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Org is a mode for keeping notes, maintaining TODO lists, and project planning with a fast and effective plain-text system. It also is an authoring system with unique support for literate programming and reproducible research.

Org is implemented on top of Outline mode, which makes it possible to keep the content of large files well structured. Visibility cycling and structure editing help to work with the tree. Tables are easily created with a built-in table editor. Plain text URL-like links connect to websites, emails, Usenet messages, BBDB entries, and any files related to the projects.

Org develops organizational tasks around notes files that contain lists or information about projects as plain text. Project planning and task management makes use of metadata which is part of an outline node. Based on this data, specific entries can be extracted in queries and create dynamic agenda views that also integrate the Emacs calendar and diary. Org can be used to implement many different project planning schemes, such as David Allen's GTD system.

Org files can serve as a single source authoring system with export to many different formats such as HTML, LaTeX, Open Document, and Markdown. New export backends can be derived from existing ones, or defined from scratch.

Org files can include source code blocks, which makes Org uniquely suited for authoring technical documents with code examples. Org source code blocks are fully functional; they can be evaluated in place and their results can be captured in the file. This makes it possible to create a single file reproducible research compendium.

Org keeps simple things simple. When first fired up, it should feel like a straightforward, easy to use outliner. Complexity is not imposed, but a large amount of functionality is available when needed. Org is a toolbox. Many users actually run only a---very personal---fraction of Org's capabilities, and know that there is more whenever they need it.

All of this is achieved with strictly plain text files, the most portable and future-proof file format. Org runs in Emacs. Emacs is one of the most widely ported programs, so that Org mode is available on every major platform.

There is a website for Org which provides links to the newest version of Org, as well as additional information, frequently asked questions (FAQ), links to tutorials, etc. This page is located at https://orgmode.

An earlier version (7.3) of this manual is available as a paperback book from Network Theory Ltd..


Org is part of recent distributions of GNU Emacs, so you normally do not need to install it. If, for one reason or another, you want to install Org on top of this pre-packaged version, there are three ways to do it:

  • By using Emacs package system.
  • By downloading Org as an archive.
  • By using Org's git repository.

We strongly recommend to stick to a single installation method.

Using Emacs packaging system

Recent Emacs distributions include a packaging system which lets you install Elisp libraries. You can install Org with {{{kbd(M-x package-install RET org)}}}.

*Important*: you need to do this in a session where no file has been visited, i.e., where no Org built-in function have been loaded. Otherwise autoload Org functions will mess up the installation.

Then, to make sure your Org configuration is taken into account, initialize the package system with (package-initialize) in your Emacs init file before setting any Org option. If you want to use Org's package repository, check out the Org ELPA page.

Downloading Org as an archive

You can download Org latest release from Org's website. In this case, make sure you set the load-path correctly in your Emacs init file:

(add-to-list 'load-path "~/path/to/orgdir/lisp")

The downloaded archive contains contributed libraries that are not included in Emacs. If you want to use them, add the =contrib/= directory to your load-path:

(add-to-list 'load-path "~/path/to/orgdir/contrib/lisp" t)

Optionally, you can compile the files and/or install them in your system. Run make help to list compilation and installation options.

Using Org's git repository

You can clone Org's repository and install Org like this:

$ cd ~/src/ $ git clone $ make autoloads

Note that in this case, make autoloads is mandatory: it defines Org's version in org-version.el and Org's autoloads in =org-loaddefs.el=.

Remember to add the correct load-path as described in the method above.

You can also compile with make, generate the documentation with =make doc=, create a local configuration with make config and install Org with make install. Please run make help to get the list of compilation/installation options.

For more detailed explanations on Org's build system, please check the Org Build System page on Worg.


Org mode buffers need Font Lock to be turned on: this is the default in Emacs1.

There are compatibility issues between Org mode and some other Elisp packages (see *Packages that conflict with Org mode). Please take the time to check the list.

For a better experience, the three Org commands org-store-link, ~org-capture~ and org-agenda ought to be accessible anywhere in Emacs, not just in Org buffers. To that effect, you need to bind them to globally available keys, like the ones reserved for users (see info:elisp::Key%20Binding%20Conventions). Here are suggested bindings, please modify the keys to your own liking.

(global-set-key "\C-cl" 'org-store-link) (global-set-key "\C-ca" 'org-agenda) (global-set-key "\C-cc" 'org-capture)

Files with the extension use Org mode by default. To turn on Org mode in a file that does not have the extension, make the first line of a file look like this:

MY PROJECTS    -*- mode: org; -*-

which selects Org mode for this buffer no matter what the file's name is. See also the variable org-insert-mode-line-in-empty-file.

Many commands in Org work on the region if the region is active. To make use of this, you need to have transient-mark-mode turned on, which is the default. If you do not like transient-mark-mode, you can create an active region by using the mouse to select a region, or pressing {{{kbd(C-SPC)}}} twice before moving the cursor.


If you find problems with Org, or if you have questions, remarks, or ideas about it, please mail to the Org mailing list mailto:emacs-orgmode@gnu. You can subscribe to the list on this web page. If you are not a member of the mailing list, your mail will be passed to the list after a moderator has approved it2.

For bug reports, please first try to reproduce the bug with the latest version of Org available---if you are running an outdated version, it is quite possible that the bug has been fixed already. If the bug persists, prepare a report and provide as much information as possible, including the version information of Emacs ({{{kbd(M-x emacs-version)}}}) and Org ({{{kbd(M-x org-version)}}}), as well as the Org related setup in the Emacs init file. The easiest way to do this is to use the command

M-x org-submit-bug-report 

which puts all this information into an Emacs mail buffer so that you only need to add your description. If you are not sending the Email from within Emacs, please copy and paste the content into your Email program.

Sometimes you might face a problem due to an error in your Emacs or Org mode setup. Before reporting a bug, it is very helpful to start Emacs with minimal customizations and reproduce the problem. Doing so often helps you determine if the problem is with your customization or with Org mode itself. You can start a typical minimal session with a command like the example below.

$ emacs -Q -l /path/to/minimal-org.el

However if you are using Org mode as distributed with Emacs, a minimal setup is not necessary. In that case it is sufficient to start Emacs as emacs -Q. The minimal-org.el setup file can have contents as shown below.

;;; Minimal setup to load latest `org-mode'.

;; Activate debugging. (setq debug-on-error t debug-on-signal nil debug-on-quit nil)

;; Add latest Org mode to load path. (add-to-list 'load-path (expand-file-name "/path/to/org-mode/lisp")) (add-to-list 'load-path (expand-file-name "/path/to/org-mode/contrib/lisp" t))

If an error occurs, a "backtrace" can be very useful---see below on how to create one. Often a small example file helps, along with clear information about:

  1. What exactly did you do?
  2. What did you expect to happen?
  3. What happened instead?

Thank you for helping to improve this program.

How to create a useful backtrace

If working with Org produces an error with a message you do not understand, you may have hit a bug. The best way to report this is by providing, in addition to what was mentioned above, a backtrace. This is information from the built-in debugger about where and how the error occurred. Here is how to produce a useful backtrace:

  1. Reload uncompiled versions of all Org mode Lisp files. The
  2. backtrace contains much more information if it is produced with uncompiled code. To do this, use

C-u M-x org-reload 

#+texinfo: @noindent or, from the menu: Org \rarr Refresh/Reload \rarr Reload Org uncompiled.

  1. Then, activate the debugger:
M-x toggle-debug-or-errror 

#+texinfo: @noindent or, from the menu: Options \rarr Enter Debugger on Error.

  1. Do whatever you have to do to hit the error. Do not forget to
  2. document the steps you take.
  1. When you hit the error, a *Backtrace* buffer appears on the
  2. screen. Save this buffer to a file---for example using {{{kbd(C-x C-w)}}}---and attach it to your bug report.

Typesetting Conventions Used in this Manual

TODO keywords, tags, properties, etc.

Org uses various syntactical elements: TODO keywords, tags, property names, keywords, blocks, etc. In this manual we use the following conventions:


TODO keywords are written with all capitals, even if they are user-defined.

  • boss, ARCHIVE ::

User-defined tags are written in lowercase; built-in tags with special meaning are written with all capitals.

  • Release, PRIORITY ::

User-defined properties are capitalized; built-in properties with special meaning are written with all capitals.

  • TITLE, BEGIN ... END ::

Keywords and blocks are written in uppercase to enhance their readability, but you can use lowercase in your Org files.

Key bindings and commands

The manual lists both the keys and the corresponding commands for accessing a functionality. Org mode often uses the same key for different functions, depending on context. The command that is bound to such keys has a generic name, like org-metaright. In the manual we will, wherever possible, give the function that is internally called by the generic command. For example, in the chapter on document structure, {{{kbd(M-right)}}} will be listed to call ~org-do-demote~, while in the chapter on tables, it will be listed to call org-table-move-column-right.

Document Structure

Org is based on Outline mode and provides flexible commands to edit the structure of the document.


Org is implemented on top of Outline mode. Outlines allow a document to be organized in a hierarchical structure, which, least for me, is the best representation of notes and thoughts. An overview of this structure is achieved by folding, i.e., hiding large parts of the document to show only the general document structure and the parts currently being worked on. Org greatly simplifies the use of outlines by compressing the entire show and hide functionalities into a single command, org-cycle, which is bound to the {{{kbd(TAB)}}} key.


Headlines define the structure of an outline tree. The headlines in Org start with one or more stars, on the left margin3. For example:

,* Top level headline ,** Second level ,*** Third level some text ,*** Third level more text ,* Another top level headline

Note that the name defined in org-footnote-section is reserved. Do not use it as a title for your own headings.

Some people find the many stars too noisy and would prefer an outline that has whitespace followed by a single star as headline starters. See *A Cleaner Outline View.

An empty line after the end of a subtree is considered part of it and is hidden when the subtree is folded. However, if you leave at least two empty lines, one empty line remains visible after folding the subtree, in order to structure the collapsed view. See the variable ~org-cycle-separator-lines~ to modify this behavior.

Visibility Cycling

Global and local cycling

Outlines make it possible to hide parts of the text in the buffer. Org uses just two commands, bound to {{{kbd(TAB)}}} and {{{kbd(S-TAB)}}} to change the visibility in the buffer.

  • {{{kbd(TAB)}}} (org-cycle) ::

#+kindex: TAB #+findex: org-cycle /Subtree cycling/: Rotate current subtree among the states

#+begin_example ,-> FOLDED -> CHILDREN -> SUBTREE --. '-----------------------------------' #+end_example

#+vindex: org-cycle-emulate-tab The cursor must be on a headline for this to work4.

  • {{{kbd(S-TAB)}}} (org-global-cycle), {{{kbd(C-u TAB)}}} ::

#+cindex: global visibility states #+cindex: global cycling #+cindex: overview, global visibility state #+cindex: contents, global visibility state #+cindex: show all, global visibility state #+kindex: C-u TAB #+kindex: S-TAB #+findex: org-global-cycle /Global cycling/: Rotate the entire buffer among the states

#+begin_example ,-> OVERVIEW -> CONTENTS -> SHOW ALL --. '--------------------------------------' #+end_example

When {{{kbd(S-TAB)}}} is called with a numeric prefix argument N, the CONTENTS view up to headlines of level N are shown. Note that inside tables (see *Tables), {{{kbd(S-TAB)}}} jumps to the previous field instead.

#+vindex: org-cycle-global-at-bob You can run global cycling using {{{kbd(TAB)}}} only if point is at the very beginning of the buffer, but not on a headline, and org-cycle-global-at-bob is set to a non-~nil~ value.

  • {{{kbd(C-u C-u TAB)}}} (org-set-startup-visibility) ::

#+cindex: startup visibility #+kindex: C-u C-u TAB #+findex: org-set-startup-visibility Switch back to the startup visibility of the buffer (see *Initial visibility).

  • {{{kbd(C-u C-u C-u TAB)}}} (outline-show-all) ::

#+cindex: show all, command #+kindex: C-u C-u C-u TAB #+findex: outline-show-all Show all, including drawers.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-r)}}} (org-reveal) ::

#+cindex: revealing context #+kindex: C-c C-r #+findex: org-reveal Reveal context around point, showing the current entry, the following heading and the hierarchy above. Useful for working near a location that has been exposed by a sparse tree command (see *Sparse Trees) or an agenda command (see *Commands in the Agenda Buffer). With a prefix argument show, on each level, all sibling headings. With a double prefix argument, also show the entire subtree of the parent.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-k)}}} (outline-show-branches) ::

#+cindex: show branches, command #+kindex: C-c C-k #+findex: outline-show-branches Expose all the headings of the subtree, CONTENTS view for just one subtree.

  • {{{kbd(C-c TAB)}}} (outline-show-children) ::

#+cindex: show children, command #+kindex: C-c TAB #+findex: outline-show-children Expose all direct children of the subtree. With a numeric prefix argument N, expose all children down to level N.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x b)}}} (org-tree-to-indirect-buffer) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x b #+findex: org-tree-to-indirect-buffer Show the current subtree in an indirect buffer5. With a numeric prefix argument, N, go up to level N and then take that tree. If N is negative then go up that many levels. With a {{{kbd(C-u)}}} prefix, do not remove the previously used indirect buffer.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x v)}}} (org-copy-visible) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x v #+findex: org-copy-visible Copy the visible text in the region into the kill ring.

Initial visibility

When Emacs first visits an Org file, the global state is set to OVERVIEW, i.e., only the top level headlines are visible6. This can be configured through the variable org-startup-folded, or on a per-file basis by adding one of the following lines anywhere in the buffer:

,#+STARTUP: overview ,#+STARTUP: content ,#+STARTUP: showall ,#+STARTUP: showeverything

Furthermore, any entries with a VISIBILITY property (see *Properties and Columns) get their visibility adapted accordingly. Allowed values for this property are folded, children, content, and all.

  • {{{kbd(C-u C-u TAB)}}} (org-set-startup-visibility) ::

#+kindex: C-u C-u TAB #+findex: org-set-startup-visibility Switch back to the startup visibility of the buffer, i.e., whatever is requested by startup options and =VISIBILITY= properties in individual entries.

Catching invisible edits

Sometimes you may inadvertently edit an invisible part of the buffer and be confused on what has been edited and how to undo the mistake. Setting org-catch-invisible-edits to non-~nil~ helps preventing this. See the docstring of this option on how Org should catch invisible edits and process them.


The following commands jump to other headlines in the buffer.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-n)}}} (outline-next-visible-heading) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-n #+findex: outline-next-visible-heading Next heading.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-p)}}} (outline-previous-visible-heading) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-p #+findex: outline-previous-visible-heading Previous heading.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-f)}}} (org-forward-same-level) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-f #+findex: org-forward-same-level Next heading same level.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-b)}}} (org-backward-same-level) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-b #+findex: org-backward-same-level Previous heading same level.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-u)}}} (outline-up-heading) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-u #+findex: outline-up-heading Backward to higher level heading.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-j)}}} (org-goto) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-j #+findex: org-goto #+vindex: org-goto-auto-isearch Jump to a different place without changing the current outline visibility. Shows the document structure in a temporary buffer, where you can use the following keys to find your destination:

#+attr_texinfo: :columns 0.3 0.7 | {{{kbd(TAB)}}} | Cycle visibility. | | {{{kbd(down)}}} / {{{kbd(up)}}} | Next/previous visible headline. | | {{{kbd(RET)}}} | Select this location. | | {{{kbd(/)}}} | Do a Sparse-tree search |

#+texinfo: @noindent The following keys work if you turn off org-goto-auto-isearch

#+attr_texinfo: :columns 0.3 0.7 | {{{kbd(n)}}} / {{{kbd(p)}}} | Next/previous visible headline. | | {{{kbd(f)}}} / {{{kbd(b)}}} | Next/previous headline same level. | | {{{kbd(u)}}} | One level up. | | {{{kbd(0)}}} ... {{{kbd(9)}}} | Digit argument. | | {{{kbd(q)}}} | Quit. |

#+vindex: org-goto-interface #+texinfo: @noindent See also the variable org-goto-interface.

Structure Editing

  • {{{kbd(M-RET)}}} (org-meta-return) ::

#+kindex: M-RET #+findex: org-meta-return #+vindex: org-M-RET-may-split-line Insert a new heading, item or row.

If the command is used at the beginning of a line, and if there is a heading or a plain list item (see *Plain Lists) at point, the new heading/item is created before the current line. When used at the beginning of a regular line of text, turn that line into a heading.

When this command is used in the middle of a line, the line is split and the rest of the line becomes the new item or headline. If you do not want the line to be split, customize org-M-RET-may-split-line.

Calling the command with a {{{kbd(C-u)}}} prefix unconditionally inserts a new heading at the end of the current subtree, thus preserving its contents. With a double {{{kbd(C-u C-u)}}} prefix, the new heading is created at the end of the parent subtree instead.

  • {{{kbd(C-RET)}}} (org-insert-heading-respect-content) ::

#+kindex: C-RET #+findex: org-insert-heading-respect-content Insert a new heading at the end of the current subtree.

  • {{{kbd(M-S-RET)}}} (org-insert-todo-heading) ::

#+kindex: M-S-RET #+findex: org-insert-todo-heading #+vindex: org-treat-insert-todo-heading-as-state-change Insert new TODO entry with same level as current heading. See also the variable org-treat-insert-todo-heading-as-state-change.

  • {{{kbd(C-S-RET)}}} (org-insert-todo-heading-respect-content) ::

#+kindex: C-S-RET #+findex: org-insert-todo-heading-respect-content Insert new TODO entry with same level as current heading. Like {{{kbd(C-RET)}}}, the new headline is inserted after the current subtree.

  • {{{kbd(TAB)}}} (org-cycle) ::

#+kindex: TAB #+findex: org-cycle In a new entry with no text yet, the first {{{kbd(TAB)}}} demotes the entry to become a child of the previous one. The next {{{kbd(TAB)}}} makes it a parent, and so on, all the way to top level. Yet another {{{kbd(TAB)}}}, and you are back to the initial level.

  • {{{kbd(M-left)}}} (org-do-promote) ::

#+kindex: M-left #+findex: org-do-promote Promote current heading by one level.

  • {{{kbd(M-right)}}} (org-do-demote) ::

#+kindex: M-right #+findex: org-do-demote Demote current heading by one level.

  • {{{kbd(M-S-left)}}} (org-promote-subtree) ::

#+kindex: M-S-left #+findex: org-promote-subtree Promote the current subtree by one level.

  • {{{kbd(M-S-right)}}} (org-demote-subtree) ::

#+kindex: M-S-right #+findex: org-demote-subtree Demote the current subtree by one level.

  • {{{kbd(M-up)}}} (org-move-subtree-up) ::

#+kindex: M-up #+findex: org-move-subtree-up Move subtree up, i.e., swap with previous subtree of same level.

  • {{{kbd(M-down)}}} (org-move-subtree-down) ::

#+kindex: M-down #+findex: org-move-subtree-down Move subtree down, i.e., swap with next subtree of same level.

  • {{{kbd(C-c @)}}} (org-mark-subtree) ::

#+kindex: C-c @@ #+findex: org-mark-subtree Mark the subtree at point. Hitting repeatedly marks subsequent subtrees of the same level as the marked subtree.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-w)}}} (org-cut-subtree) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x C-w #+findex: org-cut-subtree Kill subtree, i.e., remove it from buffer but save in kill ring. With a numeric prefix argument N, kill N sequential subtrees.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x M-w)}}} (org-copy-subtree) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x M-w #+findex: org-copy-subtree Copy subtree to kill ring. With a numeric prefix argument N, copy the N sequential subtrees.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-y)}}} (org-paste-subtree) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x C-y #+findex: org-paste-subtree Yank subtree from kill ring. This does modify the level of the subtree to make sure the tree fits in nicely at the yank position. The yank level can also be specified with a numeric prefix argument, or by yanking after a headline marker like ****.

  • {{{kbd(C-y)}}} (org-yank) ::

#+kindex: C-y #+findex: org-yank #+vindex: org-yank-adjusted-subtrees #+vindex: org-yank-folded-subtrees Depending on the variables org-yank-adjusted-subtrees and org-yank-folded-subtrees, Org's internal yank command pastes subtrees folded and in a clever way, using the same command as {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-y)}}}. With the default settings, no level adjustment takes place, but the yanked tree is folded unless doing so would swallow text previously visible. Any prefix argument to this command forces a normal yank to be executed, with the prefix passed along. A good way to force a normal yank is {{{kbd(C-u C-y)}}}. If you use yank-pop after a yank, it yanks previous kill items plainly, without adjustment and folding.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x c)}}} (org-clone-subtree-with-time-shift) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x c #+findex: org-clone-subtree-with-time-shift Clone a subtree by making a number of sibling copies of it. You are prompted for the number of copies to make, and you can also specify if any timestamps in the entry should be shifted. This can be useful, for example, to create a number of tasks related to a series of lectures to prepare. For more details, see the docstring of the command org-clone-subtree-with-time-shift.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-w)}}} (org-refile) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-w #+findex: org-refile Refile entry or region to a different location. See Refile and Copy.

  • {{{kbd(C-c ^)}}} (org-sort) ::

#+kindex: C-c ^ #+findex: org-sort Sort same-level entries. When there is an active region, all entries in the region are sorted. Otherwise the children of the current headline are sorted. The command prompts for the sorting method, which can be alphabetically, numerically, by time---first timestamp with active preferred, creation time, scheduled time, deadline time---by priority, by TODO keyword---in the sequence the keywords have been defined in the setup---or by the value of a property. Reverse sorting is possible as well. You can also supply your own function to extract the sorting key. With a {{{kbd(C-u)}}} prefix, sorting is case-sensitive.

  • {{{kbd(C-x n s)}}} (org-narrow-to-subtree) ::

#+kindex: C-x n s #+findex: org-narrow-to-subtree Narrow buffer to current subtree.

  • {{{kbd(C-x n b)}}} (org-narrow-to-block) ::

#+kindex: C-x n b #+findex: org-narrow-to-block Narrow buffer to current block.

  • {{{kbd(C-x n w)}}} (widen) ::

#+kindex: C-x n w #+findex: widen Widen buffer to remove narrowing.

  • {{{kbd(C-c *)}}} (org-toggle-heading) ::

#+kindex: C-c * #+findex: org-toggle-heading Turn a normal line or plain list item into a headline---so that it becomes a subheading at its location. Also turn a headline into a normal line by removing the stars. If there is an active region, turn all lines in the region into headlines. If the first line in the region was an item, turn only the item lines into headlines. Finally, if the first line is a headline, remove the stars from all headlines in the region.

When there is an active region---i.e., when Transient Mark mode is active---promotion and demotion work on all headlines in the region. To select a region of headlines, it is best to place both point and mark at the beginning of a line, mark at the beginning of the first headline, and point at the line just after the last headline to change. Note that when the cursor is inside a table (see *Tables), the Meta-Cursor keys have different functionality.

Sparse Trees

An important feature of Org mode is the ability to construct sparse trees for selected information in an outline tree, so that the entire document is folded as much as possible, but the selected information is made visible along with the headline structure above it7. Just try it out and you will see immediately how it works.

Org mode contains several commands creating such trees, all these commands can be accessed through a dispatcher:

  • {{{kbd(C-c /)}}} (org-sparse-tree) ::

#+kindex: C-c / #+findex: org-sparse-tree This prompts for an extra key to select a sparse-tree creating command.

  • {{{kbd(C-c / r)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c / /)}}} (org-occur) ::

#+kindex: C-c / r #+kindex: C-c / / #+findex: org-occur #+vindex: org-remove-highlights-with-change Prompts for a regexp and shows a sparse tree with all matches. If the match is in a headline, the headline is made visible. If the match is in the body of an entry, headline and body are made visible. In order to provide minimal context, also the full hierarchy of headlines above the match is shown, as well as the headline following the match. Each match is also highlighted; the highlights disappear when the buffer is changed by an editing command, or by pressing {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}}8. When called with a {{{kbd(C-u)}}} prefix argument, previous highlights are kept, so several calls to this command can be stacked.

  • {{{kbd(M-g n)}}} or {{{kbd(M-g M-n)}}} (next-error) ::

#+kindex: M-g n #+kindex: M-g M-n #+findex: next-error Jump to the next sparse tree match in this buffer.

  • {{{kbd(M-g p)}}} or {{{kbd(M-g M-p)}}} (previous-error) ::

#+kindex: M-g p #+kindex: M-g M-p #+findex: previous-error Jump to the previous sparse tree match in this buffer.

For frequently used sparse trees of specific search strings, you can use the variable org-agenda-custom-commands to define fast keyboard access to specific sparse trees. These commands will then be accessible through the agenda dispatcher (see *The Agenda Dispatcher). For example:

(setq org-agenda-custom-commands '(("f" occur-tree "FIXME")))

defines the key {{{kbd(f)}}} as a shortcut for creating a sparse tree matching the string FIXME.

The other sparse tree commands select headings based on TODO keywords, tags, or properties and are discussed later in this manual.

To print a sparse tree, you can use the Emacs command ~ps-print-buffer-with-faces~ which does not print invisible parts of the document. Or you can use the command {{{kbd(C-c C-e v)}}} to export only the visible part of the document and print the resulting file.

Plain Lists

Within an entry of the outline tree, hand-formatted lists can provide additional structure. They also provide a way to create lists of checkboxes (see *Checkboxes). Org supports editing such lists, and every exporter (see *Exporting) can parse and format them.

Org knows ordered lists, unordered lists, and description lists.

  • Unordered list items start with -, +, or =*=9 as bullets.

- #+vindex: org-plain-list-ordered-item-terminator #+vindex: org-alphabetical-lists Ordered list items start with a numeral followed by either a period or a right parenthesis10, such as 1. or =1)=11 If you want a list to start with a different value---e.g., 20---start the text of the item with =[@20]=12. Those constructs can be used in any item of the list in order to enforce a particular numbering.

  • Description list items are unordered list items, and contain the
  • separator =::= to distinguish the description /term/ from the description.

Items belonging to the same list must have the same indentation on the first line. In particular, if an ordered list reaches number 10., then the 2-digit numbers must be written left-aligned with the other numbers in the list. An item ends before the next line that is less or equally indented than its bullet/number.

A list ends whenever every item has ended, which means before any line less or equally indented than items at top level. It also ends before two blank lines. In that case, all items are closed. Here is an example:

    ,* Lord of the Rings My favorite scenes are (in this order)
  1. The attack of the Rohirrim
  2. Eowyn's fight with the witch king
  3. this was already my favorite scene in the book
  4. I really like Miranda Otto.
  5. Peter Jackson being shot by Legolas
  6. on DVD only
  7. He makes a really funny face when it happens. But in the end, no individual scenes matter but the film as a whole. Important actors in this film are:
    Elijah Wood
    He plays Frodo
    Sean Astin
    He plays Sam, Frodo's friend. I still remember him
    very well from his role as Mikey Walsh in /The Goonies/.

Org supports these lists by tuning filling and wrapping commands to deal with them correctly, and by exporting them properly (see Exporting). Since indentation is what governs the structure of these lists, many structural constructs like #+BEGIN_ blocks can be indented to signal that they belong to a particular item.

If you find that using a different bullet for a sub-list---than that used for the current list-level---improves readability, customize the variable org-list-demote-modify-bullet. To get a greater difference of indentation between items and theirs sub-items, customize ~org-list-indent-offset~.

The following commands act on items when the cursor is in the first line of an item---the line with the bullet or number. Some of them imply the application of automatic rules to keep list structure intact. If some of these actions get in your way, configure ~org-list-automatic-rules~ to disable them individually.

  • {{{kbd(TAB)}}} (org-cycle) ::

#+cindex: cycling, in plain lists #+kindex: TAB #+findex: org-cycle #+vindex: org-cycle-include-plain-lists Items can be folded just like headline levels. Normally this works only if the cursor is on a plain list item. For more details, see the variable org-cycle-include-plain-lists. If this variable is set to integrate, plain list items are treated like low-level headlines. The level of an item is then given by the indentation of the bullet/number. Items are always subordinate to real headlines, however; the hierarchies remain completely separated. In a new item with no text yet, the first {{{kbd(TAB)}}} demotes the item to become a child of the previous one. Subsequent {{{kbd(TAB)}}}s move the item to meaningful levels in the list and eventually get it back to its initial position.

  • {{{kbd(M-RET)}}} (org-insert-heading) ::

#+kindex: M-RET #+findex: org-insert-heading #+vindex: org-M-RET-may-split-line Insert new item at current level. With a prefix argument, force a new heading (see *Structure Editing). If this command is used in the middle of an item, that item is split in two, and the second part becomes the new item13. If this command is executed before item's body, the new item is created /before/ the current one.

  • {{{kbd(M-S-RET)}}} ::

#+kindex: M-S-RET Insert a new item with a checkbox (see Checkboxes).

  • {{{kbd(S-up)}}}, {{{kbd(S-down)}}} ::

#+kindex: S-up #+kindex: S-down #+cindex: shift-selection-mode #+vindex: org-support-shift-select #+vindex: org-list-use-circular-motion Jump to the previous/next item in the current list, but only if org-support-shift-select is off14. If not, you can still use paragraph jumping commands like {{{kbd(C-up)}}} and {{{kbd(C-down)}}} to quite similar effect.

  • {{{kbd(M-up)}}}, {{{kbd(M-down)}}} ::

#+kindex: M-up #+kindex: M-down Move the item including subitems up/down15, i.e., swap with previous/next item of same indentation. If the list is ordered, renumbering is automatic.

  • {{{kbd(M-left)}}}, {{{kbd(M-right)}}} ::

#+kindex: M-left #+kindex: M-right Decrease/increase the indentation of an item, leaving children alone.

  • {{{kbd(M-S-left)}}}, {{{kbd(M-S-right)}}} ::

#+kindex: M-S-left #+kindex: M-S-right Decrease/increase the indentation of the item, including subitems. Initially, the item tree is selected based on current indentation. When these commands are executed several times in direct succession, the initially selected region is used, even if the new indentation would imply a different hierarchy. To use the new hierarchy, break the command chain with a cursor motion or so.

As a special case, using this command on the very first item of a list moves the whole list. This behavior can be disabled by configuring org-list-automatic-rules. The global indentation of a list has no influence on the text after the list.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} ::

#+kindex: C-c C-c If there is a checkbox (see Checkboxes) in the item line, toggle the state of the checkbox. In any case, verify bullets and indentation consistency in the whole list.

  • {{{kbd(C-c -)}}} ::

#+kindex: C-c - #+vindex: org-plain-list-ordered-item-terminator Cycle the entire list level through the different itemize/enumerate bullets (-, +, *, 1., 1)) or a subset of them, depending on org-plain-list-ordered-item-terminator, the type of list, and its indentation. With a numeric prefix argument N, select the Nth bullet from this list. If there is an active region when calling this, selected text is changed into an item. With a prefix argument, all lines are converted to list items. If the first line already was a list item, any item marker is removed from the list. Finally, even without an active region, a normal line is converted into a list item.

  • {{{kbd(C-c *)}}} ::

#+kindex: C-c * Turn a plain list item into a headline---so that it becomes a subheading at its location. See *Structure Editing, for a detailed explanation.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-*)}}} ::

#+kindex: C-c C-* Turn the whole plain list into a subtree of the current heading. Checkboxes (see *Checkboxes) become TODO, respectively DONE, keywords when unchecked, respectively checked.

  • {{{kbd(S-left)}}}, {{{kbd(S-right)}}} ::

#+vindex: org-support-shift-select #+kindex: S-left #+kindex: S-right This command also cycles bullet styles when the cursor in on the bullet or anywhere in an item line, details depending on org-support-shift-select.

  • {{{kbd(C-c ^)}}} ::

#+kindex: C-c ^ #+cindex: sorting, of plain list Sort the plain list. Prompt for the sorting method: numerically, alphabetically, by time, or by custom function.


Sometimes you want to keep information associated with an entry, but you normally do not want to see it. For this, Org mode has drawers. They can contain anything but a headline and another drawer. Drawers look like this:

,** This is a headline Still outside the drawer :DRAWERNAME: This is inside the drawer. :END: After the drawer.

You can interactively insert a drawer at point by calling ~org-insert-drawer~, which is bound to {{{kbd(C-c C-x d)}}}. With an active region, this command puts the region inside the drawer. With a prefix argument, this command calls org-insert-property-drawer, which creates a PROPERTIES drawer right below the current headline. Org mode uses this special drawer for storing properties (see *Properties and Columns). You cannot use it for anything else.

Completion over drawer keywords is also possible using {{{kbd(M-TAB)}}}16.

Visibility cycling (see *Visibility Cycling) on the headline hides and shows the entry, but keep the drawer collapsed to a single line. In order to look inside the drawer, you need to move the cursor to the drawer line and press {{{kbd(TAB)}}} there.

You can also arrange for state change notes (see Tracking TODO state changes) and clock times (see *Clocking Work Time) to be stored in a LOGBOOK drawer. If you want to store a quick note there, in a similar way to state changes, use

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-z)}}} ::

#+kindex: C-c C-z Add a time-stamped note to the LOGBOOK drawer.


Org mode uses #+BEGIN ... #+END blocks for various purposes from including source code examples (see *Literal Examples) to capturing time logging information (see *Clocking Work Time). These blocks can be folded and unfolded by pressing {{{kbd(TAB)}}} in the =#+BEGIN= line. You can also get all blocks folded at startup by configuring the variable org-hide-block-startup or on a per-file basis by using

,#+STARTUP: hideblocks ,#+STARTUP: nohideblocks

Creating Footnotes

Org mode supports the creation of footnotes.

A footnote is started by a footnote marker in square brackets in column 0, no indentation allowed. It ends at the next footnote definition, headline, or after two consecutive empty lines. The footnote reference is simply the marker in square brackets, inside text. Markers always start with fn:. For example:

The Org homepage17 now looks a lot better than it used to. ... 18 The link is:

Org mode extends the number-based syntax to named footnotes and optional inline definition. Here are the valid references:

  • [fn:NAME] ::

A named footnote reference, where {{{var(NAME)}}} is a unique label word, or, for simplicity of automatic creation, a number.

  • [fn:: This is the inline definition of this footnote] ::

A LaTeX-like anonymous footnote where the definition is given directly at the reference point.

  • [fn:NAME: a definition] ::

An inline definition of a footnote, which also specifies a name for the note. Since Org allows multiple references to the same note, you can then use [fn:NAME] to create additional references.

Footnote labels can be created automatically, or you can create names yourself. This is handled by the variable ~org-footnote-auto-label~ and its corresponding STARTUP keywords. See the docstring of that variable for details.

The following command handles footnotes:

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x f)}}} ::

The footnote action command.

#+kindex: C-c C-x f When the cursor is on a footnote reference, jump to the definition. When it is at a definition, jump to the---first---reference.

#+vindex: org-footnote-define-inline #+vindex: org-footnote-section Otherwise, create a new footnote. Depending on the variable org-footnote-define-inline~[fn:17], the definition is placed right into the text as part of the reference, or separately into the location determined by the variable ~org-footnote-section.

When this command is called with a prefix argument, a menu of additional options is offered:

#+attr_texinfo: :columns 0.1 0.9 | {{{kbd(s)}}} | Sort the footnote definitions by reference sequence. | | {{{kbd(r)}}} | Renumber the simple fn:N footnotes. | | {{{kbd(S)}}} | Short for first {{{kbd(r)}}}, then {{{kbd(s)}}} action. | | {{{kbd(n)}}} | Rename all footnotes into a fn:1 ... fn:n sequence. | | {{{kbd(d)}}} | Delete the footnote at point, including definition and references. |

#+vindex: org-footnote-auto-adjust Depending on the variable ~org-footnote-auto-adjust~19, renumbering and sorting footnotes can be automatic after each insertion or deletion.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} ::

#+kindex: C-c C-c If the cursor is on a footnote reference, jump to the definition. If it is at the definition, jump back to the reference. When called at a footnote location with a prefix argument, offer the same menu as {{{kbd(C-c C-x f)}}}.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-o)}}} or {{{kbd(mouse-1/2)}}} ::

#+kindex: C-c C-o #+kindex: mouse-1 #+kindex: mouse-2 Footnote labels are also links to the corresponding definition or reference, and you can use the usual commands to follow these links.

Org Syntax

A reference document providing a formal description of Org's syntax is available as a draft on Worg, written and maintained by Nicolas Goaziou. It defines Org's core internal concepts such as headlines, =sections=, affiliated keywords, (greater) elements and objects. Each part of an Org file falls into one of the categories above.

To explore the abstract structure of an Org buffer, run this in a buffer:

M-: (org-element-parse-buffer) 

It outputs a list containing the buffer's content represented as an abstract structure. The export engine relies on the information stored in this list. Most interactive commands---e.g., for structure editing---also rely on the syntactic meaning of the surrounding context.

You can check syntax in your documents using org-lint command.


Org comes with a fast and intuitive table editor. Spreadsheet-like calculations are supported using the Emacs Calc package (see info:calc).

Built-in Table Editor

Org makes it easy to format tables in plain ASCII. Any line with |= as the first non-whitespace character is considered part of a table. =| is also the column separator20. A table might look like this:

| Name | Phone | Age | |-------+-------+-----| | Peter | 1234 | 17 | | Anna | 4321 | 25 |

A table is re-aligned automatically each time you press {{{kbd(TAB)}}}, {{{kbd(RET)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} inside the table. {{{kbd(TAB)}}} also moves to the next field---{{{kbd(RET)}}} to the next row---and creates new table rows at the end of the table or before horizontal lines. The indentation of the table is set by the first line. Any line starting with |- is considered as a horizontal separator line and will be expanded on the next re-align to span the whole table width. So, to create the above table, you would only type

|Name|Phone|Age| |-

and then press {{{kbd(TAB)}}} to align the table and start filling in fields. Even faster would be to type |Name|Phone|Age followed by {{{kbd(C-c RET)}}}.

When typing text into a field, Org treats {{{kbd(DEL)}}}, {{{kbd(Backspace)}}}, and all character keys in a special way, so that inserting and deleting avoids shifting other fields. Also, when typing immediately after the cursor was moved into a new field with {{{kbd(TAB)}}}, {{{kbd(S-TAB)}}} or {{{kbd(RET)}}}, the field is automatically made blank. If this behavior is too unpredictable for you, configure the option org-table-auto-blank-field.

Creation and conversion

  • {{{kbd(C-c |)}}} (org-table-create-or-convert-from-region) ::

#+kindex: C-c | #+findex: org-table-create-or-convert-from-region Convert the active region to table. If every line contains at least one {{{kbd(TAB)}}} character, the function assumes that the material is tab separated. If every line contains a comma, comma-separated values (CSV) are assumed. If not, lines are split at whitespace into fields. You can use a prefix argument to force a specific separator: {{{kbd(C-u)}}} forces CSV, {{{kbd(C-u C-u)}}} forces {{{kbd(TAB)}}}, {{{kbd(C-u C-u C-u)}}} prompts for a regular expression to match the separator, and a numeric argument N indicates that at least N consecutive spaces, or alternatively a {{{kbd(TAB)}}} will be the separator.

If there is no active region, this command creates an empty Org table. But it is easier just to start typing, like {{{kbd(| N a m e | P h o n e | A g e RET | - TAB)}}}.

Re-aligning and field motion

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} (org-table-align) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-c #+findex: org-table-align Re-align the table without moving the cursor.

  • {{{kbd(TAB)}}} (org-table-next-field) ::

#+kindex: TAB #+findex: org-table-next-field Re-align the table, move to the next field. Creates a new row if necessary.

  • {{{kbd(C-c SPC)}}} (org-table-blank-field) ::

#+kindex: C-c SPC #+findex: org-table-blank-field Blank the field at point.

  • {{{kbd(S-TAB)}}} (org-table-previous-field) ::

#+kindex: S-TAB #+findex: org-table-previous-field Re-align, move to previous field.

  • {{{kbd(RET)}}} (org-table-next-row) ::

#+kindex: RET #+findex: org-table-next-row Re-align the table and move down to next row. Creates a new row if necessary. At the beginning or end of a line, {{{kbd(RET)}}} still inserts a new line, so it can be used to split a table.

  • {{{kbd(M-a)}}} (org-table-beginning-of-field) ::

#+kindex: M-a #+findex: org-table-beginning-of-field Move to beginning of the current table field, or on to the previous field.

  • {{{kbd(M-e)}}} (org-table-end-of-field) ::

#+kindex: M-e #+findex: org-table-end-of-field Move to end of the current table field, or on to the next field.

Column and row editing

  • {{{kbd(M-left)}}} (org-table-move-column-left) ::

#+kindex: M-left #+findex: org-table-move-column-left Move the current column left.

  • {{{kbd(M-right)}}} (org-table-move-column-right) ::

#+kindex: M-right #+findex: org-table-move-column-right Move the current column right.

  • {{{kbd(M-S-left)}}} (org-table-delete-column) ::

#+kindex: M-S-left #+findex: org-table-delete-column Kill the current column.

  • {{{kbd(M-S-right)}}} (org-table-insert-column) ::

#+kindex: M-S-right #+findex: org-table-insert-column Insert a new column to the left of the cursor position.

  • {{{kbd(M-up)}}} (org-table-move-row-up) ::

#+kindex: M-up #+findex: org-table-move-row-up Move the current row up.

  • {{{kbd(M-down)}}} (org-table-move-row-down) ::

#+kindex: M-down #+findex: org-table-move-row-down Move the current row down.

  • {{{kbd(M-S-up)}}} (org-table-kill-row) ::

#+kindex: M-S-up #+findex: org-table-kill-row Kill the current row or horizontal line.

  • {{{kbd(M-S-down)}}} (org-table-insert-row) ::

#+kindex: M-S-down #+findex: org-table-insert-row Insert a new row above the current row. With a prefix argument, the line is created below the current one.

  • {{{kbd(C-c -)}}} (org-table-insert-hline) ::

#+kindex: C-c - #+findex: org-table-insert-hline Insert a horizontal line below current row. With a prefix argument, the line is created above the current line.

  • {{{kbd(C-c RET)}}} (org-table-hline-and-move) ::

#+kindex: C-c RET #+findex: org-table-hline-and-move Insert a horizontal line below current row, and move the cursor into the row below that line.

  • {{{kbd(C-c ^)}}} (org-table-sort-lines) ::

#+kindex: C-c ^ #+findex: org-table-sort-lines Sort the table lines in the region. The position of point indicates the column to be used for sorting, and the range of lines is the range between the nearest horizontal separator lines, or the entire table. If point is before the first column, you are prompted for the sorting column. If there is an active region, the mark specifies the first line and the sorting column, while point should be in the last line to be included into the sorting. The command prompts for the sorting type, alphabetically, numerically, or by time. You can sort in normal or reverse order. You can also supply your own key extraction and comparison functions. When called with a prefix argument, alphabetic sorting is case-sensitive.


  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x M-w)}}} (org-table-copy-region) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x M-w #+findex: org-table-copy-region Copy a rectangular region from a table to a special clipboard. Point and mark determine edge fields of the rectangle. If there is no active region, copy just the current field. The process ignores horizontal separator lines.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-w)}}} (org-table-cut-region) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x C-w #+findex: org-table-cut-region Copy a rectangular region from a table to a special clipboard, and blank all fields in the rectangle. So this is the "cut" operation.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-y)}}} (org-table-paste-rectangle) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x C-y #+findex: org-table-paste-rectangle Paste a rectangular region into a table. The upper left corner ends up in the current field. All involved fields are overwritten. If the rectangle does not fit into the present table, the table is enlarged as needed. The process ignores horizontal separator lines.

  • {{{kbd(M-RET)}}} (org-table-wrap-region) ::

#+kindex: M-RET #+findex: org-table-wrap-region Split the current field at the cursor position and move the rest to the line below. If there is an active region, and both point and mark are in the same column, the text in the column is wrapped to minimum width for the given number of lines. A numeric prefix argument may be used to change the number of desired lines. If there is no region, but you specify a prefix argument, the current field is made blank, and the content is appended to the field above.


  • {{{kbd(C-c +)}}} (org-table-sum) ::

#+kindex: C-c + #+findex: org-table-sum Sum the numbers in the current column, or in the rectangle defined by the active region. The result is shown in the echo area and can be inserted with {{{kbd(C-y)}}}.

  • {{{kbd(S-RET)}}} (org-table-copy-down) ::

#+kindex: S-RET #+findex: org-table-copy-down #+vindex: org-table-copy-increment When current field is empty, copy from first non-empty field above. When not empty, copy current field down to next row and move cursor along with it. Depending on the variable org-table-copy-increment, integer field values can be incremented during copy. Integers that are too large are not incremented, however. Also, a 0 prefix argument temporarily disables the increment. This key is also used by shift-selection and related modes (see *Packages that conflict with Org mode).


  • {{{kbd(C-c `)}}} (org-table-edit-field) ::

#+kindex: C-c ` #+findex: org-table-edit-field Edit the current field in a separate window. This is useful for fields that are not fully visible (see *Column Width and Alignment). When called with a {{{kbd(C-u)}}} prefix, just make the full field visible, so that it can be edited in place. When called with two {{{kbd(C-u)}}} prefixes, make the editor window follow the cursor through the table and always show the current field. The follow mode exits automatically when the cursor leaves the table, or when you repeat this command with {{{kbd(C-u C-u C-c `)}}}.

  • {{{kbd(M-x org-table-import)}}} ::

#+findex: org-table-import Import a file as a table. The table should be TAB or whitespace separated. Use, for example, to import a spreadsheet table or data from a database, because these programs generally can write TAB-separated text files. This command works by inserting the file into the buffer and then converting the region to a table. Any prefix argument is passed on to the converter, which uses it to determine the separator.

  • {{{kbd(C-c |)}}} (org-table-create-or-convert-from-region) ::

#+kindex: C-c | #+findex: org-table-create-or-convert-from-region Tables can also be imported by pasting tabular text into the Org buffer, selecting the pasted text with {{{kbd(C-x C-x)}}} and then using the {{{kbd(C-c |)}}} command (see *Creation and conversion).

  • {{{kbd(M-x org-table-export)}}} ::

#+findex: org-table-export #+vindex: org-table-export-default-format Export the table, by default as a TAB-separated file. Use for data exchange with, for example, spreadsheet or database programs. The format used to export the file can be configured in the variable org-table-export-default-format. You may also use properties TABLE_EXPORT_FILE and TABLE_EXPORT_FORMAT to specify the file name and the format for table export in a subtree. Org supports quite general formats for exported tables. The exporter format is the same as the format used by Orgtbl radio tables, see *Translator functions, for a detailed description.

Column Width and Alignment

The width of columns is automatically determined by the table editor. The alignment of a column is determined automatically from the fraction of number-like versus non-number fields in the column.

Editing a field may modify alignment of the table. Moving a contiguous row or column---i.e., using {{{kbd(TAB)}}} or {{{kbd(RET)}}}---automatically re-aligns it. If you want to disable this behavior, set org-table-automatic-realign to nil. In any case, you can always align manually a table:

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} (org-table-align) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-c #+findex: org-table-align Align the current table.

Setting the option org-startup-align-all-tables re-aligns all tables in a file upon visiting it. You can also set this option on a per-file basis with:

,#+STARTUP: align ,#+STARTUP: noalign

Sometimes a single field or a few fields need to carry more text, leading to inconveniently wide columns. Maybe you want to hide away several columns or display them with a fixed width, regardless of content, as shown in the following example.

|---+---------------------+--------| |---+-------…|…| | | <6> | | | | <6> …|…| | 1 | one | some | ----\ | 1 | one …|…| | 2 | two | boring | ----/ | 2 | two …|…| | 3 | This is a long text | column | | 3 | This i…|…| |---+---------------------+--------| |---+-------…|…|

To set the width of a column, one field anywhere in the column may contain just the string <N> where {{{var(N)}}} specifies the width as a number of characters. You control displayed width of columns with the following tools:

  • {{{kbd(C-c TAB)}}} (org-table-toggle-column-width) ::

#+kindex: C-c TAB #+findex: org-table-toggle-column-width Shrink or expand current column.

If a width cookie specifies a width W for the column, shrinking it displays the first W visible characters only. Otherwise, the column is shrunk to a single character.

When called before the first column or after the last one, ask for a list of column ranges to operate on.

  • {{{kbd(C-u C-c TAB)}}} (org-table-shrink) ::

#+kindex: C-u C-c TAB #+findex: org-table-shrink Shrink all columns with a column width. Expand the others.

  • {{{kbd(C-u C-u C-c TAB)}}} (org-table-expand) ::

#+kindex: C-u C-u C-c TAB #+findex: org-table-expand Expand all columns.

To see the full text of a shrunk field, hold the mouse over it---a tool-tip window then shows the full content. Alternatively {{{kbd(C-h .)}}} (display-local-help) reveals the full content. For convenience, any change to a shrunk column expands it.

Setting the option org-startup-shrink-all-tables shrinks all columns containing a width cookie in a file the moment it is visited. You can also set this option on a per-file basis with:

#+STARTUP: shrink

If you would like to overrule the automatic alignment of number-rich columns to the right and of string-rich columns to the left, you can use <r>, <c> or <l> in a similar fashion. You may also combine alignment and field width like this: <r10>.

Lines which only contain these formatting cookies are removed automatically upon exporting the document.

Column Groups

When Org exports tables, it does so by default without vertical lines because that is visually more satisfying in general. Occasionally however, vertical lines can be useful to structure a table into groups of columns, much like horizontal lines can do for groups of rows. In order to specify column groups, you can use a special row where the first field contains only /. The further fields can either contain =<= to indicate that this column should start a group, > to indicate the end of a column, or <> (no space between < and >) to make a column a group of its own. Upon export, boundaries between column groups are marked with vertical lines. Here is an example:

| N | N^2 | N^3 | N^4 | sqrt(n) | sqrt[4](N) | |---+-----+-----+-----+---------+------------| | / | < | | > | < | > | | 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 | | 2 | 4 | 8 | 16 | 1.4142 | 1.1892 | | 3 | 9 | 27 | 81 | 1.7321 | 1.3161 | |---+-----+-----+-----+---------+------------| ,#+TBLFM: $2=$1^2::$3=$1^3::$4=$1^4::$5=sqrt($1)::$6=sqrt(sqrt(($1)))

It is also sufficient to just insert the column group starters after every vertical line you would like to have:

| N | N^2 | N^3 | N^4 | sqrt(n) | sqrt[4](N) | |---+-----+-----+-----+---------+------------| | / | < | | | < | |

The Orgtbl Minor Mode

If you like the intuitive way the Org table editor works, you might also want to use it in other modes like Text mode or Mail mode. The minor mode Orgtbl mode makes this possible. You can always toggle the mode with {{{kbd(M-x orgtbl-mode)}}}. To turn it on by default, for example in Message mode, use

(add-hook 'message-mode-hook 'turn-on-orgtbl)

Furthermore, with some special setup, it is possible to maintain tables in arbitrary syntax with Orgtbl mode. For example, it is possible to construct LaTeX tables with the underlying ease and power of Orgtbl mode, including spreadsheet capabilities. For details, see *Tables in Arbitrary Syntax.

The spreadsheet

The table editor makes use of the Emacs Calc package to implement spreadsheet-like capabilities. It can also evaluate Emacs Lisp forms to derive fields from other fields. While fully featured, Org's implementation is not identical to other spreadsheets. For example, Org knows the concept of a column formula that will be applied to all non-header fields in a column without having to copy the formula to each relevant field. There is also a formula debugger, and a formula editor with features for highlighting fields in the table corresponding to the references at the point in the formula, moving these references by arrow keys.


To compute fields in the table from other fields, formulas must reference other fields or ranges. In Org, fields can be referenced by name, by absolute coordinates, and by relative coordinates. To find out what the coordinates of a field are, press {{{kbd(C-c ?)}}} in that field, or press {{{kbd(C-c })}}} to toggle the display of a grid.

Field references

Formulas can reference the value of another field in two ways. Like in any other spreadsheet, you may reference fields with a letter/number combination like B3, meaning the second field in the third row. However, Org prefers to use another, more general representation that looks like this:21


Column specifications can be absolute like $1, $2, ..., $N, or relative to the current column, i.e., the column of the field which is being computed, like $+1 or $-2. $< and $> are immutable references to the first and last column, respectively, and you can use =$>>>= to indicate the third column from the right.

The row specification only counts data lines and ignores horizontal separator lines, or "hlines". Like with columns, you can use absolute row numbers @1, @2, ..., @N, and row numbers relative to the current row like @+3 or @-1. @< and @> are immutable references the first and last row in the table, respectively. You may also specify the row relative to one of the hlines: @I refers to the first hline, @II to the second, etc. @-I refers to the first such line above the current line, @+I to the first such line below the current line. You can also write @III+2 which is the second data line after the third hline in the table.

@0 and $0 refer to the current row and column, respectively, i.e., to the row/column for the field being computed. Also, if you omit either the column or the row part of the reference, the current row/column is implied.

Org's references with unsigned numbers are fixed references in the sense that if you use the same reference in the formula for two different fields, the same field is referenced each time. Org's references with signed numbers are floating references because the same reference operator can reference different fields depending on the field being calculated by the formula.

Here are a few examples:

@2$3 2nd row, 3rd column (same as C2)
$5 column 5 in the current row (same as E&)
@2 current column, row 2
@-1$-3 field one row up, three columns to the left
@-I$2 field just under hline above current row, column 2
@>$5 field in the last row, in column 5

Range references

You may reference a rectangular range of fields by specifying two field references connected by two dots =..=. If both fields are in the current row, you may simply use $2..$7, but if at least one field is in a different row, you need to use the general @ROW$COLUMN= format at least for the first field, i.e., the reference must start with =@ in order to be interpreted correctly. Examples:

$1..$3 first three fields in the current row
$P..$Q range, using column names (see *Advanced features)
$<<<..$>> start in third column, continue to the last but one
@2$1..@4$3 six fields between these two fields (same as A2..C4)
@-1$-2..@-1 3 fields in the row above, starting from 2 columns on the left
@I..II between first and second hline, short for @I..@II

Range references return a vector of values that can be fed into Calc vector functions. Empty fields in ranges are normally suppressed, so that the vector contains only the non-empty fields. For other options with the mode switches E, N and examples, see *Formula syntax for Calc.

Field coordinates in formulas

One of the very first actions during evaluation of Calc formulas and Lisp formulas is to substitute @# and $# in the formula with the row or column number of the field where the current result will go to. The traditional Lisp formula equivalents are org-table-current-dline~ and ~org-table-current-column. Examples:

  • if(@# % 2, $#, string("")) ::

Insert column number on odd rows, set field to empty on even rows.

  • $2 '(identity remote(FOO, @@#$1))= ::

Copy text or values of each row of column 1 of the table named {{{var(FOO)}}} into column 2 of the current table.

  • @3 2 * remote(FOO, @@1$$#)= ::

Insert the doubled value of each column of row 1 of the table named {{{var(FOO)}}} into row 3 of the current table.

For the second and third examples, table {{{var(FOO)}}} must have at least as many rows or columns as the current table. Note that this is inefficient22 for large number of rows.

Named references

$name is interpreted as the name of a column, parameter or constant. Constants are defined globally through the variable ~org-table-formula-constants~, and locally---for the file---through a line like this example:

#+CONSTANTS: c=299792458. pi=3.14 eps=2.4e-6

Also, properties (see *Properties and Columns) can be used as constants in table formulas: for a property Xyz use the name =$PROP_Xyz=, and the property will be searched in the current outline entry and in the hierarchy above it. If you have the constants.el= package, it will also be used to resolve constants, including natural constants like =$h for Planck's constant, and units like $km for kilometers23. Column names and parameters can be specified in special table lines. These are described below, see *Advanced features. All names must start with a letter, and further consist of letters and numbers.

Remote references

You may also reference constants, fields and ranges from a different table, either in the current file or even in a different file. The syntax is


where {{{var(NAME)}}} can be the name of a table in the current file as set by a #+NAME: line before the table. It can also be the ID of an entry, even in a different file, and the reference then refers to the first table in that entry. {{{var(REF)}}} is an absolute field or range reference as described above for example @3$3 or $somename, valid in the referenced table.

When {{{var(NAME)}}} has the format @ROW$COLUMN, it is substituted with the name or ID found in this field of the current table. For example remote($1, @@>$2) \Rightarrow remote(year_2013, @@>$1). The format =B3= is not supported because it can not be distinguished from a plain table name or ID.

Formula syntax for Calc

A formula can be any algebraic expression understood by the Emacs =Calc= package. Note that calc has the non-standard convention that =/= has lower precedence than *, so that a/b*c is interpreted as =(a/(b*c))=. Before evaluation by calc-eval (see Calling Calc from Your Lisp Programs), variable substitution takes place according to the rules described above.

The range vectors can be directly fed into the Calc vector functions like vmean and vsum.

A formula can contain an optional mode string after a semicolon. This string consists of flags to influence Calc and other modes during execution. By default, Org uses the standard Calc modes (precision 12, angular units degrees, fraction and symbolic modes off). The display format, however, has been changed to (float 8) to keep tables compact. The default settings can be configured using the variable org-calc-default-modes.

  • p20 ::

Set the internal Calc calculation precision to 20 digits.

  • n3, s3, e2, f4 ::

Normal, scientific, engineering or fixed format of the result of Calc passed back to Org. Calc formatting is unlimited in precision as long as the Calc calculation precision is greater.

  • D, R ::

Degree and radian angle modes of Calc.

  • F, S ::

Fraction and symbolic modes of Calc.

  • T, t, U ::

Duration computations in Calc or Lisp, *Durations and time values.

  • E ::

If and how to consider empty fields. Without E empty fields in range references are suppressed so that the Calc vector or Lisp list contains only the non-empty fields. With E the empty fields are kept. For empty fields in ranges or empty field references the value nan (not a number) is used in Calc formulas and the empty string is used for Lisp formulas. Add N= to use 0 instead for both formula types. For the value of a field the mode =N has higher precedence than E.

  • N ::

Interpret all fields as numbers, use 0 for non-numbers. See the next section to see how this is essential for computations with Lisp formulas. In Calc formulas it is used only occasionally because there number strings are already interpreted as numbers without N.

  • L ::

Literal, for Lisp formulas only. See the next section.

Unless you use large integer numbers or high-precision calculation and display for floating point numbers you may alternatively provide a printf format specifier to reformat the Calc result after it has been passed back to Org instead of letting Calc already do the formatting24. A few examples:

$1+$2 Sum of first and second field
$1+$2;%.2f Same, format result to two decimals
exp($2)+exp($1) Math functions can be used
$0;%.1f Reformat current cell to 1 decimal
($3-32)*5/9 Degrees F \to C conversion
$c/$1/$cm Hz \to cm conversion, using constants.el
tan($1);Dp3s1 Compute in degrees, precision 3, display SCI 1
sin($1);Dp3%.1e Same, but use printf specifier for display
vmean($2..$7) Compute column range mean, using vector function
vmean($2..$7);EN Same, but treat empty fields as 0
taylor($3,x=7,2) Taylor series of $3, at x=7, second degree

Calc also contains a complete set of logical operations (see Logical Operations). For example

  • if($1 < 20, teen, string("")) ::

"teen" if age $1 is less than 20, else the Org table result field is set to empty with the empty string.

  • if("$1" = "nan" || "$2" == "nan", string(""), $1 + $2); E f-1= ::

Sum of the first two columns. When at least one of the input fields is empty the Org table result field is set to empty. E= is required to not convert empty fields to 0. =f-1 is an optional Calc format string similar to %.1f but leaves empty results empty.

  • if(typeof(vmean($1..$7)) = 12, string(""), vmean($1..$7); E= ::

Mean value of a range unless there is any empty field. Every field in the range that is empty is replaced by nan which lets vmean result in nan. Then typeof = 12= detects the =nan= from vmean and the Org table result field is set to empty. Use this when the sample set is expected to never have missing values.

  • if("$1..$7" = "[]", string(""), vmean($1..$7))= ::

Mean value of a range with empty fields skipped. Every field in the range that is empty is skipped. When all fields in the range are empty the mean value is not defined and the Org table result field is set to empty. Use this when the sample set can have a variable size.

  • vmean($1..$7); EN ::

To complete the example before: Mean value of a range with empty fields counting as samples with value 0. Use this only when incomplete sample sets should be padded with 0 to the full size.

You can add your own Calc functions defined in Emacs Lisp with ~defmath~ and use them in formula syntax for Calc.

Emacs Lisp forms as formulas

It is also possible to write a formula in Emacs Lisp. This can be useful for string manipulation and control structures, if Calc's functionality is not enough.

If a formula starts with a single-quote followed by an opening parenthesis, then it is evaluated as a Lisp form. The evaluation should return either a string or a number. Just as with Calc formulas, you can specify modes and a printf format after a semicolon.

With Emacs Lisp forms, you need to be conscious about the way field references are interpolated into the form. By default, a reference is interpolated as a Lisp string (in double-quotes) containing the field. If you provide the N mode switch, all referenced elements are numbers---non-number fields will be zero---and interpolated as Lisp numbers, without quotes. If you provide the L flag, all fields are interpolated literally, without quotes. I.e., if you want a reference to be interpreted as a string by the Lisp form, enclose the reference operator itself in double-quotes, like "$3". Ranges are inserted as space-separated fields, so you can embed them in list or vector syntax.

Here are a few examples---note how the N mode is used when we do computations in Lisp:

  • '(concat (substring $1 1 2) (substring $1 0 1) (substring $1 2)) ::

Swap the first two characters of the content of column 1.

  • '(+ $1 $2);N ::

Add columns 1 and 2, equivalent to Calc's $1+$2.

  • '(apply '+ '($1..$4));N ::

Compute the sum of columns 1 to 4, like Calc's vsum($1..$4).

Durations and time values

If you want to compute time values use the T, t, or U flag, either in Calc formulas or Elisp formulas:

| Task 1 | Task 2 | Total | |---------+----------+----------| | 2:12 | 1:47 | 03:59:00 | | 2:12 | 1:47 | 03:59 | | 3:02:20 | -2:07:00 | 0.92 | ,#+TBLFM: @2$3=$1+$2;T::@3$3=$1+$2;U::@4$3=$1+$2;t

Input duration values must be of the form HH:MM[:SS], where seconds are optional. With the T flag, computed durations are displayed as =HH:MM:SS= (see the first formula above). With the U flag, seconds are omitted so that the result is only HH:MM (see second formula above). Zero-padding of the hours field depends upon the value of the variable org-table-duration-hour-zero-padding.

With the t flag, computed durations are displayed according to the value of the option org-table-duration-custom-format, which defaults to hours and displays the result as a fraction of hours (see the third formula in the example above).

Negative duration values can be manipulated as well, and integers are considered as seconds in addition and subtraction.

Field and range formulas

To assign a formula to a particular field, type it directly into the field, preceded by :=, for example vsum(@II..III). When you press {{{kbd(TAB)}}} or {{{kbd(RET)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} with the cursor still in the field, the formula is stored as the formula for this field, evaluated, and the current field is replaced with the result.

Formulas are stored in a special TBLFM keyword located directly below the table. If you type the equation in the fourth field of the third data line in the table, the formula looks like @3$4=$1+$2. When inserting/deleting/swapping column and rows with the appropriate commands, absolute references (but not relative ones) in stored formulas are modified in order to still reference the same field. To avoid this from happening, in particular in range references, anchor ranges at the table borders (using @<, @>, $<, $>), or at hlines using the @I notation. Automatic adaptation of field references does of course not happen if you edit the table structure with normal editing commands---then you must fix the equations yourself.

Instead of typing an equation into the field, you may also use the following command

  • {{{kbd(C-u C-c =)}}} (org-table-eval-formula) ::

#+kindex: C-u C-c #+findex: org-table-eval-formula Install a new formula for the current field. The command prompts for a formula with default taken from the =TBLFM keyword, applies it to the current field, and stores it.

The left-hand side of a formula can also be a special expression in order to assign the formula to a number of different fields. There is no keyboard shortcut to enter such range formulas. To add them, use the formula editor (see *Editing and debugging formulas) or edit the =TBLFM= keyword directly.

  • $2= ::

Column formula, valid for the entire column. This is so common that Org treats these formulas in a special way, see *Column formulas.

  • @3= ::

Row formula, applies to all fields in the specified row. =@>== means the last row.

  • @1$2..@4$3= ::

Range formula, applies to all fields in the given rectangular range. This can also be used to assign a formula to some but not all fields in a row.

  • $NAME= ::

Named field, see *Advanced features.

Column formulas

When you assign a formula to a simple column reference like $3=, the same formula is used in all fields of that column, with the following very convenient exceptions: (i) If the table contains horizontal separator hlines with rows above and below, everything before the first such hline is considered part of the table header and is not modified by column formulas. Therefore a header is mandatory when you use column formulas and want to add hlines to group rows, like for example to separate a total row at the bottom from the summand rows above. (ii) Fields that already get a value from a field/range formula are left alone by column formulas. These conditions make column formulas very easy to use.

