I am using org-mode, and the document I am writing has a table name whose name looks like this: tab_weekly_report. When I export the document to HTML, I expect the name to exported as tab_weekly_report, but org-mode treats _ specially (as a markup character). How can I avoid this?

8 Answers 8


org-mode exports _ as subscripts and ^ as superscripts

The default export behavior can be customized using the menus Org -> Customize -> Browse Org Group. To update the default behavior for subscripts & superscripts, choose:

  • [-]-\ Group Org Export
    • [-]-\ Group Org Export General
      • — Option Org Export With Sub Superscripts

Org Export With Sub Superscripts Examples


  1. Interpret them - Default

    • Underscore_subscript becomes Underscoresubscript
    • Hat^superscript becomes Hatsuperscript
  2. Curly brackets only

    • Underscore_WithCurlyBrackets_{subscript} becomes Underscore_WithCurlyBracketssubscript
    • Hat^WithCurlyBrackets^{superscript} becomes Hat^WithCurlyBracketssuperscript
  3. Do not interpret them

    • Underscore_subscript becomes Underscore_subscript
    • Hat^superscript becomes Hat^superscript
    • Underscore_WithCurlyBrackets_{subscript} becomes Underscore_WithCurlyBrackets_{subscript}
    • Hat^WithCurlyBrackets^{superscript} becomes Hat^WithCurlyBrackets^{superscript}

Note: If you don't want to mess around with settings, the quick and easy solution is to disable superscripts and subscripts by setting export option for ^ to nil.

  • To disable superscripts and subscripts, add the following lines to your org file:

    #+OPTIONS: ^:nil
  • 2
    AFAIK, there is no _ option. The ^ option is called org-export-with-sub-superscripts internally, indicating that it affects both.
    – NickD
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 16:50
  • 1
    @NickD - Thanks for catching nonexistent _ option! I’ve removed it from answer.
    – Melioratus
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 17:17
  • Is there a way to have subscripts enabled but escape the underlines? \_ doesn't work, which does in LaTeX.
    – HappyFace
    Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 1:31
  • 2
    @HappyFace - I use and recommend using #OPTIONS: ^{} which leaves underscores and hats alone and makes the syntax ^{superscript} and _{subscript} instead.
    – Melioratus
    Commented Nov 4, 2022 at 17:05
  • 1
    @Melioratus As pointed out by a news user who doesn't how comment rights, there is a colon missing between the caret and the braces, so it should be ^:{} instead of ^{}, as in the answer of Joseph Tesfaye. Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 9:23

Add the following at the beginning of your file.

#+OPTIONS: ^:nil

It should do the trick. If it doesn't, I'd check org-symbols: http://orgmode.org/worg/org-symbols.html


Somewhat hard to find, but you can just use foo \under foo or foo\under{}foo.

  • 2
    Brilliant! thanks.
    – Uria Mor
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 18:24
  • 1
    This should be the best (most upvoted) answer
    – Ajned
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 8:45

By default the underscore "_" and caret "^" characters are treated as markers of subscripts and superscripts when exporting with org-mode or pandoc. To export them as they are you can add the line

#+OPTIONS: ^:{}

to your org file and then use either org-mode or pandoc to export. If you are using pandoc-mode make sure the region to be exported also include this line before the underscore and caret characters.


Summarizing and refining @Melioratus answer/commentary (which is the currently -- 2022-12-07 -- the top and accepted answer)

You can add this directive to your file to prevent underscores getting interpreted as subscripts.

#+OPTIONS: ^:nil  

...or even better, this...

#+OPTIONS: ^:{} 

@Melioratus had mentioned the latter in a comment but it did not work for me. Experimentation has shown that if I change @Melioratus's comment from...



#+OPTIONS: ^:{}

...then it works as described.


If you want to include it in your config directly, instead of setting the option in each file:

(setq org-use-sub-superscripts nil)
(setq org-export-with-sub-superscripts nil)

If you do not want to change Org-mode behavior globally on your document, use the = symbol:


I also recommend using zero-width space to escape the underscore and other symbols. See Escape Character (The Org Manual).


& is where you need to insert a zero-width space. Insert it with C-x 8 <RET> 200B <RET>.

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