Is it possible to insert images directly from the web with its url in org-mode? i.e. Can I paste something like this into emacs' buffer, so that it changes into the image of a cat in the link in image mode?


It just makes it a clickable link in my current settings.


2 Answers 2


It is possible with a little code. I would define a new link like this:

#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp
 (lambda (path)
   (let ((img (expand-file-name
           (concat (md5 path) "." (file-name-extension path))
     (if (file-exists-p img)
     (find-file img)
       (url-copy-file path img)
       (find-file img)))))

When you click on it, you should get a cat in image mode. I didn't define export functions though. Also, the image is downloaded as a tempfile, which may or may not be convenient for you.

Then use it like this:

Then you can use these two functions to overlay or remove an image:

(defun image-url-overlays ()
  "Put image overlays on remote image urls."
  (loop for image-url in (org-element-map (org-element-parse-buffer) 'link
               (lambda (link)
                 (when (string= "image-url" (org-element-property :type link))
    (let* ((path (org-element-property :path image-url))
           (ov (make-overlay (org-element-property :begin image-url)
                 (org-element-property :end image-url)))
           (img (create-image (expand-file-name
                   (concat (md5 path)
      (overlay-put ov 'display img)
      (overlay-put ov 'image-url t))))

(defun image-url-clear-overlays ()
  "Reove overlays on image-urls."
  (require 'ov)
  (ov-clear 'image-url))

This downloads the image as a tempfile if it doesn't exist, and then puts an overlay on the link.

  • Writing your own code to solve a problem? That's cheating, man. Sep 3, 2016 at 22:26

Not within the Org buffer itself, as far as I know.

If you export to HTML, however, links to images will be converted into images.

If the description is a file name or URL that points to an image, HTML export (see HTML export) will inline the image as a clickable button. If there is no description at all and the link points to an image, that image will be inlined into the exported HTML file.

  • I checked that out but [[https://link.to/image.png][Description]] is converted to a <a href...>Description</a> via org-html-export-as-html.
    – buhtz
    Aug 2, 2022 at 13:32

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