To assign a formula to a column, type it directly into any field in the column, preceded by an equal sign, like =$1+$2. When you press {{{kbd(TAB)}}} or {{{kbd(RET)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} with the cursor still in the field, the formula is stored as the formula for the current column, evaluated and the current field replaced with the result. If the field contains only =, the previously stored formula for this column is used. For each column, Org only remembers the most recently used formula. In the TBLFM keyword, column formulas look like $4=$1+$2. The left-hand side of a column formula can not be the name of column, it must be the numeric column reference or $>.

Instead of typing an equation into the field, you may also use the following command:

  • {{{kbd(C-c =)}}} (org-table-eval-formula) ::

#+kindex: C-c #+findex: org-table-eval-formula Install a new formula for the current column and replace current field with the result of the formula. The command prompts for a formula, with default taken from the =TBLFM keyword, applies it to the current field and stores it. With a numeric prefix argument, e.g., {{{kbd(C-5 C-c =)}}}, the command applies it to that many consecutive fields in the current column.

Lookup functions

Org has three predefined Emacs Lisp functions for lookups in tables.

  • (org-lookup-first VAL S-LIST R-LIST &optional PREDICATE) ::

#+findex: org-lookup-first Searches for the first element {{{var(S)}}} in list {{{var(S-LIST)}}} for which #+begin_src emacs-lisp (PREDICATE VAL S) #+end_src is non-~nil~; returns the value from the corresponding position in list {{{var(R-LIST)}}}. The default {{{var(PREDICATE)}}} is equal. Note that the parameters {{{var(VAL)}}} and {{{var(S)}}} are passed to {{{var(PREDICATE)}}} in the same order as the corresponding parameters are in the call to org-lookup-first, where {{{var(VAL)}}} precedes {{{var(S-LIST)}}}. If {{{var(R-LIST)}}} is nil, the matching element {{{var(S)}}} of {{{var(S-LIST)}}} is returned.

  • (org-lookup-last VAL S-LIST R-LIST &optional PREDICATE) ::

#+findex: org-lookup-last Similar to org-lookup-first above, but searches for the /last/ element for which {{{var(PREDICATE)}}} is non-~nil~.

  • (org-lookup-all VAL S-LIST R-LIST &optional PREDICATE) ::

#+findex: org-lookup-all Similar to org-lookup-first, but searches for all elements for which {{{var(PREDICATE)}}} is non-~nil~, and returns /all/ corresponding values. This function can not be used by itself in a formula, because it returns a list of values. However, powerful lookups can be built when this function is combined with other Emacs Lisp functions.

If the ranges used in these functions contain empty fields, the =E= mode for the formula should usually be specified: otherwise empty fields are not included in {{{var(S-LIST)}}} and/or {{{var(R-LIST)}}} which can, for example, result in an incorrect mapping from an element of {{{var(S-LIST)}}} to the corresponding element of {{{var(R-LIST)}}}.

These three functions can be used to implement associative arrays, count matching cells, rank results, group data, etc. For practical examples see this tutorial on Worg.

Editing and debugging formulas

You can edit individual formulas in the minibuffer or directly in the field. Org can also prepare a special buffer with all active formulas of a table. When offering a formula for editing, Org converts references to the standard format (like B3 or D&) if possible. If you prefer to only work with the internal format (like @3$2 or =$4=), configure the variable org-table-use-standard-references.

  • {{{kbd(C-c =)}}} or {{{kbd(C-u C-c =)}}} (org-table-eval-formula) ::

#+kindex: C-c = #+kindex: C-u C-c = #+findex: org-table-eval-formula Edit the formula associated with the current column/field in the minibuffer. See *Column formulas, and *Field and range formulas.

  • {{{kbd(C-u C-u C-c =)}}} (org-table-eval-formula) ::

#+kindex: C-u C-u C-c = #+findex: org-table-eval-formula Re-insert the active formula (either a field formula, or a column formula) into the current field, so that you can edit it directly in the field. The advantage over editing in the minibuffer is that you can use the command {{{kbd(C-c ?)}}}.

  • {{{kbd(C-c ?)}}} (org-table-field-info) ::

#+kindex: C-c ? #+findex: org-table-field-info While editing a formula in a table field, highlight the field(s) referenced by the reference at the cursor position in the formula.

  • {{{kbd(C-c })}}} (org-table-toggle-coordinate-overlays) ::

#+kindex: C-c @} #+findex: org-table-toggle-coordinate-overlays Toggle the display of row and column numbers for a table, using overlays. These are updated each time the table is aligned; you can force it with {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}}.

  • {{{kbd(C-c {)}}} (org-table-toggle-formula-debugger) ::

#+kindex: C-c @{ #+findex: org-table-toggle-formula-debugger Toggle the formula debugger on and off. See below.

  • {{{kbd(C-c ')}}} (org-table-edit-formulas) ::

#+kindex: C-c ' #+findex: org-table-edit-formulas Edit all formulas for the current table in a special buffer, where the formulas are displayed one per line. If the current field has an active formula, the cursor in the formula editor marks it. While inside the special buffer, Org automatically highlights any field or range reference at the cursor position. You may edit, remove and add formulas, and use the following commands:

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} or {{{kbd(C-x C-s)}}} (org-table-fedit-finish) ::

#+kindex: C-x C-s #+kindex: C-c C-c #+findex: org-table-fedit-finish Exit the formula editor and store the modified formulas. With {{{kbd(C-u)}}} prefix, also apply the new formulas to the entire table.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-q)}}} (org-table-fedit-abort) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-q #+findex: org-table-fedit-abort Exit the formula editor without installing changes.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-r)}}} (org-table-fedit-toggle-ref-type) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-r #+findex: org-table-fedit-toggle-ref-type Toggle all references in the formula editor between standard (like B3) and internal (like @3$2).

  • {{{kbd(TAB)}}} (org-table-fedit-lisp-indent) ::

#+kindex: TAB #+findex: org-table-fedit-lisp-indent Pretty-print or indent Lisp formula at point. When in a line containing a Lisp formula, format the formula according to Emacs Lisp rules. Another {{{kbd(TAB)}}} collapses the formula back again. In the open formula, {{{kbd(TAB)}}} re-indents just like in Emacs Lisp mode.

  • {{{kbd(M-TAB)}}} (lisp-complete-symbol) ::

#+kindex: M-TAB #+findex: lisp-complete-symbol Complete Lisp symbols, just like in Emacs Lisp mode.

  • {{{kbd(S-up)}}}, {{{kbd(S-down)}}}, {{{kbd(S-left)}}}, {{{kbd(S-right)}}} ::

#+kindex: S-up #+kindex: S-down #+kindex: S-left #+kindex: S-right #+findex: org-table-fedit-ref-up #+findex: org-table-fedit-ref-down #+findex: org-table-fedit-ref-left #+findex: org-table-fedit-ref-right Shift the reference at point. For example, if the reference is B3 and you press {{{kbd(S-right)}}}, it becomes C3. This also works for relative references and for hline references.

  • {{{kbd(M-S-up)}}} (org-table-fedit-line-up) ::

#+kindex: M-S-up #+findex: org-table-fedit-line-up Move the test line for column formulas up in the Org buffer.

  • {{{kbd(M-S-down)}}} (org-table-fedit-line-down) ::

#+kindex: M-S-down #+findex: org-table-fedit-line-down Move the test line for column formulas down in the Org buffer.

  • {{{kbd(M-up)}}} (org-table-fedit-scroll-up) ::

#+kindex: M-up #+findex: org-table-fedit-scroll-up Scroll up the window displaying the table.

  • {{{kbd(M-down)}}} (org-table-fedit-scroll-down) ::

#+kindex: M-down #+findex: org-table-fedit-scroll-down Scroll down the window displaying the table.

  • {{{kbd(C-c })}}} ::

#+kindex: C-c @} #+findex: org-table-toggle-coordinate-overlays Turn the coordinate grid in the table on and off.

Making a table field blank does not remove the formula associated with the field, because that is stored in a different line---the TBLFM= keyword line. During the next recalculation, the field will be filled again. To remove a formula from a field, you have to give an empty reply when prompted for the formula, or to edit the =TBLFM keyword.

You may edit the TBLFM keyword directly and re-apply the changed equations with {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} in that line or with the normal recalculation commands in the table.

Using multiple TBLFM lines

You may apply the formula temporarily. This is useful when you switch the formula. Place multiple TBLFM keywords right after the table, and then press {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} on the formula to apply. Here is an example:

| x | y | |---+---| | 1 | | | 2 | | ,#+TBLFM: $2=$1*1 ,#+TBLFM: $2=$1*2

Pressing {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} in the line of #+TBLFM: $2=$1*2 yields:

| x | y | |---+---| | 1 | 2 | | 2 | 4 | ,#+TBLFM: $2=$1*1 ,#+TBLFM: $2=$1*2

Note: If you recalculate this table, with {{{kbd(C-u C-c *)}}}, for example, you get the following result of applying only the first =TBLFM= keyword.

| x | y | |---+---| | 1 | 1 | | 2 | 2 | ,#+TBLFM: $2=$1*1 ,#+TBLFM: $2=$1*2

Debugging formulas

When the evaluation of a formula leads to an error, the field content becomes the string #ERROR. If you would like to see what is going on during variable substitution and calculation in order to find a bug, turn on formula debugging in the Tbl menu and repeat the calculation, for example by pressing {{{kbd(C-u C-u C-c = RET)}}} in a field. Detailed information are displayed.

Updating the table

Recalculation of a table is normally not automatic, but needs to be triggered by a command. To make recalculation at least semi-automatic, see *Advanced features.

In order to recalculate a line of a table or the entire table, use the following commands:

  • {{{kbd(C-c *)}}} (org-table-recalculate) ::

#+kindex: C-c * #+findex: org-table-recalculate Recalculate the current row by first applying the stored column formulas from left to right, and all field/range formulas in the current row.

  • {{{kbd(C-u C-c *)}}} or {{{kbd(C-u C-c C-c)}}} ::

#+kindex: C-u C-c * #+kindex: C-u C-c C-c Recompute the entire table, line by line. Any lines before the first hline are left alone, assuming that these are part of the table header.

  • {{{kbd(C-u C-u C-c *)}}} or {{{kbd(C-u C-u C-c C-c)}}} (org-table-iterate) ::

#+kindex: C-u C-u C-c * #+kindex: C-u C-u C-c C-c #+findex: org-table-iterate Iterate the table by recomputing it until no further changes occur. This may be necessary if some computed fields use the value of other fields that are computed later in the calculation sequence.

  • {{{kbd(M-x org-table-recalculate-buffer-tables)}}} ::

#+findex: org-table-recalculate-buffer-tables Recompute all tables in the current buffer.

  • {{{kbd(M-x org-table-iterate-buffer-tables)}}} ::

#+findex: org-table-iterate-buffer-tables Iterate all tables in the current buffer, in order to converge table-to-table dependencies.

Advanced features

If you want the recalculation of fields to happen automatically, or if you want to be able to assign /names/25 to fields and columns, you need to reserve the first column of the table for special marking characters.

  • {{{kbd(C-#)}}} (org-table-rotate-recalc-marks) ::

#+kindex: C-# #+findex: org-table-rotate-recalc-marks Rotate the calculation mark in first column through the states #, *, =!=, $. When there is an active region, change all marks in the region.

Here is an example of a table that collects exam results of students and makes use of these features:

|---+---------+--------+--------+--------+-------+------| | | Student | Prob 1 | Prob 2 | Prob 3 | Total | Note | |---+---------+--------+--------+--------+-------+------| | ! | | P1 | P2 | P3 | Tot | | | # | Maximum | 10 | 15 | 25 | 50 | 10.0 | | ^ | | m1 | m2 | m3 | mt | | |---+---------+--------+--------+--------+-------+------| | # | Peter | 10 | 8 | 23 | 41 | 8.2 | | # | Sam | 2 | 4 | 3 | 9 | 1.8 | |---+---------+--------+--------+--------+-------+------| | | Average | | | | 25.0 | | | ^ | | | | | at | | | $ | max=50 | | | | | | |---+---------+--------+--------+--------+-------+------| ,#+TBLFM: $6=vsum($P1..$P3)::$7=10*$Tot/$max;%.1f::$at=vmean(@-II..@-I);%.1f

Important*: please note that for these special tables, recalculating the table with {{{kbd(C-u C-c )}}} only affects rows that are marked =#= or *, and fields that have a formula assigned to the field itself. The column formulas are not applied in rows with empty first field.

The marking characters have the following meaning:

  • =!= ::

The fields in this line define names for the columns, so that you may refer to a column as $Tot instead of $6.

  • ^ ::

This row defines names for the fields above the row. With such a definition, any formula in the table may use $m1 to refer to the value 10. Also, if you assign a formula to a names field, it is stored as $name ...=.

  • _ ::

Similar to ^, but defines names for the fields in the row below.

  • $ ::

Fields in this row can define parameters for formulas. For example, if a field in a $ row contains max=50, then formulas in this table can refer to the value 50 using $max. Parameters work exactly like constants, only that they can be defined on a per-table basis.

  • # ::

Fields in this row are automatically recalculated when pressing {{{kbd(TAB)}}} or {{{kbd(RET)}}} or {{{kbd(S-TAB)}}} in this row. Also, this row is selected for a global recalculation with {{{kbd(C-u C-c *)}}}. Unmarked lines are left alone by this command.

  • * ::

Selects this line for global recalculation with {{{kbd(C-u C-c *)}}}, but not for automatic recalculation. Use this when automatic recalculation slows down editing too much.

  • / ::

Do not export this line. Useful for lines that contain the narrowing <N> markers or column group markers.

Finally, just to whet your appetite for what can be done with the fantastic Calc package, here is a table that computes the Taylor series of degree n at location x for a couple of functions.

|---+-------------+---+-----+--------------------------------------| | | Func | n | x | Result | |---+-------------+---+-----+--------------------------------------| | # | exp(x) | 1 | x | 1 + x | | # | exp(x) | 2 | x | 1 + x + x^2 / 2 | | # | exp(x) | 3 | x | 1 + x + x^2 / 2 + x^3 / 6 | | # | x^2+sqrt(x) | 2 | x=0 | x*(0.5 / 0) + x^2 (2 - 0.25 / 0) / 2 | | # | x^2+sqrt(x) | 2 | x=1 | 2 + 2.5 x - 2.5 + 0.875 (x - 1)^2 | | * | tan(x) | 3 | x | 0.0175 x + 1.77e-6 x^3 | |---+-------------+---+-----+--------------------------------------| ,#+TBLFM: $5=taylor($2,$4,$3);n3

Org Plot

Org Plot can produce graphs of information stored in Org tables, either graphically or in ASCII art.

Graphical plots using Gnuplot

Org Plot can produce 2D and 3D graphs of information stored in Org tables using Gnuplot and Gnuplot mode. To see this in action, ensure that you have both Gnuplot and Gnuplot mode installed on your system, then call {{{kbd(C-c \quot g)}}} or {{{kbd(M-x org-plot/gnuplot)}}} on the following table.

,#+PLOT: title:"Citas" ind:1 deps:(3) type:2d with:histograms set:"yrange [0:]" | Sede | Max cites | H-index | |-----------+-----------+---------| | Chile | 257.72 | 21.39 | | Leeds | 165.77 | 19.68 | | Sao Paolo | 71.00 | 11.50 | | Stockholm | 134.19 | 14.33 | | Morels | 257.56 | 17.67 |

Notice that Org Plot is smart enough to apply the table's headers as labels. Further control over the labels, type, content, and appearance of plots can be exercised through the PLOT keyword preceding a table. See below for a complete list of Org Plot options. For more information and examples see the Org Plot tutorial.

Plot options

  • set ::

Specify any Gnuplot option to be set when graphing.

  • title ::

Specify the title of the plot.

  • ind ::

Specify which column of the table to use as the x axis.

  • deps ::

Specify the columns to graph as a Lisp style list, surrounded by parentheses and separated by spaces for example dep:(3 4) to graph the third and fourth columns. Defaults to graphing all other columns aside from the ind column.

  • type ::

Specify whether the plot is 2d, 3d, or grid.

  • with ::

Specify a with option to be inserted for every column being plotted, e.g., lines, points, boxes, impulses. Defaults to lines.

  • file ::

If you want to plot to a file, specify "path/to/desired/output-file".

  • labels ::

List of labels to be used for the deps. Defaults to the column headers if they exist.

  • line ::

Specify an entire line to be inserted in the Gnuplot script.

  • map ::

When plotting 3d or grid types, set this to t to graph a flat mapping rather than a 3d slope.

  • timefmt ::

Specify format of Org mode timestamps as they will be parsed by Gnuplot. Defaults to %Y-%m-%d-%H:%M:%S.

  • script ::

If you want total control, you can specify a script file---place the file name between double-quotes---which will be used to plot. Before plotting, every instance of $datafile in the specified script will be replaced with the path to the generated data file. Note: even if you set this option, you may still want to specify the plot type, as that can impact the content of the data file.

ASCII bar plots

While the cursor is on a column, typing {{{kbd(C-c " a)}}} or {{{kbd(M-x orgtbl-ascii-plot)}}} create a new column containing an ASCII-art bars plot. The plot is implemented through a regular column formula. When the source column changes, the bar plot may be updated by refreshing the table, for example typing {{{kbd(C-u C-c *)}}}.

| Sede | Max cites | | |---------------+-----------+--------------| | Chile | 257.72 | WWWWWWWWWWWW | | Leeds | 165.77 | WWWWWWWh | | Sao Paolo | 71.00 | WWW; | | Stockholm | 134.19 | WWWWWW: | | Morelia | 257.56 | WWWWWWWWWWWH | | Rochefourchat | 0.00 | | ,#+TBLFM: $3='(orgtbl-ascii-draw $2 0.0 257.72 12)

The formula is an Elisp call.

Draw an ASCII bar in a table.

{{{var(VALUE)}}} is the value to plot.

{{{var(MIN)}}} is the value displayed as an empty bar. {{{var(MAX)}}} is the value filling all the {{{var(WIDTH)}}}. Sources values outside this range are displayed as too small or too large.

{{{var(WIDTH)}}} is the number of characters of the bar plot. It defaults to 12.


Like HTML, Org provides links inside a file, external links to other files, Usenet articles, emails, and much more.

Org recognizes plain URL-like links and activate them as clickable links. The general link format, however, looks like this:


or alternatively


Once a link in the buffer is complete (all brackets present), Org changes the display so that DESCRIPTION is displayed instead of =DESCRIPTION= and LINK is displayed instead of [[LINK]]. Links are be highlighted in the face org-link, which by default is an underlined face. You can directly edit the visible part of a link. Note that this can be either the LINK part, if there is no description, or the {{{var(DESCRIPTION)}}} part. To edit also the invisible {{{var(LINK)}}} part, use {{{kbd(C-c C-l)}}} with the cursor on the link.

If you place the cursor at the beginning or just behind the end of the displayed text and press {{{kbd(BS)}}}, you remove the---invisible---bracket at that location. 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 \rarr Hyperlinks \rarr Literal links.

If the link does not look like a URL, it is considered to be internal in the current file. The most important case is a link like =#my-custom-id= which links to the entry with the CUSTOM_ID property =my-custom-id=. You are responsible yourself to make sure these custom IDs are unique in a file.

Links such as [[My Target]] or [[My Target][Find my target]] lead to a text search in the current file.

The link can be followed with {{{kbd(C-c C-o)}}} when the cursor is on the link, or with a mouse click (see *Handling Links). Links to custom IDs point to the corresponding headline. The preferred match for a text link is a /dedicated target/: the same string in double angular brackets, like <<My Target>>.

If no dedicated target exists, the link tries to match the exact name of an element within the buffer. Naming is done with the =NAME= keyword, which has to be put in the line before the element it refers to, as in the following example

,#+NAME: My Target | a | table | |----+------------| | of | four cells |

If none of the above succeeds, Org searches for a headline that is exactly the link text but may also include a TODO keyword and tags26.

During export, internal links are used to mark objects and assign them a number. Marked objects are then referenced by links pointing to them. In particular, links without a description appear as the number assigned to the marked object27. In the following excerpt from an Org buffer

  1. one item
  2. <>another item
  3. Here we refer to item [[target]].

The last sentence will appear as Here we refer to item 2 when exported.

In non-Org files, the search looks for the words in the link text. In the above example the search would be for target.

Following a link pushes a mark onto Org's own mark ring. You can return to the previous position with {{{kbd(C-c &)}}}. Using this command several times in direct succession goes back to positions recorded earlier.

Radio Targets

Org can automatically turn any occurrences of certain target names in normal text into a link. So without explicitly creating a link, the text connects to the target radioing its position. Radio targets are enclosed by triple angular brackets. For example, a target <<<My Target>>> causes each occurrence of my target in normal text to become activated as a link. The Org file is scanned automatically for radio targets only when the file is first loaded into Emacs. To update the target list during editing, press {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} with the cursor on or at a target.

Org supports links to files, websites, Usenet and email messages, BBDB database entries and links to both IRC conversations and their logs. External links are URL-like locators. They start with a short identifying string followed by a colon. There can be no space after the colon. The following list shows examples for each link type. on the web
doi:10.1000/182 DOI for an electronic resource
file:/home/dominik/images/jupiter.jpg file, absolute path
/home/dominik/images/jupiter.jpg same as above
file:papers/last.pdf file, relative path
=./papers/last.pdf= same as above
file:/ssh:me@some.where:papers/last.pdf file, path on remote machine
/ssh:me@some.where:papers/last.pdf same as above
file:sometextfile::NNN file, jump to line number another Org file words text search in Org file28*task title heading search in Org file
file+sys:/path/to/file open via OS, like double-click
file+emacs:/path/to/file force opening by Emacs
docview:papers/last.pdf::NNN open in doc-view mode at page
id:B7423F4D-2E8A-471B-8810-C40F074717E9 Link to heading by ID
news:comp.emacs Usenet link Mail link
mhe:folder MH-E folder link
mhe:folder#id MH-E message link
rmail:folder Rmail folder link
rmail:folder#id Rmail message link
gnus:group Gnus group link
gnus:group#id Gnus article link
bbdb:R.*Stallman BBDB link (with regexp)
irc:/ IRC link
info:org#External links Info node link
shell:ls *.org A shell command
elisp:org-agenda Interactive Elisp command
elisp:(find-file-other-frame "") Elisp form to evaluate

On top of these built-in link types, some are available through the =contrib/= directory (see *Installation). For example, these links to VM or Wanderlust messages are available when you load the corresponding libraries from the contrib/ directory:

vm:folder VM folder link
vm:folder#id VM message link
vm:// VM on remote machine
vm-imap:account:folder VM IMAP folder link
vm-imap:account:folder#id VM IMAP message link
wl:folder Wanderlust folder link
wl:folder#id Wanderlust message link

For customizing Org to add new link types, see *Adding Hyperlink Types.

A link should be enclosed in double brackets and may contain a descriptive text to be displayed instead of the URL (see *Link Format), for example:

[[][GNU Emacs]]

If the description is a file name or URL that points to an image, HTML export (see *HTML Export) inlines the image as a clickable button. If there is no description at all and the link points to an image, that image is inlined into the exported HTML file.

Org also finds external links in the normal text and activates them as links. If spaces must be part of the link (for example in =bbdb:Richard Stallman=), or if you need to remove ambiguities about the end of the link, enclose them in square or angular brackets.

Org provides methods to create a link in the correct syntax, to insert it into an Org file, and to follow the link.

The main function is org-store-link, called with {{{kbd(M-x org-store-link)}}}. Because of its importance, we suggest to bind it to a widely available key (see *Activation). It stores a link to the current location. The link is stored for later insertion into an Org buffer---see below. What kind of link is created depends on the current buffer:

  • Org mode buffers ::

For Org files, if there is a <<target>> at the cursor, the link points to the target. Otherwise it points to the current headline, which is also the description29.

#+vindex: org-link-to-org-use-id #+cindex: CUSTOM_ID, property #+cindex: ID, property If the headline has a CUSTOM_ID property, store a link to this custom ID. In addition or alternatively, depending on the value of org-link-to-org-use-id, create and/or use a globally unique ID property for the link30. So using this command in Org buffers potentially creates two links: a human-readable link from the custom ID, and one that is globally unique and works even if the entry is moved from file to file. Later, when inserting the link, you need to decide which one to use.

  • Email/News clients: VM, Rmail, Wanderlust, MH-E, Gnus ::

Pretty much all Emacs mail clients are supported. The link points to the current article, or, in some Gnus buffers, to the group. The description is constructed from the author and the subject.

  • Web browsers: W3, W3M and EWW ::

Here the link is the current URL, with the page title as description.

  • Contacts: BBDB ::

Links created in a BBDB buffer point to the current entry.

  • Chat: IRC ::

#+vindex: org-irc-links-to-logs For IRC links, if the variable org-irc-link-to-logs is non-~nil~, create a file style link to the relevant point in the logs for the current conversation. Otherwise store an =irc= style link to the user/channel/server under the point.

  • Other files ::

For any other file, the link points to the file, with a search string (see *Search Options in File Links) pointing to the contents of the current line. If there is an active region, the selected words form the basis of the search string. If the automatically created link is not working correctly or accurately enough, you can write custom functions to select the search string and to do the search for particular file types (see *Custom Searches).

You can also define dedicated links to other files. See *Adding Hyperlink Types.

  • Agenda view ::

When the cursor is in an agenda view, the created link points to the entry referenced by the current line.

From an Org buffer, the following commands create, navigate or, more generally, act on links.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-l)}}} (org-insert-link) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-l #+findex: org-insert-link #+cindex: link completion #+cindex: completion, of links #+cindex: inserting links #+vindex: org-keep-stored-link-after-insertion Insert a link31. This prompts for a link to be inserted into the buffer. You can just type a link, using text for an internal link, or one of the link type prefixes mentioned in the examples above. The link is inserted into the buffer, along with a descriptive text32. If some text was selected at this time, it becomes the default description.

  • Inserting stored links ::

All links stored during the current session are part of the history for this prompt, so you can access them with {{{kbd(up)}}} and {{{kbd(down)}}} (or {{{kbd(M-p)}}}, {{{kbd(M-n)}}}).

  • Completion support ::

Completion with {{{kbd(TAB)}}} helps you to insert valid link prefixes like http or ftp, including the prefixes defined through link abbreviations (see *Link Abbreviations). If you press {{{kbd(RET)}}} after inserting only the prefix, Org offers specific completion support for some link types33. For example, if you type {{{kbd(f i l e RET)}}}---alternative access: {{{kbd(C-u C-c C-l)}}}, see below---Org offers file name completion, and after {{{kbd(b b d b RET)}}} you can complete contact names.

  • {{{kbd(C-u C-c C-l)}}} ::

#+cindex: file name completion #+cindex: completion, of file names #+kindex: C-u C-c C-l When {{{kbd(C-c C-l)}}} is called with a {{{kbd(C-u)}}} prefix argument, insert a link to a file. You may use file name completion to select the name of the file. The path to the file is inserted relative to the directory of the current Org file, if the linked file is in the current directory or in a sub-directory of it, or if the path is written relative to the current directory using =../=. Otherwise an absolute path is used, if possible with ~/ for your home directory. You can force an absolute path with two {{{kbd(C-u)}}} prefixes.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-l)}}} (with cursor on existing link) ::

#+cindex: following links When the cursor is on an existing link, {{{kbd(C-c C-l)}}} allows you to edit the link and description parts of the link.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-o)}}} (org-open-at-point) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-o #+findex: org-open-at-point #+vindex: org-file-apps Open link at point. This launches a web browser for URL (using browse-url-at-point), run VM/MH-E/Wanderlust/Rmail/Gnus/BBDB for the corresponding links, and execute the command in a shell link. When the cursor is on an internal link, this command runs the corresponding search. When the cursor is on a TAG list in a headline, it creates the corresponding TAGS view. If the cursor is on a timestamp, it compiles the agenda for that date. Furthermore, it visits text and remote files in file links with Emacs and select a suitable application for local non-text files. Classification of files is based on file extension only. See option org-file-apps. If you want to override the default application and visit the file with Emacs, use a {{{kbd(C-u)}}} prefix. If you want to avoid opening in Emacs, use a {{{kbd(C-u C-u)}}} prefix.

#+vindex: org-link-frame-setup If the cursor is on a headline, but not on a link, offer all links in the headline and entry text. If you want to setup the frame configuration for following links, customize org-link-frame-setup.

  • {{{kbd(RET)}}} ::

#+vindex: org-return-follows-link #+kindex: RET When org-return-follows-link is set, {{{kbd(RET)}}} also follows the link at point.

  • {{{kbd(mouse-2)}}} or {{{kbd(mouse-1)}}} ::

#+kindex: mouse-2 #+kindex: mouse-1 On links, {{{kbd(mouse-1)}}} and {{{kbd(mouse-2)}}} opens the link just as {{{kbd(C-c C-o)}}} does.

  • {{{kbd(mouse-3)}}} ::

#+vindex: org-display-internal-link-with-indirect-buffer #+kindex: mouse-3 Like {{{kbd(mouse-2)}}}, but force file links to be opened with Emacs, and internal links to be displayed in another window34.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-v)}}} (org-toggle-inline-images) ::

#+cindex: inlining images #+cindex: images, inlining #+vindex: org-startup-with-inline-images #+kindex: C-c C-x C-v #+findex: org-toggle-inline-images Toggle the inline display of linked images. Normally this only inlines images that have no description part in the link, i.e., images that are inlined during export. When called with a prefix argument, also display images that do have a link description. You can ask for inline images to be displayed at startup by configuring the variable ~org-startup-with-inline-images~35.

  • {{{kbd(C-c %)}}} (org-mark-ring-push) ::

#+kindex: C-c % #+findex: org-mark-ring-push #+cindex: mark ring Push the current position onto the mark ring, to be able to return easily. Commands following an internal link do this automatically.

  • {{{kbd(C-c &)}}} (org-mark-ring-goto) ::

#+kindex: C-c & #+findex: org-mark-ring-goto #+cindex: links, returning to Jump back to a recorded position. A position is recorded by the commands following internal links, and by {{{kbd(C-c %)}}}. Using this command several times in direct succession moves through a ring of previously recorded positions.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-n)}}} (org-next-link), {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-p)}}} (org-previous-link) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x C-p #+findex: org-previous-link #+kindex: C-c C-x C-n #+findex: org-next-link #+cindex: links, finding next/previous Move forward/backward to the next link in the buffer. At the limit of the buffer, the search fails once, and then wraps around. The key bindings for this are really too long; you might want to bind this also to {{{kbd(M-n)}}} and {{{kbd(M-p)}}}.

#+begin_src emacs-lisp (add-hook 'org-load-hook (lambda () (define-key org-mode-map "\M-n" 'org-next-link) (define-key org-mode-map "\M-p" 'org-previous-link))) #+end_src

You can insert and follow links that have Org syntax not only in Org, but in any Emacs buffer. For this, you should create two global commands, like this (please select suitable global keys yourself):

(global-set-key "\C-c L" 'org-insert-link-global) (global-set-key "\C-c o" 'org-open-at-point-global)

Long URL can be cumbersome to type, and often many similar links are needed in a document. For this you can use link abbreviations. An abbreviated link looks like this


where the tag is optional. The linkword must be a word, starting with a letter, followed by letters, numbers, -, and _. Abbreviations are resolved according to the information in the variable org-link-abbrev-alist that relates the linkwords to replacement text. Here is an example:

(setq org-link-abbrev-alist '(("bugzilla" . "") ("url-to-ja" . "") ("google" . "") ("gmap" . "") ("omap" . "") ("ads" . "")))

If the replacement text contains the string %s, it is replaced with the tag. Using %h instead of %s percent-encodes the tag (see the example above, where we need to encode the URL parameter). Using =%(my-function)= passes the tag to a custom function, and replace it by the resulting string.

If the replacement text do not contain any specifier, it is simply appended to the string in order to create the link.

Instead of a string, you may also specify a function that will be called with the tag as the only argument to create the link.

With the above setting, you could link to a specific bug with =bugzilla:129=, search the web for OrgMode with [[google:OrgMode]], show the map location of the Free Software Foundation [[gmap:51 Franklin Street, Boston]] or of Carsten office [[omap:Science Park 904, Amsterdam, The Netherlands]] and find out what the Org author is doing besides Emacs hacking with [[ads:Dominik,C]].

If you need special abbreviations just for a single Org buffer, you can define them in the file with

,#+LINK: bugzilla ,#+LINK: google

In-buffer completion (see *Completion) can be used after [ to complete link abbreviations. You may also define a function that implements special (e.g., completion) support for inserting such a link with {{{kbd(C-c C-l)}}}. Such a function should not accept any arguments, and return the full link with prefix. You can set the link completion function like this:

(org-link-set-parameter "type" :complete #'some-completion-function)

File links can contain additional information to make Emacs jump to a particular location in the file when following a link. This can be a line number or a search option after a double colon36. For example, when the command org-store-link creates a link (see *Handling Links) to a file, it encodes the words in the current line as a search string that can be used to find this line back later when following the link with {{{kbd(C-c C-o)}}}.

Here is the syntax of the different ways to attach a search to a file link, together with an explanation:

  • 255 ::

Jump to line 255.

  • My Target ::

Search for a link target <<My Target>>, or do a text search for my target, similar to the search in internal links, see *Internal Links. In HTML export (see *HTML Export), such a file link becomes a HTML reference to the corresponding named anchor in the linked file.

  • *My Target ::

In an Org file, restrict search to headlines.

  • #my-custom-id ::

Link to a heading with a CUSTOM_ID property

  • /REGEXP/ ::

Do a regular expression search for {{{var(REGEXP)}}}. This uses the Emacs command occur to list all matches in a separate window. If the target file is in Org mode, org-occur is used to create a sparse tree with the matches.

As a degenerate case, a file link with an empty file name can be used to search the current file. For example, [[file:::find me]] does a search for find me in the current file, just as [[find me]] would.

Custom Searches

The default mechanism for creating search strings and for doing the actual search related to a file link may not work correctly in all cases. For example, BibTeX database files have many entries like ~year="1993"~ which would not result in good search strings, because the only unique identification for a BibTeX entry is the citation key.

If you come across such a problem, you can write custom functions to set the right search string for a particular file type, and to do the search for the string in the file. Using add-hook, these functions need to be added to the hook variables ~org-create-file-search-functions~ and ~org-execute-file-search-functions~. See the docstring for these variables for more information. Org actually uses this mechanism for BibTeX database files, and you can use the corresponding code as an implementation example. See the file org-bibtex.el.

TODO Items

Org mode does not maintain TODO lists as separate documents37. Instead, TODO items are an integral part of the notes file, because TODO items usually come up while taking notes! With Org mode, simply mark any entry in a tree as being a TODO item. In this way, information is not duplicated, and the entire context from which the TODO item emerged is always present.

Of course, this technique for managing TODO items scatters them throughout your notes file. Org mode compensates for this by providing methods to give you an overview of all the things that you have to do.

Basic TODO Functionality

Any headline becomes a TODO item when it starts with the word TODO, for example:

*** TODO Write letter to Sam Fortune

The most important commands to work with TODO entries are:

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-t)}}} (org-todo) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-t #+cindex: cycling, of TODO states Rotate the TODO state of the current item among

#+begin_example ,-> (unmarked) -> TODO -> DONE --. '--------------------------------' #+end_example

If TODO keywords have fast access keys (see *Fast access to TODO states), prompt for a TODO keyword through the fast selection interface; this is the default behavior when org-use-fast-todo-selection is non-~nil~.

The same rotation can also be done "remotely" from the timeline and agenda buffers with the {{{kbd(t)}}} command key (see *Commands in the Agenda Buffer).

  • {{{kbd(C-u C-c C-t)}}} ::

#+kindex: C-u C-c C-t When TODO keywords have no selection keys, select a specific keyword using completion; otherwise force cycling through TODO states with no prompt. When org-use-fast-todo-selection is set to prefix, use the fast selection interface.

  • {{{kbd(S-right)}}} {{{kbd(S-left)}}} ::

#+kindex: S-right #+kindex: S-left #+vindex: org-treat-S-cursor-todo-selection-as-state-change Select the following/preceding TODO state, similar to cycling. Useful mostly if more than two TODO states are possible (see *Extended Use of TODO Keywords). See also *Packages that conflict with Org mode, for a discussion of the interaction with shift-selection-mode. See also the variable org-treat-S-cursor-todo-selection-as-state-change.

  • {{{kbd(C-c / t)}}} (org-show-todo-tree) ::

#+kindex: C-c / t #+cindex: sparse tree, for TODO #+vindex: org-todo-keywords #+findex: org-show-todo-tree View TODO items in a sparse tree (see *Sparse Trees). Folds the entire buffer, but shows all TODO items---with not-DONE state---and the headings hierarchy above them. With a prefix argument, or by using {{{kbd(C-c / T)}}}, search for a specific TODO. You are prompted for the keyword, and you can also give a list of keywords like KWD1|KWD2|... to list entries that match any one of these keywords. With a numeric prefix argument N, show the tree for the Nth keyword in the variable org-todo-keywords. With two prefix arguments, find all TODO states, both un-done and done.

  • {{{kbd(C-c a t)}}} (org-todo-list) ::

#+kindex: C-c a t Show the global TODO list. Collects the TODO items (with not-DONE states) from all agenda files (see *Agenda Views) into a single buffer. The new buffer is in Org Agenda mode, which provides commands to examine and manipulate the TODO entries from the new buffer (see *Commands in the Agenda Buffer). See *The global TODO list, for more information.

  • {{{kbd(S-M-RET)}}} (org-insert-todo-heading) ::

#+kindex: S-M-RET #+findex: org-insert-todo-heading Insert a new TODO entry below the current one.

Changing a TODO state can also trigger tag changes. See the docstring of the option org-todo-state-tags-triggers for details.

Extended Use of TODO Keywords

By default, marked TODO entries have one of only two states: TODO and DONE. Org mode allows you to classify TODO items in more complex ways with TODO keywords (stored in org-todo-keywords). With special setup, the TODO keyword system can work differently in different files.

Note that tags are another way to classify headlines in general and TODO items in particular (see *Tags).

TODO keywords as workflow states

You can use TODO keywords to indicate different sequential states in the process of working on an item, for example38:

(setq org-todo-keywords '((sequence "TODO" "FEEDBACK" "VERIFY" "|" "DONE" "DELEGATED")))

The vertical bar separates the TODO keywords (states that need action) from the DONE states (which need no further action). If you do not provide the separator bar, the last state is used as the DONE state.

With this setup, the command {{{kbd(C-c C-t)}}} cycles an entry from =TODO= to FEEDBACK, then to VERIFY, and finally to DONE and =DELEGATED=. You may also use a numeric prefix argument to quickly select a specific state. For example {{{kbd(C-3 C-c C-t)}}} changes the state immediately to VERIFY. Or you can use {{{kbd(S-left)}}} to go backward through the sequence. If you define many keywords, you can use in-buffer completion (see *Completion) or even a special one-key selection scheme (see *Fast access to TODO states) to insert these words into the buffer. Changing a TODO state can be logged with a timestamp, see *Tracking TODO state changes, for more information.

TODO keywords as types

The second possibility is to use TODO keywords to indicate different /types/ of action items. For example, you might want to indicate that items are for "work" or "home". Or, when you work with several people on a single project, you might want to assign action items directly to persons, by using their names as TODO keywords. This would be set up like this:

(setq org-todo-keywords '((type "Fred" "Sara" "Lucy" "|" "DONE")))

In this case, different keywords do not indicate a sequence, but rather different types. So the normal work flow would be to assign a task to a person, and later to mark it DONE. Org mode supports this style by adapting the workings of the command {{{kbd(C-c C-t)}}}39. When used several times in succession, it still cycles through all names, in order to first select the right type for a task. But when you return to the item after some time and execute {{{kbd(C-c C-t)}}} again, it will switch from any name directly to =DONE=. Use prefix arguments or completion to quickly select a specific name. You can also review the items of a specific TODO type in a sparse tree by using a numeric prefix to {{{kbd(C-c / t)}}}. For example, to see all things Lucy has to do, you would use {{{kbd(C-3 C-c / t)}}}. To collect Lucy's items from all agenda files into a single buffer, you would use the numeric prefix argument as well when creating the global TODO list: {{{kbd(C-3 C-c a t)}}}.

Multiple keyword sets in one file

Sometimes you may want to use different sets of TODO keywords in parallel. For example, you may want to have the basic TODO/DONE, but also a workflow for bug fixing, and a separate state indicating that an item has been canceled---so it is not DONE, but also does not require action. Your setup would then look like this:

(setq org-todo-keywords '((sequence "TODO" "|" "DONE") (sequence "REPORT" "BUG" "KNOWNCAUSE" "|" "FIXED") (sequence "|" "CANCELED")))

The keywords should all be different, this helps Org mode to keep track of which subsequence should be used for a given entry. In this setup, {{{kbd(C-c C-t)}}} only operates within a subsequence, so it switches from DONE to (nothing) to TODO, and from FIXED to (nothing) to REPORT. Therefore you need a mechanism to initially select the correct sequence. Besides the obvious ways like typing a keyword or using completion, you may also apply the following commands:

  • {{{kbd(C-u C-u C-c C-t)}}}, {{{kbd(C-S-right)}}}, {{{kbd(C-S-left)}}} ::

#+kindex: C-S-right #+kindex: C-S-left #+kindex: C-u C-u C-c C-t These keys jump from one TODO subset to the next. In the above example, {{{kbd(C-u C-u C-c C-t)}}} or {{{kbd(C-S-right)}}} would jump from TODO or DONE to REPORT, and any of the words in the second row to CANCELED. Note that the {{{kbd(C-S-)}}} key binding conflict with shift-selection-mode (see *Packages that conflict with Org mode).

  • {{{kbd(S-right)}}}, {{{kbd(S-left)}}} ::

#+kindex: S-right #+kindex: S-left {{{kbd(S-left)}}} and {{{kbd(S-right)}}} walk through /all/ keywords from all sets, so for example {{{kbd(S-right)}}} would switch from DONE to REPORT in the example above. For a discussion of the interaction with shift-selection-mode, see *Packages that conflict with Org mode.

Fast access to TODO states

If you would like to quickly change an entry to an arbitrary TODO state instead of cycling through the states, you can set up keys for single-letter access to the states. This is done by adding the selection character after each keyword, in parentheses40. For example:

(setq org-todo-keywords '((sequence "TODO(t)" "|" "DONE(d)") (sequence "REPORT(r)" "BUG(b)" "KNOWNCAUSE(k)" "|" "FIXED(f)") (sequence "|" "CANCELED(c)")))

If you then press {{{kbd(C-c C-t)}}} followed by the selection key, the entry is switched to this state. {{{kbd(SPC)}}} can be used to remove any TODO keyword from an entry41.

Setting up keywords for individual files

It can be very useful to use different aspects of the TODO mechanism in different files. For file-local settings, you need to add special lines to the file which set the keywords and interpretation for that file only. For example, to set one of the two examples discussed above, you need one of the following lines, starting in column zero anywhere in the file:


you may also write #+SEQ_TODO to be explicit about the interpretation, but it means the same as #+TODO, or

#+TYP_TODO: Fred Sara Lucy Mike | DONE

A setup for using several sets in parallel would be:


To make sure you are using the correct keyword, type #+ into the buffer and then use {{{kbd(M-TAB)}}} completion.

Remember that the keywords after the vertical bar---or the last keyword if no bar is there---must always mean that the item is DONE, although you may use a different word. After changing one of these lines, use {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} with the cursor still in the line to make the changes known to Org mode42.

Faces for TODO keywords

Org mode highlights TODO keywords with special faces: org-todo for keywords indicating that an item still has to be acted upon, and ~org-done~ for keywords indicating that an item is finished. If you are using more than two different states, you might want to use special faces for some of them. This can be done using the variable ~org-todo-keyword-faces~. For example:

(setq org-todo-keyword-faces '(("TODO" . org-warning) ("STARTED" . "yellow") ("CANCELED" . (:foreground "blue" :weight bold))))

While using a list with face properties as shown for =CANCELED= /should/ work, this does not always seem to be the case. If necessary, define a special face and use that. A string is interpreted as a color. The variable ~org-faces-easy-properties~ determines if that color is interpreted as a foreground or a background color.

TODO dependencies

The structure of Org files---hierarchy and lists---makes it easy to define TODO dependencies. Usually, a parent TODO task should not be marked DONE until all subtasks, defined as children tasks, are marked as DONE. And sometimes there is a logical sequence to a number of (sub)tasks, so that one task cannot be acted upon before all siblings above it are done. If you customize the variable ~org-enforce-todo-dependencies~, Org blocks entries from changing state to DONE while they have children that are not DONE. Furthermore, if an entry has a property ORDERED, each of its children is blocked until all earlier siblings are marked DONE. Here is an example:

,* TODO Blocked until (two) is done ,** DONE one ,** TODO two

,* Parent :PROPERTIES: :ORDERED: t :END: ,** TODO a ,** TODO b, needs to wait for (a) ,** TODO c, needs to wait for (a) and (b)

You can ensure an entry is never blocked by using the =NOBLOCKING= property:

,* This entry is never blocked :PROPERTIES: :NOBLOCKING: t :END:

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x o)}}} (org-toggle-ordered-property) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x o #+findex: org-toggle-ordered-property #+vindex: org-track-ordered-property-with-tag #+cindex: ORDERED, property Toggle the ORDERED property of the current entry. A property is used for this behavior because this should be local to the current entry, not inherited like a tag. However, if you would like to track the value of this property with a tag for better visibility, customize the variable org-track-ordered-property-with-tag.

  • {{{kbd(C-u C-u C-u C-c C-t)}}} ::

#+kindex: C-u C-u C-u C-c C-t Change TODO state, circumventing any state blocking.

If you set the variable org-agenda-dim-blocked-tasks, TODO entries that cannot be closed because of such dependencies are shown in a dimmed font or even made invisible in agenda views (see *Agenda Views).

You can also block changes of TODO states by looking at checkboxes (see *Checkboxes). If you set the variable ~org-enforce-todo-checkbox-dependencies~, an entry that has unchecked checkboxes is blocked from switching to DONE.

If you need more complex dependency structures, for example dependencies between entries in different trees or files, check out the contributed module org-depend.el.

Progress Logging

Org mode can automatically record a timestamp and possibly a note when you mark a TODO item as DONE, or even each time you change the state of a TODO item. This system is highly configurable, settings can be on a per-keyword basis and can be localized to a file or even a subtree. For information on how to clock working time for a task, see *Clocking Work Time.

Closing items

The most basic logging is to keep track of when a certain TODO item was finished. This is achieved with43

(setq org-log-done 'time)

Then each time you turn an entry from a TODO (not-done) state into any of the DONE states, a line CLOSED: [timestamp] is inserted just after the headline. If you turn the entry back into a TODO item through further state cycling, that line is removed again. If you turn the entry back to a non-TODO state (by pressing {{{kbd(C-c C-t SPC)}}} for example), that line is also removed, unless you set ~org-closed-keep-when-no-todo~ to non-~nil~. If you want to record a note along with the timestamp, use44

(setq org-log-done 'note)

You are then be prompted for a note, and that note is stored below the entry with a Closing Note heading.

Tracking TODO state changes

When TODO keywords are used as workflow states (see *Workflow states), you might want to keep track of when a state change occurred and maybe take a note about this change. You can either record just a timestamp, or a time-stamped note for a change. These records are inserted after the headline as an itemized list, newest first45. When taking a lot of notes, you might want to get the notes out of the way into a drawer (see *Drawers). Customize the variable ~org-log-into-drawer~ to get this behavior---the recommended drawer for this is called =LOGBOOK=46. You can also overrule the setting of this variable for a subtree by setting a =LOG_INTO_DRAWER= property.

Since it is normally too much to record a note for every state, Org mode expects configuration on a per-keyword basis for this. This is achieved by adding special markers =!= (for a timestamp) or @ (for a note with timestamp) in parentheses after each keyword. For example, with the setting

(setq org-todo-keywords '((sequence "TODO(t)" "WAIT(w@/!)" "|" "DONE(d!)" "CANCELED(c@)")))

To record a timestamp without a note for TODO keywords configured with =@=, just type {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} to enter a blank note when prompted.

you not only define global TODO keywords and fast access keys, but also request that a time is recorded when the entry is set to DONE, and that a note is recorded when switching to WAIT or =CANCELED=47. The setting for WAIT is even more special: the =!= after the slash means that in addition to the note taken when entering the state, a timestamp should be recorded when leaving the =WAIT= state, if and only if the target state does not configure logging for entering it. So it has no effect when switching from =WAIT= to DONE, because DONE is configured to record a timestamp only. But when switching from WAIT back to TODO, the /! in the =WAIT= setting now triggers a timestamp even though TODO has no logging configured.

You can use the exact same syntax for setting logging preferences local to a buffer:

#+TODO: TODO(t) WAIT(w@/!) | DONE(d!) CANCELED(c@)

In order to define logging settings that are local to a subtree or a single item, define a LOGGING property in this entry. Any non-empty LOGGING property resets all logging settings to nil. You may then turn on logging for this specific tree using STARTUP= keywords like =lognotedone or logrepeat, as well as adding state specific settings like TODO(!). For example:

,* TODO Log each state with only a time :PROPERTIES: :LOGGING: TODO(!) WAIT(!) DONE(!) CANCELED(!) :END: ,* TODO Only log when switching to WAIT, and when repeating :PROPERTIES: :LOGGING: WAIT(@) logrepeat :END: ,* TODO No logging at all :PROPERTIES: :LOGGING: nil :END:

Tracking your habits

Org has the ability to track the consistency of a special category of TODO, called "habits." A habit has the following properties:

  1. You have enabled the habits module by customizing the variable
  2. ~org-modules~.
  1. The habit is a TODO item, with a TODO keyword representing an open
  2. state.
  1. The property STYLE is set to the value habit.
  1. The TODO has a scheduled date, usually with a =.+= style repeat
  2. interval. A =++= style may be appropriate for habits with time constraints, e.g., must be done on weekends, or a =+= style for an unusual habit that can have a backlog, e.g., weekly reports.
  1. The TODO may also have minimum and maximum ranges specified by
  2. using the syntax =.+2d/3d=, which says that you want to do the task at least every three days, but at most every two days.
  1. You must also have state logging for the DONE state enabled (see
  2. [[*Tracking TODO state changes]]), in order for historical data to be represented in the consistency graph. If it is not enabled it is not an error, but the consistency graphs are largely meaningless.

To give you an idea of what the above rules look like in action, here's an actual habit with some history:

    ,** TODO Shave SCHEDULED: <2009-10-17 Sat .+2d/4d> :PROPERTIES: :STYLE: habit :LAST_REPEAT: [2009-10-19 Mon 00:36] :END:
  • State "DONE" from "TODO" [2009-10-15 Thu]
  • State "DONE" from "TODO" [2009-10-12 Mon]
  • State "DONE" from "TODO" [2009-10-10 Sat]
  • State "DONE" from "TODO" [2009-10-04 Sun]
  • State "DONE" from "TODO" [2009-10-02 Fri]
  • State "DONE" from "TODO" [2009-09-29 Tue]
  • State "DONE" from "TODO" [2009-09-25 Fri]
  • State "DONE" from "TODO" [2009-09-19 Sat]
  • State "DONE" from "TODO" [2009-09-16 Wed]
  • State "DONE" from "TODO" [2009-09-12 Sat]

What this habit says is: I want to shave at most every 2 days---given by the SCHEDULED date and repeat interval---and at least every 4 days. If today is the 15th, then the habit first appears in the agenda on Oct 17, after the minimum of 2 days has elapsed, and will appear overdue on Oct 19, after four days have elapsed.

What's really useful about habits is that they are displayed along with a consistency graph, to show how consistent you've been at getting that task done in the past. This graph shows every day that the task was done over the past three weeks, with colors for each day. The colors used are:

If the task was not to be done yet on that day.
If the task could have been done on that day.
If the task was going to be overdue the next day.
If the task was overdue on that day.

In addition to coloring each day, the day is also marked with an asterisk if the task was actually done that day, and an exclamation mark to show where the current day falls in the graph.

There are several configuration variables that can be used to change the way habits are displayed in the agenda.

  • org-habit-graph-column ::

#+vindex: org-habit-graph-column The buffer column at which the consistency graph should be drawn. This overwrites any text in that column, so it is a good idea to keep your habits' titles brief and to the point.

  • org-habit-preceding-days ::

#+vindex: org-habit-preceding-days The amount of history, in days before today, to appear in consistency graphs.

  • org-habit-following-days ::

#+vindex: org-habit-following-days The number of days after today that appear in consistency graphs.

  • org-habit-show-habits-only-for-today ::

#+vindex: org-habit-show-habits-only-for-today If non-~nil~, only show habits in today's agenda view. This is set to true by default.

Lastly, pressing {{{kbd(K)}}} in the agenda buffer causes habits to temporarily be disabled and do not appear at all. Press {{{kbd(K)}}} again to bring them back. They are also subject to tag filtering, if you have habits which should only be done in certain contexts, for example.


If you use Org mode extensively, you may end up with enough TODO items that it starts to make sense to prioritize them. Prioritizing can be done by placing a priority cookie into the headline of a TODO item, like this

*** TODO [#A] Write letter to Sam Fortune

By default, Org mode supports three priorities: A, B, and C. =A= is the highest priority. An entry without a cookie is treated just like priority B. Priorities make a difference only for sorting in the agenda (see *Weekly/daily agenda); outside the agenda, they have no inherent meaning to Org mode. The cookies can be highlighted with special faces by customizing the variable org-priority-faces.

Priorities can be attached to any outline node; they do not need to be TODO items.

  • {{{kbd(C-c \,)}}} (org-priority) ::

#+kindex: C-c , #+findex: org-priority Set the priority of the current headline. The command prompts for a priority character A, B or C. When you press {{{kbd(SPC)}}} instead, the priority cookie is removed from the headline. The priorities can also be changed "remotely" from the timeline and agenda buffer with the {{{kbd(\,)}}} command (see *Commands in the Agenda Buffer).

  • {{{kbd(S-up)}}} (org-priority-up); {{{kbd(S-down)}}} (org-priority-down) ::

#+kindex: S-up #+kindex: S-down #+findex: org-priority-up #+findex: org-priority-down #+vindex: org-priority-start-cycle-with-default Increase/decrease priority of current headline48. Note that these keys are also used to modify timestamps (see *Creating Timestamps). See also *Packages that conflict with Org mode, for a discussion of the interaction with shift-selection-mode.

You can change the range of allowed priorities by setting the variables org-highest-priority, org-lowest-priority, and ~org-default-priority~. For an individual buffer, you may set these values (highest, lowest, default) like this (please make sure that the highest priority is earlier in the alphabet than the lowest priority):


Breaking Down Tasks into Subtasks

It is often advisable to break down large tasks into smaller, manageable subtasks. You can do this by creating an outline tree below a TODO item, with detailed subtasks on the tree49. To keep the overview over the fraction of subtasks that are already completed, insert either [/] or [%] anywhere in the headline. These cookies are updated each time the TODO status of a child changes, or when pressing {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} on the cookie. For example:

,* Organize Party [33%] ,** TODO Call people [1/2] ,*** TODO Peter ,*** DONE Sarah ,** TODO Buy food ,** DONE Talk to neighbor

If a heading has both checkboxes and TODO children below it, the meaning of the statistics cookie become ambiguous. Set the property =COOKIE_DATA= to either checkbox or todo to resolve this issue.

If you would like to have the statistics cookie count any TODO entries in the subtree (not just direct children), configure the variable ~org-hierarchical-todo-statistics~. To do this for a single subtree, include the word recursive into the value of the =COOKIE_DATA= property.

,* Parent capturing statistics [2/20] :PROPERTIES: :COOKIE_DATA: todo recursive :END:

If you would like a TODO entry to automatically change to DONE when all children are done, you can use the following setup:

(defun org-summary-todo (n-done n-not-done) "Switch entry to DONE when all subentries are done, to TODO otherwise." (let (org-log-done org-log-states) ; turn off logging (org-todo (if (= n-not-done 0) "DONE" "TODO"))))

(add-hook 'org-after-todo-statistics-hook 'org-summary-todo)

Another possibility is the use of checkboxes to identify (a hierarchy of) a large number of subtasks (see *Checkboxes).


Every item in a plain list50 (see *Plain Lists) can be made into a checkbox by starting it with the string [ ]. This feature is similar to TODO items (see *TODO Items), but is more lightweight. Checkboxes are not included into the global TODO list, so they are often great to split a task into a number of simple steps. Or you can use them in a shopping list. To toggle a checkbox, use {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}}, or use the mouse (thanks to Piotr Zielinski's =org-mouse.el=).

Here is an example of a checkbox list.

    ,* TODO Organize party [2/4]
  • [-] call people [1/3]
  • [ ] Peter
  • [X] Sarah
  • [ ] Sam
  • [X] order food
  • [ ] think about what music to play
  • [X] talk to the neighbors

Checkboxes work hierarchically, so if a checkbox item has children that are checkboxes, toggling one of the children checkboxes makes the parent checkbox reflect if none, some, or all of the children are checked.

The [2/4] and [1/3] in the first and second line are cookies indicating how many checkboxes present in this entry have been checked off, and the total number of checkboxes present. This can give you an idea on how many checkboxes remain, even without opening a folded entry. The cookies can be placed into a headline or into (the first line of) a plain list item. Each cookie covers checkboxes of direct children structurally below the headline/item on which the cookie appears51. You have to insert the cookie yourself by typing either [/] or [%]. With [/] you get an n out of m result, as in the examples above. With [%] you get information about the percentage of checkboxes checked (in the above example, this would be =[50%]= and [33%], respectively). In a headline, a cookie can count either checkboxes below the heading or TODO states of children, and it displays whatever was changed last. Set the property COOKIE_DATA to either checkbox or todo to resolve this issue.

If the current outline node has an ORDERED property, checkboxes must be checked off in sequence, and an error is thrown if you try to check off a box while there are unchecked boxes above it.

The following commands work with checkboxes:

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} (org-toggle-checkbox) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-c #+findex: org-toggle-checkbox Toggle checkbox status or---with prefix argument---checkbox presence at point. With a single prefix argument, add an empty checkbox or remove the current one52. With a double prefix argument, set it to [-], which is considered to be an intermediate state.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-b)}}} (org-toggle-checkbox) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x C-b Toggle checkbox status or---with prefix argument---checkbox presence at point. With double prefix argument, set it to [-], which is considered to be an intermediate state.

  • If there is an active region, toggle the first checkbox in the
  • region and set all remaining boxes to the same status as the first. With a prefix argument, add or remove the checkbox for all items in the region.
  • If the cursor is in a headline, toggle checkboxes in the region
  • between this headline and the next---so /not/ the entire subtree.
  • If there is no active region, just toggle the checkbox at
  • point.
  • {{{kbd(M-S-RET)}}} (org-insert-todo-heading) ::

#+kindex: M-S-RET #+findex: org-insert-todo-heading Insert a new item with a checkbox. This works only if the cursor is already in a plain list item (see *Plain Lists).

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x o)}}} (org-toggle-ordered-property) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x o #+findex: org-toggle-ordered-property #+vindex: org-track-ordered-property-with-tag Toggle the ORDERED property of the entry, to toggle if checkboxes must be checked off in sequence. A property is used for this behavior because this should be local to the current entry, not inherited like a tag. However, if you would like to track the value of this property with a tag for better visibility, customize org-track-ordered-property-with-tag.

  • {{{kbd(C-c #)}}} (org-update-statistics-cookies) ::

#+kindex: C-c # #+findex: org-update-statistics-cookies Update the statistics cookie in the current outline entry. When called with a {{{kbd(C-u)}}} prefix, update the entire file. Checkbox statistic cookies are updated automatically if you toggle checkboxes with {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} and make new ones with {{{kbd(M-S-RET)}}}. TODO statistics cookies update when changing TODO states. If you delete boxes/entries or add/change them by hand, use this command to get things back into sync.


An excellent way to implement labels and contexts for cross-correlating information is to assign tags to headlines. Org mode has extensive support for tags.

Every headline can contain a list of tags; they occur at the end of the headline. Tags are normal words containing letters, numbers, _, and @. Tags must be preceded and followed by a single colon, e.g., =:work:=. Several tags can be specified, as in :work:urgent:. Tags by default are in bold face with the same color as the headline. You may specify special faces for specific tags using the variable ~org-tag-faces~, in much the same way as you can for TODO keywords (see *Faces for TODO keywords).

Tag Inheritance

Tags make use of the hierarchical structure of outline trees. If a heading has a certain tag, all subheadings inherit the tag as well. For example, in the list

,* Meeting with the French group :work: ,** Summary by Frank :boss:notes: ,*** TODO Prepare slides for him :action:

the final heading has the tags work, boss, notes, and =action= even though the final heading is not explicitly marked with those tags. You can also set tags that all entries in a file should inherit just as if these tags were defined in a hypothetical level zero that surrounds the entire file. Use a line like this53

#+FILETAGS: :Peter:Boss:Secret:

To limit tag inheritance to specific tags, or to turn it off entirely, use the variables org-use-tag-inheritance and ~org-tags-exclude-from-inheritance~.

When a headline matches during a tags search while tag inheritance is turned on, all the sublevels in the same tree---for a simple match form---match as well54. The list of matches may then become very long. If you only want to see the first tags match in a subtree, configure the variable org-tags-match-list-sublevels (not recommended).

Tag inheritance is relevant when the agenda search tries to match a tag, either in the tags or tags-todo agenda types. In other agenda types, org-use-tag-inheritance has no effect. Still, you may want to have your tags correctly set in the agenda, so that tag filtering works fine, with inherited tags. Set ~org-agenda-use-tag-inheritance~ to control this: the default value includes all agenda types, but setting this to nil can really speed up agenda generation.

Setting Tags

Tags can simply be typed into the buffer at the end of a headline. After a colon, {{{kbd(M-TAB)}}} offers completion on tags. There is also a special command for inserting tags:

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-q)}}} (org-set-tags-command) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-q #+findex: org-set-tags-command #+cindex: completion, of tags #+vindex: org-tags-column Enter new tags for the current headline. Org mode either offers completion or a special single-key interface for setting tags, see below. After pressing {{{kbd(RET)}}}, the tags are inserted and aligned to org-tags-column. When called with a {{{kbd(C-u)}}} prefix, all tags in the current buffer are aligned to that column, just to make things look nice. Tags are automatically realigned after promotion, demotion, and TODO state changes (see *Basic TODO Functionality).

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} (org-set-tags-command) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-c When the cursor is in a headline, this does the same as {{{kbd(C-c C-q)}}}.

Org supports tag insertion based on a list of tags. By default this list is constructed dynamically, containing all tags currently used in the buffer. You may also globally specify a hard list of tags with the variable org-tag-alist. Finally you can set the default tags for a given file with lines like

,#+TAGS: @work @home @tennisclub ,#+TAGS: laptop car pc sailboat

If you have globally defined your preferred set of tags using the variable org-tag-alist, but would like to use a dynamic tag list in a specific file, add an empty TAGS keyword to that file:


If you have a preferred set of tags that you would like to use in every file, in addition to those defined on a per-file basis by TAGS= keyword, then you may specify a list of tags with the variable ~org-tag-persistent-alist~. You may turn this off on a per-file basis by adding a =STARTUP keyword to that file:

#+STARTUP: noptag

By default Org mode uses the standard minibuffer completion facilities for entering tags. However, it also implements another, quicker, tag selection method called fast tag selection. This allows you to select and deselect tags with just a single key press. For this to work well you should assign unique letters to most of your commonly used tags. You can do this globally by configuring the variable ~org-tag-alist~ in your Emacs init file. For example, you may find the need to tag many items in different files with @home. In this case you can set something like:

(setq org-tag-alist '(("@work" . ?w) ("@home" . ?h) ("laptop" . ?l)))

If the tag is only relevant to the file you are working on, then you can instead set the TAGS keyword as:

#+TAGS: @work(w)  @home(h)  @tennisclub(t)  laptop(l)  pc(p)

The tags interface shows the available tags in a splash window. If you want to start a new line after a specific tag, insert \n into the tag list

#+TAGS: @work(w) @home(h) @tennisclub(t) \n laptop(l) pc(p)

or write them in two lines:

,#+TAGS: @work(w) @home(h) @tennisclub(t) ,#+TAGS: laptop(l) pc(p)

You can also group together tags that are mutually exclusive by using braces, as in:

#+TAGS: { @work(w)  @home(h)  @tennisclub(t) }  laptop(l)  pc(p)

you indicate that at most one of @work, @home, and =@tennisclub= should be selected. Multiple such groups are allowed.

Do not forget to press {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} with the cursor in one of these lines to activate any changes.

To set these mutually exclusive groups in the variable ~org-tags-alist~, you must use the dummy tags :startgroup and ~:endgroup~ instead of the braces. Similarly, you can use ~:newline~ to indicate a line break. The previous example would be set globally by the following configuration:

(setq org-tag-alist '((:startgroup . nil) ("@work" . ?w) ("@home" . ?h) ("@tennisclub" . ?t) (:endgroup . nil) ("laptop" . ?l) ("pc" . ?p)))

If at least one tag has a selection key then pressing {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} automatically presents you with a special interface, listing inherited tags, the tags of the current headline, and a list of all valid tags with corresponding keys55.

