# Disabling Sub-scripting in Org-Mode

## The Problem

If you use underscores in org-mode it will treat them almost the way latex does, changing the text that immediately follows the underscore as a sub-string.

This:

before-the-underscore_aftertheunderscore


Is rendered as this:

before-the-underscoreaftertheunderscore

But sometimes you just want an underscore (especially if you are writing about python code).

## Stack Overflow to the Rescue (Again)

I found the answer on Stack Overflow (of course) - you can add an #+OPTIONS directive to the file to disable this behavior. I originally went with the accepted answer which was to add #+OPTIONS: ^:nil, and it works in most cases, but then I couldn't figure out how to write this post, since the underscores stopped working and I didn't want to have to use MathJax to show what I meant (although maybe that wouldn't be so bad), so now I think the better answer is the one given by danielpoe in the comments - use #+OPTIONS: ^:{} instead. This disables the sub-scripting behavior of the underscore in most cases but allows you to add sub-scripting by putting the text following the underscore in curly-braces.

I wrote the example above, for instance, like this:

before-the-underscore_{aftertheunderscore}


## A Final Note

This solution doesn't replicate the original org-mode behavior completely when you use the curly-braces. Without the directive if you have multiple underscores org-mode puts everything after the first underscore in the sub-string and removes all subsequent underscores, smashing the words together.

When I wrote this:

before-the-underscore_after_the_under_score


It came out as this:

before-the-underscoreaftertheunderscore

But the curly-braces keeps them:

before-the-underscoreafter_the_under_score

Which seems like an improvement anyway.

The only problem now is that I keep forgetting what to type in every time I want to use an underscore, which is why I'm making this post.