I'm trying to make the HTML form for MCQ question via org-html-export-as-html.

  <form action="/save" method="POST">

1. What is your question

   #+NAME: field-name
   - [ ] option1
   - [ ] option2
   - [ ] option3
   - [ ] option4

  <button type="submit">Submit</button>
  <button type="reset">Reset</button>

I have set the (setq org-html-checkbox-type 'html) which convert each option to <input type="checkbox"> but how to add name attribute currently I'm exporting option manually.

  <input requried type="checkbox" name="Q1" value="option1"/> option1 <br/>
  <input requried type="checkbox" name="Q1" value="option2"/> option2 <br/>
  <input requried type="checkbox" name="Q1" value="option3"/> option3 <br/>
  <input requried type="checkbox" name="Q1" value="option4"/> option4 <br/>

hackish back-end in https://gist.github.com/rhoit/a213d4574a406f094b7d881db8510bcf

2 Answers 2


I think the best thing to do here is make a custom exporter. Here is an example that treats checkbox items specially. Note this does not work as expected with a nested checkbox list, but I think it handles your specific example.

(setq org-html-checkbox-type 'html)
(require 'ox)
(org-export-define-derived-backend 'my-html 'html
  :translate-alist '((item . my-item-translator)))

(defun my-item-translator (item c info)
  ;; figure out what kind of item we have
  (let* ((parent (org-element-property :parent item))
     (type (org-element-property :type parent))
     (name (org-element-property :name parent))
     (value (string-trim (buffer-substring
                  (org-element-property :contents-begin item)
                  (org-element-property :contents-end item)))))

     ;; Treat checkboxes specially
     ((org-element-property :checkbox item)
      (message "%s" item)
      (format "<input required type=%S name=\"%s\" value=\"%s\"/> %s <br/>"
              (if (string-match "radio\\'" name) "radio" "checkbox")
              name value value))
      (org-html-item item c info)))))

(browse-url (org-export-to-file 'my-html "custom.html"))

To try this code, make a new heading in the org file you want to export, and tag it with :noexport:

then put the code above in an emacs-lisp src block and run it. It should create and open a file called custom.html.

  • eq: Symbol’s function definition is void: org-export-define-derived-backend is guess current code is for org-mode 9.1.9.
    – rho
    Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 15:14
  • you need to add (require 'ox). I updated the answer to include that. This solution does work on org 9+. I am not sure about earlier ones. Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 15:34
  • I added the code to init.el. After adding (require 'ox) it loads without previous error, but open the browser with blank content with html-postamble. Still trying to figure out how to export with org-html-export-to-html or with the menu C-c C-e h h.
    – rho
    Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 15:45
  • you should remove this line (browse-url (org-export-to-file 'my-html "custom.html")) from your init file, and put it in the org file you want to export in a comment or in a section tagged :noexport:. You can run the line by putting your cursor at the end of it and typing C-x C-e. The usual C-c C-e export method will not work with this. That takes a lot more code to get working. Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 15:58
  • thanks a lot, I have been following your emacs and python stuff, never thought you will be responding one of my queries!
    – rho
    Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 16:07

A different approach is to temporarily redefine one of the export functions in the usual html exporter:

(cl-letf (((symbol-function 'org-html-item)
       (lambda (item contents info)
         (let* ((plain-list (org-export-get-parent item))
            (name (org-element-property :name plain-list))
            (type (org-element-property :type plain-list))
            (counter (org-element-property :counter item))
            (checkbox (org-element-property :checkbox item))
            (tag (let ((tag (org-element-property :tag item)))
               (and tag (org-export-data tag info)))))
           (if (and checkbox name)
            "<input required type=\"checkbox\" name=\"%s\" value=\"%s\"/> %s <br/>"
            name contents contents)
         ;; The usual case
          contents type checkbox info (or tag counter)))))))

  (browse-url (org-export-to-file 'html "cl-letf.html")))

as before you put this in an emacs-lisp src block in a section tagged :noexport: and run it. The idea is to use cl-letf to temporarily redefine org-html-item which is responsible for generating the html. Here I just duplicated the code in the body of the letf statement, and added a line to capture the case for when there is a checkbox and name. If not, the usual export is done in the else clause. I find this cleaner than the answer above, but it does not work better on nested items.

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