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12.5.1 LaTeX fragments

Org mode can contain LaTeX math fragments, and it supports ways to process these for several export back-ends. When exporting to LaTeX, the code is left as it is. When exporting to HTML, Org can use either MathJax (see Math formatting in HTML export) or transcode the math into images (see Previewing LaTeX fragments).

LaTeX fragments do not need any special marking at all. The following snippets are identified as LaTeX source code:

  • Environments of any kind1. The only requirement is that the ‘\begin’ statement appears on a new line, preceded by only whitespace.
  • Text within the usual LaTeX math delimiters. To avoid conflicts with currency specifications, single ‘$’ characters are only recognized as math delimiters if the enclosed text contains at most two line breaks, is directly attached to the ‘$’ characters with no whitespace in between, and if the closing ‘$’ is followed by whitespace, punctuation or a dash. For the other delimiters, there is no such restriction, so when in doubt, use ‘\(...\)’ as inline math delimiters.

For example:

\begin{equation}                        % arbitrary environments,
x=\sqrt{b} % even tables, figures
\end{equation} % etc

If $a^2=b$ and \( b=2 \), then the solution must be
either $$ a=+\sqrt{2} $$ or \[ a=-\sqrt{2} \].

LaTeX processing can be configured with the variable org-export-with-latex. The default setting is t which means MathJax for HTML, and no processing for ASCII and LaTeX back-ends. You can also set this variable on a per-file basis using one of these lines:

#+OPTIONS: tex:tDo the right thing automatically (MathJax)
#+OPTIONS: tex:nilDo not process LaTeX fragments at all
#+OPTIONS: tex:verbatimVerbatim export, for jsMath or so

  1. When MathJax is used, only the environments recognized by MathJax are processed. When dvipng, dvisvgm, or ImageMagick suite is used to create images, any LaTeX environment is handled.