Introduction to Org-Reveal

Yujie Wen

Table of Contents

Reveal.js and Org-Reveal

  • Reveal.js is a tool for creating good-looking HTML presentations, authored by Hakim El Hattab.
    For an example of reveal.js presentation, click here.
  • Org-Reveal exports your Org documents to reveal.js presentations.
    With Org-reveal, you can create beautiful presentations with 3D effects from simple but powerful Org contents.

Requirements and Installation

  • Reveal.js.
  • Latest org-mode.
  • ox-reveal.el.
  • And, of course, emacs.

Obtain Reveal.js

Download Reveal.js packages from here.

Extract Reveal.js folders from the downloaded zip file.

Obtain org-mode

Note: Org-reveal relies on the Org-mode 8.0 export frame work. Pre-packaged org-mode may be out-of-date.

If not sure, use the freshest development codes from git repository.

$ git clone git://

Follow the online instruction to build and install Org-mode.

Obtain Org-reveal

Download latest Org-reveal package from the Org-reveal GitHub page.

Or clone the GitHub repository:

$ git clone

Copy ox-reveal.el to the Org-mode installation directory.

Add the following statement to your .emacs file.

(require 'ox-reveal)


Set the location of Reveal.js

Org-reveal must know where Reveal.js is on your computer before exporting Org contents. The location of Reveal.js is the path to the top directory of Reveal.js packages, the one which contains file, but not the one contains file reveal.js.

The default location is ./reveal.js, relative to the Org file.

Change variable org-reveal-root 's value will change the location globally. For example, add the following statement to your .emacs file:

(setq org-reveal-root "file:///d:/reveal.js")

IMPORTANT: the absolute path to Reveal.js should be in URL form, "file:////path_to_reveal.js", as illustrated above.

By setting option REVEAL_ROOT, the location is only affected within the Org file.

#+REVEAL_ROOT: file:///d:/reveal.js

First Try

To wake-up Org-reveal now, type "M-x load-library", then type "ox-reveal".

Now you can export this manual into Reveal.js presentation by typing "C-c C-e R R".

Open the generated "Readme.html" in your browser and enjoy the cool slides.

The HLevel

Org-reveal maps each heading and its contents to one Reveal.js slides. Since Reveal.js arranges slides into a 2-dimentional matrix, Org-reveal use a HLevel value to decide map headings to hozirontal or vertical slides.

  • Headings of level less or equal to HLevel are mapped to hozirontal slides.
  • Headings of deeper levels are mapped to vertical slides.

HLevel's default value is 1, means only level 1 headings are arranged horizontally, deeper headings are mapped to vertical slides below its parent level 1 heading.

HLevel's Affects on Slides Layout

Assume we have a simple Org file as below:

* H1
* H2
** H2.1
*** H2.1.1
* H3

If HLevel is 1, the default value, headings H2.1 and H2.1.1 will be mapping to vertical slides below the slides of heading H2.


If HLevel is changed to 2, slide of heading H2.1 will be changed to the main hozirontal queue, and slide of heading H2.1.1 will be a vertical slide below it.


Configure HLevel's Value

  • Change variable org-reveal-hlevel's value to set HLevel globally.
    For example, add the following statement to your .emacs file.
(setq org-reveal-hlevel 2)
  • Setting Org files local HLevel to option REVEAL_HLEVEL.

Force Split

If one headings has too many things to fit into one slide, you can split the contents into multiple vertical slides manually, by inserting

#+REVEAL: split

Now a new slide begins after #+REVEAL keyword.

Select Theme and Transition

Themes and transition styles are set globally throughout the whole file by setting options REVEAL_THEME, REVEAL_TRANS, and REVEAL_SPEED.

For an example, please check the heading part of this document.

Available themes can be found in "css/theme/" in the reveal.js directory.

Available transitions are: default|cube|page|concave|zoom|linear|fade|none.

Set Slide Background

Slide background can be set to a color, an image or a repeating image array by setting heading properties.

Single Colored Background

Set property reveal_background to either an RGB color value, or any supported CSS color format.

*** Single Colored Background
   :reveal_background: #123456

Single Image Background

Set property reveal_background to an URL of background image. Set property reveal_background_trans to slide to make background image sliding rather than fading.

*** Single Image Background
    :reveal_background: ./images/whale.jpg
    :reveal_background_trans: slide

Repeating Image Background

Resize background image by setting property reveal_background_size to a number.

Set property reveal_background_repeat to repeat to repeat image on the background.

*** Repeating Image Background
    :reveal_background: ./images/whale.jpg
    :reveal_background_size: 200px
    :reveal_background_repeat: repeat

Slide Size

Reveal.js scales slides to best fit the display resolution. But in case the auto-sizes are not satisfiable, you can specify the desired size by option tag width and height.

