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12.3 Subscripts and Superscripts

^’ and ‘_’ are used to indicate super- and subscripts. To increase the readability of ASCII text, it is not necessary, but OK, to surround multi-character sub- and superscripts with curly braces. For example

The radius of the sun is R_sun = 6.96 x 10^8 m.  On the other hand,
the radius of Alpha Centauri is R_{Alpha Centauri} = 1.28 x R_{sun}.

If you write a text where the underscore is often used in a different context, Org’s convention to always interpret these as subscripts can get in your way. Configure the variable org-use-sub-superscripts to change this convention. For example, when setting this variable to {}, ‘a_b’ is not interpreted as a subscript, but ‘a_{b}’ is.

You can set org-use-sub-superscripts in a file using the export option ‘^:’ (see Export Settings). For example, ‘#+OPTIONS: ^:{}’ sets org-use-sub-superscripts to {} and limits super- and subscripts to the curly bracket notation.

You can also toggle the visual display of super- and subscripts:

C-c C-x \ (org-toggle-pretty-entities)

This command formats sub- and superscripts in a WYSIWYM way.

Set both org-pretty-entities and org-pretty-entities-include-sub-superscripts to t to start with super- and subscripts visually interpreted as specified by the option org-use-sub-superscripts.