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4.1 Link Format

Org recognizes plain URIs, possibly wrapped within angle brackets25, and activate them as clickable links.

The general link format, however, looks like this:


or alternatively


The LINK part cannot contain ‘[’ and ‘]’ characters. You can replace them with their percent-encoded counterparts, which are, respectively, ‘%5B’ and ‘%5D’. You also need to encode ‘%’ characters as ‘%25’. Optionally, it may also come handy to encode consecutive spaces as ‘%20’.

Org takes for granted that such links are correctly escaped. Luckily, functions inserting links (see Handling Links) take care of this. You really need to bother about it only when inserting manually a URI within square brackets.

Once a link in the buffer is complete, with all brackets present, Org changes the display so that ‘DESCRIPTION’ is displayed instead of ‘[[LINK][DESCRIPTION]]’ and ‘LINK’ is displayed instead of ‘[[LINK]]’. Links are highlighted in the org-link face, which, by default, is an underlined face.

You can directly edit the visible part of a link. This can be either the LINK part, if there is no description, or the DESCRIPTION part otherwise. To also edit the invisible LINK part, use C-c C-l with point on the link (see Handling Links).

If you place point at the beginning or just behind the end of the displayed text and press BS, you remove the—invisible—bracket at that location26. This makes the link incomplete and the internals are again displayed as plain text. Inserting the missing bracket hides the link internals again. To show the internal structure of all links, use the menu: Org → Hyperlinks → Literal links.



Plain URIs are recognized only for a well-defined set of schemes. See External Links. Unlike URI syntax, they cannot contain parenthesis or white spaces, either. URIs within angle brackets have no such limitation.


More accurately, the precise behavior depends on how point arrived there—see (elisp)Invisible Text.

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