By default org mode seems to configure 8x11 as the paper type when I export to latex. I always print to A4, so I would like all of my exports to specify a4 as the paper type -- e.g.:


I currently solve the problem by putting the following line in my file whenever I want to export, but that's pretty redundant:

#+LaTeX_CLASS_OPTIONS: [a4paper]

How can I tell emacs to do this whenever I run latex export?

  • I believe that the default is taken from the default LaTeX clas, i.e. #+LaTeX_CLASS: article I think. See the value of org-latex-default-class to figure out what it is.
    – wvxvw
    Sep 23, 2015 at 11:18

1 Answer 1


You need to configure the org-latex-classes variable. Usually something like the following does the trick:

(add-to-list 'org-latex-classes
         '("article" "\\documentclass[11pt,a4paper]{article}"
            ("\\section{%s}" . "\\section*{%s}")
            ("\\subsection{%s}" . "\\subsection*{%s}")
            ("\\subsubsection{%s}" . "\\subsubsection*{%s}")
            ("\\paragraph{%s}" . "\\paragraph*{%s}")
            ("\\subparagraph{%s}" . "\\subparagraph*{%s}")))

However, there already is a default class called article. Editing that entry in the list is not recommended.

So I suggest creating your own, say a4article, by replacing "article" in the above example with "a4article". You can find many other examples in my Emacs setup.

  • 1
    Is editing inplace necessary? One can usually push a new element to the almost and the older one will be ignored
    – YoungFrog
    Dec 5, 2016 at 5:58
  • I'm not sure I understand the question, do you mean, why not add a duplicate "article" entry in org-latex-classes? As it's a list, duplicate entries can lead to unpredictable behaviour. If you rather edit in-place, have a look at my emacs setup (link provided in the answer), there are some examples for that as well (for a different org-latex variable).
    – suvayu
    Dec 8, 2016 at 6:17
  • 1
    I mean that this variable is documented to be an "Alist" (I just checked). When searching an association list for an association with a given key, the first one found is returned, if there is more than one. (see (info "(elisp) Association Lists")).
    – YoungFrog
    Dec 8, 2016 at 20:34
  • 1
    There are too many brackets around the second argument of add-to-list. Should be (add-to-list 'org-latex-classes '("article" ... .
    – Timm
    Apr 28, 2017 at 16:47
  • Yep, you can just tack something on and it will override the default. I suggested an edit to fix the extra parentheses
    – xeruf
    Jun 17, 2021 at 11:09

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