I have a figure declared like this:

#+CAPTION: Google NGrams Viewer Search
#+NAME: fig:ngrams

And I'd like to reference it, so that I can write, e.g. Please refer to Figure [[some magic thing here]] and have it output Please refer to Figure 1. I'm using pandoc to convert from .org to .pdf.

I've been trying writing [[fig:ngrams]], as in Please refer to Figure [[fig:ngrams]], but neither Pandoc nor pandoc-citeproc seem to understand that kind of link, and they transform it to Please refer to Figure fig:ngrams.

  • 2
    In Org, one refers to a figure like you suggested, e.g. Figure [[fig:ngrams]]. This works with ox.el, e.g. ox-latex.el. If you must use pandoc instead of ox-latex.el for your PDFs needs, perhaps the right approach would be to file a bug to the Pandoc org-parser maintainers to let them know that it does not support the links syntax fully.
    – rasmus
    Commented May 8, 2017 at 14:38
  • Your question has a lot of traffic, and the up to date answer is the one with the least votes (from @kostas-tsiligkiris). Could you consider accepting his answer?
    – pietrodito
    Commented May 19, 2022 at 13:01

3 Answers 3


There is another way to reference figures, by using #+NAME: before the figure. For example:

#+CAPTION: Example of the process
#+NAME: fig:theprocess

And later in the place where you need the reference, you add an internal link:

And as can be seen in figure [[fig:theprocess]], the process...

This works nicely with latex export.

  • Are there any keyboard shortcuts that support insertion of such links in a large document (like how reftex behaves with latex documents) ? Commented May 19, 2023 at 13:39

Figured it out myself. Turns out with the latest pandoc and pandoc-crossref you can do this:

#+CAPTION: Google NGrams Viewer Searches
#+LABEL: fig:ngrams


Please refer to [cite:@fig:ngrams].

  • 1
    No longer working in my installation : Emacs version: GNU Emacs 27.1 (build 1, x86_64-pc-linux-gnu, GTK+ Version 3.24.20) : of 2020-08-25 : org version: 9.3.7
    – Reb.Cabin
    Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 0:59

You can also use org-ref. Then you can use ref:ngrams to reference a figure. This works well with LaTeX export. It probably works with pandoc too.


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