When exporting org to pdf (LaTeX) I want to export plots as pdf, while the preview inside emacs should be exported to png. I am currently using a function for generating the export path already. This function should be able to detect if exporting, and if so, change the file extension (as emacs can not display inline PDF).

I am using it like this:

#+begin_src gnuplot :file (org-babel-tmp-file)

where org-babel-tmp-file generates a file path using a uuid.

I am looking for something like (is-org-export-p).

  • I don't really understand your question. Can you show the "function for generating the export path already"? How and where is it to be used?
    – NickD
    Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 15:02
  • 1
    Yes, I am using it like this: #+begin_src gnuplot :file (org-babel-tmp-file) where (org-babel-tmp-file) generates a file path using a uuid.
    – Oma Paloma
    Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 20:01
  • I see - thank you!
    – NickD
    Commented Jul 1, 2022 at 0:41

2 Answers 2


You can use the variable org-export-current-backend. It is set to the current backend during export, so you can check which backend is used as well. Read its doc string with C-h v org-export-current-backend:

Its value is a symbol such as ‘html’, ‘latex’, ‘ascii’, or nil if
the back-end is anonymous (see ‘org-export-create-backend’) or if
there is no export process in progress.

It can be used to teach Babel blocks how to act differently
according to the back-end used.

The last paragraph is particularly apt, given your question. Note that the value of the variable is a symbol, not a string.

EDIT: In this case, there was an existing variable, but @TianshuWang's answer would be useful if there was no existing variable and you wanted to pass information from the top-level export function down to the lower level.


I don't know whether there is a better way, you can advice org-export function and make a flag like:

(defun org-export@around (fun &rest r)
  (let ((org-export-p t))
    (apply fun r)))
(advice-add 'org-export :around #'org-export@around)

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