In Emacs, one can use asterisks * to achieve bold font, for example, *bold*. My question is can I make the asterisks invisible? i.e. bold instead of *bold*. Same question for strike through, italics, etc.

I know this should be achievable. As an example, one can set the org-indent asterisks the same color of the background, so it becomes invisible:

* Headline one
** Headline two


* Headline one
 * Headline two

You can still move the caret over to see the asterisks there, which is nice.

Back to my question, I don't know if or how to do the same thing for the markups in text formatting.

  • 1
    The question is not clear. If this is about a particular mode (e.g. Org mode? some markup mode?) then please elaborate. You refer to "the markups", without any explanation of what you mean. In Emacs in general there is no markup and you cannot use*bold* to achieve *bold*.
    – Drew
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 18:42
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    The ole asterisk vs asteroid confusion, Luke.
    – Emacs User
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 18:45
  • @Alex I am assuming that you were referring to org-mode in this question and editted it accordingly. Without that as Drew mentioned, this question is unclear. Feel free to revert my edits and clarify the question as suitable. Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 20:38
  • Hi folks, thanks for replying. I've edited my post, hopefully it's clearer. My question is in the first paragraph. All the rest is just an example of what inspired the question. Thanks all!
    – Alex
    Commented Aug 7, 2015 at 21:32

1 Answer 1


If your question is specifically about org-mode and its emphasis markup: try customizing org-hide-emphasis-markers. You can set that to t to hide the markers around words in bold, italics, etc.

  • Actually this answers my question. Just curious, how does it work behind the scene? For example, if I just want to set the font color of the markers, where do I edit?
    – Alex
    Commented Aug 7, 2015 at 21:37
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    @Alex You can customize org-emphasis-alist to specify the faces you want to use for the various kinds of markup.
    – glucas
    Commented Sep 20, 2017 at 16:37
  • org-hide-emphasis-markers [no match]
    – jaromrax
    Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 9:35
  • Sorry: M-x customize-variable and org-hide-emphasis-markers
    – jaromrax
    Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 9:43

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