Pressing keys assigned to tags adds or removes them from the list of tags in the current line. Selecting a tag in a group of mutually exclusive tags turns off any other tag from that group.

In this interface, you can also use the following special keys:

  • {{{kbd(TAB)}}} ::

#+kindex: TAB Enter a tag in the minibuffer, even if the tag is not in the predefined list. You can complete on all tags present in the buffer. You can also add several tags: just separate them with a comma.

  • {{{kbd(SPC)}}} ::

#+kindex: SPC Clear all tags for this line.

  • {{{kbd(RET)}}} ::

#+kindex: RET Accept the modified set.

  • {{{kbd(C-g)}}} ::

#+kindex: C-g Abort without installing changes.

  • {{{kbd(q)}}} ::

#+kindex: q If {{{kbd(q)}}} is not assigned to a tag, it aborts like {{{kbd(C-g)}}}.

  • {{{kbd(!)}}} ::

#+kindex: ! Turn off groups of mutually exclusive tags. Use this to (as an exception) assign several tags from such a group.

  • {{{kbd(C-c)}}} ::

#+kindex: C-c C-c Toggle auto-exit after the next change (see below). If you are using expert mode, the first {{{kbd(C-c)}}} displays the selection window.

This method lets you assign tags to a headline with very few keys. With the above setup, you could clear the current tags and set =@home=, laptop and pc tags with just the following keys: {{{kbd(C-c C-c SPC h l p RET)}}}. Switching from @home to @work= would be done with {{{kbd(C-c C-c w RET)}}} or alternatively with {{{kbd(C-c C-c C-c w)}}}. Adding the non-predefined tag =Sarah could be done with {{{kbd(C-c C-c TAB S a r a h RET)}}}.

If you find that most of the time you need only a single key press to modify your list of tags, set the variable ~org-fast-tag-selection-single-key~. Then you no longer have to press {{{kbd(RET)}}} to exit fast tag selection---it exits after the first change. If you then occasionally need more keys, press {{{kbd(C-c)}}} to turn off auto-exit for the current tag selection process (in effect: start selection with {{{kbd(C-c C-c C-c)}}} instead of {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}}). If you set the variable to the value expert, the special window is not even shown for single-key tag selection, it comes up only when you press an extra {{{kbd(C-c)}}}.

Tag Hierarchy

Tags can be defined in hierarchies. A tag can be defined as a group tag for a set of other tags. The group tag can be seen as the "broader term" for its set of tags. Defining multiple group tags and nesting them creates a tag hierarchy.

One use-case is to create a taxonomy of terms (tags) that can be used to classify nodes in a document or set of documents.

When you search for a group tag, it return matches for all members in the group and its subgroups. In an agenda view, filtering by a group tag displays or hide headlines tagged with at least one of the members of the group or any of its subgroups. This makes tag searches and filters even more flexible.

You can set group tags by using brackets and inserting a colon between the group tag and its related tags---beware that all whitespaces are mandatory so that Org can parse this line correctly:

#+TAGS: [ GTD : Control Persp ]

In this example, GTD is the group tag and it is related to two other tags: Control, Persp. Defining Control and Persp as group tags creates an hierarchy of tags:

,#+TAGS: [ Control : Context Task ] ,#+TAGS: [ Persp : Vision Goal AOF Project ]

That can conceptually be seen as a hierarchy of tags:

  • GTD
  • Persp
  • Vision
  • Goal
  • AOF
  • Project
  • Control
  • Context
  • Task

You can use the :startgrouptag, :grouptags and :endgrouptag~ keyword directly when setting ~org-tag-alist directly:

(setq org-tag-alist '((:startgrouptag) ("GTD") (:grouptags) ("Control") ("Persp") (:endgrouptag) (:startgrouptag) ("Control") (:grouptags) ("Context") ("Task") (:endgrouptag)))

The tags in a group can be mutually exclusive if using the same group syntax as is used for grouping mutually exclusive tags together; using curly brackets.

#+TAGS: { Context : @Home @Work @Call }

When setting org-tag-alist you can use :startgroup and :endgroup~ instead of ~:startgrouptag and :endgrouptag to make the tags mutually exclusive.

Furthermore, the members of a group tag can also be regular expressions, creating the possibility of a more dynamic and rule-based tag structure. The regular expressions in the group must be specified within curly brackets. Here is an expanded example:

,#+TAGS: [ Vision : {V@.+} ] ,#+TAGS: [ Goal : {G@.+} ] ,#+TAGS: [ AOF : {AOF@.+} ] ,#+TAGS: [ Project : {P@.+} ]

Searching for the tag Project now lists all tags also including regular expression matches for P@.+, and similarly for tag searches on Vision, Goal and AOF. For example, this would work well for a project tagged with a common project-identifier, e.g. P@2014_OrgTags.

If you want to ignore group tags temporarily, toggle group tags support with org-toggle-tags-groups, bound to {{{kbd(C-c C-x q)}}}. If you want to disable tag groups completely, set org-group-tags to ~nil~.

Tag Searches

Once a system of tags has been set up, it can be used to collect related information into special lists.

  • {{{kbd(C-c / m)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c \)}}} (org-match-sparse-tree) ::

#+kindex: C-c / m #+kindex: C-c \ #+findex: org-match-sparse-tree Create a sparse tree with all headlines matching a tags search. With a {{{kbd(C-u)}}} prefix argument, ignore headlines that are not a TODO line.

  • {{{kbd(C-c a m)}}} (org-tags-view) ::

#+kindex: C-c a m #+findex: org-tags-view Create a global list of tag matches from all agenda files. See *Matching tags and properties.

  • {{{kbd(C-c a M)}}} (org-tags-view) ::

#+kindex: C-c a M #+vindex: org-tags-match-list-sublevels Create a global list of tag matches from all agenda files, but check only TODO items and force checking subitems (see the option org-tags-match-list-sublevels).

These commands all prompt for a match string which allows basic Boolean logic like +boss+urgent-project1, to find entries with tags =boss= and urgent, but not project1, or Kathy|Sally to find entries which are tagged, like Kathy or Sally. The full syntax of the search string is rich and allows also matching against TODO keywords, entry levels and properties. For a complete description with many examples, see *Matching tags and properties.

Properties and Columns

A property is a key-value pair associated with an entry. Properties can be set so they are associated with a single entry, with every entry in a tree, or with every entry in an Org file.

There are two main applications for properties in Org mode. First, properties are like tags, but with a value. Imagine maintaining a file where you document bugs and plan releases for a piece of software. Instead of using tags like release_1, release_2, you can use a property, say Release, that in different subtrees has different values, such as 1.0 or 2.0. Second, you can use properties to implement (very basic) database capabilities in an Org buffer. Imagine keeping track of your music CDs, where properties could be things such as the album, artist, date of release, number of tracks, and so on.

Properties can be conveniently edited and viewed in column view (see *Column View).

Property Syntax

Properties are key--value pairs. When they are associated with a single entry or with a tree they need to be inserted into a special drawer (see *Drawers) with the name PROPERTIES, which has to be located right below a headline, and its planning line (see *Deadlines and Scheduling) when applicable. Each property is specified on a single line, with the key---surrounded by colons---first, and the value after it. Keys are case-insensitive. Here is an example:

,* CD collection ,** Classic ,*** Goldberg Variations :PROPERTIES: :Title: Goldberg Variations :Composer: J.S. Bach :Artist: Glen Gould :Publisher: Deutsche Grammophon :NDisks: 1 :END:

Depending on the value of org-use-property-inheritance, a property set this way is associated either with a single entry, or with the sub-tree defined by the entry, see *Property Inheritance.

You may define the allowed values for a particular property Xyz by setting a property Xyz_ALL. This special property is inherited, so if you set it in a level 1 entry, it applies to the entire tree. When allowed values are defined, setting the corresponding property becomes easier and is less prone to typing errors. For the example with the CD collection, we can pre-define publishers and the number of disks in a box like this:

,* CD collection :PROPERTIES: :NDisks_ALL: 1 2 3 4 :Publisher_ALL: "Deutsche Grammophon" Philips EMI :END:

If you want to set properties that can be inherited by any entry in a file, use a line like:

#+PROPERTY: NDisks_ALL 1 2 3 4

If you want to add to the value of an existing property, append a += to the property name. The following results in the property =var= having the value =foo=1 bar=2.

,#+PROPERTY: var foo=1 ,#+PROPERTY: var+ bar=2

It is also possible to add to the values of inherited properties. The following results in the Genres property having the value Classic Baroque under the Goldberg Variations subtree.

,* CD collection ,** Classic :PROPERTIES: :Genres: Classic :END: ,*** Goldberg Variations :PROPERTIES: :Title: Goldberg Variations :Composer: J.S. Bach :Artist: Glen Gould :Publisher: Deutsche Grammophon :NDisks: 1 :Genres+: Baroque :END:

Note that a property can only have one entry per drawer.

Property values set with the global variable ~org-global-properties~ can be inherited by all entries in all Org files.

The following commands help to work with properties:

  • {{{kbd(M-TAB)}}} (pcomplete) ::

#+kindex: M-TAB #+findex: pcomplete After an initial colon in a line, complete property keys. All keys used in the current file are offered as possible completions.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x p)}}} (org-set-property) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x p #+findex: org-set-property Set a property. This prompts for a property name and a value. If necessary, the property drawer is created as well.

  • {{{kbd(C-u M-x org-insert-drawer)}}} ::

#+findex: org-insert-drawer Insert a property drawer into the current entry. The drawer is inserted early in the entry, but after the lines with planning information like deadlines.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} (org-property-action) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-c #+findex: org-property-action With the cursor in a property drawer, this executes property commands.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-c s)}}} (org-set-property) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-c s #+findex: org-set-property Set a property in the current entry. Both the property and the value can be inserted using completion.

  • {{{kbd(S-right)}}} (org-property-next-allowed-values), {{{kbd(S-left)}}} (org-property-previous-allowed-value) ::

#+kindex: S-right #+kindex: S-left Switch property at point to the next/previous allowed value.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-c d)}}} (org-delete-property) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-c d #+findex: org-delete-property Remove a property from the current entry.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-c D)}}} (org-delete-property-globally) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-c D #+findex: org-delete-property-globally Globally remove a property, from all entries in the current file.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-c c)}}} (org-compute-property-at-point) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-c c #+findex: org-compute-property-at-point Compute the property at point, using the operator and scope from the nearest column format definition.

Special Properties

Special properties provide an alternative access method to Org mode features, like the TODO state or the priority of an entry, discussed in the previous chapters. This interface exists so that you can include these states in a column view (see *Column View), or to use them in queries. The following property names are special and should not be used as keys in the properties drawer:

ALLTAGS All tags, including inherited ones.
BLOCKED t if task is currently blocked by children or siblings.
CATEGORY The category of an entry.
CLOCKSUM The sum of CLOCK intervals in the subtree. org-clock-sum
must be run first to compute the values in the current buffer.
CLOCKSUM_T The sum of CLOCK intervals in the subtree for today.
org-clock-sum-today must be run first to compute the
values in the current buffer.
CLOSED When was this entry closed?
DEADLINE The deadline time string, without the angular brackets.
FILE The filename the entry is located in.
ITEM The headline of the entry.
PRIORITY The priority of the entry, a string with a single letter.
SCHEDULED The scheduling timestamp, without the angular brackets.
TAGS The tags defined directly in the headline.
TIMESTAMP The first keyword-less timestamp in the entry.
TIMESTAMP_IA The first inactive timestamp in the entry.
TODO The TODO keyword of the entry.

Property Searches

To create sparse trees and special lists with selection based on properties, the same commands are used as for tag searches (see *Tag Searches).

  • {{{kbd(C-c / m)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c \)}}} (org-match-sparse-tree) ::

#+kindex: C-c / m #+kindex: C-c \ #+findex: org-match-sparse-tree Create a sparse tree with all matching entries. With a {{{kbd(C-u)}}} prefix argument, ignore headlines that are not a TODO line.

  • {{{kbd(C-c a m)}}}, org-tags-view ::

#+kindex: C-c a m Create a global list of tag/property matches from all agenda files.

  • {{{kbd(C-c a M)}}} (org-tags-view) ::

#+kindex: C-c a M #+findex: org-tags-view #+vindex: org-tags-match-list-sublevels Create a global list of tag matches from all agenda files, but check only TODO items and force checking of subitems (see the option org-tags-match-list-sublevels).

The syntax for the search string is described in *Matching tags and properties.

There is also a special command for creating sparse trees based on a single property:

  • {{{kbd(C-c / p)}}} ::

#+kindex: C-c / p Create a sparse tree based on the value of a property. This first prompts for the name of a property, and then for a value. A sparse tree is created with all entries that define this property with the given value. If you enclose the value in curly braces, it is interpreted as a regular expression and matched against the property values.

Property Inheritance

The outline structure of Org documents lends itself to an inheritance model of properties: if the parent in a tree has a certain property, the children can inherit this property. Org mode does not turn this on by default, because it can slow down property searches significantly and is often not needed. However, if you find inheritance useful, you can turn it on by setting the variable ~org-use-property-inheritance~. It may be set to t to make all properties inherited from the parent, to a list of properties that should be inherited, or to a regular expression that matches inherited properties. If a property has the value nil, this is interpreted as an explicit un-define of the property, so that inheritance search stops at this value and returns nil.

Org mode has a few properties for which inheritance is hard-coded, at least for the special applications for which they are used:

  • COLUMNS ::

#+cindex: COLUMNS, property The COLUMNS property defines the format of column view (see *Column View). It is inherited in the sense that the level where a COLUMNS property is defined is used as the starting point for a column view table, independently of the location in the subtree from where columns view is turned on.


#+cindex: CATEGORY, property For agenda view, a category set through a CATEGORY property applies to the entire subtree.

  • ARCHIVE ::

#+cindex: ARCHIVE, property For archiving, the ARCHIVE property may define the archive location for the entire subtree (see *Moving a tree to an archive file).

  • LOGGING ::

#+cindex: LOGGING, property The LOGGING property may define logging settings for an entry or a subtree (see *Tracking TODO state changes).

Column View

A great way to view and edit properties in an outline tree is column view. In column view, each outline node is turned into a table row. Columns in this table provide access to properties of the entries. Org mode implements columns by overlaying a tabular structure over the headline of each item. While the headlines have been turned into a table row, you can still change the visibility of the outline tree. For example, you get a compact table by switching to "contents" view---{{{kbd(S-TAB)}}} {{{kbd(S-TAB)}}}, or simply {{{kbd(c)}}} while column view is active---but you can still open, read, and edit the entry below each headline. Or, you can switch to column view after executing a sparse tree command and in this way get a table only for the selected items. Column view also works in agenda buffers (see *Agenda Views) where queries have collected selected items, possibly from a number of files.

Defining columns

Setting up a column view first requires defining the columns. This is done by defining a column format line.

Scope of column definitions

To define a column format for an entire file, use a line like:


To specify a format that only applies to a specific tree, add a COLUMNS property to the top node of that tree, for example:

,** Top node for columns view :PROPERTIES: :COLUMNS: %25ITEM %TAGS %PRIORITY %TODO :END:

If a COLUMNS property is present in an entry, it defines columns for the entry itself, and for the entire subtree below it. Since the column definition is part of the hierarchical structure of the document, you can define columns on level 1 that are general enough for all sublevels, and more specific columns further down, when you edit a deeper part of the tree.

Column attributes

A column definition sets the attributes of a column. The general definition looks like this:


Except for the percent sign and the property name, all items are optional. The individual parts have the following meaning:

  • {{{var(WIDTH)}}} ::

An integer specifying the width of the column in characters. If omitted, the width is determined automatically.

  • {{{var(PROPERTY)}}} ::

The property that should be edited in this column. Special properties representing meta data are allowed here as well (see *Special Properties).

  • {{{var(TITLE)}}} ::

The header text for the column. If omitted, the property name is used.

  • {{{var(SUMMARY-TYPE)}}} ::

The summary type. If specified, the column values for parent nodes are computed from the children56.

Supported summary types are:

| + | Sum numbers in this column. | | +;%.1f | Like +, but format result with %.1f. | | $ | Currency, short for +;%.2f. | | min | Smallest number in column. | | max | Largest number. | | mean | Arithmetic mean of numbers. | | X | Checkbox status, [X] if all children are [X]. | | X/ | Checkbox status, [n/m]. | | X% | Checkbox status, [n%]. | | : | Sum times, HH:MM, plain numbers are hours. | | :min | Smallest time value in column. | | :max | Largest time value. | | :mean | Arithmetic mean of time values. | | @min | Minimum age57 (in days/hours/mins/seconds). | | @max | Maximum age (in days/hours/mins/seconds). | | @mean | Arithmetic mean of ages (in days/hours/mins/seconds). | | est+ | Add low-high estimates. |

#+texinfo: @noindent #+vindex: org-columns-summary-types You can also define custom summary types by setting org-columns-summary-types.

The est+ summary type requires further explanation. It is used for combining estimates, expressed as low-high ranges. For example, instead of estimating a particular task will take 5 days, you might estimate it as 5-6 days if you're fairly confident you know how much work is required, or 1-10 days if you do not really know what needs to be done. Both ranges average at 5.5 days, but the first represents a more predictable delivery.

When combining a set of such estimates, simply adding the lows and highs produces an unrealistically wide result. Instead, est+ adds the statistical mean and variance of the sub-tasks, generating a final estimate from the sum. For example, suppose you had ten tasks, each of which was estimated at 0.5 to 2 days of work. Straight addition produces an estimate of 5 to 20 days, representing what to expect if everything goes either extremely well or extremely poorly. In contrast, est+ estimates the full job more realistically, at 10-15 days.

Here is an example for a complete columns definition, along with allowed values58.

:COLUMNS: %25ITEM %9Approved(Approved?){X} %Owner %11Status \ %10Time_Estimate{:} %CLOCKSUM %CLOCKSUM_T :Owner_ALL: Tammy Mark Karl Lisa Don :Status_ALL: "In progress" "Not started yet" "Finished" "" :Approved_ALL: "[ ]" "[X]"

The first column, %25ITEM, means the first 25 characters of the item itself, i.e., of the headline. You probably always should start the column definition with the ITEM specifier. The other specifiers create columns Owner with a list of names as allowed values, for =Status= with four different possible values, and for a checkbox field =Approved=. When no width is given after the % character, the column is exactly as wide as it needs to be in order to fully display all values. The Approved column does have a modified title (Approved?, with a question mark). Summaries are created for the =Time_Estimate= column by adding time duration expressions like HH:MM, and for the Approved column, by providing an [X] status if all children have been checked. The CLOCKSUM and CLOCKSUM_T columns are special, they lists the sums of CLOCK intervals in the subtree, either for all clocks or just for today.

Using column view

Turning column view on or off

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-c)}}} (org-columns) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x C-c #+vindex: org-columns #+vindex: org-columns-default-format Turn on column view. If the cursor is before the first headline in the file, column view is turned on for the entire file, using the #+COLUMNS definition. If the cursor is somewhere inside the outline, this command searches the hierarchy, up from point, for a COLUMNS property that defines a format. When one is found, the column view table is established for the tree starting at the entry that contains the COLUMNS property. If no such property is found, the format is taken from the #+COLUMNS line or from the variable org-columns-default-format, and column view is established for the current entry and its subtree.

  • {{{kbd(r)}}} or {{{kbd(g)}}} (org-columns-redo) ::

#+kindex: r #+kindex: g #+findex: org-columns-redo Recreate the column view, to include recent changes made in the buffer.

  • {{{kbd(q)}}} (org-columns-quit) ::

#+kindex: q #+findex: org-columns-quit Exit column view.

Editing values

  • {{{kbd(left)}}}, {{{kbd(right)}}}, {{{kbd(up)}}}, {{{kbd(down)}}} ::

Move through the column view from field to field.

  • {{{kbd(1..9\,0)}}} ::

#+kindex: 1..9,0 Directly select the Nth allowed value, {{{kbd(0)}}} selects the 10th value.

  • {{{kbd(n)}}} or {{{kbd(S-right)}}} (org-columns-next-allowed-value) and {{{kbd(p)}}} or {{{kbd(S-left)}}} (org-columns-previous-allowed-value) ::

#+kindex: n #+kindex: S-right #+kindex: p #+kindex: S-left #+findex: org-columns-next-allowed-value #+findex: org-columns-previous-allowed-value Switch to the next/previous allowed value of the field. For this, you have to have specified allowed values for a property.

  • {{{kbd(e)}}} (org-columns-edit-value) ::

#+kindex: e #+findex: org-columns-edit-value Edit the property at point. For the special properties, this invokes the same interface that you normally use to change that property. For example, the tag completion or fast selection interface pops up when editing a TAGS property.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} (org-columns-set-tags-or-toggle) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-c #+findex: org-columns-set-tags-or-toggle When there is a checkbox at point, toggle it.

  • {{{kbd(v)}}} (org-columns-show-value) ::

#+kindex: v #+findex: org-columns-show-value View the full value of this property. This is useful if the width of the column is smaller than that of the value.

  • {{{kbd(a)}}} (org-columns-edit-allowed) ::

#+kindex: a #+findex: org-columns-edit-allowed Edit the list of allowed values for this property. If the list is found in the hierarchy, the modified values is stored there. If no list is found, the new value is stored in the first entry that is part of the current column view.

Modifying column view on-the-fly:

  • {{{kbd(<)}}} (org-columns-narrow) and {{{kbd(>)}}} (org-columns-widen) ::

#+kindex: < #+kindex: > #+findex: org-columns-narrow #+findex: org-columns-widen Make the column narrower/wider by one character.

  • {{{kbd(S-M-right)}}} (org-columns-new) ::

#+kindex: S-M-right #+findex: org-columns-new Insert a new column, to the left of the current column.

  • {{{kbd(S-M-left)}}} (org-columns-delete) ::

#+kindex: S-M-left #+findex: org-columns-delete Delete the current column.

Capturing column view

Since column view is just an overlay over a buffer, it cannot be exported or printed directly. If you want to capture a column view, use a columnview dynamic block (see *Dynamic Blocks). The frame of this block looks like this:

,* The column view ,#+BEGIN: columnview :hlines 1 :id "label"


This dynamic block has the following parameters:

  • :id ::

This is the most important parameter. Column view is a feature that is often localized to a certain (sub)tree, and the capture block might be at a different location in the file. To identify the tree whose view to capture, you can use four values:

  • local ::

Use the tree in which the capture block is located.

  • global ::

Make a global view, including all headings in the file.

  • file:FILENAME ::

Run column view at the top of the {{{var(FILENAME)}}} file

  • LABEL ::

#+cindex: ID, property Call column view in the tree that has an ID property with the value {{{var(LABEL)}}}. You can use {{{kbd(M-x org-id-copy)}}} to create a globally unique ID for the current entry and copy it to the kill-ring.

  • :hlines ::

When t, insert an hline after every line. When a number N, insert an hline before each headline with level <= N.

  • :vlines ::

When non-~nil~, force column groups to get vertical lines.

  • :maxlevel ::

When set to a number, do not capture entries below this level.

  • :skip-empty-rows ::

When non-~nil~, skip rows where the only non-empty specifier of the column view is ITEM.

  • :indent ::

When non-~nil~, indent each ITEM field according to its level.

The following commands insert or update the dynamic block:

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x i)}}} (org-insert-columns-dblock) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x i #+findex: org-insert-columns-dblock Insert a dynamic block capturing a column view. Prompt for the scope or ID of the view.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-u)}}} (org-dblock-update) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-c #+kindex: C-c C-x C-u #+findex: org-dblock-update Update dynamic block at point. The cursor needs to be in the #+BEGIN line of the dynamic block.

  • {{{kbd(C-u C-c C-x C-u)}}} (org-update-all-dblocks) ::

#+kindex: C-u C-c C-x C-u Update all dynamic blocks (see *Dynamic Blocks). This is useful if you have several clock table blocks, column-capturing blocks or other dynamic blocks in a buffer.

You can add formulas to the column view table and you may add plotting instructions in front of the table---these survive an update of the block. If there is a TBLFM keyword after the table, the table is recalculated automatically after an update.

An alternative way to capture and process property values into a table is provided by Eric Schulte's org-collector.el which is a contributed package59. It provides a general API to collect properties from entries in a certain scope, and arbitrary Lisp expressions to process these values before inserting them into a table or a dynamic block.

Dates and Times

To assist project planning, TODO items can be labeled with a date and/or a time. The specially formatted string carrying the date and time information is called a timestamp in Org mode. This may be a little confusing because timestamp is often used as indicating when something was created or last changed. However, in Org mode this term is used in a much wider sense.

Timestamps, Deadlines and Scheduling

A timestamp is a specification of a date (possibly with a time or a range of times) in a special format, either <2003-09-16 Tue> or =<2003-09-16 Tue 09:39>= or =<2003-09-16 Tue 12:00-12:30>=60. A timestamp can appear anywhere in the headline or body of an Org tree entry. Its presence causes entries to be shown on specific dates in the agenda (see *Weekly/daily agenda). We distinguish:

  • Plain timestamp; Event; Appointment ::

#+cindex: timestamp #+cindex: appointment A simple timestamp just assigns a date/time to an item. This is just like writing down an appointment or event in a paper agenda. In the timeline and agenda displays, the headline of an entry associated with a plain timestamp is shown exactly on that date.

#+begin_example ,* Meet Peter at the movies <2006-11-01 Wed 19:15> ,* Discussion on climate change <2006-11-02 Thu 20:00-22:00> #+end_example

  • Timestamp with repeater interval ::

#+cindex: timestamp, with repeater interval A timestamp may contain a repeater interval, indicating that it applies not only on the given date, but again and again after a certain interval of N days (d), weeks (w), months (m), or years (y). The following shows up in the agenda every Wednesday:

#+begin_example ,* Pick up Sam at school <2007-05-16 Wed 12:30 +1w> #+end_example

  • Diary-style sexp entries ::

#+cindex: diary style timestamps #+cindex: sexp timestamps For more complex date specifications, Org mode supports using the special sexp diary entries implemented in the Emacs calendar/diary package61. For example, with optional time:

#+begin_example ,* 22:00-23:00 The nerd meeting on every 2nd Thursday of the month <%%(org-float t 4 2)> #+end_example

  • Time/Date range ::

#+cindex: timerange #+cindex: date range Two timestamps connected by -- denote a range. The headline is shown on the first and last day of the range, and on any dates that are displayed and fall in the range. Here is an example:

#+begin_example ,** Meeting in Amsterdam <2004-08-23 Mon>--<2004-08-26 Thu> #+end_example

  • Inactive timestamp ::

#+cindex: timestamp, inactive #+cindex: inactive timestamp Just like a plain timestamp, but with square brackets instead of angular ones. These timestamps are inactive in the sense that they do not trigger an entry to show up in the agenda.

#+begin_example ,* Gillian comes late for the fifth time [2006-11-01 Wed] #+end_example

Creating Timestamps

For Org mode to recognize timestamps, they need to be in the specific format. All commands listed below produce timestamps in the correct format.

  • {{{kbd(C-c .)}}} (org-time-stamp) ::

#+kindex: C-c . #+findex: org-time-stamp Prompt for a date and insert a corresponding timestamp. When the cursor is at an existing timestamp in the buffer, the command is used to modify this timestamp instead of inserting a new one. When this command is used twice in succession, a time range is inserted.

  • {{{kbd(C-c !)}}} (org-time-stamp-inactive) ::

#+kindex: C-c ! #+findex: org-time-stamp-inactive Like {{{kbd(C-c .)}}}, but insert an inactive timestamp that does not cause an agenda entry.

  • {{{kbd(C-u C-c .)}}}, {{{kbd(C-u C-c !)}}} ::

#+kindex: C-u C-c . #+kindex: C-u C-c . #+kindex: C-u C-c ! #+vindex: org-time-stamp-rounding-minutes Like {{{kbd(C-c .)}}} and {{{kbd(C-c !)}}}, but use the alternative format which contains date and time. The default time can be rounded to multiples of 5 minutes, see the option org-time-stamp-rounding-minutes.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} ::

#+kindex: C-c C-c Normalize timestamp, insert/fix day name if missing or wrong.

  • {{{kbd(C-c <)}}} (org-date-from-calendar) ::

#+kindex: C-c < #+findex: org-date-from-calendar Insert a timestamp corresponding to the cursor date in the Calendar.

  • {{{kbd(C-c >)}}} (org-goto-calendar) ::

#+kindex: C-c > #+findex: org-goto-calendar Access the Emacs calendar for the current date. If there is a timestamp in the current line, go to the corresponding date instead.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-o)}}} (org-open-at-point) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-o #+findex: org-open-at-point Access the agenda for the date given by the timestamp or -range at point (see *Weekly/daily agenda).

  • {{{kbd(S-left)}}} (org-timestamp-down-day), {{{kbd(S-right)}}} (org-timestamp-up-day) ::

#+kindex: S-left #+kindex: S-right #+findex: org-timestamp-down-day #+findex: org-timestamp-up-day Change date at cursor by one day. These key bindings conflict with shift-selection and related modes (see *Packages that conflict with Org mode).

  • {{{kbd(S-up)}}} (org-timestamp-up), {{{kbd(S-down)}}} (org-timestamp-down) ::

#+kindex: S-up Change the item under the cursor in a timestamp. The cursor can be on a year, month, day, hour or minute. When the timestamp contains a time range like 15:30-16:30, modifying the first time also shifts the second, shifting the time block with constant length. To change the length, modify the second time. Note that if the cursor is in a headline and not at a timestamp, these same keys modify the priority of an item. (see *Priorities). The key bindings also conflict with shift-selection and related modes (see *Packages that conflict with Org mode).

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-y)}}} (org-evaluate-time-range) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-y #+findex: org-evaluate-time-range #+cindex: evaluate time range Evaluate a time range by computing the difference between start and end. With a prefix argument, insert result after the time range (in a table: into the following column).

The date/time prompt

When Org mode prompts for a date/time, the default is shown in default date/time format, and the prompt therefore seems to ask for a specific format. But it in fact accepts date/time information in a variety of formats. Generally, the information should start at the beginning of the string. Org mode finds whatever information is in there and derives anything you have not specified from the default date and time. The default is usually the current date and time, but when modifying an existing timestamp, or when entering the second stamp of a range, it is taken from the stamp in the buffer. When filling in information, Org mode assumes that most of the time you want to enter a date in the future: if you omit the month/year and the given day/month is before today, it assumes that you mean a future date62. If the date has been automatically shifted into the future, the time prompt shows this with (=>F).

For example, let's assume that today is June 13, 2006. Here is how various inputs are interpreted, the items filled in by Org mode are in *bold*.

3-2-5 \rArr{} 2003-02-05
2/5/3 \rArr{} 2003-02-05
14 \rArr{} *2006*-*06*-14
12 \rArr{} *2006*-*07*-12
2/5 \rArr{} *2007*-02-05
Fri \rArr{} nearest Friday (default date or later)
sep 15 \rArr{} *2006*-09-15
feb 15 \rArr{} *2007*-02-15
sep 12 9 \rArr{} 2009-09-12
12:45 \rArr{} 2006*-*06*-*13 12:45
22 sept 0:34 \rArr{} *2006*-09-22 0:34
w4 \rArr{} ISO week for of the current year 2006
2012 w4 fri \rArr{} Friday of ISO week 4 in 2012
2012-w04-5 \rArr{} Same as above

Furthermore you can specify a relative date by giving, as the /first/ thing in the input: a plus/minus sign, a number and a letter---=d=, =w=, m or =y=---to indicate change in days, weeks, months, or years. With a single plus or minus, the date is always relative to today. With a double plus or minus, it is relative to the default date. If instead of a single letter, you use the abbreviation of day name, the date is the Nth such day, e.g.:

+0 \rArr{} today
=.= \rArr{} today
+4d \rArr{} four days from today
+4 \rArr{} same as +4d
+2w \rArr{} two weeks from today
++5 \rArr{} five days from default date
+2tue \rArr{} second Tuesday from now

The function understands English month and weekday abbreviations. If you want to use un-abbreviated names and/or other languages, configure the variables parse-time-months and parse-time-weekdays.

Not all dates can be represented in a given Emacs implementation. By default Org mode forces dates into the compatibility range 1970--2037 which works on all Emacs implementations. If you want to use dates outside of this range, read the docstring of the variable ~org-read-date-force-compatible-dates~.

You can specify a time range by giving start and end times or by giving a start time and a duration (in HH:MM format). Use one or two dash(es) as the separator in the former case and use + as the separator in the latter case, e.g.:

11am-1:15pm \rArr{} 11:00-13:15
11am--1:15pm \rArr{} same as above
11am+2:15 \rArr{} same as above

Parallel to the minibuffer prompt, a calendar is popped up63. When you exit the date prompt, either by clicking on a date in the calendar, or by pressing {{{kbd(RET)}}}, the date selected in the calendar is combined with the information entered at the prompt. You can control the calendar fully from the minibuffer:

{{{kbd(RET)}}} Choose date at cursor in calendar.
{{{kbd(mouse-1)}}} Select date by clicking on it.
{{{kbd(S-right)}}} One day forward.
{{{kbd(S-left)}}} One day backward.
{{{kbd(S-down)}}} One week forward.
{{{kbd(S-up)}}} One week backward.
{{{kbd(M-S-right)}}} One month forward.
{{{kbd(M-S-left)}}} One month backward.
{{{kbd(>)}}} Scroll calendar forward by one month.
{{{kbd(<)}}} Scroll calendar backward by one month.
{{{kbd(M-v)}}} Scroll calendar forward by 3 months.
{{{kbd(C-v)}}} Scroll calendar backward by 3 months.

The actions of the date/time prompt may seem complex, but I assure you they will grow on you, and you will start getting annoyed by pretty much any other way of entering a date/time out there. To help you understand what is going on, the current interpretation of your input is displayed live in the minibuffer64.

Custom time format

Org mode uses the standard ISO notation for dates and times as it is defined in ISO 8601. If you cannot get used to this and require another representation of date and time to keep you happy, you can get it by customizing the variables org-display-custom-times and ~org-time-stamp-custom-formats~.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-t)}}} (org-toggle-time-stamp-overlays) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x C-t #+findex: org-toggle-time-stamp-overlays Toggle the display of custom formats for dates and times.

Org mode needs the default format for scanning, so the custom date/time format does not replace the default format. Instead, it is put over the default format using text properties. This has the following consequences:

  • You cannot place the cursor onto a timestamp anymore, only before or
  • after.
  • The {{{kbd(S-up)}}} and {{{kbd(S-down)}}} keys can no longer be used
  • to adjust each component of a timestamp. If the cursor is at the beginning of the stamp, {{{kbd(S-up)}}} and {{{kbd(S-down)}}} change the stamp by one day, just like {{{kbd(S-left)}}} {{{kbd(S-right)}}}. At the end of the stamp, change the time by one minute.
  • If the timestamp contains a range of clock times or a repeater,
  • these are not overlaid, but remain in the buffer as they were.
  • When you delete a timestamp character-by-character, it only
  • disappears from the buffer after /all/ (invisible) characters belonging to the ISO timestamp have been removed.
  • If the custom timestamp format is longer than the default and you
  • are using dates in tables, table alignment will be messed up. If the custom format is shorter, things do work as expected.

Deadlines and Scheduling

A timestamp may be preceded by special keywords to facilitate planning. Both the timestamp and the keyword have to be positioned immediately after the task they refer to.


#+cindex: DEADLINE Meaning: the task (most likely a TODO item, though not necessarily) is supposed to be finished on that date.

#+vindex: org-deadline-warning-days On the deadline date, the task is listed in the agenda. In addition, the agenda for today carries a warning about the approaching or missed deadline, starting org-deadline-warning-days before the due date, and continuing until the entry is marked DONE. An example:

#+begin_example ,*** TODO write article about the Earth for the Guide DEADLINE: <2004-02-29 Sun> The editor in charge is bbdb:Ford Prefect #+end_example

#+vindex: org-agenda-skip-deadline-prewarning-if-scheduled You can specify a different lead time for warnings for a specific deadlines using the following syntax. Here is an example with a warning period of 5 days DEADLINE: <2004-02-29 Sun -5d>. This warning is deactivated if the task gets scheduled and you set org-agenda-skip-deadline-prewarning-if-scheduled to t.


#+cindex: SCHEDULED Meaning: you are planning to start working on that task on the given date.

#+vindex: org-agenda-skip-scheduled-if-done The headline is listed under the given date65. In addition, a reminder that the scheduled date has passed is present in the compilation for today, until the entry is marked DONE, i.e., the task is automatically forwarded until completed.

#+begin_example ,*** TODO Call Trillian for a date on New Years Eve. SCHEDULED: <2004-12-25 Sat> #+end_example

#+vindex: org-scheduled-delay-days #+vindex: org-agenda-skip-scheduled-delay-if-deadline If you want to delay the display of this task in the agenda, use SCHEDULED: <2004-12-25 Sat -2d>=: the task is still scheduled on the 25th but will appear two days later. In case the task contains a repeater, the delay is considered to affect all occurrences; if you want the delay to only affect the first scheduled occurrence of the task, use =--2d instead. See org-scheduled-delay-days and org-agenda-skip-scheduled-delay-if-deadline for details on how to control this globally or per agenda.

#+texinfo: @noindent Important: Scheduling an item in Org mode should not be understood in the same way that we understand scheduling a meeting. Setting a date for a meeting is just a simple appointment, you should mark this entry with a simple plain timestamp, to get this item shown on the date where it applies. This is a frequent misunderstanding by Org users. In Org mode, scheduling means setting a date when you want to start working on an action item.

You may use timestamps with repeaters in scheduling and deadline entries. Org mode issues early and late warnings based on the assumption that the timestamp represents the nearest instance of the repeater. However, the use of diary S-exp entries like

<%%(org-float t 42)>

in scheduling and deadline timestamps is limited. Org mode does not know enough about the internals of each S-exp function to issue early and late warnings. However, it shows the item on each day where the S-exp entry matches.

Inserting deadlines or schedules

The following commands allow you to quickly insert a deadline or to schedule an item:66

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-d)}}} (org-deadline) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-d #+findex: org-deadline #+vindex: org-log-redeadline Insert DEADLINE keyword along with a stamp. The insertion happens in the line directly following the headline. Remove any CLOSED timestamp . When called with a prefix argument, also remove any existing deadline from the entry. Depending on the variable org-log-redeadline, take a note when changing an existing deadline67.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-s)}}} (org-schedule) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-s #+findex: org-schedule #+vindex: org-log-reschedule Insert SCHEDULED keyword along with a stamp. The insertion happens in the line directly following the headline. Remove any CLOSED timestamp. When called with a prefix argument, also remove the scheduling date from the entry. Depending on the variable org-log-reschedule, take a note when changing an existing scheduling time68.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-k)}}} (org-mark-entry-for-agenda-action) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x C-k #+kindex: k a #+kindex: k s #+findex: org-mark-entry-for-agenda-action Mark the current entry for agenda action. After you have marked the entry like this, you can open the agenda or the calendar to find an appropriate date. With the cursor on the selected date, press {{{kbd(k s)}}} or {{{kbd(k d)}}} to schedule the marked item.

  • {{{kbd(C-c / d)}}} (org-check-deadlines) ::

#+kindex: C-c / d #+findex: org-check-deadlines #+cindex: sparse tree, for deadlines #+vindex: org-deadline-warning-days Create a sparse tree with all deadlines that are either past-due, or which will become due within org-deadline-warning-days. With {{{kbd(C-u)}}} prefix, show all deadlines in the file. With a numeric prefix, check that many days. For example, {{{kbd(C-1 C-c / d)}}} shows all deadlines due tomorrow.

  • {{{kbd(C-c / b)}}}, org-check-before-date ::

#+kindex: C-c / b #+findex: org-check-before-date Sparse tree for deadlines and scheduled items before a given date.

  • {{{kbd(C-c / a)}}}, org-check-after-date ::

#+kindex: C-c / a #+findex: org-check-after-date Sparse tree for deadlines and scheduled items after a given date.

Note that org-schedule and org-deadline supports setting the date by indicating a relative time e.g., +1d sets the date to the next day after today, and --1w sets the date to the previous week before any current timestamp.

Repeated tasks

Some tasks need to be repeated again and again. Org mode helps to organize such tasks using a so-called repeater in a DEADLINE, =SCHEDULED=, or plain timestamp. In the following example:

,** TODO Pay the rent DEADLINE: <2005-10-01 Sat +1m>

the +1m is a repeater; the intended interpretation is that the task has a deadline on <2005-10-01> and repeats itself every (one) month starting from that time. You can use yearly, monthly, weekly, daily and hourly repeat cookies by using the y/w/m/d/h letters. If you need both a repeater and a special warning period in a deadline entry, the repeater should come first and the warning period last: DEADLINE: <2005-10-01 Sat +1m -3d>.

Deadlines and scheduled items produce entries in the agenda when they are over-due, so it is important to be able to mark such an entry as completed once you have done so. When you mark a DEADLINE or a SCHEDULED with the TODO keyword DONE, it no longer produces entries in the agenda. The problem with this is, however, is that then also the next instance of the repeated entry will not be active. Org mode deals with this in the following way: when you try to mark such an entry DONE, using {{{kbd(C-c C-t)}}}, it shifts the base date of the repeating timestamp by the repeater interval, and immediately sets the entry state back to TODO69. In the example above, setting the state to DONE would actually switch the date like this:

,** TODO Pay the rent DEADLINE: <2005-11-01 Tue +1m>

To mark a task with a repeater as DONE, use {{{kbd(C-- 1 C-c C-t)}}}, i.e., org-todo with a numeric prefix argument of -1.

A timestamp70 is added under the deadline, to keep a record that you actually acted on the previous instance of this deadline.

As a consequence of shifting the base date, this entry is no longer visible in the agenda when checking past dates, but all future instances will be visible.

With the +1m cookie, the date shift is always exactly one month. So if you have not paid the rent for three months, marking this entry DONE still keeps it as an overdue deadline. Depending on the task, this may not be the best way to handle it. For example, if you forgot to call your father for 3 weeks, it does not make sense to call him 3 times in a single day to make up for it. Finally, there are tasks like changing batteries which should always repeat a certain time /after/ the last time you did it. For these tasks, Org mode has special repeaters ++ and =.+=. For example:

,** TODO Call Father DEADLINE: <2008-02-10 Sun ++1w> Marking this DONE shifts the date by at least one week, but also by as many weeks as it takes to get this date into the future. However, it stays on a Sunday, even if you called and marked it done on Saturday.

,** TODO Empty kitchen trash DEADLINE: <2008-02-08 Fri 20:00 ++1d> Marking this DONE shifts the date by at least one day, and also by as many days as it takes to get the timestamp into the future. Since there is a time in the timestamp, the next deadline in the future will be on today's date if you complete the task before 20:00.

,** TODO Check the batteries in the smoke detectors DEADLINE: <2005-11-01 Tue .+1m> Marking this DONE will shift the date to one month after today.

You may have both scheduling and deadline information for a specific task. If the repeater is set for the scheduling information only, you probably want the repeater to be ignored after the deadline. If so, set the variable org-agenda-skip-scheduled-if-deadline-is-shown to ~repeated-after-deadline~. However, any scheduling information without a repeater is no longer relevant once the task is done, and thus, removed upon repeating the task. If you want both scheduling and deadline information to repeat after the same interval, set the same repeater for both timestamps.

An alternative to using a repeater is to create a number of copies of a task subtree, with dates shifted in each copy. The command {{{kbd(C-c C-x c)}}} was created for this purpose; it is described in *Structure Editing.

Clocking Work Time

Org mode allows you to clock the time you spend on specific tasks in a project. When you start working on an item, you can start the clock. When you stop working on that task, or when you mark the task done, the clock is stopped and the corresponding time interval is recorded. It also computes the total time spent on each subtree71 of a project. And it remembers a history or tasks recently clocked, to that you can jump quickly between a number of tasks absorbing your time.

To save the clock history across Emacs sessions, use:

(setq org-clock-persist 'history) (org-clock-persistence-insinuate)

When you clock into a new task after resuming Emacs, the incomplete clock72 is retrieved (see *Resolving idle time) and you are prompted about what to do with it.

Clocking commands

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-i)}}} (org-clock-in) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x C-i #+findex: org-clock-in #+vindex: org-clock-into-drawer #+vindex: org-clock-continuously #+cindex: LOG_INTO_DRAWER, property Start the clock on the current item (clock-in). This inserts the CLOCK keyword together with a timestamp. If this is not the first clocking of this item, the multiple CLOCK lines are wrapped into a LOGBOOK drawer (see also the variable org-clock-into-drawer). You can also overrule the setting of this variable for a subtree by setting a CLOCK_INTO_DRAWER or LOG_INTO_DRAWER property. When called with a {{{kbd(C-u)}}} prefix argument, select the task from a list of recently clocked tasks. With two {{{kbd(C-u C-u)}}} prefixes, clock into the task at point and mark it as the default task; the default task is always be available with letter {{{kbd(d)}}} when selecting a clocking task. With three {{{kbd(C-u C-u C-u)}}} prefixes, force continuous clocking by starting the clock when the last clock stopped.

#+cindex: CLOCK_MODELINE_TOTAL, property #+cindex: LAST_REPEAT, property #+vindex: org-clock-modeline-total #+vindex: org-clock-in-prepare-hook While the clock is running, Org shows the current clocking time in the mode line, along with the title of the task. The clock time shown is all time ever clocked for this task and its children. If the task has an effort estimate (see *Effort Estimates), the mode line displays the current clocking time against it73. If the task is a repeating one (see *Repeated tasks), show only the time since the last reset of the task74. You can exercise more control over show time with the CLOCK_MODELINE_TOTAL property. It may have the values current to show only the current clocking instance, today to show all time clocked on this tasks today---see also the variable org-extend-today-until, all to include all time, or auto which is the default75. Clicking with {{{kbd(mouse-1)}}} onto the mode line entry pops up a menu with clocking options.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-o)}}} (org-clock-out) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x C-o #+findex: org-clock-out #+vindex: org-log-note-clock-out Stop the clock (clock-out). This inserts another timestamp at the same location where the clock was last started. It also directly computes the resulting time in inserts it after the time range as =>HH:MM. See the variable ~org-log-note-clock-out~ for the possibility to record an additional note together with the clock-out timestamp76.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-x)}}} (org-clock-in-last) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x C-x #+findex: org-clock-in-last #+vindex: org-clock-continuously Re-clock the last clocked task. With one {{{kbd(C-u)}}} prefix argument, select the task from the clock history. With two {{{kbd(C-u)}}} prefixes, force continuous clocking by starting the clock when the last clock stopped.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-e)}}} (org-clock-modify-effort-estimate) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x C-e #+findex: org-clock-modify-effort-estimate Update the effort estimate for the current clock task.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c C-y)}}} (org-evaluate-time-range) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-c #+kindex: C-c C-y #+findex: org-evaluate-time-range Recompute the time interval after changing one of the timestamps. This is only necessary if you edit the timestamps directly. If you change them with {{{kbd(S-)}}} keys, the update is automatic.

  • {{{kbd(C-S-up)}}} (org-clock-timestamps-up), {{{kbd(C-S-down)}}} (org-clock-timestamps-down) ::

#+kindex: C-S-up #+findex: org-clock-timestamps-up #+kindex: C-S-down #+findex: org-clock-timestamps-down On CLOCK log lines, increase/decrease both timestamps so that the clock duration keeps the same value.

  • {{{kbd(S-M-up)}}} (org-timestamp-up), {{{kbd(S-M-down)}}} (org-timestamp-down) ::

#+kindex: S-M-up #+findex: org-clock-timestamp-up #+kindex: S-M-down #+findex: org-clock-timestamp-down On CLOCK log lines, increase/decrease the timestamp at point and the one of the previous, or the next, clock timestamp by the same duration. For example, if you hit {{{kbd(S-M-up)}}} to increase a clocked-out timestamp by five minutes, then the clocked-in timestamp of the next clock is increased by five minutes.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-t)}}} (org-todo) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-t #+findex: org-todo Changing the TODO state of an item to DONE automatically stops the clock if it is running in this same item.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-q)}}} (org-clock-cancel) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x C-q #+findex: org-clock-cancel Cancel the current clock. This is useful if a clock was started by mistake, or if you ended up working on something else.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-j)}}} (org-clock-goto) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x C-j #+findex: or-clock-goto Jump to the headline of the currently clocked in task. With a {{{kbd(C-u)}}} prefix argument, select the target task from a list of recently clocked tasks.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-d)}}} (org-clock-display) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x C-d #+findex: org-clock-display #+vindex: org-remove-highlights-with-change Display time summaries for each subtree in the current buffer. This puts overlays at the end of each headline, showing the total time recorded under that heading, including the time of any subheadings. You can use visibility cycling to study the tree, but the overlays disappear when you change the buffer (see variable org-remove-highlights-with-change) or press {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}}.

The {{{kbd(l)}}} key may be used in the agenda (see *Weekly/daily agenda) to show which tasks have been worked on or closed during a day.

Important: note that both org-clock-out and ~org-clock-in-last~ can have a global keybinding and do not modify the window disposition.

The clock table

Org mode can produce quite complex reports based on the time clocking information. Such a report is called a clock table, because it is formatted as one or several Org tables.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-r)}}} (org-clock-report) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x C-r #+findex: org-clock-report Insert a dynamic block (see *Dynamic Blocks) containing a clock report as an Org mode table into the current file. When the cursor is at an existing clock table, just update it. When called with a prefix argument, jump to the first clock report in the current document and update it. The clock table includes archived trees.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-u)}}} (org-dblock-update) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-c #+kindex: C-c C-x C-u #+findex: org-dblock-update Update dynamic block at point. The cursor needs to be in the BEGIN line of the dynamic block.

  • {{{kbd(C-u C-c C-x C-u)}}} ::

#+kindex: C-u C-c C-x C-u Update all dynamic blocks (see *Dynamic Blocks). This is useful if you have several clock table blocks in a buffer.

  • {{{kbd(S-left)}}}, {{{kbd(S-right)}}} (org-clocktable-try-shift) ::

#+kindex: S-left #+kindex: S-right #+findex: org-clocktable-try-shift Shift the current :block interval and update the table. The cursor needs to be in the #+BEGIN: clocktable line for this command. If :block is today, it is shifted to today-1, etc.

Here is an example of the frame for a clock table as it is inserted into the buffer with the {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-r)}}} command:

,#+BEGIN: clocktable :maxlevel 2 :emphasize nil :scope file ,#+END: clocktable

The #+BEGIN line and specify a number of options to define the scope, structure, and formatting of the report. Defaults for all these options can be configured in the variable ~org-clocktable-defaults~.

First there are options that determine which clock entries are to be selected:

  • :maxlevel ::

Maximum level depth to which times are listed in the table. Clocks at deeper levels are summed into the upper level.

  • :scope ::

The scope to consider. This can be any of the following:

| nil | the current buffer or narrowed region | | file | the full current buffer | | subtree | the subtree where the clocktable is located | | treeN | the surrounding level N tree, for example tree3 | | tree | the surrounding level 1 tree | | agenda | all agenda files | | ("file" ...) | scan these files | | FUNCTION | scan files returned by calling FUNCTION with no argument | | file-with-archives | current file and its archives | | agenda-with-archives | all agenda files, including archives |

  • :block ::

The time block to consider. This block is specified either absolutely, or relative to the current time and may be any of these formats:

| 2007-12-31 | New year eve 2007 | | 2007-12 | December 2007 | | 2007-W50 | ISO-week 50 in 2007 | | 2007-Q2 | 2nd quarter in 2007 | | 2007 | the year 2007 | | today, yesterday, today-N | a relative day | | thisweek, lastweek, thisweek-N | a relative week | | thismonth, lastmonth, thismonth-N | a relative month | | thisyear, lastyear, thisyear-N | a relative year | | untilnow | all clocked time ever |

#+vindex: org-clock-display-default-range When this option is not set, Org falls back to the value in org-clock-display-default-range, which defaults to the current year.

Use {{{kbd(S-left)}}} or {{{kbd(S-right)}}} to shift the time interval.

  • :tstart ::

A time string specifying when to start considering times. Relative times like "<-2w>" can also be used. See *Matching tags and properties for relative time syntax.

  • :tend ::

A time string specifying when to stop considering times. Relative times like "<now>" can also be used. See *Matching tags and properties for relative time syntax.

  • wstart ::

The starting day of the week. The default is 1 for Monday.

  • mstart ::

The starting day of the month. The default is 1 for the first.

  • :step ::

Set to week or day to split the table into chunks. To use this, :block or :tstart, :tend are needed.

  • :stepskip0 ::

Do not show steps that have zero time.

  • :fileskip0 ::

Do not show table sections from files which did not contribute.

  • :tags ::

A tags match to select entries that should contribute. See *Matching tags and properties for the match syntax.

Then there are options that determine the formatting of the table. There options are interpreted by the function ~org-clocktable-write-default~, but you can specify your own function using the :formatter parameter.

  • :emphasize ::

When t, emphasize level one and level two items.

  • :lang ::

Language77 to use for descriptive cells like "Task".

  • :link ::

Link the item headlines in the table to their origins.

  • :narrow ::

An integer to limit the width of the headline column in the Org table. If you write it like 50!, then the headline is also shortened in export.

  • :indent ::

Indent each headline field according to its level.

  • :tcolumns ::

Number of columns to be used for times. If this is smaller than :maxlevel, lower levels are lumped into one column.

  • :level ::

Should a level number column be included?

  • :sort ::

A cons cell containing the column to sort and a sorting type. E.g., :sort (1 . ?a) sorts the first column alphabetically.

  • :compact ::

Abbreviation for :level nil :indent t :narrow 40! :tcolumns 1. All are overwritten except if there is an explicit :narrow.

  • :timestamp ::

A timestamp for the entry, when available. Look for SCHEDULED, DEADLINE, TIMESTAMP and TIMESTAMP_IA special properties (see *Special Properties), in this order.

  • :properties ::

List of properties shown in the table. Each property gets its own column.

  • :inherit-props ::

When this flag is non-~nil~, the values for :properties are inherited.

  • :formula ::

Content of a TBLFM keyword to be added and evaluated. As a special case, :formula % adds a column with % time. If you do not specify a formula here, any existing formula below the clock table survives updates and is evaluated.

  • :formatter ::

A function to format clock data and insert it into the buffer.

To get a clock summary of the current level 1 tree, for the current day, you could write:

,#+BEGIN: clocktable :maxlevel 2 :block today :scope tree1 :link t ,#+END: clocktable

To use a specific time range you could write78

,#+BEGIN: clocktable :tstart "<2006-08-10 Thu 10:00>" :tend "<2006-08-10 Thu 12:00>" ,#+END: clocktable

A range starting a week ago and ending right now could be written as

,#+BEGIN: clocktable :tstart "<-1w>" :tend "" ,#+END: clocktable

A summary of the current subtree with % times would be:

,#+BEGIN: clocktable :scope subtree :link t :formula % ,#+END: clocktable

A horizontally compact representation of everything clocked during last week would be:

,#+BEGIN: clocktable :scope agenda :block lastweek :compact t ,#+END: clocktable

Resolving idle time and continuous clocking

Resolving idle time

If you clock in on a work item, and then walk away from your computer---perhaps to take a phone call---you often need to "resolve" the time you were away by either subtracting it from the current clock, or applying it to another one.

By customizing the variable org-clock-idle-time to some integer, such as 10 or 15, Emacs can alert you when you get back to your computer after being idle for that many minutes79, and ask what you want to do with the idle time. There will be a question waiting for you when you get back, indicating how much idle time has passed constantly updated with the current amount, as well as a set of choices to correct the discrepancy:

  • {{{kbd(k)}}} ::

#+kindex: k To keep some or all of the minutes and stay clocked in, press {{{kbd(k)}}}. Org asks how many of the minutes to keep. Press {{{kbd(RET)}}} to keep them all, effectively changing nothing, or enter a number to keep that many minutes.

  • {{{kbd(K)}}} ::

#+kindex: K If you use the shift key and press {{{kbd(K)}}}, it keeps however many minutes you request and then immediately clock out of that task. If you keep all of the minutes, this is the same as just clocking out of the current task.

  • {{{kbd(s)}}} ::

#+kindex: s To keep none of the minutes, use {{{kbd(s)}}} to subtract all the away time from the clock, and then check back in from the moment you returned.

  • {{{kbd(S)}}} ::

#+kindex: S To keep none of the minutes and just clock out at the start of the away time, use the shift key and press {{{kbd(S)}}}. Remember that using shift always leave you clocked out, no matter which option you choose.

  • {{{kbd(C)}}} ::

#+kindex: C To cancel the clock altogether, use {{{kbd(C)}}}. Note that if instead of canceling you subtract the away time, and the resulting clock amount is less than a minute, the clock is still canceled rather than cluttering up the log with an empty entry.

What if you subtracted those away minutes from the current clock, and now want to apply them to a new clock? Simply clock in to any task immediately after the subtraction. Org will notice that you have subtracted time "on the books", so to speak, and will ask if you want to apply those minutes to the next task you clock in on.

There is one other instance when this clock resolution magic occurs. Say you were clocked in and hacking away, and suddenly your cat chased a mouse who scared a hamster that crashed into your UPS's power button! You suddenly lose all your buffers, but thanks to auto-save you still have your recent Org mode changes, including your last clock in.

If you restart Emacs and clock into any task, Org will notice that you have a dangling clock which was never clocked out from your last session. Using that clock's starting time as the beginning of the unaccounted-for period, Org will ask how you want to resolve that time. The logic and behavior is identical to dealing with away time due to idleness; it is just happening due to a recovery event rather than a set amount of idle time.

You can also check all the files visited by your Org agenda for dangling clocks at any time using {{{kbd(M-x org-resolve-clocks RET)}}} (or {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-z)}}}).

Continuous clocking

You may want to start clocking from the time when you clocked out the previous task. To enable this systematically, set ~org-clock-continuously~ to non-~nil~. Each time you clock in, Org retrieves the clock-out time of the last clocked entry for this session, and start the new clock from there.

If you only want this from time to time, use three universal prefix arguments with org-clock-in and two {{{kbd(C-u C-u)}}} with ~org-clock-in-last~.

Effort Estimates

If you want to plan your work in a very detailed way, or if you need to produce offers with quotations of the estimated work effort, you may want to assign effort estimates to entries. If you are also clocking your work, you may later want to compare the planned effort with the actual working time, a great way to improve planning estimates. Effort estimates are stored in a special property =EFFORT=. You can set the effort for an entry with the following commands:

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x e)}}} (org-set-effort) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x e #+findex: org-set-effort Set the effort estimate for the current entry. With a prefix argument, set it to the next allowed value---see below. This command is also accessible from the agenda with the {{{kbd(e)}}} key.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-e)}}} (org-clock-modify-effort-estimate) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x C-e #+findex: org-clock-modify-effort-estimate Modify the effort estimate of the item currently being clocked.

Clearly the best way to work with effort estimates is through column view (see *Column View). You should start by setting up discrete values for effort estimates, and a COLUMNS format that displays these values together with clock sums---if you want to clock your time. For a specific buffer you can use:

,#+PROPERTY: Effort_ALL 0 0:10 0:30 1:00 2:00 3:00 4:00 5:00 6:00 7:00 ,#+COLUMNS: %40ITEM(Task) %17Effort(Estimated Effort){:} %CLOCKSUM

or, even better, you can set up these values globally by customizing the variables org-global-properties and ~org-columns-default-format~. In particular if you want to use this setup also in the agenda, a global setup may be advised.

The way to assign estimates to individual items is then to switch to column mode, and to use {{{kbd(S-right)}}} and {{{kbd(S-left)}}} to change the value. The values you enter are immediately summed up in the hierarchy. In the column next to it, any clocked time is displayed.

If you switch to column view in the daily/weekly agenda, the effort column summarizes the estimated work effort for each day80, and you can use this to find space in your schedule. To get an overview of the entire part of the day that is committed, you can set the option org-agenda-columns-add-appointments-to-effort-sum. The appointments on a day that take place over a specified time interval are then also added to the load estimate of the day.

Effort estimates can be used in secondary agenda filtering that is triggered with the {{{kbd(/)}}} key in the agenda (see *Commands in the Agenda Buffer). If you have these estimates defined consistently, two or three key presses narrow down the list to stuff that fits into an available time slot.

Taking Notes with a Relative Timer

Org provides two types of timers. There is a relative timer that counts up, which can be useful when taking notes during, for example, a meeting or a video viewing. There is also a countdown timer.

The relative and countdown are started with separate commands.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x 0)}}} (org-timer-start) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x 0 #+findex: org-timer-start Start or reset the relative timer. By default, the timer is set to 0. When called with a {{{kbd(C-u)}}} prefix, prompt the user for a starting offset. If there is a timer string at point, this is taken as the default, providing a convenient way to restart taking notes after a break in the process. When called with a double prefix argument {{{kbd(C-u C-u)}}}, change all timer strings in the active region by a certain amount. This can be used to fix timer strings if the timer was not started at exactly the right moment.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x ;)}}} (org-timer-set-timer) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x ; #+findex: org-timer-set-timer #+vindex: org-timer-default-timer Start a countdown timer. The user is prompted for a duration. org-timer-default-timer sets the default countdown value. Giving a numeric prefix argument overrides this default value. This command is available as {{{kbd(;)}}} in agenda buffers.

Once started, relative and countdown timers are controlled with the same commands.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x .)}}} (org-timer) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x . #+findex: org-timer Insert a relative time into the buffer. The first time you use this, the timer starts. Using a prefix argument restarts it.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x -)}}} (org-timer-item) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x - #+findex: org-timer-item Insert a description list item with the current relative time. With a prefix argument, first reset the timer to 0.

  • {{{kbd(M-RET)}}} (org-insert-heading) ::

#+kindex: M-RET #+findex: org-insert-heading Once the timer list is started, you can also use {{{kbd(M-RET)}}} to insert new timer items.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x \,)}}} (org-timer-pause-or-continue) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x , #+findex: org-timer-pause-or-continue Pause the timer, or continue it if it is already paused.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x _)}}} (org-timer-stop) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x _ #+findex: org-timer-stop Stop the timer. After this, you can only start a new timer, not continue the old one. This command also removes the timer from the mode line.

Capture, Refile, Archive

An important part of any organization system is the ability to quickly capture new ideas and tasks, and to associate reference material with them. Org does this using a process called capture. It also can store files related to a task (attachments) in a special directory. Once in the system, tasks and projects need to be moved around. Moving completed project trees to an archive file keeps the system compact and fast.


Capture lets you quickly store notes with little interruption of your work flow. Org's method for capturing new items is heavily inspired by John Wiegley's excellent Remember package.

Setting up capture

The following customization sets a default target file for notes.

(setq org-default-notes-file (concat org-directory "/"))

You may also define a global key for capturing new material (see *Activation).

Using capture

  • {{{kbd(M-x org-capture)}}} (org-capture) ::

#+findex: org-capture #+cindex: date tree Display the capture templates menu. If you have templates defined (see *Capture templates), it offers these templates for selection or use a new Org outline node as the default template. It inserts the template into the target file and switch to an indirect buffer narrowed to this new node. You may then insert the information you want.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} (org-capture-finalize) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-c @r{(Capture buffer)} #+findex: org-capture-finalize Once you have finished entering information into the capture buffer, {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} returns you to the window configuration before the capture process, so that you can resume your work without further distraction. When called with a prefix argument, finalize and then jump to the captured item.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-w)}}} (org-capture-refile) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-w @r{(Capture buffer)} #+findex: org-capture-refile Finalize the capture process by refiling the note to a different place (see *Refile and Copy). Please realize that this is a normal refiling command that will be executed---so the cursor position at the moment you run this command is important. If you have inserted a tree with a parent and children, first move the cursor back to the parent. Any prefix argument given to this command is passed on to the org-refile command.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-k)}}} (org-capture-kill) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-k @r{(Capture buffer)} #+findex: org-capture-kill Abort the capture process and return to the previous state.

You can also call org-capture in a special way from the agenda, using the {{{kbd(k c)}}} key combination. With this access, any timestamps inserted by the selected capture template defaults to the cursor date in the agenda, rather than to the current date.

To find the locations of the last stored capture, use ~org-capture~ with prefix commands:

  • {{{kbd(C-u M-x org-capture)}}} ::

Visit the target location of a capture template. You get to select the template in the usual way.

  • {{{kbd(C-u C-u M-x org-capture)}}} ::

Visit the last stored capture item in its buffer.

You can also jump to the bookmark org-capture-last-stored, which is automatically created unless you set org-capture-bookmark to nil.

To insert the capture at point in an Org buffer, call org-capture~ with a ~C-0 prefix argument.

Capture templates

You can use templates for different types of capture items, and for different target locations. The easiest way to create such templates is through the customize interface.

