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If your picture, and hence your caption text frame, is wide enough, all will go on one line. But it seems like InDesign requires a LOT of leeway here, and the intermediate levels of fitting don't necessarily make sense. For instance, the caption will break after the text before before it will break before the text after. (yes, that's what I meant to say)
So it would seem that this caption feature works fine if you don't use any text before nor text after, in that it seems to want a really large text frame. That seems buggy to me. OTOH, if I go make a Text Variable from scratch and and add text before and after and put it into a designed text frame; that approach seems to work fine. Thanks for the input, M!
Mike in Adamstown, Maryland
I have been trying to replicate your procedure -- without success. I can't see how to add Text Variables into a caption, or what you mean be a "designed text frame." Can you explain in a bit more detail?
FWIW, I have also been playing around seeing how captions work and think I've sussed out what's going on.
I tried using non breaking spaces to keep the Text Before and Text After with the Metadata: Before[nbs]caption[nbs]Metadata[nbs]after[nbs]caption.
This hyphenated the first instance of caption in order to fit the Metadata and the Text After on the second line. So I applied a paragraph style turning off hypenation and all three elements jammed up onto one line. The issue with the captions seems to be that the metadata is treated as a single word - i.e.- spaces in the Metadata are non breaking spaces. This seems to be confirmed by removing the non breaking space in the Text After field which resulted in the Metadata being jammed into the first line as one long piece of gobbledygook.
Update (and why didn't I notice this sooner): the Metadata isn't treated as a single word, it is treated as a single character.