How to do the following in org-mode:

  1. define a constant in the beginning of file, and
  2. than use it in the text or even compute on it.

Following methods didn't work for me:

Method 1:


The temperature is `$t`, and twice of that is `2*$t`.

How to do both of these?

Method 2:

The temperature is src_R{t=10; 2*t}, and twice of that is scr_R{4*t}.

Here value of t is defined in the first R code block (src_R{t=10; 2*t}), and the second block (scr_R{4*t}) is trying to compute on the definition of t. First block is replaced by 20 as expected, but the second block is not even interpreted as an R code. How can these two be connected?

  • 2
    Debug help: typo in 2nd inline block, scr_R should be src_R.
    – Melioratus
    Feb 1, 2017 at 20:44
  • Thanks @Melioratus. That explains why the second block was not interpreted.
    – Shambho
    Feb 1, 2017 at 23:56

3 Answers 3


Try this

  • Define t as default header argument with using :var t=10

    #+PROPERTY: header-args:R :var t=10
    The temperature is src_R{2*t}, and twice of that is src_R{4*t}.

    Note: Fixed typo in second in-line block and removed t=10; assignment.

    Exports as

    The temperature is `20', and twice of that is `40'.

Hope that helped!

Tested Using

emacs version: GNU Emacs 24.5.1
org-mode version: 9.0

  • Thanks again @Melioratus. This is exactly the kind of solution I was looking for. Much appreciated.
    – Shambho
    Feb 2, 2017 at 0:02

You need to set the :session header argument. This tells org that all R calculations will take place in the same session. For example:

#+PROPERTY: header-args:R :session orgR

I set my constant here src_R{t=10; 2*t}.

Write some more text.

And reuse the constant here src_R{t * 4}.

On export, this generates:

enter image description here


I think the defined constant can be used in tables, and only there.


| 1 | 10 |
| 2 | 20 |
#+TBLFM: $2=$1*$t

However, you can add the header argument :session to make your second method working:

The temperature is src_R[:session]{t=10; 2*t}, and twice of that is src_R[:session]{4*t}.

You could also do a (not so pretty) trick. You could use a named table and assign that to a :var header argument:

#+name: t
| 10 |
#+TBLFM: $1=$t

The temperature is src_R[:var t=t]{t=10; 2*t}, and twice of that is src_R[:var t=t]{4*t}.
  • Thanks for the explanation @theldoria. This is very helpful.
    – Shambho
    Feb 2, 2017 at 0:06

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