  • {{{kbd(C)}}} ::

#+kindex: C @r{(Capture menu} #+vindex: org-capture-templates Customize the variable org-capture-templates.

Before we give the formal description of template definitions, let's look at an example. Say you would like to use one template to create general TODO entries, and you want to put these entries under the heading Tasks in your file ~/org/ Also, a date tree in the file should capture journal entries. A possible configuration would look like:

(setq org-capture-templates '(("t" "Todo" entry (file+headline "~/org/" "Tasks") "* TODO %?\n %i\n %a") ("j" "Journal" entry (file+datetree "~/org/") "* %?\nEntered on %U\n %i\n %a")))

If you then press {{{kbd(t)}}} from the capture menu, Org will prepare the template for you like this:


During expansion of the template, %a has been replaced by a link to the location from where you called the capture command. This can be extremely useful for deriving tasks from emails, for example. You fill in the task definition, press {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} and Org returns you to the same place where you started the capture process.

To define special keys to capture to a particular template without going through the interactive template selection, you can create your key binding like this:

(define-key global-map "\C-cx" (lambda () (interactive) (org-capture nil "x")))

Template elements

Now lets look at the elements of a template definition. Each entry in ~org-capture-templates~ is a list with the following items:

  • keys ::

The keys that selects the template, as a string, characters only, for example "a", for a template to be selected with a single key, or "bt" for selection with two keys. When using several keys, keys using the same prefix key must be sequential in the list and preceded by a 2-element entry explaining the prefix key, for example:

#+begin_src emacs-lisp ("b" "Templates for marking stuff to buy") #+end_src

#+texinfo: @noindent If you do not define a template for the {{{kbd(C)}}} key, this key opens the Customize buffer for this complex variable.

  • description ::

A short string describing the template, shown during selection.

  • type ::

The type of entry, a symbol. Valid values are:

  • entry ::

An Org mode node, with a headline. Will be filed as the child of the target entry or as a top-level entry. The target file should be an Org file.

  • item ::

A plain list item, placed in the first plain list at the target location. Again the target file should be an Org file.

  • checkitem ::

A checkbox item. This only differs from the plain list item by the default template.

  • table-line ::

A new line in the first table at the target location. Where exactly the line will be inserted depends on the properties :prepend and :table-line-pos (see below).

  • plain ::

Text to be inserted as it is.

  • target ::

#+vindex: org-default-notes-file #+vindex: org-directory Specification of where the captured item should be placed. In Org files, targets usually define a node. Entries will become children of this node. Other types will be added to the table or list in the body of this node. Most target specifications contain a file name. If that file name is the empty string, it defaults to org-default-notes-file. A file can also be given as a variable or as a function called with no argument. When an absolute path is not specified for a target, it is taken as relative to org-directory.

Valid values are:

  • (file "path/to/file") ::

Text will be placed at the beginning or end of that file.

  • (id "id of existing org entry") ::

Filing as child of this entry, or in the body of the entry.

  • (file+headline "filename" "node headline") ::

Fast configuration if the target heading is unique in the file.

  • (file+olp "filename" "Level 1 heading" "Level 2" ...) ::

For non-unique headings, the full path is safer.

  • (file+regexp "filename" "regexp to find location") ::

Use a regular expression to position the cursor.

  • (file+olp+datetree "filename" [ "Level 1 heading" ...]) ::

This target81 creates a heading in a date tree82 for today's date. If the optional outline path is given, the tree will be built under the node it is pointing to, instead of at top level. Check out the :time-prompt and ~:tree-type~ properties below for additional options.

  • (file+function "filename" function-finding-location) ::

A function to find the right location in the file.

  • (clock) ::

File to the entry that is currently being clocked.

  • (function function-finding-location) ::

Most general way: write your own function which both visits the file and moves point to the right location.

  • template ::

The template for creating the capture item. If you leave this empty, an appropriate default template will be used. Otherwise this is a string with escape codes, which will be replaced depending on time and context of the capture call. The string with escapes may be loaded from a template file, using the special syntax (file "template filename"). See below for more details.

  • properties ::

The rest of the entry is a property list of additional options. Recognized properties are:

  • :prepend ::

Normally new captured information will be appended at the target location (last child, last table line, last list item, ...). Setting this property changes that.

  • :immediate-finish ::

When set, do not offer to edit the information, just file it away immediately. This makes sense if the template only needs information that can be added automatically.

  • :empty-lines ::

Set this to the number of lines to insert before and after the new item. Default 0, and the only other common value is 1.

  • :clock-in ::

Start the clock in this item.

  • :clock-keep ::

Keep the clock running when filing the captured entry.

  • :clock-resume ::

If starting the capture interrupted a clock, restart that clock when finished with the capture. Note that :clock-keep has precedence over :clock-resume. When setting both to non-~nil~, the current clock will run and the previous one will not be resumed.

  • :time-prompt ::

Prompt for a date/time to be used for date/week trees and when filling the template. Without this property, capture uses the current date and time. Even if this property has not been set, you can force the same behavior by calling org-capture with a {{{kbd(C-1)}}} prefix argument.

  • :tree-type ::

When week, make a week tree instead of the month tree, i.e., place the headings for each day under a heading with the current ISO week.

  • :unnarrowed ::

Do not narrow the target buffer, simply show the full buffer. Default is to narrow it so that you only see the new material.

  • :table-line-pos ::

Specification of the location in the table where the new line should be inserted. It should be a string like II-3 meaning that the new line should become the third line before the second horizontal separator line.

  • :kill-buffer ::

If the target file was not yet visited when capture was invoked, kill the buffer again after capture is completed.

Template expansion

In the template itself, special "%-escapes"83 allow dynamic insertion of content. The templates are expanded in the order given here:

  • %[FILE] ::

Insert the contents of the file given by {{{var(FILE)}}}.

  • %(SEXP) ::

Evaluate Elisp SEXP and replace with the result. The {{{var(SEXP)}}} must return a string.

  • %<FORMAT> ::

The result of format-time-string on the {{{var(FORMAT)}}} specification.

  • %t ::

Timestamp, date only.

  • %T ::

Timestamp, with date and time.

  • %u, %U ::

Like %t, %T above, but inactive timestamps.

  • %i ::

Initial content, the region when capture is called while the region is active. The entire text will be indented like ~%i~ itself.

  • %a ::

Annotation, normally the link created with org-store-link.

  • %A ::

Like %a, but prompt for the description part.

  • %l ::

Like %a, but only insert the literal link.

  • %c ::

Current kill ring head.

  • %x ::

Content of the X clipboard.

  • %k ::

Title of the currently clocked task.

  • %K ::

Link to the currently clocked task.

  • %n ::

User name (taken from user-full-name).

  • %f ::

File visited by current buffer when org-capture was called.

  • %F ::

Full path of the file or directory visited by current buffer.

  • %:keyword ::

Specific information for certain link types, see below.

  • %^g ::

Prompt for tags, with completion on tags in target file.

  • %^G ::

Prompt for tags, with completion all tags in all agenda files.

  • %^t ::

Like %t, but prompt for date. Similarly %^T, %^u, %^U. You may define a prompt like %^{Birthday}t.

  • %^C ::

Interactive selection of which kill or clip to use.

  • %^L ::

Like %^C, but insert as link.

  • %^{PROP}p ::

Prompt the user for a value for property PROP.

  • %^{PROMPT} ::

Prompt the user for a string and replace this sequence with it. You may specify a default value and a completion table with %^{prompt|default|completion2|completion3...}. The arrow keys access a prompt-specific history.

  • %\n ::

Insert the text entered at the Nth %^{PROMPT}, where N is a number, starting from 1.

  • %? ::

After completing the template, position cursor here.

For specific link types, the following keywords are defined84:

Link type Available keywords
bbdb %:name, %:company
irc %:server, %:port, %:nick
mh, rmail %:type, %:subject, %:message-id
%:from, %:fromname, %:fromaddress
%:to, %:toname, %:toaddress
%:date (message date header field)
%:date-timestamp (date as active timestamp)
%:date-timestamp-inactive (date as inactive timestamp)
%:fromto (either "to NAME" or "from NAME")85
gnus %:group, for messages also all email fields
w3, w3m %:url
info %:file, %:node
calendar %:date
org-protocol %:link, %:description, %:annotation

Templates in contexts

To control whether a capture template should be accessible from a specific context, you can customize ~org-capture-templates-contexts~. Let's say, for example, that you have a capture template "p" for storing Gnus emails containing patches. Then you would configure this option like this:

(setq org-capture-templates-contexts '(("p" (in-mode . "message-mode"))))

You can also tell that the command key {{{kbd(p)}}} should refer to another template. In that case, add this command key like this:

(setq org-capture-templates-contexts '(("p" "q" (in-mode . "message-mode"))))

See the docstring of the variable for more information.


It is often useful to associate reference material with an outline node/task. Small chunks of plain text can simply be stored in the subtree of a project. Hyperlinks (see *Hyperlinks) can establish associations with files that live elsewhere on your computer or in the cloud, like emails or source code files belonging to a project. Another method is attachments, which are files located in a directory belonging to an outline node. Org uses directories named by the unique ID of each entry. These directories are located in the ~data~ directory which lives in the same directory where your Org file lives86. If you initialize this directory with git init, Org automatically commits changes when it sees them. The attachment system has been contributed to Org by John Wiegley.

In cases where it seems better to do so, you can attach a directory of your choice to an entry. You can also make children inherit the attachment directory from a parent, so that an entire subtree uses the same attached directory.

The following commands deal with attachments:

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-a)}}} (org-attach) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-a #+findex: org-attach The dispatcher for commands related to the attachment system. After these keys, a list of commands is displayed and you must press an additional key to select a command:

  • {{{kbd(a)}}} (org-attach-attach) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-a a #+findex: org-attach-attach #+vindex: org-attach-method Select a file and move it into the task's attachment directory. The file is copied, moved, or linked, depending on org-attach-method. Note that hard links are not supported on all systems.

  • {{{kbd(c)}}}/{{{kbd(m)}}}/{{{kbd(l)}}} ::

#+kindex: C-c C-a c #+kindex: C-c C-a m #+kindex: C-c C-a l Attach a file using the copy/move/link method. Note that hard links are not supported on all systems.

  • {{{kbd(n)}}} (org-attach-new) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-a n #+findex: org-attach-new Create a new attachment as an Emacs buffer.

  • {{{kbd(z)}}} (org-attach-sync) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-a z #+findex: org-attach-sync Synchronize the current task with its attachment directory, in case you added attachments yourself.

  • {{{kbd(o)}}} (org-attach-open) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-a o #+findex: org-attach-open #+vindex: org-file-apps Open current task's attachment. If there is more than one, prompt for a file name first. Opening follows the rules set by org-file-apps. For more details, see the information on following hyperlinks (see *Handling Links).

  • {{{kbd(O)}}} (org-attach-open-in-emacs) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-a O #+findex: org-attach-open-in-emacs Also open the attachment, but force opening the file in Emacs.

  • {{{kbd(f)}}} (org-attach-reveal) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-a f #+findex: org-attach-reveal Open the current task's attachment directory.

  • {{{kbd(F)}}} (org-attach-reveal-in-emacs) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-a F #+findex: org-attach-reveal-in-emacs Also open the directory, but force using Dired in Emacs.

  • {{{kbd(d)}}} (org-attach-delete-one) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-a d Select and delete a single attachment.

  • {{{kbd(D)}}} (org-attach-delete-all) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-a D Delete all of a task's attachments. A safer way is to open the directory in Dired and delete from there.

  • {{{kbd(s)}}} (org-attach-set-directory) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-a s #+cindex: ATTACH_DIR, property Set a specific directory as the entry's attachment directory. This works by putting the directory path into the ATTACH_DIR property.

  • {{{kbd(i)}}} (org-attach-set-inherit) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-a i #+cindex: ATTACH_DIR_INHERIT, property Set the ATTACH_DIR_INHERIT property, so that children use the same directory for attachments as the parent does.

It is possible to attach files to a subtree from a Dired buffer. To use this feature, have one window in Dired mode containing the file(s) to be attached and another window with point in the subtree that shall get the attachments. In the Dired window, with point on a file, {{{kbd(M-x org-attach-dired-to-subtree)}}} attaches the file to the subtree using the attachment method set by variable ~org-attach-method~. When files are marked in the Dired window then all marked files get attached.

Add the following lines to the Emacs init file to have {{{kbd(C-c C-x a)}}} attach files in Dired buffers.

(add-hook 'dired-mode-hook (lambda () (define-key dired-mode-map (kbd "C-c C-x a") #'org-attach-dired-to-subtree))))

The following code shows how to bind the previous command with a specific attachment method.

(add-hook 'dired-mode-hook (lambda () (define-key dired-mode-map (kbd "C-c C-x c") (lambda () (interactive) (let ((org-attach-method 'cp)) (call-interactively #'org-attach-dired-to-subtree))))))

RSS Feeds

Org can add and change entries based on information found in RSS feeds and Atom feeds. You could use this to make a task out of each new podcast in a podcast feed. Or you could use a phone-based note-creating service on the web to import tasks into Org. To access feeds, configure the variable org-feed-alist. The docstring of this variable has detailed information. With the following

(setq org-feed-alist '(("Slashdot" "" "~/txt/org/" "Slashdot Entries")))

new items from the feed provided by result in new entries in the file ~/org/ under the heading Slashdot Entries, whenever the following command is used:

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x g)}}} (org-feed-update-all) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x g Collect items from the feeds configured in org-feed-alist and act upon them.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x G)}}} (org-feed-goto-inbox) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x G Prompt for a feed name and go to the inbox configured for this feed.

Under the same headline, Org creates a drawer FEEDSTATUS in which it stores information about the status of items in the feed, to avoid adding the same item several times.

For more information, including how to read atom feeds, see =org-feed.el= and the docstring of org-feed-alist.

Protocols for External Access

Org protocol is a means to trigger custom actions in Emacs from external applications. Any application that supports calling external programs with an URL as argument may be used with this functionality. For example, you can configure bookmarks in your web browser to send a link to the current page to Org and create a note from it using capture (see *Capture). You can also create a bookmark that tells Emacs to open the local source file of a remote website you are browsing.

In order to use Org protocol from an application, you need to register =org-protocol://= as a valid scheme-handler. External calls are passed to Emacs through the emacsclient command, so you also need to ensure an Emacs server is running. More precisely, when the application calls

emacsclient org-protocol://PROTOCOL?key1=val1&key2=val2

Emacs calls the handler associated to {{{var(PROTOCOL)}}} with argument (:key1 val1 :key2 val2).

Org protocol comes with three predefined protocols, detailed in the following sections. Configure org-protocol-protocol-alist to define your own.

Using store-link handler, you can copy links, insertable through {{{kbd(M-x org-insert-link)}}} or yanking thereafter. More precisely, the command

emacsclient org-protocol://store-link?url=URL&title=TITLE

stores the following link:


In addition, {{{var(URL)}}} is pushed on the kill-ring for yanking. You need to encode {{{var(URL)}}} and {{{var(TITLE)}}} if they contain slashes, and probably quote those for the shell.

To use this feature from a browser, add a bookmark with an arbitrary name, e.g., Org: store-link and enter this as /Location/:

javascript:location.href='org-protocol://store-link?url='+ encodeURIComponent(location.href);

capture protocol

Activating "capture" handler pops up a Capture buffer and fills the capture template associated to the X key with them.

emacsclient org-protocol://capture?template=X?url=URL?title=TITLE?body=BODY

To use this feature, add a bookmark with an arbitrary name, e.g. =Org: capture= and enter this as =Location=:

javascript:location.href='org-protocol://template=x'+ '&url='+encodeURIComponent(window.location.href)+ '&title='+encodeURIComponent(document.title)+ '&body='+encodeURIComponent(window.getSelection());

The result depends on the capture template used, which is set in the bookmark itself, as in the example above, or in ~org-protocol-default-template-key~.

The following template placeholders are available:

%:link The URL %:description The webpage title %:annotation Equivalent to %:description %i The selected text

open-source protocol

The open-source handler is designed to help with editing local sources when reading a document. To that effect, you can use a bookmark with the following location:

javascript:location.href='org-protocol://open-source?&url='+ encodeURIComponent(location.href)

The variable org-protocol-project-alist maps URLs to local file names, by stripping URL parameters from the end and replacing the ~:base-url~ with :working-directory and :online-suffix with ~:working-suffix~. For example, assuming you own a local copy of = contents at /home/user/worg, you can set ~org-protocol-project-alist~ to the following

(setq org-protocol-project-alist '(("Worg" :base-url "" :working-directory "/home/user/worg/" :online-suffix ".html" :working-suffix ".org")))

If you are now browsing = and find a typo or have an idea about how to enhance the documentation, simply click the bookmark and start editing.

However, such mapping may not yield the desired results. Suppose you maintain an online store located at The local sources reside in /home/user/example/. It is common practice to serve all products in such a store through one file and rewrite URLs that do not match an existing file on the server. That way, a request to might be rewritten on the server to something like = The ~open-source~ handler probably cannot find a file named =/home/user/example/print/posters.html.php= and fails.

Such an entry in org-protocol-project-alist may hold an additional property :rewrites. This property is a list of cons cells, each of which maps a regular expression to a path relative to the ~:working-directory~.

Now map the URL to the path /home/user/example/products.php by adding :rewrites rules like this:

(setq org-protocol-project-alist '(("" :base-url "" :working-directory "/home/user/example/" :online-suffix ".php" :working-suffix ".php" :rewrites (("" . "products.php") ("$" . "index.php")))))

Since$ is used as a regular expression, it maps =,, = and similar to =/home/user/example/index.php=.

The :rewrites rules are searched as a last resort if and only if no existing file name is matched.

Two functions can help you filling org-protocol-project-alist with valid contents: org-protocol-create and ~org-protocol-create-for-org~. The latter is of use if you're editing an Org file that is part of a publishing project.

Refile and Copy

When reviewing the captured data, you may want to refile or to copy some of the entries into a different list, for example into a project. Cutting, finding the right location, and then pasting the note is cumbersome. To simplify this process, you can use the following special command:

  • {{{kbd(C-c M-w)}}} (org-copy) ::

#+kindex: C-c M-w #+findex: org-copy Copying works like refiling, except that the original note is not deleted.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-w)}}} (org-refile) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-w #+findex: org-refile #+vindex: org-reverse-note-order #+vindex: org-refile-targets #+vindex: org-refile-use-outline-path #+vindex: org-outline-path-complete-in-steps #+vindex: org-refile-allow-creating-parent-nodes #+vindex: org-log-refile Refile the entry or region at point. This command offers possible locations for refiling the entry and lets you select one with completion. The item (or all items in the region) is filed below the target heading as a subitem. Depending on org-reverse-note-order, it is either the first or last subitem.

By default, all level 1 headlines in the current buffer are considered to be targets, but you can have more complex definitions across a number of files. See the variable org-refile-targets for details. If you would like to select a location via a file-path-like completion along the outline path, see the variables org-refile-use-outline-path and org-outline-path-complete-in-steps. If you would like to be able to create new nodes as new parents for refiling on the fly, check the variable org-refile-allow-creating-parent-nodes. When the variable ~org-log-refile~87 is set, a timestamp or a note is recorded whenever an entry is refiled.

  • {{{kbd(C-u C-c C-w)}}} ::

#+kindex: C-u C-c C-w Use the refile interface to jump to a heading.

  • {{{kbd(C-u C-u C-c C-w)}}} (org-refile-goto-last-stored) ::

#+kindex: C-u C-u C-c C-w #+findex: org-refile-goto-last-stored Jump to the location where org-refile last moved a tree to.

  • {{{kbd(C-2 C-c C-w)}}} ::

#+kindex: C-2 C-c C-w Refile as the child of the item currently being clocked.

  • {{{kbd(C-3 C-c C-w)}}} ::

#+kindex: C-3 C-c C-w #+vindex: org-refile-keep Refile and keep the entry in place. Also see org-refile-keep~ to make this the default behavior, and beware that this may result in duplicated ~ID properties.

  • {{{kbd(C-0 C-c C-w)}}} or {{{kbd(C-u C-u C-u C-c C-w)}}} (org-refile-cache-clear) ::

#+kindex: C-u C-u C-u C-c C-w #+kindex: C-0 C-c C-w #+findex: org-refile-cache-clear #+vindex: org-refile-use-cache Clear the target cache. Caching of refile targets can be turned on by setting org-refile-use-cache. To make the command see new possible targets, you have to clear the cache with this command.


When a project represented by a (sub)tree is finished, you may want to move the tree out of the way and to stop it from contributing to the agenda. Archiving is important to keep your working files compact and global searches like the construction of agenda views fast.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-a)}}} (org-archive-subtree-default) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x C-a #+findex: org-archive-subtree-default #+vindex: org-archive-default-command Archive the current entry using the command specified in the variable org-archive-default-command.

Moving a tree to an archive file

The most common archiving action is to move a project tree to another file, the archive file.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-s)}}} or short {{{kbd(C-c $)}}} (org-archive-subtree) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x C-s #+kindex: C-c $ #+findex: org-archive-subtree #+vindex: org-archive-location Archive the subtree starting at the cursor position to the location given by org-archive-location.

  • {{{kbd(C-u C-c C-x C-s)}}} ::

#+kindex: C-u C-c C-x C-s Check if any direct children of the current headline could be moved to the archive. To do this, check each subtree for open TODO entries. If none is found, the command offers to move it to the archive location. If the cursor is not on a headline when this command is invoked, check level 1 trees.

  • {{{kbd(C-u C-u C-c C-x C-s)}}} ::

#+kindex: C-u C-u C-c C-x C-s As above, but check subtree for timestamps instead of TODO entries. The command offers to archive the subtree if it /does/ contain a timestamp, and that timestamp is in the past.

The default archive location is a file in the same directory as the current file, with the name derived by appending _archive to the current file name. You can also choose what heading to file archived items under, with the possibility to add them to a datetree in a file. For information and examples on how to specify the file and the heading, see the documentation string of the variable ~org-archive-location~.

There is also an in-buffer option for setting this variable, for example:

#+ARCHIVE: %s_done::

If you would like to have a special archive location for a single entry or a (sub)tree, give the entry an ARCHIVE property with the location as the value (see *Properties and Columns).

When a subtree is moved, it receives a number of special properties that record context information like the file from where the entry came, its outline path the archiving time etc. Configure the variable ~org-archive-save-context-info~ to adjust the amount of information added.

Internal archiving

If you want to just switch off---for agenda views---certain subtrees without moving them to a different file, you can use the =ARCHIVE= tag.

A headline that is marked with the ARCHIVE tag (see *Tags) stays at its location in the outline tree, but behaves in the following way:

- #+vindex: org-cycle-open-archived-trees It does not open when you attempt to do so with a visibility cycling command (see *Visibility Cycling). You can force cycling archived subtrees with {{{kbd(C-TAB)}}}, or by setting the option org-cycle-open-archived-trees. Also normal outline commands, like outline-show-all, open archived subtrees.

- #+vindex: org-sparse-tree-open-archived-trees During sparse tree construction (see *Sparse Trees), matches in archived subtrees are not exposed, unless you configure the option org-sparse-tree-open-archived-trees.

- #+vindex: org-agenda-skip-archived-trees During agenda view construction (see *Agenda Views), the content of archived trees is ignored unless you configure the option org-agenda-skip-archived-trees, in which case these trees are always included. In the agenda you can press {{{kbd(v a)}}} to get archives temporarily included.

- #+vindex: org-export-with-archived-trees Archived trees are not exported (see *Exporting), only the headline is. Configure the details using the variable org-export-with-archived-trees.

- #+vindex: org-columns-skip-archived-trees Archived trees are excluded from column view unless the variable org-columns-skip-archived-trees is configured to nil.

The following commands help manage the ARCHIVE tag:

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x a)}}} (org-toggle-archive-tag) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x a #+findex: org-toggle-archive-tag Toggle the archive tag for the current headline. When the tag is set, the headline changes to a shadowed face, and the subtree below it is hidden.

  • {{{kbd(C-u C-c C-x a)}}} ::

#+kindex: C-u C-c C-x a Check if any direct children of the current headline should be archived. To do this, check each subtree for open TODO entries. If none is found, the command offers to set the ARCHIVE tag for the child. If the cursor is not on a headline when this command is invoked, check the level 1 trees.

  • {{{kbd(C-TAB)}}}, org-force-cycle-archived ::

#+kindex: C-TAB Cycle a tree even if it is tagged with ARCHIVE.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x A)}}} (org-archive-to-archive-sibling) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x A #+findex: org-archive-to-archive-sibling Move the current entry to the Archive Sibling. This is a sibling of the entry with the heading Archive and the archive tag. The entry becomes a child of that sibling and in this way retains a lot of its original context, including inherited tags and approximate position in the outline.

Agenda Views

Due to the way Org works, TODO items, time-stamped items, and tagged headlines can be scattered throughout a file or even a number of files. To get an overview of open action items, or of events that are important for a particular date, this information must be collected, sorted and displayed in an organized way.

Org can select items based on various criteria and display them in a separate buffer. Seven different view types are provided:

  • an agenda that is like a calendar and shows information for
  • specific dates,
  • a TODO list that covers all unfinished action items,
  • a match view, showings headlines based on the tags, properties,
  • and TODO state associated with them,
  • a timeline view that shows all events in a single Org file, in
  • time-sorted view,
  • a text search view that shows all entries from multiple files that
  • contain specified keywords,
  • a stuck projects view showing projects that currently do not move
  • along, and
  • custom views that are special searches and combinations of
  • different views.

The extracted information is displayed in a special agenda buffer. This buffer is read-only, but provides commands to visit the corresponding locations in the original Org files, and even to edit these files remotely.

By default, the report ignores commented (see *Comment Lines) and archived (see *Internal archiving) entries. You can override this by setting org-agenda-skip-comment-trees and ~org-agenda-skip-archived-trees~ to nil.

Two variables control how the agenda buffer is displayed and whether the window configuration is restored when the agenda exits: ~org-agenda-window-setup~ and org-agenda-restore-windows-after-quit.

Agenda Files

The information to be shown is normally collected from all agenda files, the files listed in the variable ~org-agenda-files~88. If a directory is part of this list, all files with the extension in this directory are part of the list.

Thus, even if you only work with a single Org file, that file should be put into the list89. You can customize org-agenda-files, but the easiest way to maintain it is through the following commands

  • {{{kbd(C-c [)}}} (org-agenda-file-to-front) ::

#+kindex: C-c [ #+findex: org-agenda-file-to-front #+cindex: files, adding to agenda list Add current file to the list of agenda files. The file is added to the front of the list. If it was already in the list, it is moved to the front. With a prefix argument, file is added/moved to the end.

  • {{{kbd(C-c ])}}} (org-remove-file) ::

#+kindex: C-c ] #+findex: org-remove-file Remove current file from the list of agenda files.

  • {{{kbd(C-')}}} and {{{kbd(C-\,)}}} (org-cycle-agenda-files) ::

#+kindex: C-' #+kindex: C-, #+findex: org-cycle-agenda-files #+cindex: cycling, of agenda files Cycle through agenda file list, visiting one file after the other.

  • {{{kbd(M-x org-iswitchb)}}} ::

#+findex: org-iswitchb Command to use an ~iswitchb~-like interface to switch to and between Org buffers.

The Org menu contains the current list of files and can be used to visit any of them.

If you would like to focus the agenda temporarily on a file not in this list, or on just one file in the list, or even on only a subtree in a file, then this can be done in different ways. For a single agenda command, you may press {{{kbd(<)}}} once or several times in the dispatcher (see *The Agenda Dispatcher). To restrict the agenda scope for an extended period, use the following commands:

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x <)}}} (org-agenda-set-restriction-lock) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x < #+findex: org-agenda-set-restriction-lock Permanently restrict the agenda to the current subtree. When called with a prefix argument, or with the cursor before the first headline in a file, set the agenda scope to the entire file. This restriction remains in effect until removed with {{{kbd(C-c C-x >)}}}, or by typing either {{{kbd(<)}}} or {{{kbd(>)}}} in the agenda dispatcher. If there is a window displaying an agenda view, the new restriction takes effect immediately.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x >)}}} (org-agenda-remove-restriction-lock) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x > #+findex: org-agenda-remove-restriction-lock Remove the permanent restriction created by {{{kbd(C-c C-x <)}}}.

When working with speedbar.el, you can use the following commands in the Speedbar frame:

  • {{{kbd(<)}}} (org-speedbar-set-agenda-restriction) ::

#+findex: org-speedbar-set-agenda-restriction Permanently restrict the agenda to the item---either an Org file or a subtree in such a file---at the cursor in the Speedbar frame. If there is a window displaying an agenda view, the new restriction takes effect immediately.

  • {{{kbd(>)}}} (org-agenda-remove-restriction-lock) ::

#+findex: org-agenda-remove-restriction-lock Lift the restriction.

The Agenda Dispatcher

The views are created through a dispatcher, accessible with {{{kbd(M-x org-agenda)}}}, or, better, bound to a global key (see *Activation). It displays a menu from which an additional letter is required to execute a command. The dispatcher offers the following default commands:

  • {{{kbd(a)}}} ::

Create the calendar-like agenda (see *Weekly/daily agenda).

  • {{{kbd(t)}}} or {{{kbd(T)}}} ::

Create a list of all TODO items (see *The global TODO list).

  • {{{kbd(m)}}} or {{{kbd(M)}}} ::

Create a list of headlines matching a given expression (see *Matching tags and properties).

  • {{{kbd(s)}}} ::

#+kindex: s @r{(Agenda dispatcher)} Create a list of entries selected by a boolean expression of keywords and/or regular expressions that must or must not occur in the entry.

  • {{{kbd(/)}}} ::

#+kindex: / @r{(Agenda dispatcher)} #+vindex: org-agenda-text-search-extra-files Search for a regular expression in all agenda files and additionally in the files listed in org-agenda-text-search-extra-files. This uses the Emacs command multi-occur. A prefix argument can be used to specify the number of context lines for each match, default is 1.

  • {{{kbd(#)}}} or {{{kbd(!)}}} ::

Create a list of stuck projects (see *Stuck projects).

  • {{{kbd(<)}}} ::

#+kindex: < @r{(Agenda dispatcher)} Restrict an agenda command to the current buffer90. After pressing {{{kbd(<)}}}, you still need to press the character selecting the command.

  • {{{kbd(< <)}}} ::

#+kindex: < < @r{(Agenda dispatcher)} If there is an active region, restrict the following agenda command to the region. Otherwise, restrict it to the current subtree91. After pressing {{{kbd(< <)}}}, you still need to press the character selecting the command.

  • {{{kbd(*)}}} ::

#+kindex: * @r{(Agenda dispatcher)} #+vindex: org-agenda-sticky #+findex: org-toggle-sticky-agenda Toggle sticky agenda views. By default, Org maintains only a single agenda buffer and rebuilds it each time you change the view, to make sure everything is always up to date. If you switch between views often and the build time bothers you, you can turn on sticky agenda buffers (make this the default by customizing the variable org-agenda-sticky). With sticky agendas, the dispatcher only switches to the selected view, you need to update it by hand with {{{kbd(r)}}} or {{{kbd(g)}}}. You can toggle sticky agenda view any time with org-toggle-sticky-agenda.

You can also define custom commands that are accessible through the dispatcher, just like the default commands. This includes the possibility to create extended agenda buffers that contain several blocks together, for example the weekly agenda, the global TODO list and a number of special tags matches. See *Custom Agenda Views.

The Built-in Agenda Views

In this section we describe the built-in views.

Weekly/daily agenda

The purpose of the weekly/daily agenda is to act like a page of a paper agenda, showing all the tasks for the current week or day.

  • {{{kbd(M-x org-agenda a)}}} (org-agenda-list) ::

#+kindex: a @r{(Agenda dispatcher)} #+findex: org-agenda-list #+cindex: org-agenda, command Compile an agenda for the current week from a list of Org files. The agenda shows the entries for each day. With a numeric prefix argument92---like {{{kbd(C-u 2 1 M-x org-agenda a)}}}---you may set the number of days to be displayed.

The default number of days displayed in the agenda is set by the variable org-agenda-span. This variable can be set to any number of days you want to see by default in the agenda, or to a span name, such a day, week, month or year. For weekly agendas, the default is to start on the previous Monday (see ~org-agenda-start-on-weekday~). You can also set the start date using a date shift: (setq org-agenda-start-day "+10d") starts the agenda ten days from today in the future.

Remote editing from the agenda buffer means, for example, that you can change the dates of deadlines and appointments from the agenda buffer. The commands available in the Agenda buffer are listed in *Commands in the Agenda Buffer.

Calendar/Diary integration

Emacs contains the calendar and diary by Edward M. Reingold. The calendar displays a three-month calendar with holidays from different countries and cultures. The diary allows you to keep track of anniversaries, lunar phases, sunrise/set, recurrent appointments (weekly, monthly) and more. In this way, it is quite complementary to Org. It can be very useful to combine output from Org with the diary.

In order to include entries from the Emacs diary into Org mode's agenda, you only need to customize the variable

(setq org-agenda-include-diary t)

After that, everything happens automatically. All diary entries including holidays, anniversaries, etc., are included in the agenda buffer created by Org mode. {{{kbd(SPC)}}}, {{{kbd(TAB)}}}, and {{{kbd(RET)}}} can be used from the agenda buffer to jump to the diary file in order to edit existing diary entries. The {{{kbd(i)}}} command to insert new entries for the current date works in the agenda buffer, as well as the commands {{{kbd(S)}}}, {{{kbd(M)}}}, and {{{kbd(C)}}} to display Sunrise/Sunset times, show lunar phases and to convert to other calendars, respectively. {{{kbd(c)}}} can be used to switch back and forth between calendar and agenda.

If you are using the diary only for S-exp entries and holidays, it is faster to not use the above setting, but instead to copy or even move the entries into an Org file. Org mode evaluates diary-style sexp entries, and does it faster because there is no overhead for first creating the diary display. Note that the sexp entries must start at the left margin, no whitespace is allowed before them, as seen in the following segment of an Org file:93

,* Holidays :PROPERTIES: :CATEGORY: Holiday :END: %%(org-calendar-holiday) ; special function for holiday names

,* Birthdays :PROPERTIES: :CATEGORY: Ann :END: %%(org-anniversary 1956 5 14) Arthur Dent is %d years old %%(org-anniversary 1869 10 2) Mahatma Gandhi would be %d years old

Anniversaries from BBDB

If you are using the Insidious Big Brother Database to store your contacts, you very likely prefer to store anniversaries in BBDB rather than in a separate Org or diary file. Org supports this and can show BBDB anniversaries as part of the agenda. All you need to do is to add the following to one of your agenda files:

,* Anniversaries :PROPERTIES: :CATEGORY: Anniv :END: %%(org-bbdb-anniversaries)

You can then go ahead and define anniversaries for a BBDB record. Basically, you need to press {{{kbd(C-o anniversary RET)}}} with the cursor in a BBDB record and then add the date in the format =YYYY-MM-DD= or MM-DD, followed by a space and the class of the anniversary (birthday, wedding, or a format string). If you omit the class, it defaults to birthday. Here are a few examples, the header for the file org-bbdb.el contains more detailed information.

1973-06-22 06-22 1955-08-02 wedding 2008-04-14 %s released version 6.01 of Org mode, %d years ago

After a change to BBDB, or for the first agenda display during an Emacs session, the agenda display suffers a short delay as Org updates its hash with anniversaries. However, from then on things will be very fast, much faster in fact than a long list of =%%(diary-anniversary)= entries in an Org or Diary file.

If you would like to see upcoming anniversaries with a bit of forewarning, you can use the following instead:

,* Anniversaries :PROPERTIES: :CATEGORY: Anniv :END: %%(org-bbdb-anniversaries-future 3)

That will give you three days' warning: on the anniversary date itself and the two days prior. The argument is optional: if omitted, it defaults to 7.

Appointment reminders

Org can interact with Emacs appointments notification facility. To add the appointments of your agenda files, use the command ~org-agenda-to-appt~. This command lets you filter through the list of your appointments and add only those belonging to a specific category or matching a regular expression. It also reads a APPT_WARNTIME property which overrides the value of ~appt-message-warning-time~ for this appointment. See the docstring for details.

The global TODO list

The global TODO list contains all unfinished TODO items formatted and collected into a single place.

  • {{{kbd(M-x org-agenda t)}}} (org-todo-list) ::

#+kindex: t @r{(Agenda dispatcher)} #+findex: org-todo-list Show the global TODO list. This collects the TODO items from all agenda files (see *Agenda Views) into a single buffer. By default, this lists items with a state the is not a DONE state. The buffer is in agenda-mode, so there are commands to examine and manipulate the TODO entries directly from that buffer (see *Commands in the Agenda Buffer).

  • {{{kbd(M-x org-agenda T)}}} (org-todo-list) ::

#+kindex: T @r{(Agenda dispatcher)} #+findex: org-todo-list #+cindex: TODO keyword matching #+vindex: org-todo-keywords Like the above, but allows selection of a specific TODO keyword. You can also do this by specifying a prefix argument to {{{kbd(t)}}}. You are prompted for a keyword, and you may also specify several keywords by separating them with | as the boolean OR operator. With a numeric prefix, the Nth keyword in org-todo-keywords is selected.

#+kindex: r The {{{kbd(r)}}} key in the agenda buffer regenerates it, and you can give a prefix argument to this command to change the selected TODO keyword, for example {{{kbd(3 r)}}}. If you often need a search for a specific keyword, define a custom command for it (see *The Agenda Dispatcher).

Matching specific TODO keywords can also be done as part of a tags search (see *Tag Searches).

Remote editing of TODO items means that you can change the state of a TODO entry with a single key press. The commands available in the TODO list are described in *Commands in the Agenda Buffer.

Normally the global TODO list simply shows all headlines with TODO keywords. This list can become very long. There are two ways to keep it more compact:

- #+vindex: org-agenda-todo-ignore-scheduled #+vindex: org-agenda-todo-ignore-deadlines #+vindex: org-agenda-todo-ignore-timestamp #+vindex: org-agenda-todo-ignore-with-date Some people view a TODO item that has been scheduled for execution or have a deadline (see *Timestamps, Deadlines and Scheduling) as no longer open. Configure the variables org-agenda-todo-ignore-scheduled, org-agenda-todo-ignore-deadlines, org-agenda-todo-ignore-timestamp and/or org-agenda-todo-ignore-with-date to exclude such items from the global TODO list.

- #+vindex: org-agenda-todo-list-sublevels TODO items may have sublevels to break up the task into subtasks. In such cases it may be enough to list only the highest level TODO headline and omit the sublevels from the global list. Configure the variable org-agenda-todo-list-sublevels to get this behavior.

Matching tags and properties

If headlines in the agenda files are marked with tags (see *Tags), or have properties (see *Properties and Columns), you can select headlines based on this metadata and collect them into an agenda buffer. The match syntax described here also applies when creating sparse trees with {{{kbd(C-c / m)}}}.

  • {{{kbd(M-x org-agenda m)}}} (org-tags-view) ::

#+kindex: m @r{(Agenda dispatcher)} #+findex: org-tags-view Produce a list of all headlines that match a given set of tags. The command prompts for a selection criterion, which is a boolean logic expression with tags, like +work+urgent-withboss or work|home (see *Tags). If you often need a specific search, define a custom command for it (see *The Agenda Dispatcher).

  • {{{kbd(M-x org-agenda M)}}} (org-tags-view) ::

#+kindex: M @r{(Agenda dispatcher)} #+findex: org-tags-view #+vindex: org-tags-match-list-sublevels #+vindex: org-agenda-tags-todo-honor-ignore-options Like {{{kbd(m)}}}, but only select headlines that are also TODO items and force checking subitems (see the variable org-tags-match-list-sublevels). To exclude scheduled/deadline items, see the variable org-agenda-tags-todo-honor-ignore-options. Matching specific TODO keywords together with a tags match is also possible, see *Tag Searches.

The commands available in the tags list are described in *Commands in the Agenda Buffer.

A search string can use Boolean operators & for AND and | for OR. =&= binds more strongly than |. Parentheses are currently not implemented. Each element in the search is either a tag, a regular expression matching tags, or an expression like PROPERTY OPERATOR VALUE with a comparison operator, accessing a property value. Each element may be preceded by - to select against it, and + is syntactic sugar for positive selection. The AND operator & is optional when + or - is present. Here are some examples, using only tags.

  • +work-boss ::

Select headlines tagged work, but discard those also tagged boss.

  • work|laptop ::

Selects lines tagged work or laptop.

  • work|laptop+night ::

Like before, but require the laptop lines to be tagged also night.

Instead of a tag, you may also specify a regular expression enclosed in curly braces. For example, work+{^boss.*} matches headlines that contain the tag :work: and any tag starting with boss.

Group tags (see *Tag Hierarchy) are expanded as regular expressions. E.g., if work is a group tag for the group :work:lab:conf:, then searching for work also searches for {\(?:work\|lab\|conf\)} and searching for -work searches for all headlines but those with one of the tags in the group (i.e., -{\(?:work\|lab\|conf\)}).

You may also test for properties (see *Properties and Columns) at the same time as matching tags. The properties may be real properties, or special properties that represent other metadata (see *Special Properties). For example, the property TODO represents the TODO keyword of the entry. Or, the property LEVEL represents the level of an entry. So searching +LEVEL=3+boss-TODO​="DONE" lists all level three headlines that have the tag boss and are not marked with the TODO keyword DONE. In buffers with org-odd-levels-only set, =LEVEL= does not count the number of stars, but LEVEL=2 corresponds to 3 stars etc.

Here are more examples:

  • work+TODO​="WAITING" ::

Select work=-tagged TODO lines with the specific TODO keyword =WAITING.

  • work+TODO​="WAITING"|home+TODO​="WAITING" ::

Waiting tasks both at work and at home.

When matching properties, a number of different operators can be used to test the value of a property. Here is a complex example:

+work-boss+PRIORITY="A"+Coffee="unlimited"+Effort<2 +With={Sarah|Denny}+SCHEDULED>="<2008-10-11>"

The type of comparison depends on how the comparison value is written:

  • If the comparison value is a plain number, a numerical comparison is
  • done, and the allowed operators are =<=, ===, =>=, =<==, =>==, and =<>=.
  • If the comparison value is enclosed in double-quotes, a string
  • comparison is done, and the same operators are allowed.
  • If the comparison value is enclosed in double-quotes and angular
  • brackets (like =DEADLINE<​="<2008-12-24 18:30>"=), both values are assumed to be date/time specifications in the standard Org way, and the comparison is done accordingly. Valid values also include =""= for now (including time), =""=, and =""= for these days at 0:00 hours, i.e., without a time specification. You can also use strings like ="<+5d>"= or ="<-2m>"= with units =d=, =w=, =m=, and =y= for day, week, month, and year, respectively.
  • If the comparison value is enclosed in curly braces, a regexp match
  • is performed, with === meaning that the regexp matches the property value, and =<>= meaning that it does not match.

So the search string in the example finds entries tagged work but not boss, which also have a priority value A, a Coffee property with the value unlimited, an EFFORT property that is numerically smaller than 2, a With property that is matched by the regular expression Sarah|Denny, and that are scheduled on or after October 11, 2008.

You can configure Org mode to use property inheritance during a search, but beware that this can slow down searches considerably. See *Property Inheritance, for details.

For backward compatibility, and also for typing speed, there is also a different way to test TODO states in a search. For this, terminate the tags/property part of the search string (which may include several terms connected with |) with a / and then specify a Boolean expression just for TODO keywords. The syntax is then similar to that for tags, but should be applied with care: for example, a positive selection on several TODO keywords cannot meaningfully be combined with boolean AND. However, negative selection combined with AND can be meaningful. To make sure that only lines are checked that actually have any TODO keyword (resulting in a speed-up), use {{{kbd(M-x org-agenda M)}}}, or equivalently start the TODO part after the slash with =!=. Using {{{kbd(M-x org-agenda M)}}} or /! does not match TODO keywords in a DONE state. Examples:

  • work/WAITING ::

Same as work+TODO​="WAITING".

  • work/!-WAITING-NEXT ::

Select work=-tagged TODO lines that are neither =WAITING nor NEXT.

  • work/!+WAITING|+NEXT ::

Select work=-tagged TODO lines that are either =WAITING or NEXT.

Search view

This agenda view is a general text search facility for Org mode entries. It is particularly useful to find notes.

  • {{{kbd(M-x org-agenda s)}}} (org-search-view) ::

#+kindex: s @r{(Agenda dispatcher)} #+findex: org-search-view This is a special search that lets you select entries by matching a substring or specific words using a boolean logic.

For example, the search string computer equipment matches entries that contain computer equipment as a substring, even if the two words are separated by more space or a line break.

Search view can also search for specific keywords in the entry, using Boolean logic. The search string +computer +wifi -ethernet -{8\.11[bg]} matches note entries that contain the keywords computer and wifi, but not the keyword ethernet, and which are also not matched by the regular expression 8\.11[bg], meaning to exclude both 8.11b and 8.11g. The first + is necessary to turn on boolean search, other + characters are optional. For more details, see the docstring of the command ~org-search-view~.

You can incrementally adjust a boolean search with the following keys

{{{kbd([)}}} Add a positive search word
{{{kbd(])}}} Add a negative search word
{{{kbd({)}}} Add a positive regular expression
{{{kbd(})}}} Add a negative regular expression

Note that in addition to the agenda files, this command also searches the files listed in org-agenda-text-search-extra-files.

Stuck projects

If you are following a system like David Allen's GTD to organize your work, one of the "duties" you have is a regular review to make sure that all projects move along. A stuck project is a project that has no defined next actions, so it never shows up in the TODO lists Org mode produces. During the review, you need to identify such projects and define next actions for them.

  • {{{kbd(M-x org-agenda #)}}} (org-agenda-list-stuck-projects) ::

#+kindex: # @r{(Agenda dispatcher)} #+findex: org-agenda-list-stuck-projects List projects that are stuck.

  • {{{kbd(M-x org-agenda !)}}} ::

#+kindex: ! @r{(Agenda dispatcher)} #+vindex: org-stuck-projects Customize the variable org-stuck-projects to define what a stuck project is and how to find it.

You almost certainly need to configure this view before it works for you. The built-in default assumes that all your projects are level-2 headlines, and that a project is not stuck if it has at least one entry marked with a TODO keyword TODO or NEXT or NEXTACTION.

Let's assume that you, in your own way of using Org mode, identify projects with a tag :PROJECT:, and that you use a TODO keyword =MAYBE= to indicate a project that should not be considered yet. Let's further assume that the TODO keyword DONE marks finished projects, and that NEXT and TODO indicate next actions. The tag =:@shop:= indicates shopping and is a next action even without the NEXT tag. Finally, if the project contains the special word IGNORE= anywhere, it should not be listed either. In this case you would start by identifying eligible projects with a tags/TODO match (see [[*Tag Searches]]) =+PROJECT/-MAYBE-DONE, and then check for TODO, =NEXT=, @shop, and IGNORE in the subtree to identify projects that are not stuck. The correct customization for this is:

(setq org-stuck-projects '("+PROJECT/-MAYBE-DONE" ("NEXT" "TODO") ("@shop") "\\"))

Note that if a project is identified as non-stuck, the subtree of this entry is searched for stuck projects.

Presentation and Sorting

Before displaying items in an agenda view, Org mode visually prepares the items and sorts them. Each item occupies a single line. The line starts with a prefix that contains the category (see *Categories) of the item and other important information. You can customize in which column tags are displayed through org-agenda-tags-column. You can also customize the prefix using the option ~org-agenda-prefix-format~. This prefix is followed by a cleaned-up version of the outline headline associated with the item.


The category is a broad label assigned to each agenda item. By default, the category is simply derived from the file name, but you can also specify it with a special line in the buffer, like this:

#+CATEGORY: Thesis

If you would like to have a special category for a single entry or a (sub)tree, give the entry a CATEGORY property with the special category you want to apply as the value.

The display in the agenda buffer looks best if the category is not longer than 10 characters.

You can set up icons for category by customizing the ~org-agenda-category-icon-alist~ variable.

Time-of-day specifications

Org mode checks each agenda item for a time-of-day specification. The time can be part of the timestamp that triggered inclusion into the agenda, for example

<2005-05-10 Tue 19:00>

Time ranges can be specified with two timestamps:

<2005-05-10 Tue 20:30>--<2005-05-10 Tue 22:15>

In the headline of the entry itself, a time(range) may also appear as plain text (like 12:45 or a 8:30-1pm). If the agenda integrates the Emacs diary (see *Weekly/daily agenda), time specifications in diary entries are recognized as well.

For agenda display, Org mode extracts the time and displays it in a standard 24 hour format as part of the prefix. The example times in the previous paragraphs would end up in the agenda like this:

8:30-13:00 Arthur Dent lies in front of the bulldozer 12:45...... Ford Prefect arrives and takes Arthur to the pub 19:00...... The Vogon reads his poem 20:30-22:15 Marvin escorts the Hitchhikers to the bridge

If the agenda is in single-day mode, or for the display of today, the timed entries are embedded in a time grid, like

8:00...... ------------------ 8:30-13:00 Arthur Dent lies in front of the bulldozer 10:00...... ------------------ 12:00...... ------------------ 12:45...... Ford Prefect arrives and takes Arthur to the pub 14:00...... ------------------ 16:00...... ------------------ 18:00...... ------------------ 19:00...... The Vogon reads his poem 20:00...... ------------------ 20:30-22:15 Marvin escorts the Hitchhikers to the bridge

The time grid can be turned on and off with the variable ~org-agenda-use-time-grid~, and can be configured with ~org-agenda-time-grid~.

Sorting of agenda items

Before being inserted into a view, the items are sorted. How this is done depends on the type of view.

- #+vindex: org-agenda-files For the daily/weekly agenda, the items for each day are sorted. The default order is to first collect all items containing an explicit time-of-day specification. These entries are shown at the beginning of the list, as a schedule for the day. After that, items remain grouped in categories, in the sequence given by org-agenda-files. Within each category, items are sorted by priority (see *Priorities), which is composed of the base priority (2000 for priority A, 1000 for B, and 0 for C), plus additional increments for overdue scheduled or deadline items.

  • For the TODO list, items remain in the order of categories, but
  • within each category, sorting takes place according to priority (see [[*Priorities]]). The priority used for sorting derives from the priority cookie, with additions depending on how close an item is to its due or scheduled date.
  • For tags matches, items are not sorted at all, but just appear in
  • the sequence in which they are found in the agenda files.

Sorting can be customized using the variable ~org-agenda-sorting-strategy~, and may also include criteria based on the estimated effort of an entry (see *Effort Estimates).

Filtering/limiting agenda times

Agenda built-in or customized commands are statically defined. Agenda filters and limits provide two ways of dynamically narrowing down the list of agenda entries: filters and limits. Filters only act on the display of the items, while limits take effect before the list of agenda entries is built. Filters are more often used interactively, while limits are mostly useful when defined as local variables within custom agenda commands.

Filtering in the agenda

  • {{{kbd(/)}}} (org-agenda-filter-by-tag) ::

#+findex: org-agenda-filter-by-tag #+vindex: org-agenda-tag-filter-preset Filter the agenda view with respect to a tag and/or effort estimates. The difference between this and a custom agenda command is that filtering is very fast, so that you can switch quickly between different filters without having to recreate the agenda.94

You are prompted for a tag selection letter; {{{kbd(SPC)}}} means any tag at all. Pressing {{{kbd(TAB)}}} at that prompt offers completion to select a tag, including any tags that do not have a selection character. The command then hides all entries that do not contain or inherit this tag. When called with prefix argument, remove the entries that do have the tag. A second {{{kbd(/)}}} at the prompt turns off the filter and shows any hidden entries. Pressing {{{kbd(+)}}} or {{{kbd(-)}}} switches between filtering and excluding the next tag.

#+vindex: org-agenda-auto-exclude-function Org also supports automatic, context-aware tag filtering. If the variable org-agenda-auto-exclude-function is set to a user-defined function, that function can decide which tags should be excluded from the agenda automatically. Once this is set, the {{{kbd(/)}}} command then accepts {{{kbd(RET)}}} as a sub-option key and runs the auto exclusion logic. For example, let's say you use a Net tag to identify tasks which need network access, an Errand tag for errands in town, and a =Call= tag for making phone calls. You could auto-exclude these tags based on the availability of the Internet, and outside of business hours, with something like this:

#+begin_src emacs-lisp (defun org-my-auto-exclude-function (tag) (and (cond ((string= tag "Net") (/= 0 (call-process "/sbin/ping" nil nil nil "-c1" "-q" "-t1" ""))) ((or (string= tag "Errand") (string= tag "Call")) (let ((hour (nth 2 (decode-time)))) (or (< hour 8) (> hour 21))))) (concat "-" tag)))

(setq org-agenda-auto-exclude-function 'org-my-auto-exclude-function) #+end_src

  • {{{kbd(<)}}} (org-agenda-filter-by-category) ::

#+findex: org-agenda-filter-by-category Filter the current agenda view with respect to the category of the item at point. Pressing {{{kbd(<)}}} another time removes this filter. When called with a prefix argument exclude the category of the item at point from the agenda.

#+vindex: org-agenda-category-filter-preset You can add a filter preset in custom agenda commands through the option org-agenda-category-filter-preset. See *Setting options for custom commands.

  • {{{kbd(^)}}} (org-agenda-filter-by-top-headline) ::

#+findex: org-agenda-filter-by-top-headline Filter the current agenda view and only display the siblings and the parent headline of the one at point.

  • {{{kbd(=)}}} (org-agenda-filter-by-regexp) ::

#+findex: org-agenda-filter-by-regexp Filter the agenda view by a regular expression: only show agenda entries matching the regular expression the user entered. When called with a prefix argument, it filters out entries matching the regexp. With two universal prefix arguments, it removes all the regexp filters, which can be accumulated.

#+vindex: org-agenda-regexp-filter-preset You can add a filter preset in custom agenda commands through the option org-agenda-regexp-filter-preset. See *Setting options for custom commands.

  • {{{kbd(_)}}} (org-agenda-filter-by-effort) ::

#+findex: org-agenda-filter-by-effort Filter the agenda view with respect to effort estimates. You first need to set up allowed efforts globally, for example

#+begin_src emacs-lisp (setq org-global-properties '(("Effort_ALL". "0 0:10 0:30 1:00 2:00 3:00 4:00"))) #+end_src

#+vindex: org-sort-agenda-noeffort-is-high You can then filter for an effort by first typing an operator, one of {{{kbd(<)}}}, {{{kbd(>)}}} and {{{kbd(=)}}}, and then the one-digit index of an effort estimate in your array of allowed values, where {{{kbd(0)}}} means the 10th value. The filter then restricts to entries with effort smaller-or-equal, equal, or larger-or-equal than the selected value. For application of the operator, entries without a defined effort are treated according to the value of org-sort-agenda-noeffort-is-high.

When called with a prefix argument, it removes entries matching the condition. With two universal prefix arguments, it clears effort filters, which can be accumulated.

#+vindex: org-agenda-effort-filter-preset You can add a filter preset in custom agenda commands through the option org-agenda-effort-filter-preset. See *Setting options for custom commands.

  • {{{kbd(|)}}} (org-agenda-filter-remove-all) ::

Remove all filters in the current agenda view.

Setting limits for the agenda

Here is a list of options that you can set, either globally, or locally in your custom agenda views (see *Custom Agenda Views).

  • org-agenda-max-entries ::

#+vindex: org-agenda-max-entries Limit the number of entries.

  • org-agenda-max-effort ::

#+vindex: org-agenda-max-effort Limit the duration of accumulated efforts (as minutes).

  • org-agenda-max-todos ::

#+vindex: org-agenda-max-todos Limit the number of entries with TODO keywords.

  • org-agenda-max-tags ::

#+vindex: org-agenda-max-tags Limit the number of tagged entries.

When set to a positive integer, each option excludes entries from other categories: for example, (setq org-agenda-max-effort 100)~ limits the agenda to 100 minutes of effort and exclude any entry that has no effort property. If you want to include entries with no effort property, use a negative value for ~org-agenda-max-effort. One useful setup is to use org-agenda-max-entries locally in a custom command. For example, this custom command displays the next five entries with a NEXT TODO keyword.

(setq org-agenda-custom-commands '(("n" todo "NEXT" ((org-agenda-max-entries 5)))))

Once you mark one of these five entry as DONE, rebuilding the agenda will again the next five entries again, including the first entry that was excluded so far.

You can also dynamically set temporary limits, which are lost when rebuilding the agenda:

  • {{{kbd(~ )}}} (org-agenda-limit-interactively) ::

#+findex: org-agenda-limit-interactively This prompts for the type of limit to apply and its value.

Commands in the Agenda Buffer

Entries in the agenda buffer are linked back to the Org file or diary file where they originate. You are not allowed to edit the agenda buffer itself, but commands are provided to show and jump to the original entry location, and to edit the Org files "remotely" from the agenda buffer. In this way, all information is stored only once, removing the risk that your agenda and note files may diverge.

Some commands can be executed with mouse clicks on agenda lines. For the other commands, the cursor needs to be in the desired line.


  • {{{kbd(n)}}} (org-agenda-next-line) ::

#+kindex: n #+findex: org-agenda-next-line Next line (same as {{{kbd(down)}}} and {{{kbd(C-n)}}}).

  • {{{kbd(p)}}} (org-agenda-previous-line) ::

#+kindex: p #+findex: org-agenda-previous-line Previous line (same as {{{kbd(up)}}} and {{{kbd(C-p)}}}).

View/Go to Org file

  • {{{kbd(SPC)}}} or {{{kbd(mouse-3)}}} (org-agenda-show-and-scroll-up) ::

#+kindex: SPC #+kindex: mouse-3 #+findex: org-agenda-show-and-scroll-up Display the original location of the item in another window. With a prefix argument, make sure that drawers stay folded.

  • {{{kbd(L)}}} (org-agenda-recenter) ::

#+findex: org-agenda-recenter Display original location and recenter that window.

  • {{{kbd(TAB)}}} or {{{kbd(mouse-2)}}} (org-agenda-goto) ::

#+kindex: TAB #+kindex: mouse-2 #+findex: org-agenda-goto Go to the original location of the item in another window.

  • {{{kbd(RET)}}} (org-agenda-switch-to) ::

#+kindex: RET #+findex: org-agenda-switch-to Go to the original location of the item and delete other windows.

  • {{{kbd(F)}}} (org-agenda-follow-mode) ::

#+kindex: F #+findex: org-agenda-follow-mode #+vindex: org-agenda-start-with-follow-mode Toggle Follow mode. In Follow mode, as you move the cursor through the agenda buffer, the other window always shows the corresponding location in the Org file. The initial setting for this mode in new agenda buffers can be set with the variable org-agenda-start-with-follow-mode.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x b)}}} (org-agenda-tree-to-indirect-buffer) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x b #+findex: org-agenda-tree-to-indirect-buffer Display the entire subtree of the current item in an indirect buffer. With a numeric prefix argument N, go up to level N and then take that tree. If N is negative, go up that many levels. With a {{{kbd(C-u)}}} prefix, do not remove the previously used indirect buffer.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-o)}}} (org-agenda-open-link) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-o #+findex: org-agenda-open-link Follow a link in the entry. This offers a selection of any links in the text belonging to the referenced Org node. If there is only one link, follow it without a selection prompt.

Change display

  • {{{kbd(A)}}} ::

#+kindex: A Interactively select another agenda view and append it to the current view.

  • {{{kbd(o)}}} ::

#+kindex: o Delete other windows.

  • {{{kbd(v d)}}} or short {{{kbd(d)}}} (org-agenda-day-view) ::

#+kindex: v d #+kindex: d #+findex: org-agenda-day-view Switch to day view. When switching to day view, this setting becomes the default for subsequent agenda refreshes. A numeric prefix argument may be used to jump directly to a specific day of the year. For example, {{{kbd(32 d)}}} jumps to February 1st. When setting day view, a year may be encoded in the prefix argument as well. For example, {{{kbd(200712 d)}}} jumps to January 12, 2007. If such a year specification has only one or two digits, it is expanded into one of the 30 next years or the last 69 years.

  • {{{kbd(v w)}}} or short {{{kbd(w)}}} (org-agenda-week-view) ::

#+kindex: v w #+kindex: w #+findex: org-agenda-week-view Switch to week view. When switching week view, this setting becomes the default for subsequent agenda refreshes. A numeric prefix argument may be used to jump directly to a specific day of the ISO week. For example {{{kbd(9 w)}}} to ISO week number 9. When setting week view, a year may be encoded in the prefix argument as well. For example, {{{kbd(200712 w)}}} jumps to week 12 in 2007. If such a year specification has only one or two digits, it is expanded into one of the 30 next years or the last 69 years.

  • {{{kbd(v m)}}} (org-agenda-month-view) ::

#+kindex: v m #+findex: org-agenda-month-view Switch to month view. Because month views are slow to create, they do not become the default for subsequent agenda refreshes. A numeric prefix argument may be used to jump directly to a specific day of the month. When setting month view, a year may be encoded in the prefix argument as well. For example, {{{kbd(200712 m)}}} jumps to December, 2007. If such a year specification has only one or two digits, it is expanded into one of the 30 next years or the last 69 years.

  • {{{kbd(v y)}}} (org-agenda-year-view) ::

#+kindex: v y #+findex: org-agenda-year-view Switch to year view. Because year views are slow to create, they do not become the default for subsequent agenda refreshes. A numeric prefix argument may be used to jump directly to a specific day of the year.

  • {{{kbd(v SPC)}}} (org-agenda-reset-view) ::

#+kindex: v SPC #+findex: org-agenda-reset-view #+vindex: org-agenda-span Reset the current view to org-agenda-span.

  • {{{kbd(f)}}} (org-agenda-later) ::

#+kindex: f #+findex: org-agenda-later Go forward in time to display the span following the current one. For example, if the display covers a week, switch to the following week. With a prefix argument, repeat that many times.

  • {{{kbd(b)}}} (org-agenda-earlier) ::

#+kindex: b #+findex: org-agenda-earlier Go backward in time to display earlier dates.

  • {{{kbd(.)}}} (org-agenda-goto-today) ::

#+kindex: . #+findex: org-agenda-goto-today Go to today.

  • {{{kbd(j)}}} (org-agenda-goto-date) ::

#+kindex: j #+findex: org-agenda-goto-date Prompt for a date and go there.

  • {{{kbd(J)}}} (org-agenda-clock-goto) ::

#+kindex: J #+findex: org-agenda-clock-goto Go to the currently clocked-in task in the agenda buffer.

  • {{{kbd(D)}}} (org-agenda-toggle-diary) ::

#+kindex: D #+findex: org-agenda-toggle-diary Toggle the inclusion of diary entries. See *Weekly/daily agenda.

  • {{{kbd(v l)}}} or {{{kbd(v L)}}} or short {{{kbd(l)}}} (org-agenda-log-mode) ::

#+kindex: v l #+kindex: l #+kindex: v L #+findex: org-agenda-log-mode #+vindex: org-log-done #+vindex: org-agenda-log-mode-items Toggle Logbook mode. In Logbook mode, entries that were marked DONE while logging was on (see the variable org-log-done) are shown in the agenda, as are entries that have been clocked on that day. You can configure the entry types that should be included in log mode using the variable org-agenda-log-mode-items. When called with a {{{kbd(C-u)}}} prefix, show all possible logbook entries, including state changes. When called with two prefix arguments {{{kbd(C-u C-u)}}}, show only logging information, nothing else. {{{kbd(v L)}}} is equivalent to {{{kbd(C-u v l)}}}.

  • {{{kbd(v [)}}} or short {{{kbd([)}}} (org-agenda-manipulate-query-add) ::

#+kindex: v [ #+kindex: [ #+findex: org-agenda-manipulate-query-add Include inactive timestamps into the current view. Only for weekly/daily agenda and timeline views.

  • {{{kbd(v a)}}} (org-agenda-archives-mode) ::

#+kindex: v a #+findex: org-agenda-archives-mode Toggle Archives mode. In Archives mode, trees that are archived (see *Internal archiving) are also scanned when producing the agenda. To exit archives mode, press {{{kbd(v a)}}} again.

  • {{{kbd(v A)}}} ::

#+kindex: v A Toggle Archives mode. Include all archive files as well.

  • {{{kbd(v R)}}} or short {{{kbd(R)}}} (org-agenda-clockreport-mode) ::

#+kindex: v R #+kindex: R #+findex: org-agenda-clockreport-mode #+vindex: org-agenda-start-with-clockreport-mode #+vindex: org-clock-report-include-clocking-task Toggle Clockreport mode. In Clockreport mode, the daily/weekly agenda always shows a table with the clocked times for the time span and file scope covered by the current agenda view. The initial setting for this mode in new agenda buffers can be set with the variable org-agenda-start-with-clockreport-mode. By using a prefix argument when toggling this mode (i.e., {{{kbd(C-u R)}}}), the clock table does not show contributions from entries that are hidden by agenda filtering95. See also the variable org-clock-report-include-clocking-task.

