I am looking for the correct way to write the caption name of figures in the response letter for a submission to an Elsevier journal. In the manuscript, the name is

Fig. 1. This is caption

I need add some figures in the response letter as well as revised manuscript. The figure number of these files will be different. So, if I refer to "Fig. 1" in the letter, the reviewer will not know which one I am referring to, the Fig. 1 in the manuscript or the Fig. 1 in the letter.

I am not sure about using

Fig. L-1. This is caption

Fig. L. 1. This is caption

to label figures in the response letter, or any solution...

  • 1
    You don't need to ask people on the internet. Do whatever you want, as long as it's clear. The scheme you suggest yourself is clear. Mar 25, 2016 at 5:55

3 Answers 3


I am going to take a contrary opinion to what has been suggested so far, and strongly suggest that you do not put figures in your response letter.

My reasoning is this: as a reviewer and an editor, I often see an author put material into the response letter that would be better put into the manuscript. If you need to explain something clearly and carefully to a reviewer, you probably need to explain it clearly and carefully to your readers as well. That goes not just for text, but for figures and tables and references also. Rather that writing it twice (and typically ending up with significant differences between your two instances, since they're in different contexts), write it once in the manuscript and just refer to it there from the response letter.

In short: if you think it's important enough to put in the response letter, it's important enough to simply put into the manuscript.

  • Thank you. However, some figure only appears in letter (for clear explaination something), and it will not in manuscript. Then assumption that at least one figure in leter, then the figure caption is not same with manuscript to ignore the confusing
    – Jame
    Mar 26, 2016 at 16:14
  • 2
    @user8430 If the figure is useful to clarify in the letter, I think it probably would be useful to clarify to many readers as well.
    – jakebeal
    Mar 26, 2016 at 19:19
  • @user8430 I'm afraid that I cannot understand this most recent comment that you have written, due to grammar issues.
    – jakebeal
    Mar 27, 2016 at 11:35
  • I corrected it "Yes. You means that we need to clearly explain by text instead of using figure, right? However, if I just put the figure to more clear explanation for which I written. Hence, I need have some figures in letter ( there figures may not appear in manuscript)."
    – Jame
    Mar 27, 2016 at 11:39
  • @user8430 I have difficulty thinking of any case where it would be useful to put figure in a response letter, rather than putting some version of that figure into the manuscript.
    – jakebeal
    Mar 27, 2016 at 18:22

Call it "Figure 1" or "Fig. 1" as in the paper. Otherwise how will the editor or reviewer know which figure of the paper you are referring to since that is the subject of your response?

  • Thanks. Because the response letter and revised manuscript are seperated together. And I need add some figure in the response letter as well as revised manuscript. The figure number of these file will be different. So, If I use Fig.1 ..., the reviewer will not know which one in manuscript or letter?
    – Jame
    Mar 25, 2016 at 1:18
  • 1
    @user8430, if you refer to a figure in the letter, give it a unique label, otherwise if you refer to a figure in the paper, use the label from the paper. You wan the reviewer to know *exactly* where to look.
    – Bill Barth
    Mar 25, 2016 at 2:05
  • Yes, that is reason why I ask the question. I would like to know style of figure caption in the leter. Does it like "Fig. L-1" or 'Fig. L.1" or something
    – Jame
    Mar 25, 2016 at 2:07
  • 1
    @user8430, there's no well-established style for this, and certainly no required formatting. Your suggestion will work fine.
    – Bill Barth
    Mar 25, 2016 at 2:08
  • Thank you. So If i used different figure caption. In response leter, I will write as (Fig. L-1 (as Fig. 1. in revised manuscript) shows ....). Is it right?
    – Jame
    Mar 25, 2016 at 2:12

Just label and caption as in a regular paper, and talk about "figure 1 in the paper is clarified by figure 2 in the response" or some such, and state clearly which document's figures/tables/... you are referring to each time. I believe that is the least confusing, and least prone to misunderstandings.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .