tabular portions of the table or the graphical portions of the figure.


The <caption> element in this DTD Suite contains the entire, visible textual description of an object such as a table or figure, excepting the figure or table number. The text of the caption includes any separately tagged <title> that might be present and as many paragraphs of information as needed. It may include legends, which are not identified as a separate element in this DTD Suite.

The text of the caption does not include words such as “Figure 3.” or “Table 11-a”. These labels may not be present in the XML file, because many publishers choose to generate such text at display time; but if they are in the source XML, they may be preserved using the <label> element.

Conversion Note: In many journal articles, a distinction is made between the caption of a figure/table/etc. and its title. There may be two separate tags (<caption> and <title>), or the first sentence of the caption may be set off typographically from the rest of the caption to indicate that it is a title, for example, the first sentence may be italic or bold. In either case, if it is obvious that the figure/table/etc. contains both a title and a caption, both the title and the caption should be tagged during conversion, and the title should be moved inside the caption if it is outside.

Model Description

The following, in order:

Tagged Examples

Example 1

In a figure

   <p>We identified... Details of randomization procedures,
   treatment schedules, and numbers of patients followed up are
   given on the <italic>BMJ</italic> website.
   <fig id="F1">
   <label>Figure 1</label>
   <p>Deaths among patients receiving day hospital care or alternative
   services. Odds ratios of death by end of follow up were calculated by fixed
   effects model. Heterogeneity between trials is presented as
   <graphic xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink"

Example 2

In a table

   <table-wrap id="TN0.170">
   <label>Table 17</label>
   <p>Numbers of patients receiving institutional care
   at the end of scheduled follow up and use of hospital beds
   among those allocated to day hospital or alternative
   <th colspan="3" align="center" rowspan="1">Institutional care</th>
   <th align="left"/> <th colspan="2" align="center"
   rowspan="1"> Bed use (days)</th>