  • {{{kbd(v c)}}} ::

#+kindex: v c #+vindex: org-agenda-clock-consistency-checks Show overlapping clock entries, clocking gaps, and other clocking problems in the current agenda range. You can then visit clocking lines and fix them manually. See the variable org-agenda-clock-consistency-checks for information on how to customize the definition of what constituted a clocking problem. To return to normal agenda display, press {{{kbd(l)}}} to exit Logbook mode.

  • {{{kbd(v E)}}} or short {{{kbd(E)}}} (org-agenda-entry-text-mode) ::

#+kindex: v E #+kindex: E #+findex: org-agenda-entry-text-mode #+vindex: org-agenda-start-with-entry-text-mode #+vindex: org-agenda-entry-text-maxlines Toggle entry text mode. In entry text mode, a number of lines from the Org outline node referenced by an agenda line are displayed below the line. The maximum number of lines is given by the variable org-agenda-entry-text-maxlines. Calling this command with a numeric prefix argument temporarily modifies that number to the prefix value.

  • {{{kbd(G)}}} (org-agenda-toggle-time-grid) ::

#+kindex: G #+vindex: org-agenda-use-time-grid #+vindex: org-agenda-time-grid Toggle the time grid on and off. See also the variables org-agenda-use-time-grid and org-agenda-time-grid.

  • {{{kbd(r)}}} (org-agenda-redo), {{{kbd(g)}}} ::

#+kindex: r #+kindex: g #+findex: org-agenda-redo Recreate the agenda buffer, for example to reflect the changes after modification of the timestamps of items with {{{kbd(S-left)}}} and {{{kbd(S-right)}}}. When the buffer is the global TODO list, a prefix argument is interpreted to create a selective list for a specific TODO keyword.

  • {{{kbd(C-x C-s)}}} or short {{{kbd(s)}}} (org-save-all-org-buffers) ::

#+kindex: C-x C-s #+findex: org-save-all-org-buffers #+kindex: s Save all Org buffers in the current Emacs session, and also the locations of IDs.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-c)}}} (org-agenda-columns) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x C-c #+findex: org-agenda-columns #+vindex: org-columns-default-format Invoke column view (see *Column View) in the agenda buffer. The column view format is taken from the entry at point, or, if there is no entry at point, from the first entry in the agenda view. So whatever the format for that entry would be in the original buffer (taken from a property, from a COLUMNS keyword, or from the default variable org-columns-default-format) is used in the agenda.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x >)}}} (org-agenda-remove-restriction-lock) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x > #+findex: org-agenda-remove-restriction-lock Remove the restriction lock on the agenda, if it is currently restricted to a file or subtree (see *Agenda Files).

  • {{{kbd(M-up)}}} (org-agenda-drag-line-backward) ::

#+kindex: M-up #+findex: org-agenda-drag-line-backward Drag the line at point backward one line. With a numeric prefix argument, drag backward by that many lines.

Moving agenda lines does not persist after an agenda refresh and does not modify the contributing Org files.

  • {{{kbd(M-down)}}} (org-agenda-drag-line-forward) ::

#+kindex: M-down #+findex: org-agenda-drag-line-forward Drag the line at point forward one line. With a numeric prefix argument, drag forward by that many lines.

Remote editing

  • {{{kbd(0--9)}}} ::

Digit argument.

  • {{{kbd(C-_)}}} (org-agenda-undo) ::

#+kindex: C-_ #+findex: org-agenda-undo #+cindex: undoing remote-editing events #+cindex: remote editing, undo Undo a change due to a remote editing command. The change is undone both in the agenda buffer and in the remote buffer.

  • {{{kbd(t)}}} (org-agenda-todo) ::

#+kindex: t #+findex: org-agenda-todo Change the TODO state of the item, both in the agenda and in the original Org file.

  • {{{kbd(C-S-right)}}} (org-agenda-todo-nextset) ::

#+kindex: C-S-right #+findex: org-agenda-todo-nextset Switch to the next set of TODO keywords.

  • {{{kbd(C-S-left)}}}, org-agenda-todo-previousset ::

#+kindex: C-S-left Switch to the previous set of TODO keywords.

  • {{{kbd(C-k)}}} (org-agenda-kill) ::

#+kindex: C-k #+findex: org-agenda-kill #+vindex: org-agenda-confirm-kill Delete the current agenda item along with the entire subtree belonging to it in the original Org file. If the text to be deleted remotely is longer than one line, the kill needs to be confirmed by the user. See variable org-agenda-confirm-kill.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-w)}}} (org-agenda-refile) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-w #+findex: org-agenda-refile Refile the entry at point.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-a)}}} or short {{{kbd(a)}}} (org-agenda-archive-default-with-confirmation) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x C-a #+kindex: a #+findex: org-agenda-archive-default-with-confirmation #+vindex: org-archive-default-command Archive the subtree corresponding to the entry at point using the default archiving command set in org-archive-default-command. When using the {{{kbd(a)}}} key, confirmation is required.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x a)}}} (org-agenda-toggle-archive-tag) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x a #+findex: org-agenda-toggle-archive-tag Toggle the archive tag (see *Internal archiving) for the current headline.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x A)}}} (org-agenda-archive-to-archive-sibling) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x A #+findex: org-agenda-archive-to-archive-sibling Move the subtree corresponding to the current entry to its archive sibling.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-s)}}} or short {{{kbd($)}}} (org-agenda-archive) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-x C-s #+kindex: $ #+findex: org-agenda-archive Archive the subtree corresponding to the current headline. This means the entry is moved to the configured archive location, most likely a different file.

  • {{{kbd(T)}}} (org-agenda-show-tags) ::

#+kindex: T #+findex: org-agenda-show-tags #+vindex: org-agenda-show-inherited-tags Show all tags associated with the current item. This is useful if you have turned off org-agenda-show-inherited-tags, but still want to see all tags of a headline occasionally.

  • {{{kbd(:)}}} (org-agenda-set-tags) ::

#+kindex: : #+findex: org-agenda-set-tags Set tags for the current headline. If there is an active region in the agenda, change a tag for all headings in the region.

  • {{{kbd(\,)}}} (org-agenda-priority) ::

#+kindex: , #+findex: org-agenda-priority Set the priority for the current item. Org mode prompts for the priority character. If you reply with {{{kbd(SPC)}}}, the priority cookie is removed from the entry.

  • {{{kbd(P)}}} (org-agenda-show-priority) ::

#+kindex: P #+findex: org-agenda-show-priority Display weighted priority of current item.

  • {{{kbd(+)}}} or {{{kbd(S-up)}}} (org-agenda-priority-up) ::

#+kindex: + #+kindex: C-up #+findex: org-agenda-priority-up Increase the priority of the current item. The priority is changed in the original buffer, but the agenda is not resorted. Use the {{{kbd(r)}}} key for this.

  • {{{kbd(-)}}} or {{{kbd(S-down)}}} (org-agenda-priority-down) ::

#+kindex: - #+kindex: C-down #+findex: orga-agenda-priority-down Decrease the priority of the current item.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-z)}}} or short {{{kbd(z)}}} (org-agenda-add-note) ::

#+kindex: z #+kindex: C-c C-z #+findex: org-agenda-add-note #+vindex: org-log-into-drawer Add a note to the entry. This note is recorded, and then filed to the same location where state change notes are put. Depending on org-log-into-drawer, this may be inside a drawer.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-a)}}} (org-attach) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-a #+findex: org-attach Dispatcher for all command related to attachments.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-s)}}} (org-agenda-schedule) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-s #+findex: org-agenda-schedule Schedule this item. With a prefix argument, remove the scheduling timestamp

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-d)}}} (org-agenda-deadline) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-d #+findex: org-agenda-deadline Set a deadline for this item. With a prefix argument, remove the deadline.

  • {{{kbd(S-right)}}} (org-agenda-do-date-later) ::

#+kindex: S-right #+findex: org-agenda-do-date-later Change the timestamp associated with the current line by one day into the future. If the date is in the past, the first call to this command moves it to today. With a numeric prefix argument, change it by that many days. For example, {{{kbd(3 6 5 S-right)}}} changes it by a year. With a {{{kbd(C-u)}}} prefix, change the time by one hour. If you immediately repeat the command, it will continue to change hours even without the prefix argument. With a double {{{kbd(C-u C-u)}}} prefix, do the same for changing minutes. The stamp is changed in the original Org file, but the change is not directly reflected in the agenda buffer. Use {{{kbd(r)}}} or {{{kbd(g)}}} to update the buffer.

  • {{{kbd(S-left)}}} (org-agenda-do-date-earlier) ::

#+kindex: S-left #+findex: org-agenda-do-date-earlier Change the timestamp associated with the current line by one day into the past.

  • {{{kbd(>)}}} (org-agenda-date-prompt) ::

#+kindex: > #+findex: org-agenda-date-prompt Change the timestamp associated with the current line. The key {{{kbd(>)}}} has been chosen, because it is the same as {{{kbd(S-.)}}} on my keyboard.

  • {{{kbd(I)}}} (org-agenda-clock-in) ::

#+kindex: I #+findex: org-agenda-clock-in Start the clock on the current item. If a clock is running already, it is stopped first.

  • {{{kbd(O)}}} (org-agenda-clock-out) ::

#+kindex: O #+findex: org-agenda-clock-out Stop the previously started clock.

  • {{{kbd(X)}}} (org-agenda-clock-cancel) ::

#+kindex: X #+findex: org-agenda-clock-cancel Cancel the currently running clock.

  • {{{kbd(J)}}} (org-agenda-clock-goto) ::

#+kindex: J #+findex: org-agenda-clock-goto Jump to the running clock in another window.

  • {{{kbd(k)}}} (org-agenda-capture) ::

#+kindex: k #+findex: org-agenda-capture #+cindex: capturing, from agenda #+vindex: org-capture-use-agenda-date Like org-capture, but use the date at point as the default date for the capture template. See org-capture-use-agenda-date to make this the default behavior of org-capture.

Bulk remote editing selected entries

  • {{{kbd(m)}}} (org-agenda-bulk-mark) ::
  • #+kindex: m #+findex: org-agenda-bulk-mark

Mark the entry at point for bulk action. If there is an active region in the agenda, mark the entries in the region. With numeric prefix argument, mark that many successive entries.

  • {{{kbd(*)}}} (org-agenda-bulk-mark-all) ::
  • #+kindex: * #+findex: org-agenda-bulk-mark-all

Mark all visible agenda entries for bulk action.

  • {{{kbd(u)}}} (org-agenda-bulk-unmark) ::
  • #+kindex: u #+findex: org-agenda-bulk-unmark

Unmark entry for bulk action.

  • {{{kbd(U)}}} (org-agenda-bulk-remove-all-marks) ::
  • #+kindex: U #+findex: org-agenda-bulk-remove-all-marks

Unmark all marked entries for bulk action.

  • {{{kbd(M-m)}}} (org-agenda-bulk-toggle) ::
  • #+kindex: M-m #+findex: org-agenda-bulk-toggle

Toggle mark of the entry at point for bulk action.

  • {{{kbd(M-*)}}} (org-agenda-bulk-toggle-all) ::
  • #+kindex: M-* #+findex: org-agenda-bulk-toggle-all

Mark entries matching a regular expression for bulk action.

  • {{{kbd(%)}}} (org-agenda-bulk-mark-regexp) ::
  • #+kindex: % #+findex: org-agenda-bulk-mark-regexp

Mark entries matching a regular expression for bulk action.

  • {{{kbd(B)}}} (org-agenda-bulk-action) ::
  • #+kindex: B #+findex: org-agenda-bulk-action #+vindex: org-agenda-bulk-persistent-marks

Bulk action: act on all marked entries in the agenda. This prompts for another key to select the action to be applied. The prefix argument to {{{kbd(B)}}} is passed through to the {{{kbd(s)}}} and {{{kbd(d)}}} commands, to bulk-remove these special timestamps. By default, marks are removed after the bulk. If you want them to persist, set org-agenda-bulk-persistent-marks to t or hit {{{kbd(p)}}} at the prompt.

  • {{{kbd(*)}}} ::

Toggle persistent marks.

  • {{{kbd($)}}} ::

Archive all selected entries.

  • {{{kbd(A)}}} ::

Archive entries by moving them to their respective archive siblings.

  • {{{kbd(t)}}} ::

Change TODO state. This prompts for a single TODO keyword and changes the state of all selected entries, bypassing blocking and suppressing logging notes---but not timestamps.

  • {{{kbd(+)}}} ::

Add a tag to all selected entries.

  • {{{kbd(-)}}} ::

Remove a tag from all selected entries.

  • {{{kbd(s)}}} ::

Schedule all items to a new date. To shift existing schedule dates by a fixed number of days, use something starting with double plus at the prompt, for example ++8d or ++2w.

  • {{{kbd(d)}}} ::

Set deadline to a specific date.

  • {{{kbd(r)}}} ::

Prompt for a single refile target and move all entries. The entries are no longer in the agenda; refresh ({{{kbd(g)}}}) to bring them back.

  • {{{kbd(S)}}} ::

Reschedule randomly into the coming N days. N is prompted for. With a prefix argument ({{{kbd(C-u B S)}}}), scatter only across weekdays.

  • {{{kbd(f)}}} ::

#+vindex: org-agenda-bulk-custom-functions Apply a function96 to marked entries. For example, the function below sets the CATEGORY property of the entries to web.

#+begin_src emacs-lisp (defun set-category () (interactive "P") (let ((marker (or (org-get-at-bol 'org-hd-marker) (org-agenda-error)))) (org-with-point-at marker (org-back-to-heading t) (org-set-property "CATEGORY" "web")))) #+end_src

Calendar commands

  • {{{kbd(c)}}} (org-agenda-goto-calendar) ::

#+kindex: c #+findex: org-agenda-goto-calendar Open the Emacs calendar and move to the date at the agenda cursor.

  • {{{kbd(c)}}} (org-calendar-goto-agenda) ::

#+kindex: c #+findex: org-calendar-goto-agenda When in the calendar, compute and show the Org agenda for the date at the cursor.

  • {{{kbd(i)}}} (org-agenda-diary-entry) ::
  • #+kindex: i #+findex: org-agenda-diary-entry

#+cindex: diary entries, creating from agenda Insert a new entry into the diary, using the date at the cursor and (for block entries) the date at the mark. This adds to the Emacs diary file97, in a way similar to the {{{kbd(i)}}} command in the calendar. The diary file pops up in another window, where you can add the entry.

#+vindex: org-agenda-diary-file If you configure org-agenda-diary-file to point to an Org file, Org creates entries in that file instead. Most entries are stored in a date-based outline tree that will later make it easy to archive appointments from previous months/years. The tree is built under an entry with a DATE_TREE property, or else with years as top-level entries. Emacs prompts you for the entry text---if you specify it, the entry is created in org-agenda-diary-file without further interaction. If you directly press {{{kbd(RET)}}} at the prompt without typing text, the target file is shown in another window for you to finish the entry there. See also the {{{kbd(k r)}}} command.

  • {{{kbd(M)}}} (org-agenda-phases-of-moon) ::

#+kindex: M #+findex: org-agenda-phases-of-moon Show the phases of the moon for the three months around current date.

  • {{{kbd(S)}}} (org-agenda-sunrise-sunset) ::

#+kindex: S #+findex: org-agenda-sunrise-sunset Show sunrise and sunset times. The geographical location must be set with calendar variables, see the documentation for the Emacs calendar.

  • {{{kbd(C)}}} (org-agenda-convert-date) ::

#+kindex: C #+findex: org-agenda-convert-date Convert the date at cursor into many other cultural and historic calendars.

  • {{{kbd(H)}}} (org-agenda-holidays) ::

#+kindex: H #+findex: org-agenda-holidays Show holidays for three months around the cursor date.

Quit and exit

  • {{{kbd(q)}}} (org-agenda-quit) ::
  • #+kindex: q #+findex: org-agenda-quit

Quit agenda, remove the agenda buffer.

  • {{{kbd(x)}}} (org-agenda-exit) ::
  • #+kindex: x #+findex: org-agenda-exit

#+cindex: agenda files, removing buffers Exit agenda, remove the agenda buffer and all buffers loaded by Emacs for the compilation of the agenda. Buffers created by the user to visit Org files are not removed.

Custom Agenda Views

Custom agenda commands serve two purposes: to store and quickly access frequently used TODO and tags searches, and to create special composite agenda buffers. Custom agenda commands are accessible through the dispatcher (see *The Agenda Dispatcher), just like the default commands.

Storing searches

The first application of custom searches is the definition of keyboard shortcuts for frequently used searches, either creating an agenda buffer, or a sparse tree (the latter covering of course only the current buffer).

Custom commands are configured in the variable ~org-agenda-custom-commands~. You can customize this variable, for example by pressing {{{kbd(C)}}} from the agenda dispatcher (see *The Agenda Dispatcher). You can also directly set it with Emacs Lisp in the Emacs init file. The following example contains all valid agenda views:

(setq org-agenda-custom-commands '(("x" agenda) ("y" agenda*) ("w" todo "WAITING") ("W" todo-tree "WAITING") ("u" tags "+boss-urgent") ("v" tags-todo "+boss-urgent") ("U" tags-tree "+boss-urgent") ("f" occur-tree "\\") ("h" . "HOME+Name tags searches") ;description for "h" prefix ("hl" tags "+home+Lisa") ("hp" tags "+home+Peter") ("hk" tags "+home+Kim")))

The initial string in each entry defines the keys you have to press after the dispatcher command in order to access the command. Usually this will be just a single character, but if you have many similar commands, you can also define two-letter combinations where the first character is the same in several combinations and serves as a prefix key98. The second parameter is the search type, followed by the string or regular expression to be used for the matching. The example above will therefore define:

  • {{{kbd(x)}}} ::

as a global search for agenda entries planned99 this week/day.

  • {{{kbd(y)}}} ::

as the same search, but only for entries with an hour specification like =[h]h:mm=---think of them as appointments.

  • {{{kbd(w)}}} ::

as a global search for TODO entries with WAITING as the TODO keyword.

  • {{{kbd(W)}}} ::

as the same search, but only in the current buffer and displaying the results as a sparse tree.

  • {{{kbd(u)}}} ::

as a global tags search for headlines tagged boss but not urgent.

  • {{{kbd(v)}}} ::

The same search, but limiting it to headlines that are also TODO items.

  • {{{kbd(U)}}} ::

as the same search, but only in the current buffer and displaying the result as a sparse tree.

  • {{{kbd(f)}}} ::

to create a sparse tree (again, current buffer only) with all entries containing the word FIXME.

  • {{{kbd(h)}}} ::

as a prefix command for a HOME tags search where you have to press an additional key ({{{kbd(l)}}}, {{{kbd(p)}}} or {{{kbd(k)}}}) to select a name (Lisa, Peter, or Kim) as additional tag to match.

Note that *-tree agenda views need to be called from an Org buffer as they operate on the current buffer only.

Block agenda

Another possibility is the construction of agenda views that comprise the results of several commands, each of which creates a block in the agenda buffer. The available commands include agenda for the daily or weekly agenda (as created with {{{kbd(a)}}}) , alltodo for the global TODO list (as constructed with {{{kbd(t)}}}), and the matching commands discussed above: todo, tags, and tags-todo. Here are two examples:

(setq org-agenda-custom-commands '(("h" "Agenda and Home-related tasks" ((agenda "") (tags-todo "home") (tags "garden"))) ("o" "Agenda and Office-related tasks" ((agenda "") (tags-todo "work") (tags "office")))))

This defines {{{kbd(h)}}} to create a multi-block view for stuff you need to attend to at home. The resulting agenda buffer contains your agenda for the current week, all TODO items that carry the tag home, and also all lines tagged with garden. Finally the command {{{kbd(o)}}} provides a similar view for office tasks.

Setting options for custom commands

Org mode contains a number of variables regulating agenda construction and display. The global variables define the behavior for all agenda commands, including the custom commands. However, if you want to change some settings just for a single custom view, you can do so. Setting options requires inserting a list of variable names and values at the right spot in org-agenda-custom-commands. For example:

(setq org-agenda-custom-commands '(("w" todo "WAITING" ((org-agenda-sorting-strategy '(priority-down)) (org-agenda-prefix-format " Mixed: "))) ("U" tags-tree "+boss-urgent" ((org-show-context-detail 'minimal))) ("N" search "" ((org-agenda-files '("~org/")) (org-agenda-text-search-extra-files nil)))))

Now the {{{kbd(w)}}} command sorts the collected entries only by priority, and the prefix format is modified to just say =Mixed:= instead of giving the category of the entry. The sparse tags tree of {{{kbd(U)}}} now turns out ultra-compact, because neither the headline hierarchy above the match, nor the headline following the match are shown. The command {{{kbd(N)}}} does a text search limited to only a single file.

For command sets creating a block agenda, org-agenda-custom-commands~ has two separate spots for setting options. You can add options that should be valid for just a single command in the set, and options that should be valid for all commands in the set. The former are just added to the command entry; the latter must come after the list of command entries. Going back to the block agenda example (see [[*Block agenda]]), let's change the sorting strategy for the {{{kbd(h)}}} commands to ~priority-down, but let's sort the results for GARDEN tags query in the opposite order, priority-up. This would look like this:

(setq org-agenda-custom-commands '(("h" "Agenda and Home-related tasks" ((agenda) (tags-todo "home") (tags "garden" ((org-agenda-sorting-strategy '(priority-up))))) ((org-agenda-sorting-strategy '(priority-down)))) ("o" "Agenda and Office-related tasks" ((agenda) (tags-todo "work") (tags "office")))))

As you see, the values and parentheses setting is a little complex. When in doubt, use the customize interface to set this variable---it fully supports its structure. Just one caveat: when setting options in this interface, the values are just Lisp expressions. So if the value is a string, you need to add the double-quotes around the value yourself.

To control whether an agenda command should be accessible from a specific context, you can customize ~org-agenda-custom-commands-contexts~. Let's say for example that you have an agenda command {{{kbd(o)}}} displaying a view that you only need when reading emails. Then you would configure this option like this:

(setq org-agenda-custom-commands-contexts '(("o" (in-mode . "message-mode"))))

You can also tell that the command key {{{kbd(o)}}} should refer to another command key {{{kbd(r)}}}. In that case, add this command key like this:

(setq org-agenda-custom-commands-contexts '(("o" "r" (in-mode . "message-mode"))))

See the docstring of the variable for more information.

Exporting Agenda Views

If you are away from your computer, it can be very useful to have a printed version of some agenda views to carry around. Org mode can export custom agenda views as plain text, HTML100, Postscript, PDF101, and iCalendar files. If you want to do this only occasionally, use the following command:

  • {{{kbd(C-x C-w)}}} (org-agenda-write) ::
  • #+kindex: C-x C-w #+findex: org-agenda-write #+cindex: exporting agenda views #+cindex: agenda views, exporting

#+vindex: org-agenda-exporter-settings Write the agenda view to a file.

If you need to export certain agenda views frequently, you can associate any custom agenda command with a list of output file names102. Here is an example that first defines custom commands for the agenda and the global TODO list, together with a number of files to which to export them. Then we define two block agenda commands and specify file names for them as well. File names can be relative to the current working directory, or absolute.

(setq org-agenda-custom-commands '(("X" agenda "" nil ("agenda.html" "")) ("Y" alltodo "" nil ("todo.html" "todo.txt" "")) ("h" "Agenda and Home-related tasks" ((agenda "") (tags-todo "home") (tags "garden")) nil ("~/views/home.html")) ("o" "Agenda and Office-related tasks" ((agenda) (tags-todo "work") (tags "office")) nil ("~/views/" "~/calendars/office.ics"))))

The extension of the file name determines the type of export. If it is =.html=, Org mode uses the htmlize package to convert the buffer to HTML and save it to this file name. If the extension is, ~ps-print-buffer-with-faces~ is used to produce Postscript output. If the extension is =.ics=, iCalendar export is run export over all files that were used to construct the agenda, and limit the export to entries listed in the agenda. Any other extension produces a plain ASCII file.

The export files are not created when you use one of those commands interactively because this might use too much overhead. Instead, there is a special command to produce all specified files in one step:

  • {{{kbd(e)}}} (org-store-agenda-views) ::

#+kindex: e @r{(Agenda dispatcher)} #+findex: org-store-agenda-views Export all agenda views that have export file names associated with them.

You can use the options section of the custom agenda commands to also set options for the export commands. For example:

(setq org-agenda-custom-commands '(("X" agenda "" ((ps-number-of-columns 2) (ps-landscape-mode t) (org-agenda-prefix-format " [ ] ") (org-agenda-with-colors nil) (org-agenda-remove-tags t)) (""))))

This command sets two options for the Postscript exporter, to make it print in two columns in landscape format---the resulting page can be cut in two and then used in a paper agenda. The remaining settings modify the agenda prefix to omit category and scheduling information, and instead include a checkbox to check off items. We also remove the tags to make the lines compact, and we do not want to use colors for the black-and-white printer. Settings specified in ~org-agenda-exporter-settings~ also apply, e.g.,

(setq org-agenda-exporter-settings '((ps-number-of-columns 2) (ps-landscape-mode t) (org-agenda-add-entry-text-maxlines 5) (htmlize-output-type 'css)))

but the settings in org-agenda-custom-commands take precedence.

From the command line you may also use:

emacs -eval (org-batch-store-agenda-views) -kill

or, if you need to modify some parameters103

emacs -eval '(org-batch-store-agenda-views \ org-agenda-span (quote month) \ org-agenda-start-day "2007-11-01" \ org-agenda-include-diary nil \ org-agenda-files (quote ("~/org/")))' \ -kill

which creates the agenda views restricted to the file =~/org/, without diary entries and with a 30-day extent.

You can also extract agenda information in a way that allows further processing by other programs. See *Extracting Agenda Information, for more information.

Using Column View in the Agenda

Column view (see *Column View) is normally used to view and edit properties embedded in the hierarchical structure of an Org file. It can be quite useful to use column view also from the agenda, where entries are collected by certain criteria.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-c)}}} (org-agenda-columns) ::
  • #+kindex: C-c C-x C-c #+findex: org-agenda-columns

Turn on column view in the agenda.

To understand how to use this properly, it is important to realize that the entries in the agenda are no longer in their proper outline environment. This causes the following issues:

1. #+vindex: org-columns-default-format #+vindex: org-overriding-columns-format Org needs to make a decision which columns format to use. Since the entries in the agenda are collected from different files, and different files may have different columns formats, this is a non-trivial problem. Org first checks if the variable org-agenda-overriding-columns-format is currently set, and if so, takes the format from there. Otherwise it takes the format associated with the first item in the agenda, or, if that item does not have a specific format (defined in a property, or in its file), it uses org-columns-default-format.

2. #+cindex: CLOCKSUM, special property If any of the columns has a summary type defined (see *Column attributes), turning on column view in the agenda visits all relevant agenda files and make sure that the computations of this property are up to date. This is also true for the special CLOCKSUM property. Org then sums the values displayed in the agenda. In the daily/weekly agenda, the sums cover a single day; in all other views they cover the entire block.

It is important to realize that the agenda may show the same entry twice/---for example as scheduled and as a deadline---and it may show two entries from the same hierarchy (for example a /parent/ and its /child). In these cases, the summation in the agenda leads to incorrect results because some values count double.

  1. When the column view in the agenda shows the CLOCKSUM property,
  2. that is always the entire clocked time for this item. So even in the daily/weekly agenda, the clocksum listed in column view may originate from times outside the current view. This has the advantage that you can compare these values with a column listing the planned total effort for a task---one of the major applications for column view in the agenda. If you want information about clocked time in the displayed period use clock table mode (press {{{kbd(R)}}} in the agenda).

4. #+cindex: CLOCKSUM_T, special property When the column view in the agenda shows the CLOCKSUM_T property, that is always today's clocked time for this item. So even in the weekly agenda, the clocksum listed in column view only originates from today. This lets you compare the time you spent on a task for today, with the time already spent---via =CLOCKSUM=---and with the planned total effort for it.

Markup for Rich Export

When exporting Org documents, the exporter tries to reflect the structure of the document as accurately as possible in the back-end. Since export targets like HTML and LaTeX allow much richer formatting, Org mode has rules on how to prepare text for rich export. This section summarizes the markup rules used in an Org mode buffer.


Paragraphs are separated by at least one empty line. If you need to enforce a line break within a paragraph, use \\ at the end of a line.

To preserve the line breaks, indentation and blank lines in a region, but otherwise use normal formatting, you can use this construct, which can also be used to format poetry.

,#+BEGIN_VERSE Great clouds overhead Tiny black birds rise and fall Snow covers Emacs

---AlexSchroeder ,#+END_VERSE

When quoting a passage from another document, it is customary to format this as a paragraph that is indented on both the left and the right margin. You can include quotations in Org documents like this:

,#+BEGIN_QUOTE Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler ---Albert Einstein ,#+END_QUOTE

If you would like to center some text, do it like this:

,#+BEGIN_CENTER Everything should be made as simple as possible, \\ but not any simpler ,#+END_CENTER

Emphasis and Monospace

You can make words *bold*, /italic/, _underlined_, =verbatim== and =~code~, and, if you must, +strike-through+. Text in the code and verbatim string is not processed for Org mode specific syntax; it is exported verbatim.

To turn off fontification for marked up text, you can set ~org-fontify-emphasized-text~ to nil. To narrow down the list of available markup syntax, you can customize org-emphasis-alist.

Horizontal Rules

A line consisting of only dashes, and at least 5 of them, is exported as a horizontal line.

Images and Tables

Both the native Org mode tables (see *Tables) and tables formatted with the table.el package are exported properly. For Org mode tables, the lines before the first horizontal separator line become table header lines. You can use the following lines somewhere before the table to assign a caption and a label for cross references, and in the text you can refer to the object with [[tab:basic-data]] (see *Internal Links):

,#+CAPTION: This is the caption for the next table (or link) ,#+NAME: tab:basic-data | ... | ... | |-----+-----|

Optionally, the caption can take the form:

#+CAPTION[Caption for list of tables]: Caption for table.

Some back-ends allow you to directly include images into the exported document. Org does this, if a link to an image file does not have a description part, for example [[./img/a.jpg]]. If you wish to define a caption for the image and maybe a label for internal cross references, make sure that the link is on a line by itself and precede it with CAPTION and NAME keywords as follows:

,#+CAPTION: This is the caption for the next figure link (or table) ,#+NAME: fig:SED-HR4049 ./img/a.jpg

Such images can be displayed within the buffer. See the discussion of image links.

Even though images and tables are prominent examples of captioned structures, the same caption mechanism can apply to many others---e.g., LaTeX equations, source code blocks. Depending on the export back-end, those may or may not be handled.

Literal Examples

You can include literal examples that should not be subjected to markup. Such examples are typeset in monospace, so this is well suited for source code and similar examples.

,#+BEGIN_EXAMPLE Some example from a text file. ,#+END_EXAMPLE

Note that such blocks may be indented in order to align nicely with indented text and in particular with plain list structure (see *Plain Lists). For simplicity when using small examples, you can also start the example lines with a colon followed by a space. There may also be additional whitespace before the colon:

Here is an example

Some example from a text file.

If the example is source code from a programming language, or any other text that can be marked up by Font Lock in Emacs, you can ask for the example to look like the fontified Emacs buffer104. This is done with the code block, where you also need to specify the name of the major mode that should be used to fontify the example105, see *Structure Templates for shortcuts to easily insert code blocks.

,#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp (defun org-xor (a b) "Exclusive or." (if a (not b) b)) ,#+END_SRC

Both in example and in src snippets, you can add a -n switch to the end of the #+BEGIN line, to get the lines of the example numbered. The -n takes an optional numeric argument specifying the starting line number of the block. If you use a +n switch, the numbering from the previous numbered snippet is continued in the current one. The +n switch can also take a numeric argument. This adds the value of the argument to the last line of the previous block to determine the starting line number.

,#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp -n 20 ;; This exports with line number 20. (message "This is line 21") ,#+END_SRC

,#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp +n 10 ;; This is listed as line 31. (message "This is line 32") ,#+END_SRC

In literal examples, Org interprets strings like (ref:name) as labels, and use them as targets for special hyperlinks like =(name)=---i.e., the reference name enclosed in single parenthesis. In HTML, hovering the mouse over such a link remote-highlights the corresponding code line, which is kind of cool.

You can also add a -r switch which removes the labels from the source code106. With the -n switch, links to these references are labeled by the line numbers from the code listing. Otherwise links use the labels with no parentheses. Here is an example:

,#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp -n -r (save-excursion (ref:sc) (goto-char (point-min)) (ref:jump) ,#+END_SRC In line (sc) we remember the current position. Line (jump) jumps to point-min.

Finally, you can use -i to preserve the indentation of a specific code block (see *Editing Source Code).

If the syntax for the label format conflicts with the language syntax, use a -l switch to change the format, for example

#+BEGIN_SRC pascal -n -r -l "((%s))"

See also the variable org-coderef-label-format.

HTML export also allows examples to be published as text areas (see *Text areas in HTML export).

Because the #+BEGIN ... #+END patterns need to be added so often, a shortcut is provided (see *Structure Templates).

  • {{{kbd(C-c ')}}} (org-edit-special) ::

#+kindex: C-c ' #+findex: org-edit-special Edit the source code example at point in its native mode. This works by switching to a temporary buffer with the source code. You need to exit by pressing {{{kbd(C-c ')}}} again107. The edited version then replaces the old version in the Org buffer. Fixed-width regions---where each line starts with a colon followed by a space---are edited using ~artist-mode~108 to allow creating ASCII drawings easily. Using this command in an empty line creates a new fixed-width region.

Calling org-store-link (see *Handling Links) while editing a source code example in a temporary buffer created with {{{kbd(C-c ')}}} prompts for a label. Make sure that it is unique in the current buffer, and insert it with the proper formatting like (ref:label) at the end of the current line. Then the label is stored as a link =(label)=, for retrieval with {{{kbd(C-c C-l)}}}.

Special Symbols

You can use LaTeX-like syntax to insert special symbols---named entities---like \alpha to indicate the Greek letter, or \to to indicate an arrow. Completion for these symbols is available, just type =\= and maybe a few letters, and press {{{kbd(M-TAB)}}} to see possible completions. If you need such a symbol inside a word, terminate it with a pair of curly brackets. For example

Pro tip: Given a circle \Gamma of diameter d, the length of its circumference is \pi{}d.

A large number of entities is provided, with names taken from both HTML and LaTeX; you can comfortably browse the complete list from a dedicated buffer using the command org-entities-help. It is also possible to provide your own special symbols in the variable ~org-entities-user~.

During export, these symbols are transformed into the native format of the exporter back-end. Strings like \alpha are exported as &alpha; in the HTML output, and as \(\alpha\) in the LaTeX output. Similarly, \nbsp= becomes =&nbsp; in HTML and ~ in LaTeX.

Entities may also be used as a way to escape markup in an Org document, e.g., \under{}not underlined\under exports as _not underlined_.

If you would like to see entities displayed as UTF-8 characters, use the following command109:

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x \)}}} (org-toggle-pretty-entities) ::
  • #+kindex: C-c C-x \ #+findex: org-toggle-pretty-entities

Toggle display of entities as UTF-8 characters. This does not change the buffer content which remains plain ASCII, but it overlays the UTF-8 character for display purposes only.

In addition to regular entities defined above, Org exports in a special way110 the following commonly used character combinations: \- is treated as a shy hyphen, -- and --- are converted into dashes, and =...= becomes a compact set of dots.

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.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x \)}}} (org-toggle-pretty-entities~) ::
  • #+kindex: C-c C-x \ #+findex: org-toggle-pretty-entities

In addition to showing entities as UTF-8 characters, this command also formats sub- and superscripts in a WYSIWYM way.

Embedded LaTeX

Plain ASCII is normally sufficient for almost all note taking. Exceptions include scientific notes, which often require mathematical symbols and the occasional formula. LaTeX111 is widely used to typeset scientific documents. Org mode supports embedding LaTeX code into its files, because many academics are used to writing and reading LaTeX source code, and because it can be readily processed to produce pretty output for a number of export back-ends.

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 kind112. 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:t Do the right thing automatically (MathJax)
#+OPTIONS: tex:nil Do not process LaTeX fragments at all
#+OPTIONS: tex:verbatim Verbatim export, for jsMath or so

Previewing LaTeX fragments

If you have a working LaTeX installation and dvipng, dvisvgm or =convert= installed113, LaTeX fragments can be processed to produce images of the typeset expressions to be used for inclusion while exporting to HTML (see *LaTeX fragments), or for inline previewing within Org mode.

You can customize the variables org-format-latex-options and ~org-format-latex-header~ to influence some aspects of the preview. In particular, the :scale (and for HTML export, :html-scale) property of the former can be used to adjust the size of the preview images.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-l)}}} (org-toggle-latex-fragment) ::
  • #+kindex: C-c C-x C-l #+findex: org-toggle-latex-fragment

Produce a preview image of the LaTeX fragment at point and overlay it over the source code. If there is no fragment at point, process all fragments in the current entry (between two headlines). When called with a prefix argument, process the entire subtree. When called with two prefix arguments, or when the cursor is before the first headline, process the entire buffer.

You can turn on the previewing of all LaTeX fragments in a file with

#+STARTUP: latexpreview

To disable it, simply use

#+STARTUP: nolatexpreview

Using CDLaTeX to enter math

CDLaTeX mode is a minor mode that is normally used in combination with a major LaTeX mode like AUCTeX in order to speed-up insertion of environments and math templates. Inside Org mode, you can make use of some of the features of CDLaTeX mode. You need to install =cdlatex.el= and texmathp.el (the latter comes also with AUCTeX) from Do not use CDLaTeX mode itself under Org mode, but use the light version ~org-cdlatex-mode~ that comes as part of Org mode. Turn it on for the current buffer with {{{kbd(M-x org-cdlatex-mode)}}}, or for all Org files with

(add-hook 'org-mode-hook 'turn-on-org-cdlatex)

When this mode is enabled, the following features are present (for more details see the documentation of CDLaTeX mode):

  • {{{kbd(C-c {)}}} ::
  • #+kindex: C-c @{

Insert an environment template.

  • {{{kbd(TAB)}}} ::
  • #+kindex: TAB

The {{{kbd(TAB)}}} expands the template if the cursor is inside a LaTeX fragment114. For example, {{{kbd(TAB)}}} expands fr to \frac{}{} and position the cursor correctly inside the first brace. Another {{{kbd(TAB)}}} gets you into the second brace.

Even outside fragments, {{{kbd(TAB)}}} expands environment abbreviations at the beginning of a line. For example, if you write equ at the beginning of a line and press {{{kbd(TAB)}}}, this abbreviation is expanded to an equation environment. To get a list of all abbreviations, type {{{kbd(M-x cdlatex-command-help)}}}.

  • {{{kbd(^)}}}, {{{kbd(_)}}} ::
  • #+kindex: _ #+kindex: ^ #+vindex: cdlatex-simplify-sub-super-scripts

Pressing {{{kbd(_)}}} and {{{kbd(^)}}} inside a LaTeX fragment inserts these characters together with a pair of braces. If you use {{{kbd(TAB)}}} to move out of the braces, and if the braces surround only a single character or macro, they are removed again (depending on the variable cdlatex-simplify-sub-super-scripts).

  • {{{kbd(`)}}} ::
  • #+kindex: `

Pressing the backquote followed by a character inserts math macros, also outside LaTeX fragments. If you wait more than 1.5 seconds after the backquote, a help window pops up.

  • {{{kbd(')}}} ::
  • #+kindex: '

Pressing the single-quote followed by another character modifies the symbol before point with an accent or a font. If you wait more than 1.5 seconds after the single-quote, a help window pops up. Character modification works only inside LaTeX fragments; outside the quote is normal.


Sometimes, you may want to pretty print your notes, publish them on the web or even share them with people not using Org. In these cases, the Org export facilities can be used to convert your documents to a variety of other formats, while retaining as much structure (see *Document Structure) and markup (see *Markup for Rich Export) as possible.

Libraries responsible for such translation are called back-ends. Org ships with the following ones

  • ascii (ASCII format)
  • beamer (LaTeX Beamer format)
  • html (HTML format)
  • icalendar (iCalendar format)
  • latex (LaTeX format)
  • md (Markdown format)
  • odt (OpenDocument Text format)
  • org (Org format)
  • texinfo (Texinfo format)
  • man (Man page format)

Org also uses additional libraries located in contrib/ directory (see *Installation). Users can install additional export libraries for additional formats from the Emacs packaging system. For easy discovery, these packages have a common naming scheme: ox-NAME, where {{{var(NAME)}}} is one of the formats. For example, ~ox-koma-letter~ koma-letter back-end.

Org loads back-ends for the following formats by default: ASCII, HTML, iCalendar, LaTeX and ODT. Org can load additional back-ends either of two ways: through the org-export-backends variable configuration; or, by requiring the library in the Emacs init file like this:

(require 'ox-md)

The Export Dispatcher

The export dispatcher is the main interface for Org's exports. A hierarchical menu presents the currently configured export formats. Options are shown as easy toggle switches on the same screen.

Org also has a minimal prompt interface for the export dispatcher. When the variable org-export-dispatch-use-expert-ui is set to a non-~nil~ value, Org prompts in the minibuffer. To switch back to the hierarchical menu, press {{{kbd(?)}}}.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-e)}}} (org-export) ::
  • #+kindex: C-c C-e #+findex: org-export

Invokes the export dispatcher interface. The options show default settings. The {{{kbd(C-u)}}} prefix argument preserves options from the previous export, including any sub-tree selections.

Org exports the entire buffer by default. If the Org buffer has an active region, then Org exports just that region.

Within the dispatcher interface, the following key combinations can further alter what is exported, and how.

  • {{{kbd(C-a)}}} ::
  • #+kindex: C-c C-e C-a

Toggle asynchronous export. Asynchronous export uses an external Emacs process with a specially configured initialization file to complete the exporting process in the background thereby releasing the current interface. This is particularly useful when exporting long documents.

Output from an asynchronous export is saved on the "the export stack". To view this stack, call the export dispatcher with a double {{{kbd(C-u)}}} prefix argument. If already in the export dispatcher menu, {{{kbd(&)}}} displays the stack.

#+vindex: org-export-async-init-file To make the background export process the default, customize the variable, org-export-in-background. Additionally, you can set the initialization file used by the background process with org-export-async-init-file.

#+vindex: org-export-in-background You can make asynchronous export the default by setting org-export-in-background.

  • {{{kbd(C-b)}}} ::
  • #+kindex: C-c C-e C-b

Toggle body-only export. Useful for excluding headers and footers in the export. Affects only those back-end formats that have such sections---like <head>...</head> in HTML.

  • {{{kbd(C-s}}} ::
  • #+kindex: C-c C-e C-s

Toggle sub-tree export. When turned on, Org exports only the sub-tree starting from the cursor position at the time the export dispatcher was invoked. Org uses the top heading of this sub-tree as the document's title. If the cursor is not on a heading, Org uses the nearest enclosing header. If the cursor is in the document preamble, Org signals an error and aborts export.

#+vindex: org-export-initial-scope To make the sub-tree export the default, customize the variable org-export-initial-scope.

  • {{{kbd(C-v)}}} ::
  • #+kindex: C-c C-e C-v

Toggle visible-only export. Useful for exporting only visible parts of an Org document by adjusting outline visibility settings.

Export Settings

Export options can be set: globally with variables; for an individual file by making variables buffer-local with in-buffer settings (see *Summary of In-Buffer Settings), by setting individual keywords, or by specifying them in a compact form with the OPTIONS keyword; or for a tree by setting properties (see *Properties and Columns). Options set at a specific level override options set at a more general level.

In-buffer settings may appear anywhere in the file, either directly or indirectly through a file included using #+SETUPFILE: filename or URL syntax. Option keyword sets tailored to a particular back-end can be inserted from the export dispatcher (see *The Export Dispatcher) using the Insert template command by pressing {{{kbd(#)}}}. To insert keywords individually, a good way to make sure the keyword is correct is to type #+ and then to use {{{kbd(M-TAB)}}}115 for completion.

The export keywords available for every back-end, and their equivalent global variables, include:

  • AUTHOR ::

#+cindex: AUTHOR, keyword #+vindex: user-full-name The document author (user-full-name).

  • CREATOR ::

#+cindex: CREATOR, keyword #+vindex: org-expot-creator-string Entity responsible for output generation (org-export-creator-string).

  • DATE ::

#+cindex: DATE, keyword #+vindex: org-export-date-timestamp-format A date or a time-stamp116.

  • EMAIL ::

#+cindex: EMAIL, keyword #+vindex: user-mail-address The email address (user-mail-address).


#+cindex: LANGUAGE, keyword #+vindex: org-export-default-language Language to use for translating certain strings (org-export-default-language). With #+LANGUAGE: fr, for example, Org translates Table of contents to the French Table des matières.


#+cindex: SELECT_TAGS, keyword #+vindex: org-export-select-tags The default value is ("export"). When a tree is tagged with export (org-export-select-tags), Org selects that tree and its sub-trees for export. Org excludes trees with =noexport= tags, see below. When selectively exporting files with =export= tags set, Org does not export any text that appears before the first headline.


#+cindex: EXCLUDE_TAGS, keyword #+vindex: org-export-exclude-tags The default value is ("noexport"). When a tree is tagged with noexport (org-export-exclude-tags), Org excludes that tree and its sub-trees from export. Entries tagged with noexport= are unconditionally excluded from the export, even if they have an =export tag. Even if a sub-tree is not exported, Org executes any code blocks contained there.

  • TITLE ::

#+cindex: TITLE, keyword #+cindex: document title Org displays this title. For long titles, use multiple =#+TITLE= lines.


#+cindex: EXPORT_FILE_NAME, keyword The name of the output file to be generated. Otherwise, Org generates the file name based on the buffer name and the extension based on the back-end format.

The OPTIONS keyword is a compact form. To configure multiple options, use several OPTIONS lines. OPTIONS recognizes the following arguments.

  • ' ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-smart-quotes Toggle smart quotes (org-export-with-smart-quotes). Depending on the language used, when activated, Org treats pairs of double quotes as primary quotes, pairs of single quotes as secondary quotes, and single quote marks as apostrophes.

  • * ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-emphasize Toggle emphasized text (org-export-with-emphasize).

  • - ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-special-strings Toggle conversion of special strings (org-export-with-special-strings).

  • : ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-fixed-width Toggle fixed-width sections (org-export-with-fixed-width).

  • < ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-timestamps Toggle inclusion of time/date active/inactive stamps (org-export-with-timestamps).

  • \n ::

#+vindex: org-export-preserve-breaks Toggles whether to preserve line breaks (org-export-preserve-breaks).

  • ^ ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-sub-superscripts Toggle TeX-like syntax for sub- and superscripts. If you write ^:{}, a_{b} is interpreted, but the simple a_b is left as it is (org-export-with-sub-superscripts).

  • arch ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-archived-trees Configure how archived trees are exported. When set to headline, the export process skips the contents and processes only the headlines (org-export-with-archived-trees).

  • author ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-author Toggle inclusion of author name into exported file (org-export-with-author).

  • broken-links ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-broken-links Toggles if Org should continue exporting upon finding a broken internal link. When set to mark, Org clearly marks the problem link in the output (org-export-with-broken-links).

  • c ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-clocks Toggle inclusion of CLOCK keywords (org-export-with-clocks).

  • creator ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-creator Toggle inclusion of creator information in the exported file (org-export-with-creator).

  • d ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-drawers Toggles inclusion of drawers, or list of drawers to include, or list of drawers to exclude (org-export-with-drawers).

  • date ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-date Toggle inclusion of a date into exported file (org-export-with-date).

  • e ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-entities Toggle inclusion of entities (org-export-with-entities).

  • email ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-email Toggle inclusion of the author's e-mail into exported file (org-export-with-email).

  • f ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-footnotes Toggle the inclusion of footnotes (org-export-with-footnotes).

  • H ::

#+vindex: org-export-headline-levels Set the number of headline levels for export (org-export-headline-levels). Below that level, headlines are treated differently. In most back-ends, they become list items.

  • inline ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-inlinetasks Toggle inclusion of inlinetasks (org-export-with-inlinetasks).

  • num ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-section-numbers #+cindex: UNNUMBERED, property Toggle section-numbers (org-export-with-section-numbers). When set to number N, Org numbers only those headlines at level N or above. Set UNNUMBERED property to non-~nil~ to disable numbering of heading and subheadings entirely. Moreover, when the value is notoc the headline, and all its children, do not appear in the table of contents either (see *Table of Contents).

  • p ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-planning Toggle export of planning information (org-export-with-planning). "Planning information" comes from lines located right after the headline and contain any combination of these cookies: SCHEDULED, DEADLINE, or CLOSED.

  • pri ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-priority Toggle inclusion of priority cookies (org-export-with-priority).

  • prop ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-properties Toggle inclusion of property drawers, or list the properties to include (org-export-with-properties).

  • stat ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-statistics-cookies Toggle inclusion of statistics cookies (org-export-with-statistics-cookies).

  • tags ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-tags Toggle inclusion of tags, may also be not-in-toc~ (~org-export-with-tags).

  • tasks ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-tasks Toggle inclusion of tasks (TODO items); or nil to remove all tasks; or todo to remove DONE tasks; or list the keywords to keep (org-export-with-tasks).

  • tex ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-latex nil does not export; t exports; verbatim keeps everything in verbatim (org-export-with-latex).

  • timestamp ::

#+vindex: org-export-time-stamp-file Toggle inclusion of the creation time in the exported file (org-export-time-stamp-file).

  • title ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-title Toggle inclusion of title (org-export-with-title).

  • toc ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-toc Toggle inclusion of the table of contents, or set the level limit (org-export-with-toc).

  • todo ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-todo-keywords Toggle inclusion of TODO keywords into exported text (org-export-with-todo-keywords).

  • | ::

#+vindex: org-export-with-tables Toggle inclusion of tables (org-export-with-tables).

When exporting sub-trees, special node properties in them can override the above keywords. They are special because they have an EXPORT_= prefix. For example, =DATE and EXPORT_FILE_NAME keywords become, respectively, EXPORT_DATE and EXPORT_FILE_NAME. Except for =SETUPFILE=, all other keywords listed above have an =EXPORT_= equivalent.

If org-export-allow-bind-keywords is non-~nil~, Emacs variables can become buffer-local during export by using the BIND keyword. Its syntax is #+BIND: variable value. This is particularly useful for in-buffer settings that cannot be changed using keywords.

Table of Contents

The table of contents includes all headlines in the document. Its depth is therefore the same as the headline levels in the file. If you need to use a different depth, or turn it off entirely, set the ~org-export-with-toc~ variable accordingly. You can achieve the same on a per file basis, using the following toc item in =OPTIONS= keyword:

,#+OPTIONS: toc:2 (only include two levels in TOC) ,#+OPTIONS: toc:nil (no default TOC at all)

Org includes both numbered and unnumbered headlines in the table of contents117. If you need to exclude an unnumbered headline, along with all its children, set the UNNUMBERED property to =notoc= value.

,* Subtree not numbered, not in table of contents either :PROPERTIES: :UNNUMBERED: notoc :END:

Org normally inserts the table of contents directly before the first headline of the file. To move the table of contents to a different location, first turn off the default with ~org-export-with-toc~ variable or with #+OPTIONS: toc:nil. Then insert #+TOC: headlines N at the desired location(s).

,#+OPTIONS: toc:nil ... ,#+TOC: headlines 2

To adjust the table of contents depth for a specific section of the Org document, append an additional local parameter. This parameter becomes a relative depth for the current level. The following example inserts a local table of contents, with direct children only.

,* Section ,#+TOC: headlines 1 local

Note that for this feature to work properly in LaTeX export, the Org file requires the inclusion of the titletoc package. Because of compatibility issues, titletoc has to be loaded before hyperref. Customize the org-latex-default-packages-alist variable.

Use the TOC keyword to generate list of tables---respectively, all listings---with captions.

,#+TOC: listings ,#+TOC: tables

Normally Org uses the headline for its entry in the table of contents. But with ALT_TITLE property, a different entry can be specified for the table of contents.

Include Files

During export, you can include the content of another file. For example, to include your =.emacs= file, you could use:

#+INCLUDE: "~/.emacs" src emacs-lisp

The optional second and third parameter are the markup (e.g., quote, =example=, or src), and, if the markup is src, the language for formatting the contents. The markup is optional; if it is not given, assume text is in Org syntax and process it normally. The INCLUDE= keyword also allows additional parameters =:prefix1 and :prefix to specify prefixes for the first line and for each following line, =:minlevel= in order to get Org mode content demoted to a specified level, as well as any options accepted by the selected markup. For example, to include a file as an item, use:

#+INCLUDE: "~/snippets/xx" :prefix1 "   + " :prefix "     "

You can also include a portion of a file by specifying a lines range using the :lines parameter. The line at the upper end of the range is not included. The start and/or the end of the range may be omitted to use the obvious defaults.

  • #+INCLUDE: "~/.emacs" :lines "5-10" ::

Include lines 5 to 10, 10 excluded.

  • #+INCLUDE: "~/.emacs" :lines "-10" ::

Include lines 1 to 10, 10 excluded.

  • #+INCLUDE: "~/.emacs" :lines "10-" ::

Include lines from 10 to EOF.

You can visit the file being included with the following command.

  • {{{kbd(C-c ')}}} (org-edit~special) ::
  • #+kindex: C-c ' #+findex: org-edit-special

Visit the include file at point.

Macro Replacement

Macros replace text snippets during export. Macros are defined globally in org-export-global-macros, or document-wise with the following syntax:

#+MACRO: name   replacement text; $1, $2 are arguments

which can be referenced using ={{{name(arg1, arg2)}}}=118. For example

,#+MACRO: poem The rose is $1, The violet's $2. Life's ordered: Org assists you. {{{poem(red,blue)}}}


The rose is red, The violet's blue. Life's ordered: Org assists you.

As a special case, Org parses any replacement text starting with =(eval= as an Emacs Lisp expression and evaluates it accordingly. Within such templates, arguments become strings. Thus, the following macro

#+MACRO: gnucheck (eval (concat "GNU/" (capitalize $1)))

turns {{{gnucheck(linux)}}} into GNU/Linux during export.

Org recognizes macro references in following Org markup areas: paragraphs, headlines, verse blocks, tables cells and lists. Org also recognizes macro references in keywords, such as CAPTION, TITLE, =AUTHOR=, DATE, and for some back-end specific export options.

Org comes with following pre-defined macros:

  • {{{keyword(NAME)}}}=; ={{{title}}}=; ={{{author}}}=; ={{{email}}} ::

#+cindex: keyword, macro #+cindex: title, macro #+cindex: author, macro #+cindex: email, macro The keyword macro collects all values from {{{var(NAME)}}} keywords throughout the buffer, separated with white space. title, author and email macros are shortcuts for, respectively, {{{keyword(TITLE)}}}, {{{keyword(AUTHOR)}}} and {{{keyword(EMAIL)}}}.

  • {{{date}}}=; ={{{date(FORMAT)}}} ::

#+cindex: date, macro This macro refers to the DATE keyword. {{{var(FORMAT)}}} is an optional argument to the date macro that is used only if =DATE= is a single timestamp. {{{var(FORMAT)}}} should be a format string understood by format-time-string.

  • {{{time(FORMAT)}}}=; ={{{modification-time(FORMAT, VC)}}} ::

#+cindex: time, macro #+cindex: modification time, macro These macros refer to the document's date and time of export and date and time of modification. {{{var(FORMAT)}}} is a string understood by format-time-string. If the second argument to the modification-time macro is non-~nil~, Org uses vc.el to retrieve the document's modification time from the version control system. Otherwise Org reads the file attributes.

  • {{{input-file}}} ::

#+cindex: input file, macro This macro refers to the filename of the exported file.

  • {{{property(PROPERTY-NAME)}}}=; ={{{property(PROPERTY-NAME, SEARCH OPTION)}}} ::

#+cindex: property, macro This macro returns the value of property {{{var(PROPERTY-NAME)}}} in the current entry. If {{{var(SEARCH-OPTION)}}} (see *Search Options in File Links) refers to a remote entry, use it instead.

  • {{{n}}}=; ={{{n(NAME)}}}=; ={{{n(NAME, ACTION)}}} ::

#+cindex: n, macro #+cindex: counter, macro This macro implements custom counters by returning the number of times the macro has been expanded so far while exporting the buffer. You can create more than one counter using different {{{var(NAME)}}} values. If {{{var(ACTION)}}} is -, previous value of the counter is held, i.e., the specified counter is not incremented. If the value is a number, the specified counter is set to that value. If it is any other non-empty string, the specified counter is reset to 1. You may leave {{{var(NAME)}}} empty to reset the default counter.

The surrounding brackets can be made invisible by setting ~org-hide-macro-markers~ non-~nil~.

Org expands macros at the very beginning of the export process.

Comment Lines

Lines starting with zero or more whitespace characters followed by one =#= and a whitespace are treated as comments and, as such, are not exported.

Likewise, regions surrounded by #+BEGIN_COMMENT ... =#+END_COMMENT= are not exported.

Finally, a COMMENT keyword at the beginning of an entry, but after any other keyword or priority cookie, comments out the entire subtree. In this case, the subtree is not exported and no code block within it is executed either119. The command below helps changing the comment status of a headline.

  • {{{kbd(C-c ;)}}} (org-toggle-comment) ::
  • #+kindex: C-c ; #+findex: org-toggle-comment

Toggle the COMMENT keyword at the beginning of an entry.

ASCII/Latin-1/UTF-8 export

ASCII export produces an output file containing only plain ASCII characters. This is the simplest and most direct text output. It does not contain any Org markup. Latin-1 and UTF-8 export use additional characters and symbols available in these encoding standards. All three of these export formats offer the most basic of text output for maximum portability.

On export, Org fills and justifies text according to the text width set in org-ascii-text-width.

Org exports links using a footnote-like style where the descriptive part is in the text and the link is in a note before the next heading. See the variable org-ascii-links-to-notes for details.

ASCII export commands

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-e t a)}}} (org-ascii-export-to-ascii), {{{kbd(C-c C-e t l)}}}, {{{kbd(C-c C-e t u)}}} ::
  • #+kindex: C-c C-e t a #+kindex: C-c C-e t l #+kindex: C-c C-e t u #+findex: org-ascii-export-to-ascii

Export as an ASCII file with a =.txt= extension. For, Org exports to myfile.txt, overwriting without warning. For myfile.txt, Org exports to myfile.txt.txt in order to prevent data loss.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-e t A)}}} (org-ascii-export-to-ascii), {{{kbd(C-c C-e t L)}}}, {{{kbd(C-c C-e t U)}}} ::
  • #+kindex: C-c C-e t A #+kindex: C-c C-e t L #+kindex: C-c C-e t U #+findex: org-ascii-export-to-ascii

Export to a temporary buffer. Does not create a file.

ASCII specific export settings

The ASCII export back-end has one extra keyword for customizing ASCII output. Setting this keyword works similar to the general options (see *Export Settings).


#+cindex: SUBTITLE, keyword The document subtitle. For long subtitles, use multiple #+SUBTITLE lines in the Org file. Org prints them on one continuous line, wrapping into multiple lines if necessary.

Header and sectioning structure

Org converts the first three outline levels into headlines for ASCII export. The remaining levels are turned into lists. To change this cut-off point where levels become lists, see *Export Settings.

Quoting ASCII text

To insert text within the Org file by the ASCII back-end, use one the following constructs, inline, keyword, or export block:

Inline text @@ascii:and additional text@@ within a paragraph.

,#+ASCII: Some text

,#+BEGIN_EXPORT ascii Org exports text in this block only when using ASCII back-end. ,#+END_EXPORT

ASCII specific attributes

ASCII back-end recognizes only one attribute, :width, which specifies the width of an horizontal rule in number of characters. The keyword and syntax for specifying widths is:

,#+ATTR_ASCII: :width 10

ASCII special blocks

Besides #+BEGIN_CENTER blocks (see *Paragraphs), ASCII back-end has these two left and right justification blocks:

,#+BEGIN_JUSTIFYLEFT It's just a jump to the left... ,#+END_JUSTIFYLEFT

,#+BEGIN_JUSTIFYRIGHT ...and then a step to the right. ,#+END_JUSTIFYRIGHT

Beamer Export

Org uses Beamer export to convert an Org file tree structure into high-quality interactive slides for presentations. Beamer is a LaTeX document class for creating presentations in PDF, HTML, and other popular display formats.

Beamer export commands

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-e l b)}}} (org-beamer-export-to-latex) ::
  • #+kindex: C-c C-e l b #+findex: org-beamer-export-to-latex

Export as LaTeX file with a =.tex= extension. For, Org exports to myfile.tex, overwriting without warning.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-e l B)}}} (org-beamer-export-as-latex) ::
  • #+kindex: C-c C-e l B #+findex: org-beamer-export-as-latex

Export to a temporary buffer. Does not create a file.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-e l P)}}} (org-beamer-export-to-pdf) ::
  • #+kindex: C-c C-e l P #+findex: org-beamer-export-to-pdf

Export as LaTeX file and then convert it to PDF format.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-e l O)}}} ::
  • #+kindex: C-c C-e l O

Export as LaTeX file, convert it to PDF format, and then open the PDF file.

Beamer specific export settings

Beamer export back-end has several additional keywords for customizing Beamer output. These keywords work similar to the general options settings (see *Export Settings).


#+cindex: BEAMER_THEME, keyword #+vindex: org-beamer-theme The Beamer layout theme (org-beamer-theme). Use square brackets for options. For example:

#+BEAMER_THEME: Rochester [height=20pt]

#+cindex: BEAMER_FONT_THEME, keyword The Beamer font theme.


#+cindex: BEAMER_INNER_THEME, keyword The Beamer inner theme.


#+cindex: BEAMER_OUTER_THEME, keyword The Beamer outer theme.


#+cindex: BEAMER_HEADER, keyword Arbitrary lines inserted in the preamble, just before the hyperref settings.


#+cindex: DESCRIPTION, keyword The document description. For long descriptions, use multiple DESCRIPTION keywords. By default, hyperref inserts DESCRIPTION as metadata. Use org-latex-hyperref-template to configure document metadata. Use org-latex-title-command to configure typesetting of description as part of front matter.


#+cindex: KEYWORDS, keyword The keywords for defining the contents of the document. Use multiple KEYWORDS lines if necessary. By default, hyperref= inserts =KEYWORDS as metadata. Use org-latex-hyperref-template to configure document metadata. Use org-latex-title-command to configure typesetting of keywords as part of front matter.


#+cindex: SUBTITLE, keyword Document's subtitle. For typesetting, use org-beamer-subtitle-format string. Use org-latex-hyperref-template to configure document metadata. Use org-latex-title-command to configure typesetting of subtitle as part of front matter.

Frames and Blocks in Beamer

Org transforms heading levels into Beamer's sectioning elements, frames and blocks. Any Org tree with a not-too-deep-level nesting should in principle be exportable as a Beamer presentation.

- #+vindex: org-beamer-frame-level Org headlines become Beamer frames when the heading level in Org is equal to org-beamer-frame-level or H value in a OPTIONS line (see *Export Settings).

#+cindex: BEAMER_ENV, property Org overrides headlines to frames conversion for the current tree of an Org file if it encounters the BEAMER_ENV property set to frame or fullframe. Org ignores whatever org-beamer-frame-level happens to be for that headline level in the Org tree. In Beamer terminology, a full frame is a frame without its title.

  • Org exports a Beamer frame's objects as block environments. Org can
  • enforce wrapping in special block types when =BEAMER_ENV= property is set[fn:118]. For valid values see ~org-beamer-environments-default~. To add more values, see ~org-beamer-environments-extra~. #+vindex: org-beamer-environments-default #+vindex: org-beamer-environments-extra

- #+cindex: BEAMER_REF, property If BEAMER_ENV is set to appendix, Org exports the entry as an appendix. When set to note, Org exports the entry as a note within the frame or between frames, depending on the entry's heading level. When set to noteNH, Org exports the entry as a note without its title. When set to againframe, Org exports the entry with \againframe command, which makes setting the BEAMER_REF= property mandatory because =\againframe needs frame to resume.

When ignoreheading is set, Org export ignores the entry's headline but not its content. This is useful for inserting content between frames. It is also useful for properly closing a =column= environment. @end itemize

#+cindex: BEAMER_ACT, property #+cindex: BEAMER_OPT, property When BEAMER_ACT is set for a headline, Org export translates that headline as an overlay or action specification. When enclosed in square brackets, Org export makes the overlay specification a default. Use BEAMER_OPT to set any options applicable to the current Beamer frame or block. The Beamer export back-end wraps with appropriate angular or square brackets. It also adds the fragile option for any code that may require a verbatim block.

#+cindex: BEAMER_COL, property To create a column on the Beamer slide, use the BEAMER_COL= property for its headline in the Org file. Set the value of =BEAMER_COL to a decimal number representing the fraction of the total text width. Beamer export uses this value to set the column's width and fills the column with the contents of the Org entry. If the Org entry has no specific environment defined, Beamer export ignores the heading. If the Org entry has a defined environment, Beamer export uses the heading as title. Behind the scenes, Beamer export automatically handles LaTeX column separations for contiguous headlines. To manually adjust them for any unique configurations needs, use the BEAMER_ENV property.

Beamer specific syntax

Since Org's Beamer export back-end is an extension of the LaTeX back-end, it recognizes other LaTeX specific syntax---for example, =#+LATEX:= or #+ATTR_LATEX:. See *LaTeX Export, for details.

Beamer export wraps the table of contents generated with toc:t= =OPTION keyword in a frame environment. Beamer export does not wrap the table of contents generated with TOC keyword (see *Table of Contents). Use square brackets for specifying options.

#+TOC: headlines [currentsection]

Insert Beamer-specific code using the following constructs:

,#+BEAMER: \pause

,#+BEGIN_EXPORT beamer Only Beamer export back-end exports this. ,#+END_BEAMER

Text @@beamer:some code@@ within a paragraph.

Inline constructs, such as the last one above, are useful for adding overlay specifications to objects with bold, item, link, ~radio-target~ and target types. Enclose the value in angular brackets and place the specification at the beginning of the object as shown in this example:

 A *@@beamer:<2->@@useful* feature

Beamer export recognizes the ATTR_BEAMER keyword with the following attributes from Beamer configurations: :environment for changing local Beamer environment, :overlay for specifying Beamer overlays in angular or square brackets, and :options for inserting optional arguments.

    ,#+ATTR_BEAMER: :environment nonindentlist
  • item 1, not indented
  • item 2, not indented
  • item 3, not indented
    ,#+ATTR_BEAMER: :overlay <+->
  • item 1
  • item 2

,#+ATTR_BEAMER: :options [Lagrange] Let $G$ be a finite group, and let $H$ be a subgroup of $G$. Then the order of $H$ divides the order of $G$.

Editing support

The org-beamer-mode is a special minor mode for faster editing of Beamer documents.

#+STARTUP: beamer
  • {{{kbd(C-c C-b)}}} (org-beamer-select-environment) ::
  • #+kindex: C-c C-b #+findex: org-beamer-select-environment

The org-beamer-mode provides this key for quicker selections in Beamer normal environments, and for selecting the =BEAMER_COL= property.

A Beamer example

Here is an example of an Org document ready for Beamer export.

;#+TITLE: Example Presentation ;#+AUTHOR: Carsten Dominik ;#+OPTIONS: H:2 toc:t num:t ;#+LATEX_CLASS: beamer ;#+LATEX_CLASS_OPTIONS: [presentation] ;#+BEAMER_THEME: Madrid ;#+COLUMNS: %45ITEM %10BEAMER_ENV(Env) %10BEAMER_ACT(Act) %4BEAMER_COL(Col) %8BEAMER_OPT(Opt)

,* This is the first structural section

,** Frame 1 ,*** Thanks to Eric Fraga :B_block: :PROPERTIES: :BEAMER_COL: 0.48 :BEAMER_ENV: block :END: for the first viable Beamer setup in Org ,*** Thanks to everyone else :B_block: :PROPERTIES: :BEAMER_COL: 0.48 :BEAMER_ACT: <2-> :BEAMER_ENV: block :END: for contributing to the discussion ,**** This will be formatted as a beamer note :B_note: :PROPERTIES: :BEAMER_env: note :END: ,** Frame 2 (where we will not use columns) ,*** Request Please test this stuff!

HTML Export

Org mode contains an HTML exporter with extensive HTML formatting compatible with XHTML 1.0 strict standard.

HTML export commands

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-e h h)}}} (org-html-export-to-html) ::
  • #+kindex: C-c C-e h h #+kindex: C-c C-e h o #+findex: org-html-export-to-html

Export as HTML file with a =.html= extension. For, Org exports to myfile.html, overwriting without warning. {{{kbd{C-c C-e h o)}}} exports to HTML and opens it in a web browser.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-e h H)}}} (org-html-export-as-html) ::
  • #+kindex: C-c C-e h H #+findex: org-html-export-as-html

Exports to a temporary buffer. Does not create a file.

HTML specific export settings

HTML export has a number of keywords, similar to the general options settings described in *Export Settings.


#+cindex: DESCRIPTION, keyword This is the document's description, which the HTML exporter inserts it as a HTML meta tag in the HTML file. For long descriptions, use multiple DESCRIPTION lines. The exporter takes care of wrapping the lines properly.


#+cindex: HTML_DOCTYPE, keyword #+vindex: org-html-doctype Specify the document type, for example: HTML5 (org-html-doctype).


#+cindex: HTML_CONTAINER, keyword #+vindex: org-html-container-element Specify the HTML container, such as div, for wrapping sections and elements (org-html-container-element).


#+cindex: HTML_LINK_HOME, keyword #+vindex: org-html-link-home The URL for home link (org-html-link-home).


#+cindex: HTML_LINK_UP, keyword #+vindex: org-html-link-up The URL for the up link of exported HTML pages (org-html-link-up).


#+cindex: HTML_MATHJAX, keyword #+vindex: org-html-mathjax-options Options for MathJax (org-html-mathjax-options). MathJax is used to typeset LaTeX math in HTML documents. See *Math formatting in HTML export, for an example.

  • HTML_HEAD ::

#+cindex: HTML_HEAD, keyword #+vindex: org-html-head Arbitrary lines for appending to the HTML document's head (org-html-head).


#+cindex: HTML_HEAD_EXTRA, keyword #+vindex: org-html-head-extra More arbitrary lines for appending to the HTML document's head (org-html-head-extra).


#+cindex: KEYWORDS, keyword Keywords to describe the document's content. HTML exporter inserts these keywords as HTML meta tags. For long keywords, use multiple KEYWORDS lines.


#+cindex: LATEX_HEADER, keyword Arbitrary lines for appending to the preamble; HTML exporter appends when transcoding LaTeX fragments to images (see *Math formatting in HTML export).


#+cindex: SUBTITLE, keyword The document's subtitle. HTML exporter formats subtitle if document type is HTML5 and the CSS has a subtitle class.

Some of these keywords are explained in more detail in the following sections of the manual.

HTML doctypes

Org can export to various (X)HTML flavors.

Set the org-html-doctype variable for different (X)HTML variants. Depending on the variant, the HTML exporter adjusts the syntax of HTML conversion accordingly. Org includes the following ready-made variants:

  • "html4-strict"
  • "html4-transitional"
  • "html4-frameset"
  • "xhtml-strict"
  • "xhtml-transitional"
  • "xhtml-frameset"
  • "xhtml-11"
  • "html5"
  • "xhtml5"

See the variable org-html-doctype-alist for details. The default is ~"xhtml-strict"~.

Org's HTML exporter does not by default enable new block elements introduced with the HTML5 standard. To enable them, set ~org-html-html5-fancy~ to non-~nil~. Or use an OPTIONS line in the file to set html5-fancy.

HTML5 documents can now have arbitrary #+BEGIN ... #+END blocks. For example:

,#+BEGIN_aside Lorem ipsum ,#+END_aside

exports to:

while this:

,#+ATTR_HTML: :controls controls :width 350 ,#+BEGIN_video ,#+HTML: ,#+HTML: Your browser does not support the video tag. ,#+END_video

exports to:

Your browser does not support the video tag.

When special blocks do not have a corresponding HTML5 element, the HTML exporter reverts to standard translation (see ~org-html-html5-elements~). For example, #+BEGIN_lederhosen exports to <div class="lederhosen">.

Special blocks cannot have headlines. For the HTML exporter to wrap the headline and its contents in <section> or <article> tags, set the HTML_CONTAINER property for the headline.

HTML preamble and postamble

The HTML exporter has delineations for preamble and postamble. The default value for org-html-preamble is t, which makes the HTML exporter insert the preamble. See the variable ~org-html-preamble-format~ for the format string.

Set org-html-preamble to a string to override the default format string. If the string is a function, the HTML exporter expects the function to return a string upon execution. The HTML exporter inserts this string in the preamble. The HTML exporter does not insert a preamble if org-html-preamble is set nil.

The default value for org-html-postamble is auto, which makes the HTML exporter build a postamble from looking up author's name, email address, creator's name, and date. Set org-html-postamble to t to insert the postamble in the format specified in the ~org-html-postamble-format~ variable. The HTML exporter does not insert a postamble if org-html-postamble is set to nil.

Quoting HTML tags

The HTML export back-end transforms < and > to &lt; and &gt;.

To include raw HTML code in the Org file so the HTML export back-end can insert that HTML code in the output, use this inline syntax: =@@html:...@@=. For example:

@@html:@@bold text@@html:@@

For larger raw HTML code blocks, use these HTML export code blocks:

,#+HTML: Literal HTML code for export

,#+BEGIN_EXPORT html All lines between these markers are exported literally ,#+END_EXPORT

The HTML export back-end transforms Org's internal links (see *Internal Links) to equivalent HTML links in the output. The back-end similarly handles Org's automatic links created by radio targets (see *Radio Targets) similarly. For Org links to external files, the back-end transforms the links to relative paths.

For Org links to other files, the back-end automatically changes the file extension to =.html= and makes file paths relative. If the files have an equivalent =.html= version at the same location, then the converted links should work without any further manual intervention. However, to disable this automatic path translation, set org-html-link-org-files-as-html to nil. When disabled, the HTML export back-end substitutes the ID-based links in the HTML output. For more about linking files when publishing to a directory, see *Publishing links.

Org files can also have special directives to the HTML export back-end. For example, by using #+ATTR_HTML lines to specify new format attributes to <a> or <img> tags. This example shows changing the link's title and style:

,#+ATTR_HTML: :title The Org mode homepage :style color:red; https://orgmode

Tables in HTML export

The HTML export back-end uses org-html-table-default-attributes when exporting Org tables to HTML. By default, the exporter does not draw frames and cell borders. To change for this for a table, use the following lines before the table in the Org file:

,#+CAPTION: This is a table with lines around and between cells ,#+ATTR_HTML: border="2" rules="all" frame="border"

The HTML export back-end preserves column groupings in Org tables (see *Column Groups) when exporting to HTML.

Additional options for customizing tables for HTML export.

  • org-html-table-align-individual-fields ::

#+vindex: org-html-table-align-individual-fields Non-~nil~ attaches style attributes for alignment to each table field.

  • org-html-table-caption-above ::

#+vindex: org-html-table-caption-above Non-~nil~ places caption string at the beginning of the table.

  • org-html-table-data-tags ::

#+vindex: org-html-table-data-tags Opening and ending tags for table data fields.

  • org-html-table-default-attributes ::

#+vindex: org-html-table-default-attributes Default attributes and values for table tags.

  • org-html-table-header-tags ::

#+vindex: org-html-table-header-tags Opening and ending tags for table's header fields.

  • org-html-table-row-tags ::

#+vindex: org-html-table-row-tags Opening and ending tags for table rows.

  • org-html-table-use-header-tags-for-first-column ::

#+vindex: org-html-table-use-header-tags-for-first-column Non-~nil~ formats column one in tables with header tags.

Images in HTML export

The HTML export back-end has features to convert Org image links to HTML inline images and HTML clickable image links.

When the link in the Org file has no description, the HTML export back-end by default in-lines that image. For example: =myimg.jpg= is in-lined, while [[file:myimg.jpg][the image]] links to the text, =the image=. For more details, see the variable ~org-html-inline-images~.

On the other hand, if the description part of the Org link is itself another link, such as file: or http: URL pointing to an image, the HTML export back-end in-lines this image and links to the main image. This Org syntax enables the back-end to link low-resolution thumbnail to the high-resolution version of the image, as shown in this example:


To change attributes of in-lined images, use #+ATTR_HTML lines in the Org file. This example shows realignment to right, and adds alt~ and ~title attributes in support of text viewers and modern web accessibility standards.

,#+CAPTION: A black cat stalking a spider ,#+ATTR_HTML: :alt cat/spider image :title Action! :align right ./img/a.jpg

The HTML export back-end copies the http links from the Org file as is.

Math formatting in HTML export

LaTeX math snippets (see *LaTeX fragments) can be displayed in two different ways on HTML pages. The default is to use the MathJax, which should work out of the box with Org120. Some MathJax display options can be configured via org-html-mathjax-options, or in the buffer. For example, with the following settings,

,#+HTML_MATHJAX: align: left indent: 5em tagside: left font: Neo-Euler ,#+HTML_MATHJAX: cancel.js noErrors.js

equation labels are displayed on the left margin and equations are five em from the left margin. In addition, it loads the two MathJax extensions cancel.js and =noErrors.js=121.

See the docstring of org-html-mathjax-options for all supported variables. The MathJax template can be configure via ~org-html-mathjax-template~.

If you prefer, you can also request that LaTeX fragments are processed into small images that will be inserted into the browser page. Before the availability of MathJax, this was the default method for Org files. This method requires that the dvipng program, dvisvgm or ImageMagick suite is available on your system. You can still get this processing with

#+OPTIONS: tex:dvipng
#+OPTIONS: tex:dvisvgm


#+OPTIONS: tex:imagemagick

Text areas in HTML export

Before Org mode's Babel, one popular approach to publishing code in HTML was by using :textarea. The advantage of this approach was that copying and pasting was built into browsers with simple JavaScript commands. Even editing before pasting was made simple.

The HTML export back-end can create such text areas. It requires an =#+ATTR_HTML= line as shown in the example below with the :textarea= option. This must be followed by either an example or a source code block. Other Org block types do not honor the =:textarea option.

By default, the HTML export back-end creates a text area 80 characters wide and height just enough to fit the content. Override these defaults with :width and :height options on the =#+ATTR_HTML= line.

,#+ATTR_HTML: :textarea t :width 40 ,#+BEGIN_EXAMPLE (defun org-xor (a b) "Exclusive or." (if a (not b) b)) ,#+END_EXAMPLE

CSS support

You can modify the CSS style definitions for the exported file. The HTML exporter assigns the following special CSS classes122 to appropriate parts of the document---your style specifications may change these, in addition to any of the standard classes like for headlines, tables, etc. author information, including email publishing date
p.creator creator info, about org mode version
~.title~ document title
~.subtitle~ document subtitle
~.todo~ TODO keywords, all not-done states
~.done~ the DONE keywords, all states that count as done
~.WAITING~ each TODO keyword also uses a class named after itself
~.timestamp~ timestamp
~.timestamp-kwd~ keyword associated with a timestamp, like SCHEDULED
~.timestamp-wrapper~ span around keyword plus timestamp
~.tag~ tag in a headline
~._HOME~ each tag uses itself as a class, "@" replaced by "_" target for links
~.linenr~ the line number in a code example
~.code-highlighted~ for highlighting referenced code lines
div.outline-N div for outline level N (headline plus text)
div.outline-text-N extra div for text at outline level N
~.section-number-N~ section number in headlines, different for each level
~.figure-number~ label like "Figure 1:"
~.table-number~ label like "Table 1:"
~.listing-number~ label like "Listing 1:"
div.figure how to format an in-lined image
pre.src formatted source code
pre.example normal example
p.verse verse paragraph
div.footnotes footnote section headline
p.footnote footnote definition paragraph, containing a footnote
~.footref~ a footnote reference number (always a )
~.footnum~ footnote number in footnote definition (always ) default class for a linked =.svg= image

The HTML export back-end includes a compact default style in each exported HTML file. To override the default style with another style, use these keywords in the Org file. They will replace the global defaults the HTML exporter uses.


To just turn off the default style, customize ~org-html-head-include-default-style~ variable, or use this option line in the Org file.

#+OPTIONS: html-style:nil

For longer style definitions, either use several HTML_HEAD and =HTML_HEAD_EXTRA= keywords, or use <style> ... </style> blocks around them. Both of these approaches can avoid referring to an external file.

In order to add styles to a sub-tree, use the HTML_CONTAINER_CLASS= property to assign a class to the tree. In order to specify CSS styles for a particular headline, you can use the id specified in a =CUSTOM_ID property.

Never change the org-html-style-default constant. Instead use other simpler ways of customizing as described above.

JavaScript supported display of web pages

Sebastian Rose has written a JavaScript program especially designed to enhance the web viewing experience of HTML files created with Org. This program enhances large files in two different ways of viewing. One is an Info/-like mode where each section is displayed separately and navigation can be done with the {{{kbd(n)}}} and {{{kbd(p)}}} keys, and some other keys as well, press {{{kbd(?)}}} for an overview of the available keys. The second one has a /folding view, much like Org provides inside Emacs. The script is available at and the documentation at The script is hosted on, but for reliability, prefer installing it on your own web server.

To use this program, just add this line to the Org file:

#+INFOJS_OPT: view:info toc:nil

The HTML header now has the code needed to automatically invoke the script. For setting options, use the syntax from the above line for options described below:

  • path: ::

The path to the script. The default is to grab the script from, but you might want to have a local copy and use a path like =../scripts/org-info.js=.

  • view: ::

Initial view when the website is first shown. Possible values are:

| info | Info-like interface with one section per page | | overview | Folding interface, initially showing only top-level | | content | Folding interface, starting with all headlines visible | | showall | Folding interface, all headlines and text visible |

  • sdepth: ::

Maximum headline level still considered as an independent section for info and folding modes. The default is taken from org-export-headline-levels, i.e., the H switch in OPTIONS. If this is smaller than in org-export-headline-levels, each info/folding section can still contain child headlines.

  • toc: ::

Should the table of contents initially be visible? Even when nil, you can always get to the "toc" with {{{kbd(i)}}}.

  • tdepth: ::

The depth of the table of contents. The defaults are taken from the variables org-export-headline-levels and org-export-with-toc.

  • ftoc: ::

Does the CSS of the page specify a fixed position for the "toc"? If yes, the toc is displayed as a section.

  • ltoc: ::

Should there be short contents (children) in each section? Make this above if the section should be above initial text.

  • mouse: ::

Headings are highlighted when the mouse is over them. Should be underline (default) or a background color like #cccccc.

  • buttons: ::

Should view-toggle buttons be everywhere? When nil (the default), only one such button is present.

You can choose default values for these options by customizing the variable org-infojs-options. If you always want to apply the script to your pages, configure the variable org-export-html-use-infojs.

LaTeX Export

The LaTeX export back-end can handle complex documents, incorporate standard or custom LaTeX document classes, generate documents using alternate LaTeX engines, and produce fully linked PDF files with indexes, bibliographies, and tables of contents, destined for interactive online viewing or high-quality print publication.

While the details are covered in-depth in this section, here are some quick references to variables for the impatient: for engines, see ~org-latex-compiler~; for build sequences, see ~org-latex-pdf-process~; for packages, see ~org-latex-default-packages-alist~ and org-latex-packages-alist.

An important note about the LaTeX export back-end: it is sensitive to blank lines in the Org document. That's because LaTeX itself depends on blank lines to tell apart syntactical elements, such as paragraphs.

LaTeX/PDF export commands

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-e l l)}}} (org-latex-export-to-latex) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-e l l #+findex: org-latex-export-to-latex~ Export to a LaTeX file with a =.tex= extension. For, Org exports to myfile.tex, overwriting without warning.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-e l L)}}} (org-latex-export-as-latex) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-e l L #+findex: org-latex-export-as-latex Export to a temporary buffer. Do not create a file.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-e l p)}}} (org-latex-export-to-pdf) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-e l p #+findex: org-latex-export-to-pdf Export as LaTeX file and convert it to PDF file.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-e l o)}}} ::

#+kindex: C-c C-e l o Export as LaTeX file and convert it to PDF, then open the PDF using the default viewer.

  • {{{kbd(M-x org-export-region-as-latex)}}} ::

Convert the region to LaTeX under the assumption that it was in Org mode syntax before. This is a global command that can be invoked in any buffer.

The LaTeX export back-end can use any of these LaTeX engines: =pdflatex=, xelatex, and lualatex. These engines compile LaTeX files with different compilers, packages, and output options. The LaTeX export back-end finds the compiler version to use from ~org-latex-compiler~ variable or the #+LATEX_COMPILER keyword in the Org file. See the docstring for the ~org-latex-default-packages-alist~ for loading packages with certain compilers. Also see org-latex-bibtex-compiler to set the bibliography compiler123.

LaTeX specific export settings

The LaTeX export back-end has several additional keywords for customizing LaTeX output. Setting these keywords works similar to the general options (see *Export Settings).

  • #+cindex: DESCRIPTION, keyword #+vindex: org-latex-hyperref-template #+vindex: org-latex-title-command The document's description. The description along with author name, keywords, and related file metadata are inserted in the output file by the hyperref package. See ~org-latex-hyperref-template~ for customizing metadata items. See ~org-latex-title-command~ for typesetting description into the document's front matter. Use multiple =DESCRIPTION= keywords for long descriptions.

#+cindex: LATEX_CLASS, keyword #+vindex: org-latex-default-class #+vindex: org-latex-classes This is LaTeX document class, such as article, report, book, and so on, which contain predefined preamble and headline level mapping that the LaTeX export back-end needs. The back-end reads the default class name from the org-latex-default-class~ variable. Org has /article/ as the default class. A valid default class must be an element of ~org-latex-classes.


#+cindex: LATEX_CLASS_OPTIONS, keyword Options the LaTeX export back-end uses when calling the LaTeX document class.


#+cindex: LATEX_COMPILER, keyword #+vindex: org-latex-compiler The compiler, such as pdflatex, xelatex, lualatex, for producing the PDF. See org-latex-compiler.


#+cindex: LATEX_HEADER, keyword #+cindex: LATEX_HEADER_EXTRA, keyword #+vindex: org-latex-classes Arbitrary lines to add to the document's preamble, before the hyperref settings. See org-latex-classes for adjusting the structure and order of the LaTeX headers.


#+cindex: KEYWORDS, keyword #+vindex: org-latex-hyperref-template #+vindex: org-latex-title-command The keywords for the document. The description along with author name, keywords, and related file metadata are inserted in the output file by the hyperref package. See org-latex-hyperref-template for customizing metadata items. See org-latex-title-command for typesetting description into the document's front matter. Use multiple KEYWORDS lines if necessary.


#+cindex: SUBTITLE, keyword #+vindex: org-latex-subtitle-separate #+vindex: org-latex-subtitle-format The document's subtitle. It is typeset as per org-latex-subtitle-format. If org-latex-subtitle-separate is non-~nil~, it is typed as part of the \title macro. See org-latex-hyperref-template for customizing metadata items. See org-latex-title-command for typesetting description into the document's front matter.

The following sections have further details.

LaTeX header and sectioning structure

The LaTeX export back-end converts the first three of Org's outline levels into LaTeX headlines. The remaining Org levels are exported as lists. To change this globally for the cut-off point between levels and lists, (see *Export Settings).

By default, the LaTeX export back-end uses the article class.

To change the default class globally, edit org-latex-default-class. To change the default class locally in an Org file, add option lines =#+LATEX_CLASS: myclass=. To change the default class for just a part of the Org file, set a sub-tree property, EXPORT_LATEX_CLASS. The class name entered here must be valid member of org-latex-classes. This variable defines a header template for each class into which the exporter splices the values of org-latex-default-packages-alist and ~org-latex-packages-alist~. Use the same three variables to define custom sectioning or custom classes.

The LaTeX export back-end sends the LATEX_CLASS_OPTIONS keyword and =EXPORT_LATEX_CLASS_OPTIONS= property as options to the LaTeX ~\documentclass~ macro. The options and the syntax for specifying them, including enclosing them in square brackets, follow LaTeX conventions.

#+LATEX_CLASS_OPTIONS: [a4paper,11pt,twoside,twocolumn]

The LaTeX export back-end appends values from LATEX_HEADER and =LATEX_HEADER_EXTRA= keywords to the LaTeX header. The docstring for ~org-latex-classes~ explains in more detail. Also note that LaTeX export back-end does not append LATEX_HEADER_EXTRA to the header when previewing LaTeX snippets (see *Previewing LaTeX fragments).

A sample Org file with the above headers:

,#+LATEX_CLASS: article ,#+LATEX_CLASS_OPTIONS: [a4paper] ,#+LATEX_HEADER: \usepackage{xyz}

,* Headline 1 some text ,* Headline 2 some more text

Quoting LaTeX code

The LaTeX export back-end can insert any arbitrary LaTeX code, see *Embedded LaTeX. There are three ways to embed such code in the Org file and they all use different quoting syntax.

Inserting in-line quoted with @ symbols:

Code embedded in-line @@latex:any arbitrary LaTeX code@@ in a paragraph.

Inserting as one or more keyword lines in the Org file:

#+LATEX: any arbitrary LaTeX code

Inserting as an export block in the Org file, where the back-end exports any code between begin and end markers:

,#+BEGIN_EXPORT latex any arbitrary LaTeX code ,#+END_EXPORT

Tables in LaTeX export

The LaTeX export back-end can pass several LaTeX attributes for table contents and layout. Besides specifying label and caption (see *Images and Tables), the other valid LaTeX attributes include:

  • :mode ::

#+vindex: org-latex-default-table-mode The LaTeX export back-end wraps the table differently depending on the mode for accurate rendering of math symbols. Mode is either table, math, inline-math or verbatim.

For math or inline-math mode, LaTeX export back-end wraps the table in a math environment, but every cell in it is exported as-is. The LaTeX export back-end determines the default mode from org-latex-default-table-mode. The LaTeX export back-end merges contiguous tables in the same mode into a single environment.

  • :environment ::

#+vindex: org-latex-default-table-environment Set the default LaTeX table environment for the LaTeX export back-end to use when exporting Org tables. Common LaTeX table environments are provided by these packages: tabularx, longtable, array, tabu, and bmatrix. For packages, such as tabularx and tabu, or any newer replacements, include them in the org-latex-packages-alist variable so the LaTeX export back-end can insert the appropriate load package headers in the converted LaTeX file. Look in the docstring for the org-latex-packages-alist variable for configuring these packages for LaTeX snippet previews, if any.

  • :caption ::

Use CAPTION keyword to set a simple caption for a table (see *Images and Tables). For custom captions, use :caption= attribute, which accepts raw LaTeX code. =:caption value overrides CAPTION value.

  • :float, :placement ::

The table environments by default are not floats in LaTeX. To make them floating objects use :float with one of the following options: sideways, multicolumn, t, and nil.

LaTeX floats can also have additional layout :placement= attributes. These are the usual =[h t b p ! H] permissions specified in square brackets. Note that for =:float sideways= tables, the LaTeX export back-end ignores =:placement= attributes.

  • :align, :font, :width ::

The LaTeX export back-end uses these attributes for regular tables to set their alignments, fonts, and widths.

  • :spread ::

When :spread is non-~nil~, the LaTeX export back-end spreads or shrinks the table by the :width for tabu and longtabu environments. :spread has no effect if :width is not set.

  • :booktabs, :center, :rmlines ::

#+vindex: org-latex-tables-booktabs #+vindex: org-latex-tables-centered All three commands are toggles. :booktabs brings in modern typesetting enhancements to regular tables. The booktabs package has to be loaded through org-latex-packages-alist. :center= is for centering the table. =:rmlines removes all but the very first horizontal line made of ASCII characters from "table.el" tables only.

  • :math-prefix, :math-suffix, :math-arguments ::

The LaTeX export back-end inserts :math-prefix string value in a math environment before the table. The LaTeX export back-end inserts :math-suffix string value in a math environment after the table. The LaTeX export back-end inserts :math-arguments= string value between the macro name and the table's contents. =:math-arguments comes in use for matrix macros that require more than one argument, such as qbordermatrix.

LaTeX table attributes help formatting tables for a wide range of situations, such as matrix product or spanning multiple pages:

,#+ATTR_LATEX: :environment longtable :align l|lp{3cm}r|l | ... | ... | | ... | ... |

,#+ATTR_LATEX: :mode math :environment bmatrix :math-suffix \times | a | b | | c | d | ,#+ATTR_LATEX: :mode math :environment bmatrix | 1 | 2 | | 3 | 4 |

Set the caption with the LaTeX command =\bicaption{HeadingA}{HeadingB}=:

,#+ATTR_LATEX: :caption \bicaption{HeadingA}{HeadingB} | ... | ... | | ... | ... |

Images in LaTeX export

The LaTeX export back-end processes image links in Org files that do not have descriptions, such as these links [[file:img.jpg]] or =./img.jpg=, as direct image insertions in the final PDF output. In the PDF, they are no longer links but actual images embedded on the page. The LaTeX export back-end uses \includegraphics macro to insert the image. But for TikZ ( images, the back-end uses an \input macro wrapped within a tikzpicture environment.

For specifying image :width, :height, and other :options, use this syntax:

,#+ATTR_LATEX: :width 5cm :options angle=90 ./img/sed-hr4049.pdf

For custom commands for captions, use the :caption attribute. It overrides the default #+CAPTION value:

,#+ATTR_LATEX: :caption \bicaption{HeadingA}{HeadingB} ./img/sed-hr4049.pdf

When captions follow the method as described in *Images and Tables, the LaTeX export back-end wraps the picture in a floating figure= environment. To float an image without specifying a caption, set the =:float attribute to one of the following:

  • t ::

For a standard figure environment; used by default whenever an image has a caption.

  • multicolumn ::

To span the image across multiple columns of a page; the back-end wraps the image in a figure* environment.

  • wrap ::

For text to flow around the image on the right; the figure occupies the left half of the page.

  • sideways ::

For a new page with the image sideways, rotated ninety degrees, in a sidewaysfigure environment; overrides =:placement= setting.

  • nil ::

To avoid a :float even if using a caption.

Use the placement attribute to modify a floating environment's placement.

,#+ATTR_LATEX: :float wrap :width 0.38\textwidth :placement {r}{0.4\textwidth} ./img/hst.png

The LaTeX export back-end centers all images by default. Setting =:center= to nil disables centering. To disable centering globally, set org-latex-images-centered to t.

Set the :comment-include attribute to non-~nil~ value for the LaTeX export back-end to comment out the \includegraphics macro.

Plain lists in LaTeX export

The LaTeX export back-end accepts the environment and =options= attributes for plain lists. Both attributes work together for customizing lists, as shown in the examples:

    ,#+LATEX_HEADER: \usepackage[inline]{enumitem} Some ways to say "Hello": ,#+ATTR_LATEX: :environment itemize* ,#+ATTR_LATEX: :options [label={}, itemjoin={,}, itemjoin*={, and}]
  • Hola
  • Bonjour
  • Guten Tag.

Since LaTeX supports only four levels of nesting for lists, use an external package, such as enumitem in LaTeX, for levels deeper than four:

    ,#+LATEX_HEADER: \usepackage{enumitem} ,#+LATEX_HEADER: \renewlist{itemize}{itemize}{9} ,#+LATEX_HEADER: \setlist[itemize]{label=$\circ$}
  • One
  • Two
  • Three
  • Four
  • Five

Source blocks in LaTeX export

The LaTeX export back-end can make source code blocks into floating objects through the attributes :float and :options. For =:float=:

  • t ::

Makes a source block float; by default floats any source block with a caption.

  • multicolumn ::

Spans the source block across multiple columns of a page.

  • nil ::

Avoids a :float even if using a caption; useful for source code blocks that may not fit on a page.

,#+ATTR_LATEX: :float nil ,#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp Lisp code that may not fit in a single page. ,#+END_SRC

The LaTeX export back-end passes string values in :options to LaTeX packages for customization of that specific source block. In the example below, the :options are set for Minted. Minted is a source code highlighting LaTeX package with many configurable options.

,#+ATTR_LATEX: :options commentstyle=\bfseries ,#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp (defun Fib (n) (if (< n 2) n (+ (Fib (- n 1)) (Fib (- n 2))))) ,#+END_SRC

To apply similar configuration options for all source blocks in a file, use the org-latex-listings-options and ~org-latex-minted-options~ variables.

Example blocks in LaTeX export

The LaTeX export back-end wraps the contents of example blocks in a verbatim environment. To change this behavior to use another environment globally, specify an appropriate export filter (see *Advanced Configuration). To change this behavior to use another environment for each block, use the :environment parameter to specify a custom environment.

,#+ATTR_LATEX: :environment myverbatim ,#+BEGIN_EXAMPLE This sentence is false. ,#+END_EXAMPLE

Special blocks in LaTeX export

For other special blocks in the Org file, the LaTeX export back-end makes a special environment of the same name. The back-end also takes =:options=, if any, and appends as-is to that environment's opening string. For example:

,#+BEGIN_abstract We demonstrate how to solve the Syracuse problem. ,#+END_abstract

,#+ATTR_LATEX: :options [Proof of important theorem] ,#+BEGIN_proof ... Therefore, any even number greater than 2 is the sum of two primes. ,#+END_proof

exports to

\begin{abstract} We demonstrate how to solve the Syracuse problem. \end{abstract}

\begin{proof}[Proof of important theorem] ... Therefore, any even number greater than 2 is the sum of two primes. \end{proof}

If you need to insert a specific caption command, use :caption= attribute. It overrides standard =CAPTION value, if any. For example:

,#+ATTR_LATEX: :caption \MyCaption{HeadingA} ,#+BEGIN_proof ... ,#+END_proof

Horizontal rules in LaTeX export

The LaTeX export back-end converts horizontal rules by the specified =:width= and :thickness attributes. For example:

,#+ATTR_LATEX: :width .6\textwidth :thickness 0.8pt

Markdown Export

The Markdown export back-end, "md", converts an Org file to a Markdown format, as defined at

Since "md" is built on top of the HTML back-end, any Org constructs not supported by Markdown, such as tables, the underlying "html" back-end (see *HTML Export) converts them.

Markdown export commands

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-e m m)}}} (org-md-export-to-markdown) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-c m m #+findex: org-md-export-to-markdown Export to a text file with Markdown syntax. For, Org exports to, overwritten without warning.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-e m M)}}} (org-md-export-as-markdown) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-c m M #+findex: org-md-export-as-markdown Export to a temporary buffer. Does not create a file.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-e m o)}}} ::

#+kindex: C-c C-e m o Export as a text file with Markdown syntax, then open it.

Header and sectioning structure

Based on org-md-headline-style, Markdown export can generate headlines of both atx and setext types. atx limits headline levels to two whereas setext limits headline levels to six. Beyond these limits, the export back-end converts headlines to lists. To set a limit to a level before the absolute limit (see *Export Settings).

OpenDocument Text Export

The ODT export back-end handles creating of OpenDocument Text (ODT) format. Documents created by this exporter use the {{{cite(OpenDocument-v1.2 specification)}}}124 and are compatible with LibreOffice 3.4.

Pre-requisites for ODT export

The ODT export back-end relies on the zip program to create the final compressed ODT output. Check if zip is locally available and executable. Without it, export cannot finish.

ODT export commands

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-e o o)}}} (org-export-to-odt) ::

#+kindex: C-c C-e o o #+findex: org-export-to-odt Export as OpenDocument Text file.

#+cindex: EXPORT_FILE_NAME, property #+vindex: org-odt-preferred-output-format

If org-odt-preferred-output-format is specified, the ODT export back-end automatically converts the exported file to that format.

For, Org exports to myfile.odt, overwriting without warning. The ODT export back-end exports a region only if a region was active.

If the selected region is a single tree, the ODT export back-end makes the tree head the document title. Incidentally, {{{kbd(C-c @)}}} selects the current sub-tree. If the tree head entry has, or inherits, an EXPORT_FILE_NAME property, the ODT export back-end uses that for file name.

  • {{{kbd(C-c C-e o O)}}} ::

#+kindex: C-c C-e o O Export as an OpenDocument Text file and open the resulting file.

#+vindex: org-export-odt-preferred-output-format If org-export-odt-preferred-output-format is specified, open the converted file instead. See *Automatically exporting to other formats.

ODT specific export settings

The ODT export back-end has several additional keywords for customizing ODT output. Setting these keywords works similar to the general options (see *Export Settings).


#+cindex: DESCRIPTION, keyword This is the document's description, which the ODT export back-end inserts as document metadata. For long descriptions, use multiple lines, prefixed with DESCRIPTION.


#+cindex: KEYWORDS, keyword The keywords for the document. The ODT export back-end inserts the description along with author name, keywords, and related file metadata as metadata in the output file. Use multiple KEYWORDS if necessary.


#+cindex: ODT_STYLES_FILE, keyword #+vindex: org-odt-styles-file The ODT export back-end uses the org-odt-styles-file by default. See *Applying custom styles for details.


#+cindex: SUBTITLE, keyword The document subtitle.

Extending ODT export

The ODT export back-end can produce documents in other formats besides ODT using a specialized ODT converter process. Its common interface works with popular converters to produce formats such as doc, or convert a document from one format, say csv, to another format, say =xls=.

Customize org-odt-convert-process variable to point to unoconv, which is the ODT's preferred converter. Working installations of LibreOffice would already have unoconv installed. Alternatively, other converters may be substituted here. See *Configuring a document converter.

Automatically exporting to other formats

If ODT format is just an intermediate step to get to other formats, such as doc, docx, rtf, or pdf, etc., then extend the ODT export back-end to directly produce that format. Specify the final format in the org-odt-preferred-output-format variable. This is one way to extend (see *ODT export commands).

Converting between document formats

The Org export back-end is made to be inter-operable with a wide range of text document format converters. Newer generation converters, such as LibreOffice and Pandoc, can handle hundreds of formats at once. Org provides a consistent interaction with whatever converter is installed. Here are some generic commands:

  • {{{kbd(M-x org-odt-convert)}}} ::

#+findex: org-odt-convert Convert an existing document from one format to another. With a prefix argument, opens the newly produced file.

Applying custom styles

The ODT export back-end comes with many OpenDocument styles (see *Working with OpenDocument style files). To expand or further customize these built-in style sheets, either edit the style sheets directly or generate them using an application such as LibreOffice. The example here shows creating a style using LibreOffice.

Applying custom styles: the easy way

  1. Create a sample file with settings as shown below,
  2. and export it to ODT format.

#+OPTIONS: H:10 num:t

  • Open the above example.odt using LibreOffice. Use the Stylist
    1. to locate the target styles, which typically have the "Org" prefix. Open one, modify, and save as either OpenDocument Text (ODT) or OpenDocument Template (OTT) file.

    3. #+vindex: org-odt-styles-file Customize the variable org-odt-styles-file and point it to the newly created file. For additional configuration options, see Overriding factory styles.

    #+cindex: ODT_STYLES_FILE, keyword To apply an ODT style to a particular file, use the ODT_STYLES_FILE keyword as shown in the example below:

    #+ODT_STYLES_FILE: "/path/to/"

    #+texinfo: @noindent or

    #+ODT_STYLES_FILE: ("/path/to/" ("styles.xml" "image/hdr.png"))

    Using third-party styles and templates

    The ODT export back-end relies on many templates and style names. Using third-party styles and templates can lead to mismatches. Templates derived from built in ODT templates and styles seem to have fewer problems.

    ODT exporter creates native cross-references for internal links. It creates Internet-style links for all other links.

    A link with no description and pointing to a regular, un-itemized, outline heading is replaced with a cross-reference and section number of the heading.

    A =\ref{label}=-style reference to an image, table etc., is replaced with a cross-reference and sequence number of the labeled entity. See *Labels and captions in ODT export.

    Tables in ODT export

    The ODT export back-end handles native Org mode tables (see *Tables) and simple table.el tables. Complex table.el tables having column or row spans are not supported. Such tables are stripped from the exported document.

    By default, the ODT export back-end exports a table with top and bottom frames and with ruled lines separating row and column groups (see *Column Groups). All tables are typeset to occupy the same width. The ODT export back-end honors any table alignments and relative widths for columns (see *Column Width and Alignment).

    Note that the ODT export back-end interprets column widths as weighted ratios, the default weight being 1.

    Specifying :rel-width property on an ATTR_ODT line controls the width of the table. For example:

    ,#+ATTR_ODT: :rel-width 50 | Area/Month | Jan | Feb | Mar | Sum | |---------------+-------+-------+-------+-------| | / | < | | | < | | | | | | | | North America | 1 | 21 | 926 | 948 | | Middle East | 6 | 75 | 844 | 925 | | Asia Pacific | 9 | 27 | 790 | 826 | |---------------+-------+-------+-------+-------| | Sum | 16 | 123 | 2560 | 2699 |

    On export, the above table takes 50% of text width area. The exporter sizes the columns in the ratio: 13:5:5:5:6. The first column is left-aligned and rest of the columns, right-aligned. Vertical rules separate the header and the last column. Horizontal rules separate the header and the last row.

    For even more customization, create custom table styles and associate them with a table using the ATTR_ODT keyword. See *Customizing tables in ODT export.

    Images in ODT export

    Embedding images

    The ODT export back-end processes image links in Org files that do not have descriptions, such as these links [[file:img.jpg]] or [[./img.jpg]], as direct image insertions in the final output. Either of these examples works:


    Embedding clickable images

    For clickable images, provide a link whose description is another link to an image file. For example, to embed a image =org-mode-unicorn.png= which when clicked jumps to website, do the following


    Sizing and scaling of embedded images

    Control the size and scale of the embedded images with the =ATTR_ODT= attribute.

    The ODT export back-end starts with establishing the size of the image in the final document. The dimensions of this size are measured in centimeters. The back-end then queries the image file for its dimensions measured in pixels. For this measurement, the back-end relies on ImageMagick's identify program or Emacs create-image and ~image-size~ API. ImageMagick is the preferred choice for large file sizes or frequent batch operations. The back-end then converts the pixel dimensions using org-odt-pixels-per-inch into the familiar 72 dpi or 96 dpi. The default value for this is in ~display-pixels-per-inch~, which can be tweaked for better results based on the capabilities of the output device. Here are some common image scaling operations:

    • Explicitly size the image ::

    To embed img.png as a 10 cm x 10 cm image, do the following:

    #+begin_example ,#+ATTR_ODT: :width 10 :height 10 ./img.png #+end_example

    • Scale the image ::

    To embed img.png at half its size, do the following:

    #+begin_example ,#+ATTR_ODT: :scale 0.5 ./img.png #+end_example

    • Scale the image to a specific width ::

    To embed img.png with a width of 10 cm while retaining the original height:width ratio, do the following:

    #+begin_example ,#+ATTR_ODT: :width 10 ./img.png #+end_example

    • Scale the image to a specific height ::

    To embed img.png with a height of 10 cm while retaining the original height:width ratio, do the following:

    #+begin_example ,#+ATTR_ODT: :height 10 ./img.png #+end_example

    Anchoring of images

    The ODT export back-end can anchor images to "as-char", ="paragraph"=, or "page". Set the preferred anchor using the =:anchor= property of the ATTR_ODT line.

    To create an image that is anchored to a page:

    ,#+ATTR_ODT: :anchor "page" ./img.png

    Math formatting in ODT export

    The ODT exporter has special support for handling math.

    LaTeX math snippets

    LaTeX math snippets (see *LaTeX fragments) can be embedded in the ODT document in one of the following ways:

    • MathML ::

    #+cindex: MathML Add this line to the Org file. This option is activated on a per-file basis.

    #+OPTIONS: tex:t

    With this option, LaTeX fragments are first converted into MathML fragments using an external LaTeX-to-MathML converter program. The resulting MathML fragments are then embedded as an OpenDocument Formula in the exported document.

    #+vindex: org-latex-to-mathml-convert-command #+vindex: org-latex-to-mathml-jar-file You can specify the LaTeX-to-MathML converter by customizing the variables org-latex-to-mathml-convert-command and org-latex-to-mathml-jar-file.

    If you prefer to use MathToWeb125 as your converter, you can configure the above variables as shown below.

    #+begin_src emacs-lisp (setq org-latex-to-mathml-convert-command "java -jar %j -unicode -force -df %o %I" org-latex-to-mathml-jar-file "/path/to/mathtoweb.jar") #+end_src

    To use LaTeX​ML126 use

    #+begin_src emacs-lisp (setq org-latex-to-mathml-convert-command "latexmlmath \"%i\" --presentationmathml=%o") #+end_src

    To quickly verify the reliability of the LaTeX-to-MathML converter, use the following commands:

    • {{{kbd(M-x org-export-as-odf)}}} ::

    Convert a LaTeX math snippet to an OpenDocument formula (=.odf=) file.

    • {{{kbd(M-x org-export-as-odf-and-open)}}} ::

    Convert a LaTeX math snippet to an OpenDocument formula (=.odf=) file and open the formula file with the system-registered application.

    • PNG images ::

    #+cindex: dvipng #+cindex: dvisvgm #+cindex: ImageMagick Add this line to the Org file. This option is activated on a per-file basis.

    #+OPTIONS: tex:dvipng
    #+OPTIONS: tex:dvisvgm

    #+texinfo: @noindent or

    #+OPTIONS: tex:imagemagick

    Under this option, LaTeX fragments are processed into PNG or SVG images and the resulting images are embedded in the exported document. This method requires dvipng program, dvisvgm or ImageMagick programs.

    MathML and OpenDocument formula files

    When embedding LaTeX math snippets in ODT documents is not reliable, there is one more option to try. Embed an equation by linking to its MathML (=.mml=) source or its OpenDocument formula (=.odf=) file as shown below:




    Labels and captions in ODT export

    ODT format handles labeling and captioning of objects based on their types. Inline images, tables, LaTeX fragments, and Math formulas are numbered and captioned separately. Each object also gets a unique sequence number based on its order of first appearance in the Org file. Each category has its own sequence. A caption is just a label applied to these objects.

    ,#+CAPTION: Bell curve ,#+NAME: fig:SED-HR4049 ./img/a.png

    When rendered, it may show as follows in the exported document:

    Figure 2: Bell curve

    To modify the category component of the caption, customize the option ~org-odt-category-map-alist~. For example, to tag embedded images with the string "Illustration" instead of the default string "Figure", use the following setting:

    (setq org-odt-category-map-alist '(("__Figure__" "Illustration" "value" "Figure" org-odt--enumerable-image-p)))

    With the above modification, the previous example changes to:

    Illustration 2: Bell curve

    Literal examples in ODT export

    The ODT export back-end supports literal examples (see *Literal Examples) with full fontification. Internally, the ODT export back-end relies on htmlfontify.el to generate the style definitions needed for fancy listings. The auto-generated styles get =OrgSrc= prefix and inherit colors from the faces used by Emacs Font Lock library for that source language.

    For custom fontification styles, customize the ~org-odt-create-custom-styles-for-srcblocks~ option.

    To turn off fontification of literal examples, customize the ~org-odt-fontify-srcblocks~ option.

    Advanced topics in ODT export

    The ODT export back-end has extensive features useful for power users and frequent uses of ODT formats.

    Configuring a document converter

    The ODT export back-end works with popular converters with little or no extra configuration. See *Extending ODT export. The following is for unsupported converters or tweaking existing defaults.

    • Register the converter ::

    #+vindex: org-export-odt-convert-processes Add the name of the converter to the ~org-odt-convert-processes~ variable. Note that it also requires how the converter is invoked on the command line. See the variable's docstring for details.

    • Configure its capabilities ::

    #+vindex: org-export-odt-convert-capabilities Specify which formats the converter can handle by customizing the variable org-odt-convert-capabilities. Use the entry for the default values in this variable for configuring the new converter. Also see its docstring for details.

    • Choose the converter ::

    #+vindex: org-export-odt-convert-process Select the newly added converter as the preferred one by customizing the option org-odt-convert-process.

    Working with OpenDocument style files

    This section explores the internals of the ODT exporter; the means by which it produces styled documents; the use of automatic and custom OpenDocument styles.

    The ODT exporter relies on two files for generating its output. These files are bundled with the distribution under the directory pointed to by the variable org-odt-styles-dir. The two files are:

    • OrgOdtStyles.xml <> ::

    This file contributes to the styles.xml file of the final ODT document. This file gets modified for the following purposes:

    1. To control outline numbering based on user settings;
    1. To add styles generated by htmlfontify.el for fontification of
    2. code blocks.
    • OrgOdtContentTemplate.xml <> ::

    This file contributes to the content.xml file of the final ODT document. The contents of the Org outline are inserted between the <office:text> ... </office:text> elements of this file.

    Apart from serving as a template file for the final content.xml, the file serves the following purposes:

    1. It contains automatic styles for formatting of tables which are
    2. referenced by the exporter;
    1. It contains <text:sequence-decl> ... </text:sequence-decl>
    2. elements that control numbering of tables, images, equations, and similar entities.

    <> The following two variables control the location from where the ODT exporter picks up the custom styles and content template files. Customize these variables to override the factory styles used by the exporter.

    • org-odt-styles-file ::

    The ODT export back-end uses the file pointed to by this variable, such as styles.xml, for the final output. It can take one of the following values:

    • FILE.xml ::

    Use this file instead of the default styles.xml

    • FILE.odt or ::

    Use the styles.xml contained in the specified OpenDocument Text or Template file

    • FILE.odt or and a subset of included files ::

    Use the styles.xml contained in the specified OpenDocument Text or Template file. Additionally extract the specified member files and embed those within the final ODT document.

    Use this option if the styles.xml file references additional files like header and footer images.

    • nil ::

    Use the default styles.xml.

    • org-odt-content-template-file ::

    Use this variable to specify the blank content.xml used in the final output.

    Creating one-off styles

    The ODT export back-end can read embedded raw OpenDocument XML from the Org file. Such direct formatting is useful for one-off instances.

    • Embedding ODT tags as part of regular text ::

    Enclose OpenDocument syntax in @@odt:...@@ for inline markup. For example, to highlight a region of text do the following:

    #+begin_example @@odt:This is highlighted text@@. But this is regular text. #+end_example

    Hint: To see the above example in action, edit the =styles.xml= (see Factory styles) and add a custom Highlight style as shown below:

    #+begin_example #+end_example

    • Embedding a one-line OpenDocument XML ::

    #+cindex: ODT, keyword The ODT export back-end can read one-liner options with =#+ODT:= in the Org file. For example, to force a page break:

    #+begin_example ,#+ODT: #+end_example

    Hint: To see the above example in action, edit your styles.xml (see Factory styles) and add a custom =PageBreak= style as shown below.

    #+begin_example #+end_example

    • Embedding a block of OpenDocument XML ::

    The ODT export back-end can also read ODT export blocks for OpenDocument XML. Such blocks use the #+BEGIN_EXPORT odt= ... =#+END_EXPORT constructs.

    For example, to create a one-off paragraph that uses bold text, do the following:

    #+begin_example ,#+BEGIN_EXPORT odt This paragraph is specially formatted and uses bold text. ,#+END_EXPORT #+end_example

    Customizing tables in ODT export

    Override the default table format by specifying a custom table style with the #+ATTR_ODT line. For a discussion on default formatting of tables, see *Tables in ODT export.

    This feature closely mimics the way table templates are defined in the OpenDocument-v1.2 specification.127

    For quick preview of this feature, install the settings below and export the table that follows:

    (setq org-export-odt-table-styles (append org-export-odt-table-styles '(("TableWithHeaderRowAndColumn" "Custom" ((use-first-row-styles . t) (use-first-column-styles . t))) ("TableWithFirstRowandLastRow" "Custom" ((use-first-row-styles . t) (use-last-row-styles . t))))))

    ,#+ATTR_ODT: :style TableWithHeaderRowAndColumn | Name | Phone | Age | | Peter | 1234 | 17 | | Anna | 4321 | 25 |

    The example above used Custom template and installed two table styles TableWithHeaderRowAndColumn and =TableWithFirstRowandLastRow=. Important: The OpenDocument styles needed for producing the above template were pre-defined. They are available in the section marked Custom Table Template in =OrgOdtContentTemplate.xml= (see Factory styles). For adding new templates, define new styles there.

    To use this feature proceed as follows:

    1. Create a table template128.

    A table template is set of table-cell and paragraph styles for each of the following table cell categories:

    • Body
    • First column
    • Last column
    • First row
    • Last row
    • Even row
    • Odd row
    • Even column
    • Odd Column

    The names for the above styles must be chosen based on the name of the table template using a well-defined convention.

    The naming convention is better illustrated with an example. For a table template with the name Custom, the needed style names are listed in the following table.

    | Cell type | Cell style | Paragraph style | |--------------+------------------------------+-----------------------------------| | Body | CustomTableCell | CustomTableParagraph | | First column | CustomFirstColumnTableCell | CustomFirstColumnTableParagraph | | Last column | CustomLastColumnTableCell | CustomLastColumnTableParagraph | | First row | CustomFirstRowTableCell | CustomFirstRowTableParagraph | | Last row | CustomLastRowTableCell | CustomLastRowTableParagraph | | Even row | CustomEvenRowTableCell | CustomEvenRowTableParagraph | | Odd row | CustomOddRowTableCell | CustomOddRowTableParagraph | | Even column | CustomEvenColumnTableCell | CustomEvenColumnTableParagraph | | Odd column | CustomOddColumnTableCell | CustomOddColumnTableParagraph |

    To create a table template with the name Custom, define the above styles in the <office:automatic-styles> ... </office:automatic-styles> element of the content template file (see Factory styles).

    1. Define a table style129.

    #+vindex: org-odt-table-styles To define a table style, create an entry for the style in the variable org-odt-table-styles and specify the following:

    • the name of the table template created in step (1),
    • the set of cell styles in that template that are to be activated.

    For example, the entry below defines two different table styles TableWithHeaderRowAndColumn and TableWithFirstRowandLastRow= based on the same template =Custom. The styles achieve their intended effect by selectively activating the individual cell styles in that template.

    #+begin_src emacs-lisp (setq org-export-odt-table-styles (append org-export-odt-table-styles '(("TableWithHeaderRowAndColumn" "Custom" ((use-first-row-styles . t) (use-first-column-styles . t))) ("TableWithFirstRowandLastRow" "Custom" ((use-first-row-styles . t) (use-last-row-styles . t)))))) #+end_src

    1. Associate a table with the table style.

    To do this, specify the table style created in step (2) as part of the ATTR_ODT line as shown below.

    #+begin_example ,#+ATTR_ODT: :style TableWithHeaderRowAndColumn | Name | Phone | Age | | Peter | 1234 | 17 | | Anna | 4321 | 25 | #+end_example

    Validating OpenDocument XML

    Sometimes ODT format files may not open due to =.odt= file corruption. To verify if such a file is corrupt, validate it against the OpenDocument Relax NG Compact (RNC) syntax schema. But first the =.odt= files have to be decompressed using zip. Note that =.odt= files are ZIP archives: info:emacs::File Archives. The contents of ODT files are in XML. For general help with validation---and schema-sensitive editing---of XML files: info:nxml-mode::Introduction.

    Customize org-odt-schema-dir to point to a directory with OpenDocument RNC files and the needed schema-locating rules. The ODT export back-end takes care of updating the ~rng-schema-locating-files~.

    Org Export

    org export back-end creates a normalized version of the Org document in current buffer. The exporter evaluates Babel code (see *Evaluating Code Blocks) and removes content specific to other back-ends.

    Org export commands

    • {{{kbd(C-c C-e O o)}}} (org-org-export-to-org) ::

    #+kindex: C-c C-e O o #+findex: org-org-export-to-org Export as an Org file with a extension. For, Org exports to, overwriting without warning.

    • {{{kbd(C-c C-e O v)}}} (~~) ::

    #+kindex: C-c C-e O v Export to an Org file, then open it.

    Texinfo Export

    Texinfo export commands

    • {{{kbd(C-c C-e i t)}}} (org-texinfo-export-to-texinfo) ::

    #+kindex: C-c C-e i t #+findex: org-texinfo-export-to-texinfo Export as a Texinfo file with =.texi= extension. For, Org exports to myfile.texi, overwriting without warning.

    • {{{kbd(C-c C-e i i)}}} (org-texinfo-export-to-info) ::

    #+kindex: C-c C-e i i #+findex: org-texinfo-export-to-info #+vindex: org-texinfo-info-process Export to Texinfo format first and then process it to make an Info file. To generate other formats, such as DocBook, customize the org-texinfo-info-process variable.

    Texinfo specific export settings

    The Texinfo export back-end has several additional keywords for customizing Texinfo output. Setting these keywords works similar to the general options (see *Export Settings).

    • SUBTITLE ::

    #+cindex: SUBTITLE, keyword The document subtitle.

    • SUBAUTHOR ::

    #+cindex: SUBAUTHOR, keyword Additional authors for the document.


    #+cindex: TEXINFO_FILENAME, keyword The Texinfo filename.


    #+cindex: TEXINFO_CLASS, keyword #+vindex: org-texinfo-default-class The default document class (org-texinfo-default-class), which must be a member of org-texinfo-classes.


    #+cindex: TEXINFO_HEADER, keyword Arbitrary lines inserted at the end of the header.


    #+cindex: TEXINFO_POST_HEADER, keyword Arbitrary lines inserted after the end of the header.


    #+cindex: TEXINFO_DIR_CATEGORY, keyword The directory category of the document.


    #+cindex: TEXINFO_DIR_TITLE, keyword The directory title of the document.


    #+cindex: TEXINFO_DIR_DESC, keyword The directory description of the document.


    #+cindex: TEXINFO_PRINTED_TITLE, keyword The printed title of the document.

    Texinfo file header

    After creating the header for a Texinfo file, the Texinfo back-end automatically generates a name and destination path for the Info file. To override this default with a more sensible path and name, specify the TEXINFO_FILENAME keyword.

    Along with the output's file name, the Texinfo header also contains language details (see *Export Settings) and encoding system as set in the org-texinfo-coding-system variable. Insert =TEXINFO_HEADER= keywords for each additional command in the header, for example:

    #+TEXINFO_HEADER: @synindex

    Instead of repeatedly installing the same set of commands, define a class in org-texinfo-classes once, and then activate it in the document by setting the TEXINFO_CLASS keyword to that class.

    The default template for hard copy output has a title page with =TITLE= and AUTHOR keywords (see *Export Settings). To replace the regular title with something different for the printed version, use the TEXINFO_PRINTED_TITLE and SUBTITLE keywords. Both expect raw Texinfo code for setting their values.

    If one AUTHOR line is not sufficient, add multiple =SUBAUTHOR= keywords. They have to be set in raw Texinfo code.

    ,#+AUTHOR: Jane Smith ,#+SUBAUTHOR: John Doe ,#+TEXINFO_PRINTED_TITLE: This Long Title@@inlinefmt{tex,@*} Is Broken in @TeX{}

    Copying material is defined in a dedicated headline with a non-~nil~ =COPYING= property. The back-end inserts the contents within a @copying command at the beginning of the document. The heading itself does not appear in the structure of the document.

    Copyright information is printed on the back of the title page.

    ,* Legalese :PROPERTIES: :COPYING: t :END:

    This is a short example of a complete Texinfo file, version 1.0.

    Copyright \copy 2016 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

    Info directory file

    The end result of the Texinfo export process is the creation of an Info file. This Info file's metadata has variables for category, title, and description: TEXINFO_DIR_CATEGORY, TEXINFO_DIR_TITLE, and TEXINFO_DIR_DESC keywords that establish where in the Info hierarchy the file fits.

    Here is an example that writes to the Info directory file:

    ,#+TEXINFO_DIR_CATEGORY: Emacs ,#+TEXINFO_DIR_TITLE: Org Mode: (org) ,#+TEXINFO_DIR_DESC: Outline-based notes management and organizer

    Headings and sectioning structure

    The Texinfo export back-end uses a pre-defined scheme to convert Org headlines to equivalent Texinfo structuring commands. A scheme like this maps top-level headlines to numbered chapters tagged as ~@chapter~ and lower-level headlines to unnumbered chapters tagged as ~@unnumbered~. To override such mappings to introduce @part or other Texinfo structuring commands, define a new class in ~org-texinfo-classes~. Activate the new class with the =TEXINFO_CLASS= keyword. When no new class is defined and activated, the Texinfo export back-end defaults to the ~org-texinfo-default-class~.

    If an Org headline's level has no associated Texinfo structuring command, or is below a certain threshold (see *Export Settings), then the Texinfo export back-end makes it into a list item.

    The Texinfo export back-end makes any headline with a non-~nil~ =APPENDIX= property into an appendix. This happens independent of the Org headline level or the TEXINFO_CLASS keyword.

    The Texinfo export back-end creates a menu entry after the Org headline for each regular sectioning structure. To override this with a shorter menu entry, use the ALT_TITLE property (see *Table of Contents). Texinfo menu entries also have an option for a longer =DESCRIPTION= property. Here's an example that uses both to override the default menu entry:

    ,* Controlling Screen Display :PROPERTIES: :ALT_TITLE: Display :DESCRIPTION: Controlling Screen Display :END:

    The text before the first headline belongs to the Top node, i.e., the node in which a reader enters an Info manual. As such, it is expected not to appear in printed output generated from the =.texi= file. See info:texinfo::The%20Top%20Node, for more information.


    The Texinfo export back-end recognizes these indexing keywords if used in the Org file: CINDEX, FINDEX, KINDEX, PINDEX, TINDEX and =VINDEX=. Write their value as verbatim Texinfo code; in particular, ={=, =}= and @ characters need to be escaped with @ if they do not belong to a Texinfo command.

    #+CINDEX: Defining indexing entries

    For the back-end to generate an index entry for a headline, set the =INDEX= property to cp or vr. These abbreviations come from Texinfo that stand for concept index and variable index. The Texinfo manual has abbreviations for all other kinds of indexes. The back-end exports the headline as an unnumbered chapter or section command, and then inserts the index after its contents.

    ,* Concept Index :PROPERTIES: :INDEX: cp :END:

    Quoting Texinfo code

    Use any of the following three methods to insert or escape raw Texinfo code:

    Richard @@texinfo:@sc{@@Stallman@@texinfo:}@@ commence' GNU.

    ,#+TEXINFO: @need800 This paragraph is preceded by...

    ,#+BEGIN_EXPORT texinfo @auindex Johnson, Mark @auindex Lakoff, George ,#+END_EXPORT

    Plain lists in Texinfo export

    The Texinfo export back-end by default converts description lists in the Org file using the default command @table, which results in a table with two columns. To change this behavior, specify =:table-type= with ftable or vtable attributes. For more information, see info:texinfo::Two-column Tables.

    The Texinfo export back-end by default also applies a text highlight based on the defaults stored in org-texinfo-table-default-markup. To override the default highlight command, specify another one with the :indic attribute.

    Org syntax is limited to one entry per list item. Nevertheless, the Texinfo export back-end can split that entry according to any text provided through the :sep attribute. Each part then becomes a new entry in the first column of the table.

    The following example illustrates all the attributes above:

    ,#+ATTR_TEXINFO: :table-type vtable :sep , :indic asis
    foo, bar
    This is the common text for variables foo and bar.


    @vtable @asis @item foo @itemx bar This is the common text for variables foo and bar. @end table

    Tables in Texinfo export

    When exporting tables, the Texinfo export back-end uses the widest cell width in each column. To override this and instead specify as fractions of line length, use the :columns attribute. See example below.

    ,#+ATTR_TEXINFO: :columns .5 .5 | a cell | another cell |

    Images in Texinfo export

    Insert a file link to the image in the Org file, and the Texinfo export back-end inserts the image. These links must have the usual supported image extensions and no descriptions. To scale the image, use :width and :height attributes. For alternate text, use =:alt= and specify the text using Texinfo code, as shown in the example:

    ,#+ATTR_TEXINFO: :width 1in :alt Alternate @i{text} ridt.pdf

    Special blocks in Texinfo export

    The Texinfo export back-end converts special blocks to commands with the same name. It also adds any :options attributes to the end of the command, as shown in this example:

    ,#+ATTR_TEXINFO: :options org-org-export-to-org ... ,#+BEGIN_defun A somewhat obsessive function name. ,#+END_defun


    @defun org-org-export-to-org ... A somewhat obsessive function name. @end defun

    A Texinfo example

    Here is a more detailed example Org file. See info:texinfo::GNU%20Sample%20Texts for an equivalent example using Texinfo code.

    ,#+TITLE: GNU Sample {{{version}}} ,#+SUBTITLE: for version {{{version}}}, {{{updated}}} ,#+AUTHOR: A.U. Thor ,#+EMAIL:

    ,#+OPTIONS: ':t toc:t author:t email:t ,#+LANGUAGE: en

    ,#+MACRO: version 2.0 ,#+MACRO: updated last updated 4 March 2014

    ,#+TEXINFO_FILENAME: ,#+TEXINFO_HEADER: @syncodeindex pg cp

    ,#+TEXINFO_DIR_CATEGORY: Texinfo documentation system ,#+TEXINFO_DIR_TITLE: sample: (sample) ,#+TEXINFO_DIR_DESC: Invoking sample


    This manual is for GNU Sample (version {{{version}}}, {{{updated}}}).

    ,* Copying :PROPERTIES: :COPYING: t :END:

    This manual is for GNU Sample (version {{{version}}}, {{{updated}}}), which is an example in the Texinfo documentation.

    Copyright \copy 2016 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

    ,#+BEGIN_QUOTE Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License". ,#+END_QUOTE

    ,* Invoking sample

    ,#+PINDEX: sample ,#+CINDEX: invoking @command{sample}

    This is a sample manual. There is no sample program to invoke, but if there were, you could see its basic usage and command line options here.

    ,* GNU Free Documentation License :PROPERTIES: :APPENDIX: t :END:

    ,#+TEXINFO: @include fdl.texi

    ,* Index :PROPERTIES: :INDEX: cp :END:

    iCalendar Export

    A large part of Org mode's interoperability success is its ability to easily export to or import from external applications. The iCalendar export back-end takes calendar data from Org files and exports to the standard iCalendar format.

    The iCalendar export back-end can also incorporate TODO entries based on the configuration of the org-icalendar-include-todo variable. The back-end exports plain timestamps as VEVENT, TODO items as =VTODO=, and also create events from deadlines that are in non-TODO items. The back-end uses the deadlines and scheduling dates in Org TODO items for setting the start and due dates for the iCalendar TODO entry. Consult the org-icalendar-use-deadline and ~org-icalendar-use-scheduled~ variables for more details.

    For tags on the headline, the iCalendar export back-end makes them into iCalendar categories. To tweak the inheritance of tags and TODO states, configure the variable org-icalendar-categories. To assign clock alarms based on time, configure the ~org-icalendar-alarm-time~ variable.

    The iCalendar format standard requires globally unique identifier---or UID---for each entry. The iCalendar export back-end creates UIDs during export. To save a copy of the UID in the Org file set the variable org-icalendar-store-UID. The back-end looks for the =ID= property of the entry for re-using the same UID for subsequent exports.

    Since a single Org entry can result in multiple iCalendar entries---timestamp, deadline, scheduled item, or TODO item---Org adds prefixes to the UID, depending on which part of the Org entry triggered the creation of the iCalendar entry. Prefixing ensures UIDs remains unique, yet enable synchronization programs trace the connections.

    • {{{kbd(C-c C-e c f)}}} (org-icalendar-export-to-ics) ::

    #+kindex: C-c C-e c f #+findex: org-icalendar-export-to-ics Create iCalendar entries from the current Org buffer and store them in the same directory, using a file extension =.ics=.

    • {{{kbd(C-c C-e c a)}}} (org-icalendar-export-agenda-files) ::

    #+kindex: C-c C-e c a #+findex: org-icalendar-export-agenda-files Create iCalendar entries from Org files in org-agenda-files and store in a separate iCalendar file for each Org file.

    • {{{kbd(C-c C-e c c)}}} (org-icalendar-combine-agenda-files) ::

    #+kindex: C-c C-e c c #+findex: org-icalendar-combine-agenda-files #+vindex: org-icalendar-combined-agenda-file Create a combined iCalendar file from Org files in org-agenda-files and write it to org-icalendar-combined-agenda-file file name.

    The iCalendar export back-end includes SUMMARY, DESCRIPTION, =LOCATION= and TIMEZONE properties from the Org entries when exporting. To force the back-end to inherit the LOCATION and =TIMEZONE= properties, configure the ~org-use-property-inheritance~ variable.

    When Org entries do not have SUMMARY, DESCRIPTION and =LOCATION= properties, the iCalendar export back-end derives the summary from the headline, and derives the description from the body of the Org item. The org-icalendar-include-body variable limits the maximum number of characters of the content are turned into its description.

    The TIMEZONE property can be used to specify a per-entry time zone, and is applied to any entry with timestamp information. Time zones should be specified as per the IANA time zone database format, e.g., =Asia/Almaty=. Alternately, the property value can be UTC, to force UTC time for this entry only.

    Exporting to iCalendar format depends in large part on the capabilities of the destination application. Some are more lenient than others. Consult the Org mode FAQ for advice on specific applications.

    Other Built-in Back-ends

    Other export back-ends included with Org are:

    • =ox-man.el=: Export to a man page.

    To activate such back-ends, either customize org-export-backends or load directly with (require 'ox-man). On successful load, the back-end adds new keys in the export dispatcher (see *The Export Dispatcher).

    Follow the comment section of such files, for example, ox-man.el, for usage and configuration details.

    Advanced Configuration


    The export process executes two hooks before the actual exporting begins. The first hook, org-export-before-processing-hook, runs before any expansions of macros, Babel code, and include keywords in the buffer. The second hook, org-export-before-parsing-hook, runs before the buffer is parsed.

    Functions added to these hooks are called with a single argument: the export back-end actually used, as a symbol. You may use them for heavy duty structural modifications of the document. For example, you can remove every headline in the buffer during export like this:

    (defun my-headline-removal (backend) "Remove all headlines in the current buffer. BACKEND is the export back-end being used, as a symbol." (org-map-entries (lambda () (delete-region (point) (line-beginning-position 2)))))

    (add-hook 'org-export-before-parsing-hook 'my-headline-removal)


    Filters are lists of functions to be applied to certain parts for a given back-end. The output from the first function in the filter is passed on to the next function in the filter. The final output is the output from the final function in the filter.

    The Org export process has many filter sets applicable to different types of objects, plain text, parse trees, export options, and final output formats. The filters are named after the element type or object type: org-export-filter-TYPE-functions, where {{{var(TYPE)}}} is the type targeted by the filter. Valid types are:

    body bold babel-call
    center-block clock code
    diary-sexp drawer dynamic-block
    entity example-block export-block
    export-snippet final-output fixed-width
    footnote-definition footnote-reference headline
    horizontal-rule inline-babel-call inline-src-block
    inlinetask italic item
    keyword latex-environment latex-fragment
    line-break link node-property
    options paragraph parse-tree
    plain-list plain-text planning
    property-drawer quote-block radio-target
    section special-block src-block
    statistics-cookie strike-through subscript
    superscript table table-cell
    table-row target timestamp
    underline verbatim verse-block

    Here is an example filter that replaces non-breaking spaces   in the Org buffer with ~ for the LaTeX back-end.

    (defun my-latex-filter-nobreaks (text backend info) "Ensure \" \" are properly handled in LaTeX export." (when (org-export-derived-backend-p backend 'latex) (replace-regexp-in-string " " "~" text)))

    (add-to-list 'org-export-filter-plain-text-functions 'my-latex-filter-nobreaks)

    A filter requires three arguments: the code to be transformed, the name of the back-end, and some optional information about the export process. The third argument can be safely ignored. Note the use of ~org-export-derived-backend-p~ predicate that tests for latex/ back-end or any other back-end, such as /beamer, derived from /latex/.

    Defining filters for individual files

    The Org export can filter not just for back-ends, but also for specific files through the BIND keyword. Here is an example with two filters; one removes brackets from time stamps, and the other removes strike-through text. The filter functions are defined in a code block in the same Org file, which is a handy location for debugging.

    ,#+BIND: org-export-filter-timestamp-functions (tmp-f-timestamp) ,#+BIND: org-export-filter-strike-through-functions (tmp-f-strike-through) ,#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp :exports results :results none (defun tmp-f-timestamp (s backend info) (replace-regexp-in-string "&[lg]t;\\|[][]" "" s)) (defun tmp-f-strike-through (s backend info) "") ,#+END_SRC

    Extending an existing back-end

    Some parts of the conversion process can be extended for certain elements so as to introduce a new or revised translation. That is how the HTML export back-end was extended to handle Markdown format. The extensions work seamlessly so any aspect of filtering not done by the extended back-end is handled by the original back-end. Of all the export customization in Org, extending is very powerful as it operates at the parser level.

    For this example, make the ascii back-end display the language used in a source code block. Also make it display only when some attribute is non-~nil~, like the following:

    #+ATTR_ASCII: :language t

    Then extend ascii back-end with a custom "my-ascii" back-end.

    (defun my-ascii-src-block (src-block contents info) "Transcode a SRC-BLOCK element from Org to ASCII. CONTENTS is nil. INFO is a plist used as a communication channel." (if (not (org-export-read-attribute :attr_ascii src-block :language)) (org-export-with-backend 'ascii src-block contents info) (concat (format ",--[ %s ]--\n%s`----" (org-element-property :language src-block) (replace-regexp-in-string "^" "| " (org-element-normalize-string (org-export-format-code-default src-block info)))))))

    (org-export-define-derived-backend 'my-ascii 'ascii :translate-alist '((src-block . my-ascii-src-block)))

    The my-ascii-src-block function looks at the attribute above the current element. If not true, hands over to ascii back-end. If true, which it is in this example, it creates a box around the code and leaves room for the inserting a string for language. The last form creates the new back-end that springs to action only when translating src-block type elements.

    To use the newly defined back-end, evaluate the following from an Org buffer:

    (org-export-to-buffer 'my-ascii "*Org MY-ASCII Export*")

    Further steps to consider would be an interactive function, self-installing an item in the export dispatcher menu, and other user-friendly improvements.

    Export in Foreign Buffers

    The export back-ends in Org often include commands to convert selected regions. A convenient feature of this in-place conversion is that the exported output replaces the original source. Here are such functions:

    • org-html-convert-region-to-html ::

    #+findex: org-html-convert-region-to-html Convert the selected region into HTML.

    • org-latex-convert-region-to-latex ::

    #+findex: org-latex-convert-region-to-latex Convert the selected region into LaTeX.

    • org-texinfo-convert-region-to-texinfo ::

    #+findex: org-texinfo-convert-region-to-texinfo Convert the selected region into Texinfo.

    • org-md-convert-region-to-md ::

    #+findex: org-md-convert-region-to-md Convert the selected region into Markdown.

    In-place conversions are particularly handy for quick conversion of tables and lists in foreign buffers. For example, turn on the minor mode {{{kbd(M-x orgstruct-mode)}}} in an HTML buffer, then use the convenient Org keyboard commands to create a list, select it, and covert it to HTML with {{{kbd(M-x org-html-convert-region-to-html)}}}.


    Org includes a publishing management system that allows you to configure automatic HTML conversion of projects composed of interlinked Org files. You can also configure Org to automatically upload your exported HTML pages and related attachments, such as images and source code files, to a web server.

    You can also use Org to convert files into PDF, or even combine HTML and PDF conversion so that files are available in both formats on the server.

    Publishing has been contributed to Org by David O'Toole.


    Publishing needs significant configuration to specify files, destination and many other properties of a project.

    The variable org-publish-project-alist

    Publishing is configured almost entirely through setting the value of one variable, called org-publish-project-alist. Each element of the list configures one project, and may be in one of the two following forms:

    ("project-name" :property value :property value ...)

    i.e., a well-formed property list with alternating keys and values, or:

    ("project-name" :components ("project-name" "project-name" ...))

    In both cases, projects are configured by specifying property values. A project defines the set of files that are to be published, as well as the publishing configuration to use when publishing those files. When a project takes the second form listed above, the individual members of the :components property are taken to be sub-projects, which group together files requiring different publishing options. When you publish such a "meta-project", all the components are also published, in the sequence given.

    Sources and destinations for files

    Most properties are optional, but some should always be set. In particular, Org needs to know where to look for source files, and where to put published files.

    • :base-directory ::

    Directory containing publishing source files.

    • :publishing-directory ::

    Directory where output files are published. You can directly publish to a webserver using a file name syntax appropriate for the Emacs tramp package. Or you can publish to a local directory and use external tools to upload your website (see *Uploading Files).

    • :preparation-function ::

    Function or list of functions to be called before starting the publishing process, for example, to run make for updating files to be published. Each preparation function is called with a single argument, the project property list.

    • :completion-function ::

    Function or list of functions called after finishing the publishing process, for example, to change permissions of the resulting files. Each completion function is called with a single argument, the project property list.

    Selecting files

    By default, all files with extension in the base directory are considered part of the project. This can be modified by setting the following properties

    • :base-extension ::

    Extension---without the dot---of source files. This actually is a regular expression. Set this to the symbol any if you want to get all files in :base-directory, even without extension.

    • :exclude ::

    Regular expression to match file names that should not be published, even though they have been selected on the basis of their extension.

    • :include ::

    List of files to be included regardless of :base-extension and :exclude.

    • :recursive ::

    Non-~nil~ means, check base-directory recursively for files to publish.

    Publishing action

    Publishing means that a file is copied to the destination directory and possibly transformed in the process. The default transformation is to export Org files as HTML files, and this is done by the function ~org-publish-org-to-html~ which calls the HTML exporter (see *HTML Export). But you can also publish your content as PDF files using ~org-publish-org-to-pdf~, or as ASCII, Texinfo, etc., using the corresponding functions.

    If you want to publish the Org file as an file but with /archived/, commented, and tag-excluded trees removed, use ~org-publish-org-to-org~. This produces and put it in the publishing directory. If you want a htmlized version of this file, set the parameter :htmlized-source to t. It produces in the publishing directory130.

    Other files like images only need to be copied to the publishing destination; for this you can use org-publish-attachment. For non-Org files, you always need to specify the publishing function:

    • :publishing-function ::

    Function executing the publication of a file. This may also be a list of functions, which are all called in turn.

    • :plain-source ::

    Non-~nil~ means, publish plain source.

    • :htmlized-source ::

    Non-~nil~ means, publish htmlized source.

    The function must accept three arguments: a property list containing at least a :publishing-directory property, the name of the file to be published, and the path to the publishing directory of the output file. It should take the specified file, make the necessary transformation, if any, and place the result into the destination folder.

    Options for the exporters

    The property list can be used to set many export options for the HTML and LaTeX exporters. In most cases, these properties correspond to user variables in Org. The table below lists these properties along with the variable they belong to. See the documentation string for the respective variable for details.

    When a property is given a value in org-publish-project-alist, its setting overrides the value of the corresponding user variable, if any, during publishing. Options set within a file (see *Export Settings), however, override everything.

    Generic properties

    :archived-trees org-export-with-archived-trees
    :exclude-tags org-export-exclude-tags
    :headline-levels org-export-headline-levels
    :language org-export-default-language
    :preserve-breaks org-export-preserve-breaks
    :section-numbers org-export-with-section-numbers
    :select-tags org-export-select-tags
    :with-author org-export-with-author
    :with-broken-links org-export-with-broken-links
    :with-clocks org-export-with-clocks
    :with-creator org-export-with-creator
    :with-date org-export-with-date
    :with-drawers org-export-with-drawers
    :with-email org-export-with-email
    :with-emphasize org-export-with-emphasize
    :with-fixed-width org-export-with-fixed-width
    :with-footnotes org-export-with-footnotes
    :with-latex org-export-with-latex
    :with-planning org-export-with-planning
    :with-priority org-export-with-priority
    :with-properties org-export-with-properties
    :with-special-strings org-export-with-special-strings
    :with-sub-superscript org-export-with-sub-superscripts
    :with-tables org-export-with-tables
    :with-tags org-export-with-tags
    :with-tasks org-export-with-tasks
    :with-timestamps org-export-with-timestamps
    :with-title org-export-with-title
    :with-toc org-export-with-toc
    :with-todo-keywords org-export-with-todo-keywords

    ASCII specific properties

    :ascii-bullets org-ascii-bullets
    :ascii-caption-above org-ascii-caption-above
    :ascii-charset org-ascii-charset
    :ascii-global-margin org-ascii-global-margin
    :ascii-format-drawer-function org-ascii-format-drawer-function
    :ascii-format-inlinetask-function org-ascii-format-inlinetask-function
    :ascii-headline-spacing org-ascii-headline-spacing
    :ascii-indented-line-width org-ascii-indented-line-width
    :ascii-inlinetask-width org-ascii-inlinetask-width
    :ascii-inner-margin org-ascii-inner-margin
    :ascii-links-to-notes org-ascii-links-to-notes
    :ascii-list-margin org-ascii-list-margin
    :ascii-paragraph-spacing org-ascii-paragraph-spacing
    :ascii-quote-margin org-ascii-quote-margin
    :ascii-table-keep-all-vertical-lines org-ascii-table-keep-all-vertical-lines
    :ascii-table-use-ascii-art org-ascii-table-use-ascii-art
    :ascii-table-widen-columns org-ascii-table-widen-columns
    :ascii-text-width org-ascii-text-width
    :ascii-underline org-ascii-underline
    :ascii-verbatim-format org-ascii-verbatim-format

    Beamer specific properties

    :beamer-theme org-beamer-theme
    :beamer-column-view-format org-beamer-column-view-format
    :beamer-environments-extra org-beamer-environments-extra
    :beamer-frame-default-options org-beamer-frame-default-options
    :beamer-outline-frame-options org-beamer-outline-frame-options
    :beamer-outline-frame-title org-beamer-outline-frame-title
    :beamer-subtitle-format org-beamer-subtitle-format

    HTML specific properties

    :html-allow-name-attribute-in-anchors org-html-allow-name-attribute-in-anchors
    :html-checkbox-type org-html-checkbox-type
    :html-container org-html-container-element
    :html-divs org-html-divs
    :html-doctype org-html-doctype
    :html-extension org-html-extension
    :html-footnote-format org-html-footnote-format
    :html-footnote-separator org-html-footnote-separator
    :html-footnotes-section org-html-footnotes-section
    :html-format-drawer-function org-html-format-drawer-function
    :html-format-headline-function org-html-format-headline-function
    :html-format-inlinetask-function org-html-format-inlinetask-function
    :html-head-extra org-html-head-extra
    :html-head-include-default-style org-html-head-include-default-style
    :html-head-include-scripts org-html-head-include-scripts
    :html-head org-html-head
    :html-home/up-format org-html-home/up-format
    :html-html5-fancy org-html-html5-fancy
    :html-indent org-html-indent
    :html-infojs-options org-html-infojs-options
    :html-infojs-template org-html-infojs-template
    :html-inline-image-rules org-html-inline-image-rules
    :html-inline-images org-html-inline-images
    :html-link-home org-html-link-home
    :html-link-org-files-as-html org-html-link-org-files-as-html
    :html-link-up org-html-link-up
    :html-link-use-abs-url org-html-link-use-abs-url
    :html-mathjax-options org-html-mathjax-options
    :html-mathjax-template org-html-mathjax-template
    :html-metadata-timestamp-format org-html-metadata-timestamp-format
    :html-postamble-format org-html-postamble-format
    :html-postamble org-html-postamble
    :html-preamble-format org-html-preamble-format
    :html-preamble org-html-preamble
    :html-table-align-individual-field de{org-html-table-align-individual-fields
    :html-table-attributes org-html-table-default-attributes
    :html-table-caption-above org-html-table-caption-above
    :html-table-data-tags org-html-table-data-tags
    :html-table-header-tags org-html-table-header-tags
    :html-table-row-tags org-html-table-row-tags
    :html-table-use-header-tags-for-first-column org-html-table-use-header-tags-for-first-column
    :html-tag-class-prefix org-html-tag-class-prefix
    :html-text-markup-alist org-html-text-markup-alist
    :html-todo-kwd-class-prefix org-html-todo-kwd-class-prefix
    :html-toplevel-hlevel org-html-toplevel-hlevel
    :html-use-infojs org-html-use-infojs
    :html-validation-link org-html-validation-link
    :html-viewport org-html-viewport
    :html-xml-declaration org-html-xml-declaration

    LaTeX specific properties

    :latex-active-timestamp-format org-latex-active-timestamp-format
    :latex-caption-above org-latex-caption-above
    :latex-classes org-latex-classes
    :latex-class org-latex-default-class
    :latex-compiler org-latex-compiler
    :latex-default-figure-position org-latex-default-figure-position
    :latex-default-table-environment org-latex-default-table-environment
    :latex-default-table-mode org-latex-default-table-mode
    :latex-diary-timestamp-format org-latex-diary-timestamp-format
    :latex-footnote-defined-format org-latex-footnote-defined-format
    :latex-footnote-separator org-latex-footnote-separator
    :latex-format-drawer-function org-latex-format-drawer-function
    :latex-format-headline-function org-latex-format-headline-function
    :latex-format-inlinetask-function org-latex-format-inlinetask-function
    :latex-hyperref-template org-latex-hyperref-template
    :latex-image-default-height org-latex-image-default-height
    :latex-image-default-option org-latex-image-default-option
    :latex-image-default-width org-latex-image-default-width
    :latex-images-centered org-latex-images-centered
    :latex-inactive-timestamp-format org-latex-inactive-timestamp-format
    :latex-inline-image-rules org-latex-inline-image-rules
    :latex-link-with-unknown-path-format org-latex-link-with-unknown-path-format
    :latex-listings-langs org-latex-listings-langs
    :latex-listings-options org-latex-listings-options
    :latex-listings org-latex-listings
    :latex-minted-langs org-latex-minted-langs
    :latex-minted-options org-latex-minted-options
    :latex-prefer-user-labels org-latex-prefer-user-labels
    :latex-subtitle-format org-latex-subtitle-format
    :latex-subtitle-separate org-latex-subtitle-separate
    :latex-table-scientific-notation org-latex-table-scientific-notation
    :latex-tables-booktabs org-latex-tables-booktabs
    :latex-tables-centered org-latex-tables-centered
    :latex-text-markup-alist org-latex-text-markup-alist
    :latex-title-command org-latex-title-command
    :latex-toc-command org-latex-toc-command

    Markdown specific properties

    :md-footnote-format org-md-footnote-format
    :md-footnotes-section org-md-footnotes-section
    :md-headline-style org-md-headline-style

    ODT specific properties

    :odt-content-template-file org-odt-content-template-file
    :odt-display-outline-level org-odt-display-outline-level
    :odt-fontify-srcblocks org-odt-fontify-srcblocks
    :odt-format-drawer-function org-odt-format-drawer-function
    :odt-format-headline-function org-odt-format-headline-function
    :odt-format-inlinetask-function org-odt-format-inlinetask-function
    :odt-inline-formula-rules org-odt-inline-formula-rules
    :odt-inline-image-rules org-odt-inline-image-rules
    :odt-pixels-per-inch org-odt-pixels-per-inch
    :odt-styles-file org-odt-styles-file
    :odt-table-styles org-odt-table-styles
    :odt-use-date-fields org-odt-use-date-fields

    Texinfo specific properties

    :texinfo-active-timestamp-format org-texinfo-active-timestamp-format
    :texinfo-classes org-texinfo-classes
    :texinfo-class org-texinfo-default-class
    :texinfo-table-default-markup org-texinfo-table-default-markup
    :texinfo-diary-timestamp-format org-texinfo-diary-timestamp-format
    :texinfo-filename org-texinfo-filename
    :texinfo-format-drawer-function org-texinfo-format-drawer-function
    :texinfo-format-headline-function org-texinfo-format-headline-function
    :texinfo-format-inlinetask-function org-texinfo-format-inlinetask-function
    :texinfo-inactive-timestamp-format org-texinfo-inactive-timestamp-format
    :texinfo-link-with-unknown-path-format org-texinfo-link-with-unknown-path-format
    :texinfo-node-description-column org-texinfo-node-description-column
    :texinfo-table-scientific-notation org-texinfo-table-scientific-notation
    :texinfo-tables-verbatim org-texinfo-tables-verbatim
    :texinfo-text-markup-alist org-texinfo-text-markup-alist

    To create a link from one Org file to another, you would use something like [[][The foo]] or simply [[]] (see *External Links). When published, this link becomes a link to foo.html. You can thus interlink the pages of your "Org web" project and the links will work as expected when you publish them to HTML. If you also publish the Org source file and want to link to it, use an http link instead of a file: link, because file links are converted to link to the corresponding =.html= file.

    You may also link to related files, such as images. Provided you are careful with relative file names, and provided you have also configured Org to upload the related files, these links will work too. See *Example: complex publishing configuration, for an example of this usage.

    Eventually, links between published documents can contain some search options (see *Search Options in File Links), which will be resolved to the appropriate location in the linked file. For example, once published to HTML, the following links all point to a dedicated anchor in foo.html.

    Generating a sitemap

    The following properties may be used to control publishing of a map of files for a given project.

    • :auto-sitemap ::

    When non-~nil~, publish a sitemap during org-publish-current-project or org-publish-all.

    • :sitemap-filename ::

    Filename for output of sitemap. Defaults to, which becomes sitemap.html.

    • :sitemap-title ::

    Title of sitemap page. Defaults to name of file.

    • :sitemap-format-entry ::

    #+findex: org-publish-find-date #+findex: org-publish-find-property #+findex: org-publish-find-title With this option one can tell how a site-map entry is formatted in the site-map. It is a function called with three arguments: the file or directory name relative to base directory of the project, the site-map style and the current project. It is expected to return a string. Default value turns file names into links and use document titles as descriptions. For specific formatting needs, one can use org-publish-find-date, org-publish-find-title and org-publish-find-property, to retrieve additional information about published documents.

    • :sitemap-function ::

    Plug-in function to use for generation of the sitemap. It is called with two arguments: the title of the site-map and a representation of the files and directories involved in the project as a nested list, which can further be transformed using org-list-to-generic, org-list-to-subtree and alike. Default value generates a plain list of links to all files in the project.

    • :sitemap-sort-folders ::

    Where folders should appear in the sitemap. Set this to first~ (default) or ~last to display folders first or last, respectively. When set to ignore, folders are ignored altogether. Any other value mixes files and folders. This variable has no effect when site-map style is tree.

    • :sitemap-sort-files ::

    How the files are sorted in the site map. Set this to alphabetically (default), chronologically or anti-chronologically. chronologically sorts the files with older date first while anti-chronologically sorts the files with newer date first. alphabetically sorts the files alphabetically. The date of a file is retrieved with org-publish-find-date.

    • :sitemap-ignore-case ::

    Should sorting be case-sensitive? Default nil.

    • :sitemap-file-entry-format ::

    With this option one can tell how a sitemap's entry is formatted in the sitemap. This is a format string with some escape sequences: %t stands for the title of the file, %a stands for the author of the file and %d stands for the date of the file. The date is retrieved with the org-publish-find-date function and formatted with org-publish-sitemap-date-format. Default %t.

    • :sitemap-date-format ::

    Format string for the format-time-string function that tells how a sitemap entry's date is to be formatted. This property bypasses org-publish-sitemap-date-format which defaults to %Y-%m-%d.

    Generating an index

    Org mode can generate an index across the files of a publishing project.

    • :makeindex ::

    When non-~nil~, generate in index in the file and publish it as theindex.html.

    The file is created when first publishing a project with the ~:makeindex~ set. The file only contains a statement #+INCLUDE: "". You can then build around this include statement by adding a title, style information, etc.

    Index entries are specified with INDEX keyword. An entry that contains an exclamation mark creates a sub item.

    ,*** Curriculum Vitae ,#+INDEX: CV ,#+INDEX: Application!CV

    Uploading Files

    For those people already utilizing third party sync tools such as Rsync or Unison, it might be preferable not to use the built-in remote publishing facilities of Org mode which rely heavily on Tramp. Tramp, while very useful and powerful, tends not to be so efficient for multiple file transfer and has been known to cause problems under heavy usage.

    Specialized synchronization utilities offer several advantages. In addition to timestamp comparison, they also do content and permissions/attribute checks. For this reason you might prefer to publish your web to a local directory---possibly even in place with your Org files---and then use Unison or Rsync to do the synchronization with the remote host.

    Since Unison, for example, can be configured as to which files to transfer to a certain remote destination, it can greatly simplify the project publishing definition. Simply keep all files in the correct location, process your Org files with org-publish and let the synchronization tool do the rest. You do not need, in this scenario, to include attachments such as JPG, CSS or PNG files in the project definition since the third-party tool syncs them.

    Publishing to a local directory is also much faster than to a remote one, so that you can afford more easily to republish entire projects. If you set org-publish-use-timestamps-flag to nil, you gain the main benefit of re-including any changed external files such as source example files you might include with INCLUDE keyword. The timestamp mechanism in Org is not smart enough to detect if included files have been modified.

    Sample Configuration

    Below we provide two example configurations. The first one is a simple project publishing only a set of Org files. The second example is more complex, with a multi-component project.

    Example: simple publishing configuration

    This example publishes a set of Org files to the =public_html= directory on the local machine.

    (setq org-publish-project-alist '(("org" :base-directory "~/org/" :publishing-directory "~/public_html" :section-numbers nil :table-of-contents nil :style "")))

    Example: complex publishing configuration

    This more complicated example publishes an entire website, including Org files converted to HTML, image files, Emacs Lisp source code, and style sheets. The publishing directory is remote and private files are excluded.

    To ensure that links are preserved, care should be taken to replicate your directory structure on the web server, and to use relative file paths. For example, if your Org files are kept in ~/org/ and your publishable images in ~/images/, you would link to an image with


    On the web server, the relative path to the image should be the same. You can accomplish this by setting up an images/ folder in the right place on the web server, and publishing images to it.

    (setq org-publish-project-alist '(("orgfiles" :base-directory "~/org/" :base-extension "org" :publishing-directory "/ssh:user@host:~/html/notebook/" :publishing-function org-html-publish-to-html :exclude "" ;; regexp :headline-levels 3 :section-numbers nil :with-toc nil :html-head "" :html-preamble t)

    ("images" :base-directory "~/images/" :base-extension "jpg\\|gif\\|png" :publishing-directory "/ssh:user@host:~/html/images/" :publishing-function org-publish-attachment)

    ("other" :base-directory "~/other/" :base-extension "css\\|el" :publishing-directory "/ssh:user@host:~/html/other/" :publishing-function org-publish-attachment) ("website" :components ("orgfiles" "images" "other"))))

    Triggering Publication

    Once properly configured, Org can publish with the following commands:

    • {{{kbd(C-c C-e X)}}} (org-publish) ::

    #+kindex: C-c C-e X #+findex: org-publish Prompt for a specific project and publish all files that belong to it.

    • {{{kbd(C-c C-e P)}}} (org-publish-current-project) ::

    #+kindex: C-c C-e P #+findex: org-publish-current-project Publish the project containing the current file.

    • {{{kbd(C-c C-e F)}}} (org-publish-current-file) ::

    #+kindex: C-c C-e F #+findex: org-publish-current-file Publish only the current file.

    • {{{kbd(C-c C-e E)}}} (org-publish-all) ::

    #+kindex: C-c C-e E #+findex: org-publish-all Publish every project.

    Org uses timestamps to track when a file has changed. The above functions normally only publish changed files. You can override this and force publishing of all files by giving a prefix argument to any of the commands above, or by customizing the variable ~org-publish-use-timestamps-flag~. This may be necessary in particular if files include other files via SETUPFILE or =INCLUDE= keywords.

    Working with Source Code

    Source code here refers to any plain text collection of computer instructions, possibly with comments, written using a human-readable programming language. Org can manage source code in an Org document when the source code is identified with begin and end markers. Working with source code begins with identifying source code blocks. A source code block can be placed almost anywhere in an Org document; it is not restricted to the preamble or the end of the document. However, Org cannot manage a source code block if it is placed inside an Org comment or within a fixed width section.

    Here is an example source code block in the Emacs Lisp language:

    ,#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp (defun org-xor (a b) "Exclusive or." (if a (not b) b)) ,#+END_SRC

    Org can manage the source code in the block delimited by #+BEGIN_SRC= ... =#+END_SRC in several ways that can simplify housekeeping tasks essential to modern source code maintenance. Org can edit, format, extract, export, and publish source code blocks. Org can also compile and execute a source code block, then capture the results. The Org mode literature sometimes refers to source code blocks as /live code/ blocks because they can alter the content of the Org document or the material that it exports. Users can control how live they want each source code block by tweaking the header arguments (see *Using Header Arguments) for compiling, execution, extraction, and exporting.

    Source code blocks are one of many Org block types, which also include =quote=, export, verse, latex, example, and verbatim. This section pertains to blocks between #+BEGIN_SRC and #+END_SRC.

    For editing and formatting a source code block, Org uses an appropriate Emacs major mode that includes features specifically designed for source code in that language.

    Org can extract one or more source code blocks and write them to one or more source files---a process known as tangling in literate programming terminology.

    For exporting and publishing, Org's back-ends can format a source code block appropriately, often with native syntax highlighting.

    For executing and compiling a source code block, the user can configure Org to select the appropriate compiler. Org provides facilities to collect the result of the execution or compiler output, insert it into the Org document, and/or export it. In addition to text results, Org can insert links to other data types, including audio, video, and graphics. Org can also link a compiler error message to the appropriate line in the source code block.

    An important feature of Org's management of source code blocks is the ability to pass variables, functions, and results to one another using a common syntax for source code blocks in any language. Although most literate programming facilities are restricted to one language or another, Org's language-agnostic approach lets the literate programmer match each programming task with the appropriate computer language and to mix them all together in a single Org document. This interoperability among languages explains why Org's source code management facility was named Org Babel by its originators, Eric Schulte and Dan Davison.

    Org mode fulfills the promise of easy verification and maintenance of publishing reproducible research by keeping text, data, code, configuration settings of the execution environment, the results of the execution, and associated narratives, claims, references, and internal and external links in a single Org document.

    Details of Org's facilities for working with source code are described in the following sections.

    Structure of Code Blocks

    Org offers two ways to structure source code in Org documents: in a source code block, and directly inline. Both specifications are shown below.

    A source code block conforms to this structure:

    ,#+NAME: ,#+BEGIN_SRC ,#+END_SRC

    Do not be put-off by having to remember the source block syntax. Org mode offers a command for wrapping existing text in a block (see *Structure Templates). Org also works with other completion systems in Emacs, some of which predate Org and have custom domain-specific languages for defining templates. Regular use of templates reduces errors, increases accuracy, and maintains consistency.

    An inline code block conforms to this structure:



    • #+NAME: <name> ::

    Optional. Names the source block so it can be called, like a function, from other source blocks or inline code to evaluate or to capture the results. Code from other blocks, other files, and from table formulas (see *The spreadsheet) can use the name to reference a source block. This naming serves the same purpose as naming Org tables. Org mode requires unique names. For duplicate names, Org mode's behavior is undefined.

    • #+BEGIN_SRC ... #+END_SRC ::

    Mandatory. They mark the start and end of a block that Org requires. The #+BEGIN_SRC line takes additional arguments, as described next.

    • <language> ::

    #+cindex: language, in code blocks Mandatory. It is the identifier of the source code language in the block. See *Languages, for identifiers of supported languages.

    • <switches> ::

    #+cindex: switches, in code blocks Optional. Switches provide finer control of the code execution, export, and format (see the discussion of switches in *Literal Examples).

    • <header arguments> ::

    #+cindex: header arguments, in code blocks Optional. Heading arguments control many aspects of evaluation, export and tangling of code blocks (see *Using Header Arguments). Using Org's properties feature, header arguments can be selectively applied to the entire buffer or specific sub-trees of the Org document.

    • <body> ::

    Source code in the dialect of the specified language identifier.

    Using Header Arguments

    Org comes with many header arguments common to all languages. New header arguments are added for specific languages as they become available for use in source code blocks. A header argument is specified with an initial colon followed by the argument's name in lowercase.

    Since header arguments can be set in several ways, Org prioritizes them in case of overlaps or conflicts by giving local settings a higher priority. Header values in function calls, for example, override header values from global defaults.

    System-wide header arguments

    System-wide values of header arguments can be specified by customizing the org-babel-default-header-args variable, which defaults to the following values:

    :session => "none" :results => "replace" :exports => "code" :cache => "no" :noweb => "no"

    The example below sets :noweb header arguments to yes, which makes Org expand :noweb references by default.

    (setq org-babel-default-header-args (cons '(:noweb . "yes") (assq-delete-all :noweb org-babel-default-header-args)))

    Each language can have separate default header arguments by customizing the variable org-babel-default-header-args:<LANG>, where {{{var()}}} is the name of the language. For details, see the language-specific online documentation at

    Header arguments in Org mode properties

    For header arguments applicable to the buffer, use PROPERTY keyword anywhere in the Org file (see *Property Syntax).

    The following example makes all the R code blocks execute in the same session. Setting :results to silent ignores the results of executions for all blocks, not just R code blocks; no results inserted for any block.

    ,#+PROPERTY: header-args:R :session *R* ,#+PROPERTY: header-args :results silent

    Header arguments set through Org's property drawers (see *Property Syntax) apply at the sub-tree level on down. Since these property drawers can appear anywhere in the file hierarchy, Org uses outermost call or source block to resolve the values. Org ignores ~org-use-property-inheritance~ setting.

    In this example, :cache defaults to yes for all code blocks in the sub-tree.

    ,* sample header :PROPERTIES: :header-args: :cache yes :END:

    Properties defined through org-set-property function, bound to {{{kbd(C-c C-x p)}}}, apply to all active languages. They override properties set in org-babel-default-header-args.

    Language-specific header arguments are also read from properties =header-args:= where {{{var()}}} is the language identifier. For example,

    ,* Heading :PROPERTIES: :header-args:clojure: :session clojure-1* :header-args:R: :session R* :END: , Subheading :PROPERTIES: :header-args:clojure: :session *clojure-2* :END:

    would force separate sessions for Clojure blocks in Heading and =Subheading=, but use the same session for all R blocks. Blocks in =Subheading= inherit settings from Heading.

    Code block specific header arguments

    Header arguments are most commonly set at the source code block level, on the #+BEGIN_SRC line. Arguments set at this level take precedence over those set in the ~org-babel-default-header-args~ variable, and also those set as header properties.

    In the following example, setting :results to silent makes it ignore results of the code execution. Setting :exports to =code= exports only the body of the code block to HTML or LaTeX.

    ,#+NAME: factorial ,#+BEGIN_SRC haskell :results silent :exports code :var n=0 fac 0 = 1 fac n = n * fac (n-1) ,#+END_SRC

    The same header arguments in an inline code block:

    src_haskell[:exports both]{fac 5}

    Code block header arguments can span multiple lines using #+HEADER:= on each line. Note that Org currently accepts the plural spelling of =#+HEADER: only as a convenience for backward-compatibility. It may be removed at some point.

    Multi-line header arguments on an unnamed code block:

    ,#+HEADER: :var data1=1 ,#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp :var data2=2 (message "data1:%S, data2:%S" data1 data2) ,#+END_SRC


    data1:1, data2:2

    Multi-line header arguments on a named code block:

    ,#+NAME: named-block ,#+HEADER: :var data=2 ,#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp (message "data:%S" data) ,#+END_SRC

    ,#+RESULTS: named-block


    Header arguments in function calls

    Header arguments in function calls are the most specific and override all other settings in case of an overlap. They get the highest priority. Two #+CALL: examples are shown below. For the complete syntax of CALL keyword, see *Evaluating Code Blocks.

    In this example, :exports results header argument is applied to the evaluation of the #+CALL: line.

    #+CALL: factorial(n=5) :exports results

    In this example, :session special header argument is applied to the evaluation of factorial code block.

    #+CALL: factorial[:session special](n=5)

    Environment of a Code Block

    Passing arguments

    Use var for passing arguments to source code blocks. The specifics of variables in code blocks vary by the source language and are covered in the language-specific documentation. The syntax for var, however, is the same for all languages. This includes declaring a variable, and assigning a default value.

    The following syntax is used to pass arguments to code blocks using the var header argument.

    :var NAME=ASSIGN

    {{{var(NAME)}}} is the name of the variable bound in the code block body. {{{var(ASSIGN)}}} is a literal value, such as a string, a number, a reference to a table, a list, a literal example, another code block---with or without arguments---or the results of evaluating a code block.

    Here are examples of passing values by reference:

    • table ::

    A table named with a NAME keyword.

    #+begin_example ,#+NAME: example-table | 1 | | 2 | | 3 | | 4 |

    ,#+NAME: table-length ,#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp :var table=example-table (length table) ,#+END_SRC

    ,#+RESULTS: table-length



    When passing a table, you can treat specially the row, or the column, containing labels for the columns, or the rows, in the table.

    #+cindex: @samp{colnames}, header argument The colnames header argument accepts yes, no, or nil= values. The default value is =nil=: if an input table has column names---because the second row is a horizontal rule---then Org removes the column names, processes the table, puts back the column names, and then writes the table to the results block. Using =yes, Org does the same to the first row, even if the initial table does not contain any horizontal rule. When set to no, Org does not pre-process column names at all.

    #+begin_example ,#+NAME: less-cols | a | |---| | b | | c |

    ,#+BEGIN_SRC python :var tab=less-cols :colnames nil return val + '*' for val in row ,#+END_SRC

    ,#+RESULTS: | a | |----| | b* | | c* | #+end_example

    #+cindex: @samp{rownames}, header argument Similarly, the rownames header argument can take two values: yes or no. When set to yes, Org removes the first column, processes the table, puts back the first column, and then writes the table to the results block. The default is no, which means Org does not pre-process the first column. Note that Emacs Lisp code blocks ignore rownames header argument because of the ease of table-handling in Emacs.

    #+begin_example ,#+NAME: with-rownames | one | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | | two | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 |

    ,#+BEGIN_SRC python :var tab=with-rownames :rownames yes return val + 10 for val in row ,#+END_SRC

    ,#+RESULTS: | one | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | | two | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | #+end_example

    • list ::

    A simple named list.

      #+begin_example ,#+NAME: example-list
    • simple
    • not
    • nested
    • list

    ,#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp :var x=example-list (print x) ,#+END_SRC

    ,#+RESULTS: | simple | list | #+end_example

    Note that only the top level list items are passed along. Nested list items are ignored.

    • code block without arguments ::

    A code block name, as assigned by NAME keyword from the example above, optionally followed by parentheses.

    #+begin_example ,#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp :var length=table-length() (* 2 length) ,#+END_SRC




    • code block with arguments ::

    A code block name, as assigned by NAME keyword, followed by parentheses and optional arguments passed within the parentheses.

    #+begin_example ,#+NAME: double ,#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp :var input=8 (* 2 input) ,#+END_SRC

    ,#+RESULTS: double


    ,#+NAME: squared ,#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp :var input=double(input=1) (* input input) ,#+END_SRC

    ,#+RESULTS: squared



    • literal example ::

    A literal example block named with a NAME keyword.

    #+begin_example ,#+NAME: literal-example ,#+BEGIN_EXAMPLE A literal example on two lines ,#+END_EXAMPLE

    ,#+NAME: read-literal-example ,#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp :var x=literal-example (concatenate #'string x " for you.") ,#+END_SRC

    ,#+RESULTS: read-literal-example

    A literal example
    on two lines for you.


    Indexing variable values enables referencing portions of a variable. Indexes are 0 based with negative values counting backwards from the end. If an index is separated by commas then each subsequent section indexes as the next dimension. Note that this indexing occurs /before/ other table-related header arguments are applied, such as =hlines=, colnames and rownames. The following example assigns the last cell of the first row the table example-table to the variable =data=:

    ,#+NAME: example-table | 1 | a | | 2 | b | | 3 | c | | 4 | d |

    ,#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp :var data=example-table[0,-1] data ,#+END_SRC



    Two integers separated by a colon reference a range of variable values. In that case the entire inclusive range is referenced. For example the following assigns the middle three rows of example-table= to =data.

    ,#+NAME: example-table | 1 | a | | 2 | b | | 3 | c | | 4 | d | | 5 | 3 |

    ,#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp :var data=example-table[1:3] data ,#+END_SRC

    ,#+RESULTS: | 2 | b | | 3 | c | | 4 | d |

    To pick the entire range, use an empty index, or the single character =*=. 0:-1 does the same thing. Example below shows how to reference the first column only.

    ,#+NAME: example-table | 1 | a | | 2 | b | | 3 | c | | 4 | d |

    ,#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp :var data=example-table[,0] data ,#+END_SRC

    ,#+RESULTS: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |

    Index referencing can be used for tables and code blocks. Index referencing can handle any number of dimensions. Commas delimit multiple dimensions, as shown below.

    ,#+NAME: 3D ,#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp '(((1 2 3) (4 5 6) (7 8 9)) ((10 11 12) (13 14 15) (16 17 18)) ((19 20 21) (22 23 24) (25 26 27))) ,#+END_SRC

    ,#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp :var data=3D[1,,1] data ,#+END_SRC

    ,#+RESULTS: | 11 | 14 | 17 |

    Note that row names and column names are not removed prior to variable indexing. You need to take them into account, even when colnames or =rownames= header arguments remove them.

    Emacs lisp code can also set the values for variables. To differentiate a value from Lisp code, Org interprets any value starting with (, [, ' or ` as Emacs Lisp code. The result of evaluating that code is then assigned to the value of that variable. The following example shows how to reliably query and pass the file name of the Org mode buffer to a code block using headers. We need reliability here because the file's name could change once the code in the block starts executing.

    ,#+BEGIN_SRC sh :var filename=(buffer-file-name) :exports both wc -w $filename ,#+END_SRC

    Note that values read from tables and lists are not mistakenly evaluated as Emacs Lisp code, as illustrated in the following example.

    ,#+NAME: table | (a b c) |

    ,#+HEADERS: :var data=table[0,0] ,#+BEGIN_SRC perl $data ,#+END_SRC


    (a b c)

    Using sessions

    Two code blocks can share the same environment. The session header argument is for running multiple source code blocks under one session. Org runs code blocks with the same session name in the same interpreter process.

    • none ::

    Default. Each code block gets a new interpreter process to execute. The process terminates once the block is evaluated.

    • {{{var(STRING)}}} ::

    Any string besides none turns that string into the name of that session. For example, :session STRING names it STRING. If session has no value, then the session name is derived from the source language identifier. Subsequent blocks with the same source code language use the same session. Depending on the language, state variables, code from other blocks, and the overall interpreted environment may be shared. Some interpreted languages support concurrent sessions when subsequent source code language blocks change session names.

    Only languages that provide interactive evaluation can have session support. Not all languages provide this support, such as C and ditaa. Even languages, such as Python and Haskell, that do support interactive evaluation impose limitations on allowable language constructs that can run interactively. Org inherits those limitations for those code blocks running in a session.

    Choosing a working directory

    The dir header argument specifies the default directory during code block execution. If it is absent, then the directory associated with the current buffer is used. In other words, supplying :dir PATH= temporarily has the same effect as changing the current directory with {{{kbd(M-x cd PATH)}}}, and then not setting =dir. Under the surface, dir simply sets the value of the Emacs variable ~default-directory~.

    For example, to save the plot file in the Work/ folder of the home directory---notice tilde is expanded:

    ,#+BEGIN_SRC R :file myplot.png :dir ~/Work matplot(matrix(rnorm(100), 10), type="l") ,#+END_SRC

    To evaluate the code block on a remote machine, supply a remote directory name using Tramp syntax. For example:

    ,#+BEGIN_SRC R :file plot.png :dir / plot(1:10, main=system("hostname", intern=TRUE)) ,#+END_SRC

    Org first captures the text results as usual for insertion in the Org file. Then Org also inserts a link to the remote file, thanks to Emacs Tramp. Org constructs the remote path to the file name from =dir= and default-directory, as illustrated here:


    When dir is used with session, Org sets the starting directory for a new session. But Org does not alter the directory of an already existing session.

    Do not use dir with :exports results or with :exports both to avoid Org inserting incorrect links to remote files. That is because Org does not expand default directory to avoid some underlying portability issues.

    Inserting headers and footers

    The prologue header argument is for appending to the top of the code block for execution, like a reset instruction. For example, you may use :prologue "reset" in a Gnuplot code block or, for every such block:

    (add-to-list 'org-babel-default-header-args:gnuplot '((:prologue . "reset")))

    Likewise, the value of the epilogue header argument is for appending to the end of the code block for execution.

    Evaluating Code Blocks

    A note about security: With code evaluation comes the risk of harm. Org safeguards by prompting for user's permission before executing any code in the source block. To customize this safeguard, or disable it, see *Code Evaluation and Security Issues.

    How to evaluate source code

    Org captures the results of the code block evaluation and inserts them in the Org file, right after the code block. The insertion point is after a newline and the RESULTS keyword. Org creates the =RESULTS= keyword if one is not already there.

    By default, Org enables only Emacs Lisp code blocks for execution. See *Languages to enable other languages.

    Org provides many ways to execute code blocks. {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c C-v e)}}} with the point on a code block131 calls the ~org-babel-execute-src-block~ function, which executes the code in the block, collects the results, and inserts them in the buffer.

    By calling a named code block132 from an Org mode buffer or a table. Org can call the named code blocks from the current Org mode buffer or from the "Library of Babel" (see *Library of Babel).

    The syntax for CALL keyword is:

    ,#+CALL: () ,#+CALL: []()

    The syntax for inline named code blocks is:

    ... call_() ... ... call_[]()[] ...

    When inline syntax is used, the result is wrapped based on the variable org-babel-inline-result-wrap, which by default is set to ~"=%s="~ to produce verbatim text suitable for markup.

    • <name> ::

    This is the name of the code block (see *Structure of Code Blocks) to be evaluated in the current document. If the block is located in another file, start <name> with the file name followed by a colon. For example, in order to execute a block named clear-data in, you can write the following:

    • <arguments> ::

    Org passes arguments to the code block using standard function call syntax. For example, a #+CALL: line that passes 4 to a code block named double, which declares the header argument :var n=2, would be written as:

    #+CALL: double(n=4)

    #+texinfo: @noindent Note how this function call syntax is different from the header argument syntax.

    • <inside header arguments> ::

    Org passes inside header arguments to the named code block using the header argument syntax. Inside header arguments apply to code block evaluation. For example, [:results output] collects results printed to stdout during code execution of that block. Note how this header argument syntax is different from the function call syntax.

    • <end header arguments> ::

    End header arguments affect the results returned by the code block. For example, :results html wraps the results in a #+BEGIN_EXPORT html block before inserting the results in the Org buffer.

    Limit code block evaluation

    The eval header argument can limit evaluation of specific code blocks and CALL keyword. It is useful for protection against evaluating untrusted code blocks by prompting for a confirmation.

    • never or no ::

    Org never evaluates the source code.

    • query ::

    Org prompts the user for permission to evaluate the source code.

    • never-export or no-export ::

    Org does not evaluate the source code when exporting, yet the user can evaluate it interactively.

    • query-export ::

    Org prompts the user for permission to evaluate the source code during export.

    If eval header argument is not set, then Org determines whether to evaluate the source code from the ~org-confirm-babel-evaluate~ variable (see *Code Evaluation and Security Issues).

    Cache results of evaluation

    The cache header argument is for caching results of evaluating code blocks. Caching results can avoid re-evaluating a code block that have not changed since the previous run. To benefit from the cache and avoid redundant evaluations, the source block must have a result already present in the buffer, and neither the header arguments---including the value of var references---nor the text of the block itself has changed since the result was last computed. This feature greatly helps avoid long-running calculations. For some edge cases, however, the cached results may not be reliable.

    The caching feature is best for when code blocks are pure functions, that is functions that return the same value for the same input arguments (see *Environment of a Code Block), and that do not have side effects, and do not rely on external variables other than the input arguments. Functions that depend on a timer, file system objects, and random number generators are clearly unsuitable for caching.

    A note of warning: when cache is used in a session, caching may cause unexpected results.

    When the caching mechanism tests for any source code changes, it does not expand Noweb style references (see *Noweb Reference Syntax). For reasons why, see

    The cache header argument can have one of two values: yes or no.

    • no ::

    Default. No caching of results; code block evaluated every time.

    • yes ::

    Whether to run the code or return the cached results is determined by comparing the SHA1 hash value of the combined code block and arguments passed to it. This hash value is packed on the #+RESULTS: line from previous evaluation. When hash values match, Org does not evaluate the code block. When hash values mismatch, Org evaluates the code block, inserts the results, recalculates the hash value, and updates #+RESULTS: line.

    In this example, both functions are cached. But caller runs only if the result from random has changed since the last run.

    ,#+NAME: random ,#+BEGIN_SRC R :cache yes runif(1) ,#+END_SRC

    ,#+RESULTS[a2a72cd647ad44515fab62e144796432793d68e1]: random 0.4659510825295

    ,#+NAME: caller ,#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp :var x=random :cache yes x ,#+END_SRC

    ,#+RESULTS[bec9c8724e397d5df3b696502df3ed7892fc4f5f]: caller 0.254227238707244

    Results of Evaluation

    How Org handles results of a code block execution depends on many header arguments working together. The primary determinant, however, is the results header argument. It accepts four classes of options. Each code block can take only one option per class:

    • collection ::

    For how the results should be collected from the code block;

    • type ::

    For which type of result the code block will return; affects how Org processes and inserts results in the Org buffer;

    • format ::

    For the result; affects how Org processes and inserts results in the Org buffer;

    • handling ::

    For processing results after evaluation of the code block;


    Collection options specify the results. Choose one of the options; they are mutually exclusive.

    • value ::

    Default. Functional mode. Org gets the value by wrapping the code in a function definition in the language of the source block. That is why when using :results value, code should execute like a function and return a value. For languages like Python, an explicit return statement is mandatory when using :results value. Result is the value returned by the last statement in the code block.

    When evaluating the code block in a session (see *Environment of a Code Block), Org passes the code to an interpreter running as an interactive Emacs inferior process. Org gets the value from the source code interpreter's last statement output. Org has to use language-specific methods to obtain the value. For example, from the variable _ in Python and Ruby, and the value of ~.Last.value~ in R.

    • output ::

    Scripting mode. Org passes the code to an external process running the interpreter. Org returns the contents of the standard output stream as text results.

    When using a session, Org passes the code to the interpreter running as an interactive Emacs inferior process. Org concatenates any text output from the interpreter and returns the collection as a result.

    Note that this collection is not the same as that would be collected from stdout of a non-interactive interpreter running as an external process. Compare for example these two blocks:

    #+begin_example ,#+BEGIN_SRC python :results output print "hello" 2 print "bye" ,#+END_SRC




    In the above non-session mode, the "2" is not printed; so it does not appear in results.

    #+begin_example ,#+BEGIN_SRC python :results output :session print "hello" 2 print "bye" ,#+END_SRC




    In the above session, the interactive interpreter receives and prints "2". Results show that.


    Type tells what result types to expect from the execution of the code block. Choose one of the options; they are mutually exclusive. The default behavior is to automatically determine the result type.

    • table, vector ::

    Interpret the results as an Org table. If the result is a single value, create a table with one row and one column. Usage example: :results value table.

    #+cindex: @samp{hlines}, header argument In-between each table row or below the table headings, sometimes results have horizontal lines, which are also known as "hlines". The hlines argument with the default no value strips such lines from the input table. For most code, this is desirable, or else those hline symbols raise unbound variable errors. A yes accepts such lines, as demonstrated in the following example.

    #+begin_example ,#+NAME: many-cols | a | b | c | |---+---+---| | d | e | f | |---+---+---| | g | h | i |

    ,#+NAME: no-hline ,#+BEGIN_SRC python :var tab=many-cols :hlines no return tab ,#+END_SRC

    ,#+RESULTS: no-hline | a | b | c | | d | e | f | | g | h | i |

    ,#+NAME: hlines ,#+BEGIN_SRC python :var tab=many-cols :hlines yes return tab ,#+END_SRC

    ,#+RESULTS: hlines | a | b | c | |---+---+---| | d | e | f | |---+---+---| | g | h | i | #+end_example

    • list ::

    Interpret the results as an Org list. If the result is a single value, create a list of one element.

    • scalar, verbatim ::

    Interpret literally and insert as quoted text. Do not create a table. Usage example: :results value verbatim.

    • file ::

    Interpret as a filename. Save the results of execution of the code block to that file, then insert a link to it. You can control both the filename and the description associated to the link.

    #+cindex: @samp{file}, header argument #+cindex: @samp{output-dir}, header argument Org first tries to generate the filename from the value of the file header argument and the directory specified using the output-dir header arguments. If output-dir is not specified, Org assumes it is the current directory.

    #+begin_example ,#+BEGIN_SRC asymptote :results value file :file circle.pdf :output-dir img/ size(2cm); draw(unitcircle); ,#+END_SRC #+end_example

    #+cindex: @samp{file-ext}, header argument If file is missing, Org generates the base name of the output file from the name of the code block, and its extension from the file-ext header argument. In that case, both the name and the extension are mandatory.

    #+begin_example ,#+name: circle ,#+BEGIN_SRC asymptote :results value file :file-ext pdf size(2cm); draw(unitcircle); ,#+END_SRC #+end_example

    #+cindex: @samp{file-desc}, header argument The file-desc header argument defines the description (see *Link Format) for the link. If file-desc has no value, Org uses the generated file name for both the "link" and "description" parts of the link.


    Format pertains to the type of the result returned by the code block. Choose one of the options; they are mutually exclusive. The default follows from the type specified above.

    • raw ::

    Interpreted as raw Org mode. Inserted directly into the buffer. Aligned if it is a table. Usage example: :results value raw.

    • org ::

    Results enclosed in a BEGIN_SRC org block. For comma-escape, either {{{kbd(TAB)}}} in the block, or export the file. Usage example: :results value org.

    • html ::

    Results enclosed in a BEGIN_EXPORT html block. Usage example: :results value html.

    • latex ::

    Results enclosed in a BEGIN_EXPORT latex block. Usage example: :results value latex.

    • code ::

    Result enclosed in a code block. Useful for parsing. Usage example: :results value code.

    • pp ::

    Result converted to pretty-print source code. Enclosed in a code block. Languages supported: Emacs Lisp, Python, and Ruby. Usage example: :results value pp.

    • drawer ::

    Result wrapped in a RESULTS drawer. Useful for containing raw or org results for later scripting and automated processing. Usage example: :results value drawer.


    Handling options after collecting the results.

    • silent ::

    Do not insert results in the Org mode buffer, but echo them in the minibuffer. Usage example: :results output silent.

    • replace ::

    Default. Insert results in the Org buffer. Remove previous results. Usage example: :results output replace.

    • append ::

    Append results to the Org buffer. Latest results are at the bottom. Does not remove previous results. Usage example: :results output append.

    • prepend ::

    Prepend results to the Org buffer. Latest results are at the top. Does not remove previous results. Usage example: :results output prepend.


    The post header argument is for post-processing results from block evaluation. When post has any value, Org binds the results to ~*this*~ variable for easy passing to var header argument specifications (see *Environment of a Code Block). That makes results available to other code blocks, or even for direct Emacs Lisp code execution.

    The following two examples illustrate post header argument in action. The first one shows how to attach an ATTR_LATEX keyword using post.

    ,#+NAME: attr_wrap ,#+BEGIN_SRC sh :var data="" :var width="\\textwidth" :results output echo "#+ATTR_LATEX: :width $width" echo "$data" ,#+END_SRC

    ,#+HEADER: :file /tmp/it.png ,#+BEGIN_SRC dot :post attr_wrap(width="5cm", data=*this*) :results drawer digraph{ a -> b; b -> c; c -> a; } ,#+end_src

    ,#+RESULTS: :RESULTS: ,#+ATTR_LATEX :width 5cm /tmp/it.png :END:

    The second example shows use of colnames header argument in =post= to pass data between code blocks.

    ,#+NAME: round-tbl ,#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp :var tbl="" fmt="%.3f" (mapcar (lambda (row) (mapcar (lambda (cell) (if (numberp cell) (format fmt cell) cell)) row)) tbl) ,#+end_src

    ,#+BEGIN_SRC R :colnames yes :post round-tbl[:colnames yes](this) set.seed(42) data.frame(foo=rnorm(1)) ,#+END_SRC

    ,#+RESULTS: | foo | |-------| | 1.371 |

    Exporting Code Blocks

    It is possible to export the code of code blocks, the results of code block evaluation, both the code and the results of code block evaluation, or none. Org defaults to exporting code for most languages. For some languages, such as ditaa, Org defaults to /results/. To export just the body of code blocks, see *Literal Examples. To selectively export sub-trees of an Org document, see *Exporting.

    The exports header argument is to specify if that part of the Org file is exported to, say, HTML or LaTeX formats.

    • code ::

    The default. The body of code is included into the exported file. Example: :exports code.

    • results ::

    The results of evaluation of the code is included in the exported file. Example: :exports results.

    • both ::

    Both the code and results of evaluation are included in the exported file. Example: :exports both.

    • none ::

    Neither the code nor the results of evaluation is included in the exported file. Whether the code is evaluated at all depends on other options. Example: :exports none.

    To stop Org from evaluating code blocks to speed exports, use the header argument :eval never-export (see *Evaluating Code Blocks). To stop Org from evaluating code blocks for greater security, set the ~org-export-use-babel~ variable to nil, but understand that header arguments will have no effect.

    Turning off evaluation comes in handy when batch processing. For example, markup languages for wikis, which have a high risk of untrusted code. Stopping code block evaluation also stops evaluation of all header arguments of the code block. This may not be desirable in some circumstances. So during export, to allow evaluation of just the header arguments but not any code evaluation in the source block, set :eval never-export (see *Evaluating Code Blocks).

    Org never evaluates code blocks in commented sub-trees when exporting (see *Comment Lines). On the other hand, Org does evaluate code blocks in sub-trees excluded from export (see *Export Settings).

    Extracting Source Code

    Extracting source code from code blocks is a basic task in literate programming. Org has features to make this easy. In literate programming parlance, documents on creation are woven with code and documentation, and on export, the code is tangled for execution by a computer. Org facilitates weaving and tangling for producing, maintaining, sharing, and exporting literate programming documents. Org provides extensive customization options for extracting source code.

    When Org tangles code blocks, it expands, merges, and transforms them. Then Org recomposes them into one or more separate files, as configured through the options. During this tangling process, Org expands variables in the source code, and resolves any Noweb style references (see *Noweb Reference Syntax).

    Header arguments

    The tangle header argument specifies if the code block is exported to source file(s).

    • yes ::

    Export the code block to source file. The file name for the source file is derived from the name of the Org file, and the file extension is derived from the source code language identifier. Example: :tangle yes.

    • no ::

    The default. Do not extract the code in a source code file. Example: :tangle no.

    • {{{var(FILENAME)}}} ::

    Export the code block to source file whose file name is derived from any string passed to the tangle header argument. Org derives the file name as being relative to the directory of the Org file's location. Example: :tangle FILENAME.

    The mkdirp header argument creates parent directories for tangled files if the directory does not exist. yes enables directory creation and no inhibits directory creation.

    The comments header argument controls inserting comments into tangled files. These are above and beyond whatever comments may already exist in the code block.

    • no ::

    The default. Do not insert any extra comments during tangling.

    • link ::

    Wrap the code block in comments. Include links pointing back to the place in the Org file from where the code was tangled.

    • yes ::

    Kept for backward compatibility; same as link.

    • org ::

    Nearest headline text from Org file is inserted as comment. The exact text that is inserted is picked from the leading context of the source block.

    • both ::

    Includes both link and org options.

    • noweb ::

    Includes link option, expands Noweb references (see *Noweb Reference Syntax), and wraps them in link comments inside the body of the code block.

    The padline header argument controls insertion of newlines to pad source code in the tangled file.

    • yes ::

    Default. Insert a newline before and after each code block in the tangled file.

    • no ::

    Do not insert newlines to pad the tangled code blocks.

    The shebang header argument can turn results into executable script files. By setting it to a string value---for example, =:shebang "#!/bin/bash"=---Org inserts that string as the first line of the tangled file that the code block is extracted to. Org then turns on the tangled file's executable permission.

    By default Org expands code blocks during tangling. The =no-expand= header argument turns off such expansions. Note that one side-effect of expansion by org-babel-expand-src-block also assigns values (see *Environment of a Code Block) to variables. Expansions also replace Noweb references with their targets (see *Noweb Reference Syntax). Some of these expansions may cause premature assignment, hence this option. This option makes a difference only for tangling. It has no effect when exporting since code blocks for execution have to be expanded anyway.


    • org-babel-tangle ::

    #+findex: org-babel-tangle #+kindex: C-c C-v t Tangle the current file. Bound to {{{kbd(C-c C-v t)}}}.

    With prefix argument only tangle the current code block.

    • org-babel-tangle-file ::

    #+findex: org-babel-tangle-file #+kindex: C-c C-v f Choose a file to tangle. Bound to {{{kbd(C-c C-v f)}}}.


    • org-babel-post-tangle-hook ::

    #+vindex: org-babel-post-tangle-hook This hook is run from within code files tangled by org-babel-tangle, making it suitable for post-processing, compilation, and evaluation of code in the tangled files.

    Jumping between code and Org

    Debuggers normally link errors and messages back to the source code. But for tangled files, we want to link back to the Org file, not to the tangled source file. To make this extra jump, Org uses ~org-babel-tangle-jump-to-org~ function with two additional source code block header arguments:

    1. Set padline to true---this is the default setting.
    2. Set comments to link, which makes Org insert links to the Org
    3. file.


    Code blocks in the following languages are supported.

    Language Identifier Language Identifier
    Asymptote asymptote Awk awk
    C C C++ C++
    Clojure clojure CSS css
    D d ditaa ditaa
    Graphviz dot Emacs Calc calc
    Emacs Lisp emacs-lisp Fortran fortran
    Gnuplot gnuplot Haskell haskell
    Java java Javascript js
    LaTeX latex Ledger ledger
    Lisp lisp Lilypond lilypond
    Lua lua MATLAB matlab
    Mscgen mscgen Objective Caml ocaml
    Octave octave Org mode org
    Oz oz Perl perl
    Plantuml plantuml Processing.js processing
    Python python R R
    Ruby ruby Sass sass
    Scheme scheme GNU Screen screen
    Sed sed shell sh
    SQL sql SQLite sqlite
    Vala vala

    Additional documentation for some languages is at

    By default, only Emacs Lisp is enabled for evaluation. To enable or disable other languages, customize the ~org-babel-load-languages~ variable either through the Emacs customization interface, or by adding code to the init file as shown next.

    In this example, evaluation is disabled for Emacs Lisp, and enabled for R.