The scaling behavior can also be contrainted by setting following options:

a float number, the factor of empty area surrounding slide contents.
a float number, the minimun scaling down ratio.
a float number, the maximum scaling up ratio.

Extra Stylesheets

Set REVEAL_EXTRA_CSS to a stylesheet file path in order to load extra custom styles after loading a theme.

#+REVEAL_EXTRA_CSS: my-custom-stylesheet.css

Fragmented Contents

Make contents fragmented (show up one-by-one) by setting option ATTR_REVEAL with property ":frag frag-style", as illustrated below.

Paragraphs can be fragmented.

Items can be fragmented, too.

Availabe fragment styles are:

  • grow
  • shrink
  • roll-in
  • fade-out
  • highlight-red
  • highlight-green
  • highlight-blue

Data State

Set property reveal_data_state to headings to change this slide's display style, as illustrated above.

Availabe data states are: alert|blackout|soothe.


Reveal.js provides several plug-in functions.

  • reveal-control : Show/hide browsing control pad.
  • reveal-progress : Show/hide progress bar.
  • reveal-history : Enable/disable slide history track.
  • reveal-center : Enable/disable slide centering.

Configure Plug-ins

Each plug-ins can be set on/off by adding #+OPTIONS tags or settinng custom variables.

  • #+OPTIONS tags:
    reveal_control, reveal_progress, reveal_history, reveal_center, reveal_rolling_links, reveal_keyboard, reveal_overview
  • Custom variables:
    org-reveal-control, org-reveal-progress, org-reveal-history, org-reveal-center, org-reveal-rolling-links, org-reveal-keyaboard, =org-reveal-overview

For an example, please refer to the heading part of this document.

Source Codes

Org-reveal use Org-Babel to highlight source codes.

Codes copied from Haskell Wiki.

fibs = 0 : 1 : next fibs
       where next (a : t@(b:_)) = (a+b) : next t

If you saw odd indentation, please set variable org-html-indent to nil and export again.


\({n! \over k!(n-k)!} = {n \choose k}\)

LateX equation are renderred in native HTML5 contents.

IMPORTANT: Displaying equations requires internet connection to or local MathJax installation.

IMPORTANT 2: MathJax is disabled by default to reduce internet traffic. Set #+OPTIONS tag reveal_mathjax or variable org-reveal-mathjax to true to enable it. For local MathJax installation, set option REVEAL_MATH_JAX_URL to the URL pointing to the local MathJax location.

Preamble and Postamble

You can define preamble and postamble contents which will not be shown as slides, but will be exported into the body part of the generated HTML file, at just before and after the slide contents.

Change preamble and postamble contents globally by setting variable org-reveal-preamble and org-reveal-postamble.

Change preamble and postamble contents locally by setting options REVEAL_PREAMBLE and REVEAL_POSTAMBLE, as illustrated at the heading part of this document.

To add custom contents into HTML <head> parts, set contents to variable org-reveal-head-preamble or option REVEAL_HEAD_PREAMBLE.

Generating Pre/Postamble by Emacs-Lisp Functions

If the contents of pre/postamble is the name of an evaluated Emacs-Lisp funtion, which must accept an argument of Org-mode info and return a string, the returned string will be taken as pre/postamble contents.

So you can embed the Emacs-Lisp function as an Org-Babel source block and mark it to be evaluated at exporting the document.

In this document, the REVEAL_PREAMBLE option is set to my-preamble, now we will define my-preamble in an Org-Bable source block, as illustrated below (invisible in the slides).

The :exports results :result silent options mark the source block to be evaluated at exporting and the evaluation result is omitted, so it won't disturb slide contents.

Check the generated HTML to see how it works.

Raw HTML in Slides

Besides the Org contents, you can embed raw HTML contents into slides by placing a #+REVEAL_HTML keyword.

Now break time, listen to a girl's song.

Leng WanWan - Youth times (冷碗碗 青春)

Speaker Notes

Reveal.js supports speaker notes, which are displayed in a seperate browser window. Press 's' on slide windows will pop up an window displaying current slide, next slide and the speak notes on current slide.

Org-reveal recognize texts between #+BEGIN_NOTES and #+END_NOTES as speaker notes. See the example below.

* Heading 1
   Some contents.
  Enter speaker notes here.


Disable Heading Numbers

Add num:nil to #+OPTIONS

#+OPTIONS: num:nil

Internal Links

Reveal.js supports only jump between slides, but not between elements on slides. Thus, we can only link to headlines in an Org document.

You can create links pointings to a headline's text, or its custom-id, as the examples below:


Courtesy to:

The powerful Org-mode,

the impressive Reveal.js

and the precise MathJax

Created by yjwen.