I have a text file that I want to turn into a pdf. I found org-latex-export-to-pdf so I've saved the text file as an org file and when I run the command M-x org-latex-export-to-pdf I get a pdf file but I want to go more into how to customize the look of the resulting pdf. Looking at the .tex (LaTex) file I see there there is

% Created 2016-06-25 Sat 00:20
 pdfcreator={Emacs 24.5.3 (Org mode 8.3.4)},


Is there an emacs variable for setting the documentclass part of the latex file? Setting a default for org-latex-export-to-pdf so I don't have to include the headers defined here My goal is mainly changing textsize, font type, taking out page numbers, space after paragraph.

Side question as well, from the looking around I see that you can install external packages such as org-article, XeTex then follow this blog but what is the bare minimum to be able to make the above changes? Are those extra packages even needed?

EDIT: The usepackage lines I'll probably have to look at later but for now I'm mainly concerned with the documentclass. To start, I've tried adding

#+LATEX_CLASS: article

but the font size doesn't seem to change in the resulting exported pdf file though I do see this at the top of the .tex file (the text in the pdf still looks like 11pt)

% Created 2016-06-26 Sun 16:31
  • The article latex class does not allow arbitrary font sizes. IIRC only 10pt, 11pt and 12pt can be used. So it's not Emacs/Org-mode fault.
    – VanLaser
    Jun 26, 2016 at 20:57
  • @VanLaser Would you know which class would be appropriate for me? I want to simply modify a few things, i.e. font size, font, no page numbers, and adding space between newlines. Looking through all alternative classes here is a bit daunting being a newbie. Is it possible to create my own class for me to use without going through Latex? What is the simplest way to accomplish fontsize/font/nopagenumbers/spacebetween newlines changes?
    – irregular
    Jun 26, 2016 at 21:58
  • 1
    The following (short) video is not exactly what you have searched for, but imo it is a pretty nice solution for your problem: Perfect Emacs Org Mode Exports to LaTeX – Straightforward Emacs by Jake B
    – Gurga
    Aug 17, 2021 at 16:55

2 Answers 2


The \documentclass part of the export is controlled by: org-latex-classes, org-latex-default-class and the class specified in the org file using #+LATEX_CLASS. Only classes listed in org-latex-classes can be used in org-latex-default-class or #+LATEX_CLASS.

The class options are given in the second element of each org-latex-classes entry. If you want to add more classes you can modify the existing entries, changing only the class name and options. amsart is a common alternative to article.

Additional packages can be added to org-latex-packages-alist to have them included in every export. In my opinion it is better not to modify this, as it hurts the portability of all your documents.


I take a different approach. I export the Org file without the header (C-c C-e C-b h l, and \input the resulting latex code in my own main.tex.

This gives me full flexibility on LaTeX rendering.

Regarding the document class: you're doing it fine, but 44pt is not a valid option for the article class. This is a LaTeX issue.

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