    (org-babel-do-load-languages 'org-babel-load-languages '((emacs-lisp . nil) (R . t)))

    Note that this is not the only way to enable a language. Org also enables languages when loaded with require statement. For example, the following enables execution of Clojure code blocks:

    (require 'ob-clojure)

    Editing Source Code

    Use {{{kbd(C-c ')}}} to edit the current code block. It opens a new major-mode edit buffer containing the body of the source code block, ready for any edits. Use {{{kbd(C-c ')}}} again to close the buffer and return to the Org buffer.

    {{{kbd(C-x C-s)}}} saves the buffer and updates the contents of the Org buffer. Set org-edit-src-auto-save-idle-delay to save the base buffer after a certain idle delay time. Set ~org-edit-src-turn-on-auto-save~ to auto-save this buffer into a separate file using Auto-save mode.

    While editing the source code in the major mode, the Org Src minor mode remains active. It provides these customization variables as described below. For even more variables, look in the customization group org-edit-structure.

    • org-src-lang-modes ::

    #+vindex: org-src-lang-modes If an Emacs major-mode named <LANG>-mode exists, where {{{var()}}} is the language identifier from code block's header line, then the edit buffer uses that major mode. Use this variable to arbitrarily map language identifiers to major modes.

    • org-src-window-setup ::

    #+vindex: org-src-window-setup For specifying Emacs window arrangement when the new edit buffer is created.

    • org-src-preserve-indentation ::

    #+cindex: indentation, in code blocks #+vindex: org-src-preserve-indentation Default is nil. Source code is indented. This indentation applies during export or tangling, and depending on the context, may alter leading spaces and tabs. When non-~nil~, source code is aligned with the leftmost column. No lines are modified during export or tangling, which is very useful for white-space sensitive languages, such as Python.

    • org-src-ask-before-returning-to-edit-buffer ::

    #+vindex: org-src-ask-before-returning-to-edit-buffer When nil, Org returns to the edit buffer without further prompts. The default prompts for a confirmation.

    Set org-src-fontify-natively to non-~nil~ to turn on native code fontification in the Org buffer. Fontification of code blocks can give visual separation of text and code on the display page. To further customize the appearance of org-block for specific languages, customize org-src-block-faces. The following example shades the background of regular blocks, and colors source blocks only for Python and Emacs Lisp languages.

    (require 'color) (set-face-attribute 'org-block nil :background (color-darken-name (face-attribute 'default :background) 3))

    (setq org-src-block-faces '(("emacs-lisp" (:background "#EEE2FF")) ("python" (:background "#E5FFB8"))))

    Noweb Reference Syntax

    Org supports named blocks in Noweb133 style syntax:


    Org can replace the construct with the source code, or the results of evaluation, of the code block identified as {{{var(CODE-BLOCK-ID)}}}.

    The noweb header argument controls expansion of Noweb syntax references. Expansions occur when source code blocks are evaluated, tangled, or exported.

    • no ::

    Default. No expansion of Noweb syntax references in the body of the code when evaluating, tangling, or exporting.

    • yes ::

    Expansion of Noweb syntax references in the body of the code block when evaluating, tangling, or exporting.

    • tangle ::

    Expansion of Noweb syntax references in the body of the code block when tangling. No expansion when evaluating or exporting.

    • no-export ::

    Expansion of Noweb syntax references in the body of the code block when evaluating or tangling. No expansion when exporting.

    • strip-export ::

    Expansion of Noweb syntax references in the body of the code block when expanding prior to evaluating or tangling. Removes Noweb syntax references when exporting.

    • eval ::

    Expansion of Noweb syntax references in the body of the code block only before evaluating.

    In the following example,

    ,#+NAME: initialization ,#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp (setq sentence "Never a foot too far, even.") ,#+END_SRC

    ,#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp :noweb yes <> (reverse sentence) ,#+END_SRC

    the second code block is expanded as

    ,#+BEGIN_SRC emacs-lisp :noweb yes (setq sentence "Never a foot too far, even.") (reverse sentence) ,#+END_SRC

    Noweb insertions honor prefix characters that appear before the Noweb syntax reference. This behavior is illustrated in the following example. Because the <<example>> Noweb reference appears behind the SQL comment syntax, each line of the expanded Noweb reference is commented. With:

    ,#+NAME: example ,#+BEGIN_SRC text this is the multi-line body of example ,#+END_SRC

    this code block:

    ,#+BEGIN_SRC sql :noweb yes ---<> ,#+END_SRC

    expands to:

    ,#+BEGIN_SRC sql :noweb yes ---this is the ---multi-line body of example ,#+END_SRC

    Since this change does not affect Noweb replacement text without newlines in them, inline Noweb references are acceptable.

    This feature can also be used for management of indentation in exported code snippets. With:

    ,#+NAME: if-true ,#+BEGIN_SRC python :exports none print('do things when true') ,#+end_src

    ,#+name: if-false ,#+begin_src python :exports none print('do things when false') ,#+end_src

    this code block:

    ,#+begin_src python :noweb yes :results output if true: <> else: <> ,#+end_src

    expands to:

    if true: print('do things when true') else: print('do things when false')

    When expanding Noweb style references, Org concatenates code blocks by matching the reference name to either the code block name or, if none is found, to the noweb-ref header argument.

    For simple concatenation, set this noweb-ref header argument at the sub-tree or file level. In the example Org file shown next, the body of the source code in each block is extracted for concatenation to a pure code file when tangled.

    ,#+BEGIN_SRC sh :tangle yes :noweb yes :shebang #!/bin/sh <> ,#+END_SRC ,* the mount point of the fullest disk :PROPERTIES: :header-args: :noweb-ref fullest-disk :END:

    ,** query all mounted disks ,#+BEGIN_SRC sh df \ ,#+END_SRC

    ,** strip the header row ,#+BEGIN_SRC sh |sed '1d' \ ,#+END_SRC

    ,** output mount point of fullest disk ,#+BEGIN_SRC sh |awk '{if (u < +$5) {u = +$5; m = $6}} END {print m}' ,#+END_SRC

    By default a newline separates each noweb reference concatenation. To change this newline separator, edit the noweb-sep header argument.

    Eventually, Org can include the results of a code block rather than its body. To that effect, append parentheses, possibly including arguments, to the code block name, as shown below.


    Note that when using the above approach to a code block's results, the code block name set by NAME keyword is required; the reference set by noweb-ref does not work in that case.

    Here is an example that demonstrates how the exported content changes when Noweb style references are used with parentheses versus without. With:

    ,#+NAME: some-code ,#+BEGIN_SRC python :var num=0 :results output :exports none print(num*10) ,#+END_SRC

    this code block:

    ,#+BEGIN_SRC text :noweb yes <> ,#+END_SRC

    expands to:


    Below, a similar Noweb style reference is used, but with parentheses, while setting a variable num to 10:

    ,#+BEGIN_SRC text :noweb yes <> ,#+END_SRC

    Note that now the expansion contains the results of the code block =some-code=, not the code block itself:


    Library of Babel

    The "Library of Babel" is a collection of code blocks. Like a function library, these code blocks can be called from other Org files. A collection of useful code blocks is available on Worg. For remote code block evaluation syntax, see *Evaluating Code Blocks.

    For any user to add code to the library, first save the code in regular code blocks of an Org file, and then load the Org file with ~org-babel-lob-ingest~, which is bound to {{{kbd(C-c C-v i)}}}.

    Key bindings and Useful Functions

    Many common Org mode key sequences are re-bound depending on the context.

    Active key bindings in code blocks:

    Key binding Function
    {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} org-babel-execute-src-block
    {{{kbd(C-c C-o)}}} org-babel-open-src-block-result
    {{{kbd(M-up)}}} org-babel-load-in-session
    {{{kbd(M-down)}}} org-babel-pop-to-session

    Active key bindings in Org mode buffer:

    Key binding Function
    {{{kbd(C-c C-v p)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c C-v C-p)}}} org-babel-previous-src-block
    {{{kbd(C-c C-v n)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c C-v C-n)}}} org-babel-next-src-block
    {{{kbd(C-c C-v e)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c C-v C-e)}}} org-babel-execute-maybe
    {{{kbd(C-c C-v o)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c C-v C-o)}}} org-babel-open-src-block-result
    {{{kbd(C-c C-v v)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c C-v C-v)}}} org-babel-expand-src-block
    {{{kbd(C-c C-v u)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c C-v C-u)}}} org-babel-goto-src-block-head
    {{{kbd(C-c C-v g)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c C-v C-g)}}} org-babel-goto-named-src-block
    {{{kbd(C-c C-v r)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c C-v C-r)}}} org-babel-goto-named-result
    {{{kbd(C-c C-v b)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c C-v C-b)}}} org-babel-execute-buffer
    {{{kbd(C-c C-v s)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c C-v C-s)}}} org-babel-execute-subtree
    {{{kbd(C-c C-v d)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c C-v C-d)}}} org-babel-demarcate-block
    {{{kbd(C-c C-v t)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c C-v C-t)}}} org-babel-tangle
    {{{kbd(C-c C-v f)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c C-v C-f)}}} org-babel-tangle-file
    {{{kbd(C-c C-v c)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c C-v C-c)}}} org-babel-check-src-block
    {{{kbd(C-c C-v j)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c C-v C-j)}}} org-babel-insert-header-arg
    {{{kbd(C-c C-v l)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c C-v C-l)}}} org-babel-load-in-session
    {{{kbd(C-c C-v i)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c C-v C-i)}}} org-babel-lob-ingest
    {{{kbd(C-c C-v I)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c C-v C-I)}}} org-babel-view-src-block-info
    {{{kbd(C-c C-v z)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c C-v C-z)}}} org-babel-switch-to-session-with-code
    {{{kbd(C-c C-v a)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c C-v C-a)}}} org-babel-sha1-hash
    {{{kbd(C-c C-v h)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c C-v C-h)}}} org-babel-describe-bindings
    {{{kbd(C-c C-v x)}}} or {{{kbd(C-c C-v C-x)}}} org-babel-do-key-sequence-in-edit-buffer

    Batch Execution

    Org mode features, including working with source code facilities can be invoked from the command line. This enables building shell scripts for batch processing, running automated system tasks, and expanding Org mode's usefulness.

    The sample script shows batch processing of multiple files using ~org-babel-tangle~.

    #!/bin/sh # Tangle files with Org mode # emacs -Q --batch --eval " (progn (require 'ob-tangle) (dolist (file command-line-args-left) (with-current-buffer (find-file-noselect file) (org-babel-tangle)))) " "$@"



    Org has in-buffer completions. Unlike minibuffer completions, which are useful for quick command interactions, Org's in-buffer completions are more suitable for content creation in Org documents. Type one or more letters and invoke the hot key to complete the text in-place. Depending on the context and the keys, Org offers different types of completions. No minibuffer is involved. Such mode-specific hot keys have become an integral part of Emacs and Org provides several shortcuts.

    • {{{kbd(M-TAB)}}} ::
    • #+kindex: M-TAB

    Complete word at point.

    • At the beginning of a headline, complete TODO keywords.
    • After \, complete TeX symbols supported by the exporter.
    • After *, complete headlines in the current buffer so that
    • they can be used in search links like:

    *find this headline

  • After : in a headline, complete tags. Org deduces the list
    • of tags from the =TAGS= in-buffer option (see [[*Setting Tags]]), the variable ~org-tag-alist~, or from all tags used in the current buffer.
    • After : and not in a headline, complete property keys. The
    • list of keys is constructed dynamically from all keys used in the current buffer.
    • After [, complete link abbreviations (see [[*Link
    • Abbreviations]]).
    • After #+, complete the special keywords like TYP_TODO or
    • file-specific =OPTIONS=. After option keyword is complete, pressing {{{kbd(M-TAB)}}} again inserts example settings for this keyword.
    • After STARTUP keyword, complete startup items.
    • When point is anywhere else, complete dictionary words using
    • Ispell.

    Structure Templates

    With just a few keystrokes, it is possible to insert empty structural blocks, such as #+BEGIN_SRC ... #+END_SRC, or to wrap existing text in such a block.

    • {{{kbd(C-c C-x w)}}} (org-insert-structure-template) ::

    Prompt for a type of block structure, and insert the block at point. If the region is active, it is wrapped in the block. First prompts the user for a key, which is used to look up a structure type from the values below. If the key is {{{kbd(TAB)}}}, the user is prompted to enter a type.

    Available structure types are defined in ~org-structure-template-alist~, see the docstring for adding or changing values.

    Org Tempo expands snippets to structures defined in ~org-structure-template-alist~ and org-tempo-keywords-alist. For example, {{{kbd(< s TAB)}}} creates a code block. Enable it by customizing org-modules or add (require 'org-tempo) to your Emacs init file134.

    {{{kbd(a)}}} #+BEGIN_EXPORT ascii ... #+END_EXPORT
    {{{kbd(c)}}} #+BEGIN_CENTER ... #+END_CENTER
    {{{kbd(C)}}} #+BEGIN_COMMENT ... #+END_COMMENT
    {{{kbd(e)}}} #+BEGIN_EXAMPLE ... #+END_EXAMPLE
    {{{kbd(h)}}} #+BEGIN_EXPORT html ... #+END_EXPORT
    {{{kbd(l)}}} #+BEGIN_EXPORT latex ... #+END_EXPORT
    {{{kbd(q)}}} #+BEGIN_QUOTE ... #+END_QUOTE
    {{{kbd(s)}}} #+BEGIN_SRC ... #+END_SRC
    {{{kbd(v)}}} #+BEGIN_VERSE ... #+END_VERSE

    Speed Keys

    Single keystrokes can execute custom commands in an Org file when the cursor is on a headline. Without the extra burden of a meta or modifier key, Speed Keys can speed navigation or execute custom commands. Besides faster navigation, Speed Keys may come in handy on small mobile devices that do not have full keyboards. Speed Keys may also work on TTY devices known for their problems when entering Emacs key chords.

    By default, Org has Speed Keys disabled. To activate Speed Keys, set the variable org-use-speed-commands to a non-~nil~ value. To trigger a Speed Key, the cursor must be at the beginning of an Org headline, before any of the stars.

    Org comes with a pre-defined list of Speed Keys. To add or modify Speed Keys, customize the variable, org-speed-commands-user. For more details, see the variable's docstring. With Speed Keys activated, {{{kbd(M-x org-speed-command-help)}}}, or {{{kbd(?)}}} when cursor is at the beginning of an Org headline, shows currently active Speed Keys, including the user-defined ones.

    Code Evaluation and Security Issues

    Unlike plain text, running code comes with risk. Each src code block, in terms of risk, is equivalent to an executable file. Org therefore puts a few confirmation prompts by default. This is to alert the casual user from accidentally running untrusted code.

    For users who do not run code blocks or write code regularly, Org's default settings should suffice. However, some users may want to tweak the prompts for fewer interruptions. To weigh the risks of automatic execution of code blocks, here are some details about code evaluation.

    Org evaluates code in the following circumstances:

    • Source code blocks ::

    Org evaluates src code blocks in an Org file during export. Org also evaluates a src code block with the {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} key chord. Users exporting or running code blocks must load files only from trusted sources. Be wary of customizing variables that remove or alter default security measures.

    #+attr_texinfo: :options org-confirm-babel-evaluate #+begin_defopt When t, Org prompts the user for confirmation before executing each code block. When nil, Org executes code blocks without prompting the user for confirmation. When this option is set to a custom function, Org invokes the function with these two arguments: the source code language and the body of the code block. The custom function must return either a t or nil, which determines if the user is prompted. Each source code language can be handled separately through this function argument. #+end_defopt

    For example, here is how to execute ditaa code blocks without prompting:

    #+begin_src emacs-lisp (defun my-org-confirm-babel-evaluate (lang body) (not (string= lang "ditaa"))) ;don't ask for ditaa (setq org-confirm-babel-evaluate #'my-org-confirm-babel-evaluate) #+end_src

    • Following shell and elisp links ::

    Org has two link types that can directly evaluate code (see *External Links). Because such code is not visible, these links have a potential risk. Org therefore prompts the user when it encounters such links. The customization variables are:

    #+attr_texinfo: :options org-confirm-shell-link-function #+begin_defopt Function that prompts the user before executing a shell link. #+end_defopt

    #+attr_texinfo: :options org-confirm-elisp-link-function #+begin_defopt Function that prompts the user before executing an Emacs Lisp link. #+end_defopt

    • Formulas in tables ::

    Formulas in tables (see *The spreadsheet) are code that is evaluated either by the Calc interpreter, or by the Emacs Lisp interpreter.


    Org has more than 500 variables for customization. They can be accessed through the usual {{{kbd(M-x org-customize)}}} command. Or through the Org menu: Org \rarr Customization \rarr Browse Org Group.

    Org also has per-file settings for some variables (see *Summary of In-Buffer Settings).

    Summary of In-Buffer Settings

    In-buffer settings start with #+, followed by a keyword, a colon, and then a word for each setting. Org accepts multiple settings on the same line. Org also accepts multiple lines for a keyword. This manual describes these settings throughout. A summary follows here.

    {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} activates any changes to the in-buffer settings. Closing and reopening the Org file in Emacs also activates the changes.

    • #+ARCHIVE: %s_done ::

    #+cindex: ARCHIVE, keyword #+vindex: org-archive-location Sets the archive location of the agenda file. The corresponding variable is org-archive-location.

    • #+CATEGORY ::

    #+cindex: CATEGORY, keyword Sets the category of the agenda file, which applies to the entire document.

    • #+COLUMNS: %25ITEM ... ::

    #+cindex: COLUMNS, property Set the default format for columns view. This format applies when columns view is invoked in locations where no =COLUMNS= property applies.

    • #+CONSTANTS: name1=value1 ... ::

    #+cindex: CONSTANTS, keyword #+vindex: org-table-formula-constants #+vindex: org-table-formula Set file-local values for constants that table formulas can use. This line sets the local variable org-table-formula-constants-local. The global version of this variable is org-table-formula-constants.

    • #+FILETAGS: :tag1:tag2:tag3: ::

    #+cindex: FILETAGS, keyword Set tags that all entries in the file inherit from, including the top-level entries.

    • #+LINK: linkword replace ::

    #+cindex: LINK, keyword #+vindex: org-link-abbrev-alist Each line specifies one abbreviation for one link. Use multiple LINK keywords for more, see *Link Abbreviations. The corresponding variable is org-link-abbrev-alist.

    • #+PRIORITIES: highest lowest default ::

    #+cindex: PRIORITIES, keyword #+vindex: org-highest-priority #+vindex: org-lowest-priority #+vindex: org-default-priority This line sets the limits and the default for the priorities. All three must be either letters A--Z or numbers 0--9. The highest priority must have a lower ASCII number than the lowest priority.

    • #+PROPERTY: Property_Name Value ::

    #+cindex: PROPERTY, keyword This line sets a default inheritance value for entries in the current buffer, most useful for specifying the allowed values of a property.

    • #+SETUPFILE: file ::

    #+cindex: SETUPFILE, keyword The setup file or a URL pointing to such file is for additional in-buffer settings. Org loads this file and parses it for any settings in it only when Org opens the main file. If URL is specified, the contents are downloaded and stored in a temporary file cache. {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} on the settings line parses and loads the file, and also resets the temporary file cache. Org also parses and loads the document during normal exporting process. Org parses the contents of this document as if it was included in the buffer. It can be another Org file. To visit the file---not a URL---use {{{kbd(C-c ')}}} while the cursor is on the line with the file name.

    • #+STARTUP: ::

    #+cindex: STARTUP, keyword Startup options Org uses when first visiting a file.

    #+vindex: org-startup-folded The first set of options deals with the initial visibility of the outline tree. The corresponding variable for global default settings is org-startup-folded with a default value of t, which is the same as overview.

    • overview ::

    Top-level headlines only.

    • content ::

    All headlines.

    • showall ::

    No folding on any entry.

    • showeverything ::

    Show even drawer contents.

    #+vindex: org-startup-indented Dynamic virtual indentation is controlled by the variable org-startup-indented.135

    • indent ::

    Start with org-indent-mode turned on.

    • noindent ::

    Start with org-indent-mode turned off.

    #+vindex: org-startup-align-all-tables Aligns tables consistently upon visiting a file. The corresponding variable is org-startup-align-all-tables with nil as default value.

    • align ::

    Align all tables.

    • noalign ::

    Do not align tables on startup.

    #+vindex: org-startup-shrink-all-tables Shrink table columns with a width cookie. The corresponding variable is org-startup-shrink-all-tables with nil as default value.

    #+vindex: org-startup-with-inline-images When visiting a file, inline images can be automatically displayed. The corresponding variable is org-startup-with-inline-images, with a default value nil to avoid delays when visiting a file.

    • inlineimages ::

    Show inline images.

    • noinlineimages ::

    Do not show inline images on startup.

    #+vindex: org-log-done #+vindex: org-log-note-clock-out #+vindex: org-log-repeat Logging the closing and reopening of TODO items and clock intervals can be configured using these options (see variables org-log-done, org-log-note-clock-out, and org-log-repeat).

    • logdone ::

    Record a timestamp when an item is marked DONE.

    • lognotedone ::

    Record timestamp and a note when DONE.

    • nologdone ::

    Do not record when items are marked DONE.

    • logrepeat ::

    Record a time when reinstating a repeating item.

    • lognoterepeat ::

    Record a note when reinstating a repeating item.

    • nologrepeat ::

    Do not record when reinstating repeating item.

    • lognoteclock-out ::

    Record a note when clocking out.

    • nolognoteclock-out ::

    Do not record a note when clocking out.

    • logreschedule ::

    Record a timestamp when scheduling time changes.

    • lognotereschedule ::

    Record a note when scheduling time changes.

    • nologreschedule ::

    Do not record when a scheduling date changes.

    • logredeadline ::

    Record a timestamp when deadline changes.

    • lognoteredeadline ::

    Record a note when deadline changes.

    • nologredeadline ::

    Do not record when a deadline date changes.

    • logrefile ::

    Record a timestamp when refiling.

    • lognoterefile ::

    Record a note when refiling.

    • nologrefile ::

    Do not record when refiling.

    #+vindex: org-hide-leading-stars #+vindex: org-odd-levels-only Here are the options for hiding leading stars in outline headings, and for indenting outlines. The corresponding variables are org-hide-leading-stars and org-odd-levels-only, both with a default setting nil (meaning showstars and oddeven).

    • hidestars ::

    Make all but one of the stars starting a headline invisible.

    • showstars ::

    Show all stars starting a headline.

    • indent ::

    Virtual indentation according to outline level.

    • noindent ::

    No virtual indentation according to outline level.

    • odd ::

    Allow only odd outline levels (1, 3, ...).

    • oddeven ::

    Allow all outline levels.

    #+vindex: org-put-time-stamp-overlays #+vindex: org-time-stamp-overlay-formats To turn on custom format overlays over timestamps (variables org-put-time-stamp-overlays and org-time-stamp-overlay-formats), use:

    • customtime ::

    Overlay custom time format.

    #+vindex: constants-unit-system The following options influence the table spreadsheet (variable constants-unit-system).

    • constcgs ::

    constants.el should use the c-g-s unit system.

    • constSI ::

    constants.el should use the SI unit system.

    #+vindex: org-footnote-define-inline #+vindex: org-footnote-auto-label #+vindex: org-footnote-auto-adjust To influence footnote settings, use the following keywords. The corresponding variables are org-footnote-define-inline, org-footnote-auto-label, and org-footnote-auto-adjust.

    • fninline ::

    Define footnotes inline.

    • fnnoinline ::

    Define footnotes in separate section.

    • fnlocal ::

    Define footnotes near first reference, but not inline.

    • fnprompt ::

    Prompt for footnote labels.

    • fnauto ::

    Create =136=-like labels automatically (default).

    • fnconfirm ::

    Offer automatic label for editing or confirmation.

    • fnadjust ::

    Automatically renumber and sort footnotes.

    • nofnadjust ::

    Do not renumber and sort automatically.

    #+cindex: org-hide-block-startup To hide blocks on startup, use these keywords. The corresponding variable is org-hide-block-startup.

    • hideblocks ::

    Hide all begin/end blocks on startup.

    • nohideblocks ::

    Do not hide blocks on startup.

    #+cindex: org-pretty-entities The display of entities as UTF-8 characters is governed by the variable org-pretty-entities and the keywords

    • entitiespretty ::

    Show entities as UTF-8 characters where possible.

    • entitiesplain ::

    Leave entities plain.

    • #+TAGS: TAG1(c1) TAG2(c2) ::

    #+cindex: TAGS, keyword #+vindex: org-tag-alist These lines (several such lines are allowed) specify the valid tags in this file, and (potentially) the corresponding fast tag selection keys. The corresponding variable is org-tag-alist.

    • #+TODO:, #+SEQ_TODO:, #+TYP_TODO: ::

    #+cindex: SEQ_TODO, keyword #+cindex: TODO, keyword #+cindex: TYP_TODO, keyword #+vindex: org-todo-keywords These lines set the TODO keywords and their interpretation in the current file. The corresponding variable is org-todo-keywords.

    The Very Busy {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} Key

    The {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} key in Org serves many purposes depending on the context. It is probably the most over-worked, multi-purpose key combination in Org. Its uses are well documented throughout this manual, but here is a consolidated list for easy reference.

    • If any highlights shown in the buffer from the creation of a sparse
    • tree, or from clock display, remove such highlights.
    • If the cursor is in one of the special KEYWORD lines, scan the
    • buffer for these lines and update the information. Also reset the Org file cache used to temporary store the contents of URLs used as values for keywords like =SETUPFILE=.
    • If the cursor is inside a table, realign the table. The table
    • realigns even if automatic table editor is turned off.
    • If the cursor is on a TBLFM keyword, re-apply the formulas to the
    • entire table.
    • If the current buffer is a capture buffer, close the note and file
    • it. With a prefix argument, also jump to the target location after saving the note.
    • If the cursor is on a <<<target>>>, update radio targets and
    • corresponding links in this buffer.
    • If the cursor is on a property line or at the start or end of
    • a property drawer, offer property commands.
    • If the cursor is at a footnote reference, go to the corresponding
    • definition, and /vice versa/.
    • If the cursor is on a statistics cookie, update it.
    • If the cursor is in a plain list item with a checkbox, toggle the
    • status of the checkbox.
    • If the cursor is on a numbered item in a plain list, renumber the
    • ordered list.
    • If the cursor is on the #+BEGIN line of a dynamic block, the block
    • is updated.
    • If the cursor is at a timestamp, fix the day name in the timestamp.

    A Cleaner Outline View

    Org's default outline with stars and no indents can become too cluttered for short documents. For book-like long documents, the effect is not as noticeable. Org provides an alternate stars and indentation scheme, as shown on the right in the following table. It uses only one star and indents text to line with the heading:

    ,* Top level headline | * Top level headline ,** Second level | * Second level ,*** Third level | * Third level some text | some text ,*** Third level | * Third level more text | more text ,* Another top level headline | * Another top level headline

    To turn this mode on, use the minor mode, org-indent-mode. Text lines that are not headlines are prefixed with spaces to vertically align with the headline text137.

    To make more horizontal space, the headlines are shifted by two stars. This can be configured by the ~org-indent-indentation-per-level~ variable. Only one star on each headline is visible, the rest are masked with the same font color as the background.

    Note that turning on org-indent-mode sets org-hide-leading-stars~ to ~t and org-adapt-indentation to nil.

    To globally turn on org-indent-mode for all files, customize the variable org-startup-indented.

    To turn on indenting for individual files, use STARTUP keyword as follows:

    #+STARTUP: indent

    Indent on startup makes Org use hard spaces to align text with headings as shown in examples below.

    • Indentation of text below headlines ::

    Indent text to align with the headline.

    #+begin_example ,*** Third level more text, now indented #+end_example

    #+vindex: org-adapt-indentation Org supports this with paragraph filling, line wrapping, and structure editing, preserving or adapting the indentation as appropriate138.

    • Hiding leading stars ::

    #+vindex: org-hide-leading-stars Org can make leading stars invisible. For global preference, configure the variable org-hide-leading-stars. For per-file preference, use these file STARTUP options:

    #+begin_example ,#+STARTUP: hidestars ,#+STARTUP: showstars #+end_example

    With stars hidden, the tree is shown as:

    #+begin_example ,* Top level headline ,* Second level ,* Third level ... #+end_example

    #+texinfo: @noindent #+vindex: org-hide, face Because Org makes the font color the same as the background color to hide to stars, sometimes org-hide face may need tweaking to get the effect right. For some black and white combinations, grey90 on a white background might mask the stars better.

    • Odd levels ::

    #+vindex: org-odd-levels-only Using stars for only odd levels, 1, 3, 5, ..., can also clean up the clutter. This removes two stars from each level139. For Org to properly handle this cleaner structure during edits and exports, configure the variable org-odd-levels-only. To set this per-file, use either one of the following lines:

    #+begin_example ,#+STARTUP: odd ,#+STARTUP: oddeven #+end_example

    To switch between single and double stars layouts, use {{{kbd(M-x org-convert-to-odd-levels)}}} and {{{kbd(M-x org-convert-to-oddeven-levels)}}}.

    Using Org on a TTY

    Org provides alternative key bindings for TTY and modern mobile devices that cannot handle cursor keys and complex modifier key chords. Some of these workarounds may be more cumbersome than necessary. Users should look into customizing these further based on their usage needs. For example, the normal {{{kbd(S-cursor)}}} for editing timestamp might be better with {{{kbd(C-c .)}}} chord.

    Default Alternative 1 Speed key Alternative 2
    {{{kbd(S-TAB)}}} {{{kbd(C-u TAB)}}} {{{kbd(C)}}}
    {{{kbd(M-left)}}} {{{kbd(C-c C-x l)}}} {{{kbd(l)}}} {{{kbd(Esc left)}}}
    {{{kbd(M-S-left)}}} {{{kbd(C-c C-x L)}}} {{{kbd(L)}}}
    {{{kbd(M-right)}}} {{{kbd(C-c C-x r)}}} {{{kbd(r)}}} {{{kbd(Esc right)}}}
    {{{kbd(M-S-right)}}} {{{kbd(C-c C-x R)}}} {{{kbd(R)}}}
    {{{kbd(M-up)}}} {{{kbd(C-c C-x u)}}} {{{kbd(Esc up)}}}
    {{{kbd(M-S-up)}}} {{{kbd(C-c C-x U)}}} {{{kbd(U)}}}
    {{{kbd(M-down)}}} {{{kbd(C-c C-x d)}}} {{{kbd(Esc down)}}}
    {{{kbd(M-S-down)}}} {{{kbd(C-c C-x D)}}} {{{kbd(D)}}}
    {{{kbd(S-RET)}}} {{{kbd(C-c C-x c)}}}
    {{{kbd(M-RET)}}} {{{kbd(C-c C-x m)}}} {{{kbd(Esc RET)}}}
    {{{kbd(M-S-RET)}}} {{{kbd(C-c C-x M)}}}
    {{{kbd(S-left)}}} {{{kbd(C-c left)}}}
    {{{kbd(S-right)}}} {{{kbd(C-c right)}}}
    {{{kbd(S-up)}}} {{{kbd(C-c up)}}}
    {{{kbd(S-down)}}} {{{kbd(C-c down)}}}
    {{{kbd(C-S-left)}}} {{{kbd(C-c C-x left)}}}
    {{{kbd(C-S-right)}}} {{{kbd(C-c C-x right)}}}

    Interaction with Other Packages

    Org's compatibility and the level of interaction with other Emacs packages are documented here.

    Packages that Org cooperates with

    • calc.el by Dave Gillespie ::
    • #+cindex: @file{calc.el}

    Org uses the Calc package for implementing spreadsheet functionality in its tables (see *The spreadsheet). Org also uses Calc for embedded calculations. See GNU Emacs Calc Manual.

    • constants.el by Carsten Dominik ::
    • #+cindex: @file{constants.el} #+vindex: org-table-formula-constants

    Org can use names for constants in formulas in tables. Org can also use calculation suffixes for units, such as M for Mega. For a standard collection of such constants, install the constants package. Install version 2.0 of this package, available at Org checks if the function constants-get has been autoloaded. Installation instructions are in the file constants.el.

    • cdlatex.el by Carsten Dominik ::
    • #+cindex: @file{cdlatex.el}

    Org mode can make use of the CDLaTeX package to efficiently enter LaTeX fragments into Org files. See *Using CDLaTeX to enter math.

    • imenu.el by Ake Stenhoff and Lars Lindberg ::
    • #+cindex: @file{imenu.el}

    Imenu creates dynamic menus based on an index of items in a file. Org mode supports Imenu menus. Enable it with a mode hook as follows:

    #+begin_src emacs-lisp (add-hook 'org-mode-hook (lambda () (imenu-add-to-menubar "Imenu"))) #+end_src

    #+vindex: org-imenu-depth By default the index is two levels deep---you can modify the depth using the option org-imenu-depth.

    • speedbar.el by Eric M. Ludlam ::
    • #+cindex: @file{speedbar.el}

    Speedbar package creates a special Emacs frame for displaying files and index items in files. Org mode supports Speedbar; users can drill into Org files directly from the Speedbar. The {{{kbd(<)}}} in the Speedbar frame tweaks the agenda commands to that file or to a subtree.

    • table.el by Takaaki Ota ::
    • #+cindex: table editor, @file{table.el} #+cindex: @file{table.el}

    Complex ASCII tables with automatic line wrapping, column- and row-spanning, and alignment can be created using the Emacs table package by Takaaki Ota. Org mode recognizes such tables and exports them properly. {{{kbd(C-c ')}}} to edit these tables in a special buffer, much like Org's code blocks. Because of interference with other Org mode functionality, Takaaki Ota tables cannot be edited directly in the Org buffer.

    • {{{kbd(C-c ')}}} (org-edit-special) ::

    #+kindex: C-c ' #+findex: org-edit-special Edit a table.el table. Works when the cursor is in a table.el table.

    • {{{kbd(C-c ​)}}} (~org-table-create-with-table.el) ::

    #+kindex: C-c #+findex: org-table-create-with-table.el Insert a =table.el= table. If there is already a table at point, this command converts it between the =table.el= format and the Org mode format. See the documentation string of the command ~org-convert-table for the restrictions under which this is possible.

    Packages that conflict with Org mode

    In Emacs, shift-selection-mode combines cursor motions with shift key to enlarge regions. Emacs sets this mode by default. This conflicts with Org's use of {{{kbd(S-)}}} commands to change timestamps, TODO keywords, priorities, and item bullet types, etc. Since {{{kbd(S-)}}} commands outside of specific contexts do not do anything, Org offers the variable ~org-support-shift-select~ for customization. Org mode accommodates shift selection by (i) making it available outside of the special contexts where special commands apply, and (ii) extending an existing active region even if the cursor moves across a special context.

    • cua.el by Kim. F. Storm ::

    #+cindex: @file{cua.el} #+vindex: org-replace-disputed-keys Org key bindings conflict with {{{kbd(S-cursor)}}} keys used by CUA mode. For Org to relinquish these bindings to CUA mode, configure the variable org-replace-disputed-keys. When set, Org moves the following key bindings in Org files, and in the agenda buffer---but not during date selection.

    | S-UP \rArr{} M-p | S-DOWN \rArr{} M-n | | S-LEFT \rArr{} M-- | S-RIGHT \rArr{} M-+ | | C-S-LEFT \rArr{} M-S-- | C-S-RIGHT \rArr{} M-S-+ |

    #+vindex: org-disputed-keys Yes, these are unfortunately more difficult to remember. If you want to have other replacement keys, look at the variable org-disputed-keys.

    • ecomplete.el by Lars Magne Ingebrigtsen ::

    #+cindex: @file{ecomplete.el} Ecomplete provides "electric" address completion in address header lines in message buffers. Sadly Orgtbl mode cuts Ecomplete's power supply: no completion happens when Orgtbl mode is enabled in message buffers while entering text in address header lines. If one wants to use ecomplete one should /not/ follow the advice to automagically turn on Orgtbl mode in message buffers (see *The Orgtbl Minor Mode), but instead---after filling in the message headers---turn on Orgtbl mode manually when needed in the messages body.

    • filladapt.el by Kyle Jones ::

    #+cindex: @file{filladapt.el} Org mode tries to do the right thing when filling paragraphs, list items and other elements. Many users reported problems using both filladapt.el and Org mode, so a safe thing to do is to disable filladapt like this:

    #+begin_src emacs-lisp (add-hook 'org-mode-hook 'turn-off-filladapt-mode) #+end_src

    • viper.el by Michael Kifer ::
    • #+cindex: @file{viper.el} #+kindex: C-c /

    Viper uses {{{kbd(C-c /)}}} and therefore makes this key not access the corresponding Org mode command org-sparse-tree. You need to find another key for this command, or override the key in viper-vi-global-user-map with

    #+begin_src emacs-lisp (define-key viper-vi-global-user-map "C-c /" 'org-sparse-tree) #+end_src

    • windmove.el by Hovav Shacham ::
    • #+cindex: @file{windmove.el}

    This package also uses the {{{kbd(S-)}}} keys, so everything written in the paragraph above about CUA mode also applies here. If you want to make the windmove function active in locations where Org mode does not have special functionality on {{{kbd(S-)}}}, add this to your configuration:

    #+begin_src emacs-lisp ;; Make windmove work in Org mode: (add-hook 'org-shiftup-final-hook 'windmove-up) (add-hook 'org-shiftleft-final-hook 'windmove-left) (add-hook 'org-shiftdown-final-hook 'windmove-down) (add-hook 'org-shiftright-final-hook 'windmove-right) #+end_src

    • yasnippet.el ::

    #+cindex: @file{yasnippet.el} The way Org mode binds the {{{kbd(TAB)}}} key (binding to [tab]~ instead of ~"\t") overrules YASnippet's access to this key. The following code fixed this problem:

    #+begin_src emacs-lisp (add-hook 'org-mode-hook (lambda () (setq-local yas/trigger-key [tab]) (define-key yas/keymap [tab] 'yas/next-field-or-maybe-expand))) #+end_src

    The latest version of YASnippet does not play well with Org mode. If the above code does not fix the conflict, start by defining the following function:

    #+begin_src emacs-lisp (defun yas/org-very-safe-expand () (let ((yas/fallback-behavior 'return-nil)) (yas/expand))) #+end_src

    Then, tell Org mode to use that function:

    #+begin_src emacs-lisp (add-hook 'org-mode-hook (lambda () (make-variable-buffer-local 'yas/trigger-key) (setq yas/trigger-key [tab]) (add-to-list 'org-tab-first-hook 'yas/org-very-safe-expand) (define-key yas/keymap [tab] 'yas/next-field))) #+end_src

    Org Crypt

    Org Crypt encrypts the text of an entry, but not the headline, or properties. Behind the scene, it uses the Emacs EasyPG library to encrypt and decrypt files.

    Any text below a headline that has a crypt tag is automatically encrypted when the file is saved. To use a different tag, customize the org-crypt-tag-matcher setting.

    Here is a suggestion for Org Crypt settings in Emacs init file:

    (require 'org-crypt) (org-crypt-use-before-save-magic) (setq org-tags-exclude-from-inheritance '("crypt"))

    (setq org-crypt-key nil) ;; GPG key to use for encryption ;; Either the Key ID or set to nil to use symmetric encryption.

    (setq auto-save-default nil) ;; Auto-saving does not cooperate with org-crypt.el: so you need to ;; turn it off if you plan to use org-crypt.el quite often. Otherwise, ;; you'll get an (annoying) message each time you start Org.

    ;; To turn it off only locally, you can insert this: ;; ;; # -*- buffer-auto-save-file-name: nil; -*-

    Excluding the crypt tag from inheritance prevents already encrypted text from being encrypted again.


    This appendix describes some ways a user can extend the functionality of Org.


    Org has a large number of hook variables for adding functionality. This appendix illustrates using a few. A complete list of hooks with documentation is maintained by the Worg project at

    Add-on Packages

    Various authors wrote a large number of add-on packages for Org.

    These packages are not part of Emacs, but they are distributed as contributed packages with the separate release available at See the contrib/README file in the source code directory for a list of contributed files. Worg page with more information is at:

    Org has many built-in hyperlink types (see *Hyperlinks), and an interface for adding new link types. The following example shows the process of adding Org links to Unix man pages, which look like this

    [[man:printf][The printf manual]]

    The following org-man.el file implements it

    ;;; org-man.el - Support for links to man pages in Org mode (require 'org)

    (org-link-set-parameters "man" :follow org-man-command :export #'org-man-export :store #'org-man-store-link)

    (defcustom org-man-command 'man "The Emacs command to be used to display a man page." :group 'org-link :type '(choice (const man) (const woman)))

    (defun org-man-store-link () "Store a link to a man page." (when (memq major-mode '(Man-mode woman-mode)) ;; This is a man page, we do make this link. (let* ((page (org-man-get-page-name)) (link (concat "man:" page)) (description (format "Man page for %s" page))) (org-store-link-props :type "man" :link link :description description))))

    (defun org-man-get-page-name () "Extract the page name from the buffer name." ;; This works for both `Man-mode' and `woman-mode'. (if (string-match " \\(\\S-+\\)\\*" (buffer-name)) (match-string 1 (buffer-name)) (error "Cannot create link to this man page")))

    (defun org-man-export (link description format) "Export a man page link from Org files." (let ((path (format "§ion=all" link)) (desc (or description link))) (pcase format (`html (format "%s" path desc)) (`latex (format "\\href{%s}{%s}" path desc)) (`texinfo (format "@uref{%s,%s}" path desc)) (`ascii (format "%s (%s)" desc path)) (t path))))

    (provide 'org-man) ;;; org-man.el ends here

    To activate links to man pages in Org, enter this in the Emacs init file:

    (require 'org-man)

    A review of =org-man.el=:

    1. First, (require 'org) ensures org.el is loaded.


    #+findex: org-link-set-parameters #+vindex: org-link-parameters Then org-link-set-parameters defines a new link type with =man= prefix and associates functions for following, exporting and storing such links. See the variable org-link-parameters for a complete list of possible associations.

    1. The rest of the file implements necessary variables and functions.

    For example, org-man-store-link is responsible for storing a link when org-store-link (see *Handling Links) is called from a buffer displaying a man page. It first checks if the major-mode is appropriate. If check fails, the function returns nil, which means it isn't responsible for creating a link to the current buffer. Otherwise the function makes a link string by combining the man: prefix with the man topic. It also provides a default description. The function org-insert-link can insert it back into an Org buffer later on.

    Adding Export Back-ends

    Org's export engine makes it easy for writing new back-ends. The framework on which the engine was built makes it easy to derive new back-ends from existing ones.

    The two main entry points to the export engine are: ~org-export-define-backend~ and org-export-define-derived-backend. To grok these functions, see ox-latex.el for an example of defining a new back-end from scratch, and ox-beamer.el for an example of deriving from an existing engine.

    For creating a new back-end from scratch, first set its name as a symbol in an alist consisting of elements and export functions. To make the back-end visible to the export dispatcher, set :menu-entry~ keyword. For export options specific to this back-end, set the ~:options-alist.

    For creating a new back-end from an existing one, set ~:translate-alist~ to an alist of export functions. This alist replaces the parent back-end functions.

    For complete documentation, see the Org Export Reference on Worg.

    Tables in Arbitrary Syntax

    Due to Org's success in handling tables with Orgtbl, a frequently requested feature is the use of Org's table functions in other modes, e.g., LaTeX. This would be hard to do in a general way without complicated customization nightmares. Moreover, that would take Org away from its simplicity roots that Orgtbl has proven. There is, however, an alternate approach to accomplishing the same.

    This approach involves implementing a custom translate function that operates on a native Org source table to produce a table in another format. This strategy would keep the excellently working Orgtbl simple and isolate complications, if any, confined to the translate function. To add more alien table formats, we just add more translate functions. Also the burden of developing custom translate functions for new table formats is in the hands of those who know those formats best.

    Radio tables

    Radio tables are target locations for translated tables that are not near their source. Org finds the target location and inserts the translated table.

    The key to finding the target location is the magic words BEGIN/END RECEIVE ORGTBL. They have to appear as comments in the current mode. If the mode is C, then:

    * BEGIN RECEIVE ORGTBL table_name END RECEIVE ORGTBL table_name *

    At the location of source, Org needs a special line to direct Orgtbl to translate and to find the target for inserting the translated table. For example:

    #+ORGTBL: SEND table_name translation_function arguments ...

    table_name is the table's reference name, which is also used in the receiver lines, and the translation_function is the Lisp function that translates. This line, in addition, may also contain alternating key and value arguments at the end. The translation function gets these values as a property list. A few standard parameters are already recognized and acted upon before the translation function is called:

    • :skip N ::

    Skip the first N lines of the table. Hlines do count; include them if they are to be skipped.

    • :skipcols (n1 n2 ...) ::

    List of columns to be skipped. First Org automatically discards columns with calculation marks and then sends the table to the translator function, which then skips columns as specified in skipcols.

    To keep the source table intact in the buffer without being disturbed when the source file is compiled or otherwise being worked on, use one of these strategies:

    • Place the table in a block comment. For example, in C mode you
    • could wrap the table between =/*= and =*/= lines.
    • Put the table after an "end" statement. For example \bye in TeX
    • and ~\end{document}~ in LaTeX.
    • Comment and un-comment each line of the table during edits. The
    • {{{kbd(M-x orgtbl-toggle-comment)}}} command makes toggling easy.

    A LaTeX example of radio tables

    To wrap a source table in LaTeX, use the comment environment provided by comment.sty=[fn:138]. To activate it, put ~\usepackage{comment}~ in the document header. Orgtbl mode inserts a radio table skeleton[fn:137] with the command {{{kbd(M-x orgtbl-insert-radio-table)}}}, which prompts for a table name. For example, if =salesfigures is the name, the template inserts:

    % BEGIN RECEIVE ORGTBL salesfigures % END RECEIVE ORGTBL salesfigures \begin{comment} ,#+ORGTBL: SEND salesfigures orgtbl-to-latex | | | \end{comment}

    The line #+ORGTBL: SEND tells Orgtbl mode to use the function ~orgtbl-to-latex~ to convert the table to LaTeX format, then insert the table at the target (receive) location named salesfigures. Now the table is ready for data entry. It can even use spreadsheet features140:

    % BEGIN RECEIVE ORGTBL salesfigures % END RECEIVE ORGTBL salesfigures \begin{comment} ,#+ORGTBL: SEND salesfigures orgtbl-to-latex | Month | Days | Nr sold | per day | |-------+------+---------+---------| | Jan | 23 | 55 | 2.4 | | Feb | 21 | 16 | 0.8 | | March | 22 | 278 | 12.6 | ,#+TBLFM: $4=$3/$2;%.1f % $ (optional extra dollar to keep Font Lock happy, see footnote) \end{comment}

    After editing, {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} inserts the translated table at the target location, between the two marker lines.

    For hand-made custom tables, note that the translator needs to skip the first two lines of the source table. Also the command has to /splice/ out the target table without the header and footer.

    \begin{tabular}{lrrr} Month & \multicolumn{1}{c}{Days} & Nr.\ sold & per day\\ % BEGIN RECEIVE ORGTBL salesfigures % END RECEIVE ORGTBL salesfigures \end{tabular} % \begin{comment} ,#+ORGTBL: SEND salesfigures orgtbl-to-latex :splice t :skip 2 | Month | Days | Nr sold | per day | |-------+------+---------+---------| | Jan | 23 | 55 | 2.4 | | Feb | 21 | 16 | 0.8 | | March | 22 | 278 | 12.6 | ,#+TBLFM: $4=$3/$2;%.1f \end{comment}

    The LaTeX translator function orgtbl-to-latex is already part of Orgtbl mode and uses a tabular environment to typeset the table and marks horizontal lines with \hline. For additional parameters to control output, see *Translator functions:

    • :splice nil/t ::

    When non-~nil~, return only table body lines; not wrapped in tabular environment. Default is nil.

    • :fmt FMT ::

    Format to warp each field. It should contain %s for the original field value. For example, to wrap each field value in dollar symbol, you could use :fmt "$%s$". Format can also wrap a property list with column numbers and formats, for example :fmt (2 "$%s$" 4 "%s\\%%"). In place of a string, a function of one argument can be used; the function must return a formatted string.

    • :efmt EFMT ::

    Format numbers as exponentials. The spec should have %s twice for inserting mantissa and exponent, for example "%s\\times10^{%s}". This may also be a property list with column numbers and formats, for example :efmt (2 "$%s\\times10^{%s}$" 4 "$%s\\cdot10^{%s}$"). After {{{var(EFMT)}}} has been applied to a value, {{{var(FMT)}}}---see above---is also be applied. Functions with two arguments can be supplied instead of strings. By default, no special formatting is applied.

    Translator functions

    Orgtbl mode has built-in translator functions: orgtbl-to-csv~ (comma-separated values), ~orgtbl-to-tsv (TAB-separated values), ~orgtbl-to-latex~, orgtbl-to-html, orgtbl-to-texinfo, ~orgtbl-to-unicode~ and orgtbl-to-orgtbl. They use the generic translator, orgtbl-to-generic, which delegates translations to various export back-ends.

    Properties passed to the function through the ORGTBL SEND line take precedence over properties defined inside the function. For example, this overrides the default LaTeX line endings, \\, with ~\\[2mm]~:

    #+ORGTBL: SEND test orgtbl-to-latex :lend " \\\\[2mm]"

    For a new language translator, define a converter function. It can be a generic function, such as shown in this example. It marks a beginning and ending of a table with =!BTBL!= and =!ETBL!=; a beginning and ending of lines with =!BL!= and =!EL!=; and uses a TAB for a field separator:

    (defun orgtbl-to-language (table params) "Convert the orgtbl-mode TABLE to language." (orgtbl-to-generic table (org-combine-plists '(:tstart "!BTBL!" :tend "!ETBL!" :lstart "!BL!" :lend "!EL!" :sep "\t") params)))

    The documentation for the orgtbl-to-generic function shows a complete list of parameters, each of which can be passed through to ~orgtbl-to-latex~, orgtbl-to-texinfo, and any other function using that generic function.

    For complicated translations the generic translator function could be replaced by a custom translator function. Such a custom function must take two arguments and return a single string containing the formatted table. The first argument is the table whose lines are a list of fields or the symbol hline. The second argument is the property list consisting of parameters specified in the #+ORGTBL: SEND line. Please share your translator functions by posting them to the Org users mailing list, at

    Dynamic Blocks

    Org supports dynamic blocks in Org documents. They are inserted with begin and end markers like any other code block, but the contents are updated automatically by a user function. For example, {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-r)}}} inserts a dynamic table that updates the work time (see *Clocking Work Time).

    Dynamic blocks can have names and function parameters. The syntax is similar to source code block specifications:

    ,#+BEGIN: myblock :parameter1 value1 :parameter2 value2 ... ... ,#+END:

    These commands update dynamic blocks:

    • {{{kbd(C-c C-x C-u)}}} (org-dblock-update) ::

    #+kindex: C-c C-x C-u #+findex: org-dblock-update Update dynamic block at point.

    • {{{kbd(C-u C-c C-x C-u)}}} ::

    #+kindex: C-u C-c C-x C-u Update all dynamic blocks in the current file.

    Before updating a dynamic block, Org removes content between the =BEGIN= and END markers. Org then reads the parameters on the =BEGIN= line for passing to the writer function. If the function expects to access the removed content, then Org expects an extra parameter, :content, on the BEGIN line.

    The syntax for naming a writer function with a dynamic block labelled =myblock= is: org-dblock-write:myblock. Parameters come from the =BEGIN= line.

    The following is an example of a dynamic block and a block writer function that updates the time when the function was last run:

    ,#+BEGIN: block-update-time :format "on %m/%d/%Y at %H:%M" ... ,#+END:

    The dynamic block's writer function:

    (defun org-dblock-write:block-update-time (params) (let ((fmt (or (plist-get params :format) "%d. %m. %Y"))) (insert "Last block update at: " (format-time-string fmt))))

    To keep dynamic blocks up-to-date in an Org file, use the function, ~org-update-all-dblocks~ in hook, such as before-save-hook. The ~org-update-all-dblocks~ function does not run if the file is not in Org mode.

    Dynamic blocks, like any other block, can be narrowed with ~org-narrow-to-block~.

    Special Agenda Views

    Org provides a special hook to further limit items in agenda views: ~agenda~, agenda*~[fn:140], ~todo, alltodo, tags, tags-todo, ~tags-tree~. Specify a custom function that tests inclusion of every matched item in the view. This function can also skip as much as is needed.

    For a global condition applicable to agenda views, use the ~org-agenda-skip-function-global~ variable. Org uses a global condition with org-agenda-skip-function for custom searching.

    This example defines a function for a custom view showing TODO items with waiting status. Manually this is a multi-step search process, but with a custom view, this can be automated as follows:

    The custom function searches the subtree for the waiting tag and returns nil on match. Otherwise it gives the location from where the search continues.

    (defun my-skip-unless-waiting () "Skip trees that are not waiting" (let ((subtree-end (save-excursion (org-end-of-subtree t)))) (if (re-search-forward ":waiting:" subtree-end t) nil ; tag found, do not skip subtree-end))) ; tag not found, continue after end of subtree

    To use this custom function in a custom agenda command:

    (org-add-agenda-custom-command '("b" todo "PROJECT" ((org-agenda-skip-function 'my-skip-unless-waiting) (org-agenda-overriding-header "Projects waiting for something: "))))

    Note that this also binds org-agenda-overriding-header to a more meaningful string suitable for the agenda view.

    Search for entries with a limit set on levels for the custom search. This is a general approach to creating custom searches in Org. To include all levels, use =LEVEL>0=141. Then to selectively pick the matched entries, use org-agenda-skip-function, which also accepts Lisp forms, such as org-agenda-skip-entry-if and ~org-agenda-skip-subtree-if~. For example:

    • (org-agenda-skip-entry-if 'scheduled) ::

    Skip current entry if it has been scheduled.

    • (org-agenda-skip-entry-if 'notscheduled) ::

    Skip current entry if it has not been scheduled.

    • (org-agenda-skip-entry-if 'deadline) ::

    Skip current entry if it has a deadline.

    • (org-agenda-skip-entry-if 'scheduled 'deadline) ::

    Skip current entry if it has a deadline, or if it is scheduled.

    • (org-agenda-skip-entry-if 'todo '("TODO" "WAITING")) ::

    Skip current entry if the TODO keyword is TODO or WAITING.

    • (org-agenda-skip-entry-if 'todo 'done) ::

    Skip current entry if the TODO keyword marks a DONE state.

    • (org-agenda-skip-entry-if 'timestamp) ::

    Skip current entry if it has any timestamp, may also be deadline or scheduled.

    • (org-agenda-skip-entry-if 'regexp "regular expression") ::

    Skip current entry if the regular expression matches in the entry.

    • (org-agenda-skip-entry-if 'notregexp "regular expression") ::

    Skip current entry unless the regular expression matches.

    • (org-agenda-skip-subtree-if 'regexp "regular expression") ::

    Same as above, but check and skip the entire subtree.

    The following is an example of a search for waiting without the special function:

    (org-add-agenda-custom-command '("b" todo "PROJECT" ((org-agenda-skip-function '(org-agenda-skip-subtree-if 'regexp ":waiting:")) (org-agenda-overriding-header "Projects waiting for something: "))))

    Speeding Up Your Agendas

    Some agenda commands slow down when the Org files grow in size or number. Here are tips to speed up:

    • Reduce the number of Org agenda files to avoid slowdowns due to hard drive
    • accesses.
    • Reduce the number of DONE and archived headlines so agenda
    • operations that skip over these can finish faster.
    • Do not dim blocked tasks:
    • #+vindex: org-agenda-dim-blocked-tasks

    #+begin_src emacs-lisp (setq org-agenda-dim-blocked-tasks nil) #+end_src

    • Stop preparing agenda buffers on startup:
    • #+vindex: org-startup-folded #+vindex: org-agenda-inhibit-startup

    #+begin_src emacs-lisp (setq org-agenda-inhibit-startup nil) #+end_src

    • Disable tag inheritance for agendas:
    • #+vindex: org-agenda-show-inherited-tags #+vindex: org-agenda-use-tag-inheritance

    #+begin_src emacs-lisp (setq org-agenda-use-tag-inheritance nil) #+end_src

    These options can be applied to selected agenda views. For more details about generation of agenda views, see the docstrings for the relevant variables, and this dedicated Worg page for agenda optimization.

    Extracting Agenda Information

    Org provides commands to access agendas through Emacs batch mode. Through this command-line interface, agendas are automated for further processing or printing.

    org-batch-agenda creates an agenda view in ASCII and outputs to standard output. This command takes one string parameter. When string consists of a single character, Org uses it as a key to ~org-agenda-custom-commands~. These are the same ones available through the agenda dispatcher (see *The Agenda Dispatcher).

    This example command line directly prints the TODO list to the printer:

    emacs -batch -l ~/.emacs -eval '(org-batch-agenda "t")' | lpr

    When the string parameter length is two or more characters, Org matches it with tags/TODO strings. For example, this example command line prints items tagged with shop, but excludes items tagged with =NewYork=:

    emacs -batch -l ~/.emacs \ -eval '(org-batch-agenda "+shop-NewYork")' | lpr

    An example showing on-the-fly parameter modifications:

    emacs -batch -l ~/.emacs \ -eval '(org-batch-agenda "a" \ org-agenda-span (quote month) \ org-agenda-include-diary nil \ org-agenda-files (quote ("~/org/")))' \ | lpr

    which produces an agenda for the next 30 days from just the =~/org/ file.

    For structured processing of agenda output, use ~org-batch-agenda-csv~ with the following fields:

    The category of the item
    The headline, without TODO keyword, TAGS and PRIORITY
    The type of the agenda entry, can be

    | todo | selected in TODO match | | tagsmatch | selected in tags match | | diary | imported from diary | | deadline | a deadline | | scheduled | scheduled | | timestamp | appointment, selected by timestamp | | closed | entry was closed on date | | upcoming-deadline | warning about nearing deadline | | past-scheduled | forwarded scheduled item | | block | entry has date block including date |

    The TODO keyword, if any
    All tags including inherited ones, separated by colons
    The relevant date, like 2007-2-14
    The time, like 15:00-16:50
    String with extra planning info
    The priority letter if any was given
    The computed numerical priority

    If the selection of the agenda item was based on a timestamp, including those items with DEADLINE and SCHEDULED keywords, then Org includes date and time in the output.

    If the selection of the agenda item was based on a timestamp (or deadline/scheduled), then Org includes date and time in the output.

    Here is an example of a post-processing script in Perl. It takes the CSV output from Emacs and prints with a checkbox:


    # define the Emacs command to run $cmd = "emacs -batch -l ~/.emacs -eval '(org-batch-agenda-csv \"t\")'";

    # run it and capture the output $agenda = qx{$cmd 2>/dev/null};

    # loop over all lines foreach $line (split(\n,$agenda)) { # get the individual values ($category,$head,$type,$todo,$tags,$date,$time,$extra, $priority_l,$priority_n) = split(/,/,$line); # process and print print "[ ] $head\n"; }

    Using the Property API

    Here is a description of the functions that can be used to work with properties.

    Get all properties of the entry at point-or-marker {{{var(POM)}}}. This includes the TODO keyword, the tags, time strings for deadline, scheduled, and clocking, and any additional properties defined in the entry. The return value is an alist. Keys may occur multiple times if the property key was used several times. {{{var(POM)}}} may also be nil, in which case the current entry is used. If {{{var(WHICH)}}} is nil or all, get all properties. If {{{var(WHICH)}}} is special or standard, only get that subclass.

    Get value of {{{var(PROPERTY)}}} for entry at point-or-marker {{{var(POM)}}}. By default, this only looks at properties defined locally in the entry. If {{{var(INHERIT)}}} is non-~nil~ and the entry does not have the property, then also check higher levels of the hierarchy. If {{{var(INHERIT)}}} is the symbol selective, use inheritance if and only if the setting of ~org-use-property-inheritance~ selects {{{var(PROPERTY)}}} for inheritance.

    Delete the property {{{var(PROPERTY)}}} from entry at point-or-marker {{{var(POM)}}}.

    Set {{{var(PROPERTY)}}} to {{{var(VALUES)}}} for entry at point-or-marker POM.

    Get all property keys in the current buffer.

    Insert a property drawer for the current entry. Also

    Set {{{var(PROPERTY)}}} at point-or-marker {{{var(POM)}}} to {{{var(VALUES)}}}. {{{var(VALUES)}}} should be a list of strings. They are concatenated, with spaces as separators.

    Treat the value of the property {{{var(PROPERTY)}}} as a whitespace-separated list of values and return the values as a list of strings.

    Treat the value of the property {{{var(PROPERTY)}}} as a whitespace-separated list of values and make sure that {{{var(VALUE)}}} is in this list.

    Treat the value of the property {{{var(PROPERTY)}}} as a whitespace-separated list of values and make sure that {{{var(VALUE)}}} is not in this list.

    Treat the value of the property {{{var(PROPERTY)}}} as a whitespace-separated list of values and check if {{{var(VALUE)}}} is in this list.

    Hook for functions supplying allowed values for a specific property. The functions must take a single argument, the name of the property, and return a flat list of allowed values. If :ETC is one of the values, use the values as completion help, but allow also other values to be entered. The functions must return nil if they are not responsible for this property.

    Using the Mapping API

    Org has sophisticated mapping capabilities to find all entries satisfying certain criteria. Internally, this functionality is used to produce agenda views, but there is also an API that can be used to execute arbitrary functions for each or selected entries. The main entry point for this API is:

    Call {{{(var(FUNC))}}} at each headline selected by {{{var(MATCH)}}} in {{{var(SCOPE)}}}.

    {{{var(FUNC)}}} is a function or a Lisp form. With the cursor positioned at the beginning of the headline, call the function without arguments. Org returns an alist of return values of calls to the function.

    To avoid preserving point, Org wraps the call to {{{var(FUNC)}}} in save-excursion form. After evaluation, Org moves the cursor to the end of the line that was just processed. Search continues from that point forward. This may not always work as expected under some conditions, such as if the current sub-tree was removed by a previous archiving operation. In such rare circumstances, Org skips the next entry entirely when it should not. To stop Org from such skips, make {{{var(FUNC)}}} set the variable org-map-continue-from to a specific buffer position.

    {{{var(MATCH)}}} is a tags/property/TODO match. Org iterates only matched headlines. Org iterates over all headlines when {{{var(MATCH)}}} is nil or t.

    {{{var(SCOPE)}}} determines the scope of this command. It can be any of:

    • nil ::

    The current buffer, respecting the restriction, if any.

    • tree ::

    The subtree started with the entry at point.

    • region ::

    The entries within the active region, if any.

    • file ::

    The current buffer, without restriction.

    • file-with-archives ::

    The current buffer, and any archives associated with it.

    • agenda ::

    All agenda files.

    • agenda-with-archives ::

    All agenda files with any archive files associated with them.

    • (file1 file2 ...) ::

    If this is a list, all files in the list are scanned.

    The remaining arguments are treated as settings for the scanner's skipping facilities. Valid arguments are:

    • archive ::

    Skip trees with the archive tag.

    • comment ::

    Skip trees with the COMMENT keyword.

    • function or Lisp form ::

    #+vindex: org-agenda-skip-function Used as value for org-agenda-skip-function, so whenever the function returns t, {{{var(FUNC)}}} is called for that entry and search continues from the point where the function leaves it.

    The mapping routine can call any arbitrary function, even functions that change meta data or query the property API (see *Using the Property API). Here are some handy functions:

    Change the TODO state of the entry. See the docstring of the functions for the many possible values for the argument {{{var(ARG)}}}.

    Change the priority of the entry. See the docstring of this function for the possible values for {{{var(ACTION)}}}.

    Toggle the tag {{{var(TAG)}}} in the current entry. Setting {{{var(ONOFF)}}} to either on or off does not toggle tag, but ensure that it is either on or off.

    Promote the current entry.

    Demote the current entry.

    This example turns all entries tagged with TOMORROW into TODO entries with keyword UPCOMING. Org ignores entries in comment trees and archive trees.

    (org-map-entries '(org-todo "UPCOMING") "+TOMORROW" 'file 'archive 'comment)

    The following example counts the number of entries with TODO keyword =WAITING=, in all agenda files.

    (length (org-map-entries t "/+WAITING" 'agenda))


    MobileOrg is a companion mobile app that runs on iOS and Android devices. MobileOrg enables offline-views and capture support for an Org mode system that is rooted on a "real" computer. MobileOrg can record changes to existing entries.

    The iOS implementation for the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad series of devices, was started by Richard Moreland and is now in the hands of Sean Escriva. Android users should check out MobileOrg Android by Matt Jones. Though the two implementations are not identical, they offer similar features.

    This appendix describes Org's support for agenda view formats compatible with MobileOrg. It also describes synchronizing changes, such as to notes, between MobileOrg and the computer.

    To change tags and TODO states in MobileOrg, first customize the variables org-todo-keywords and org-tag-alist. These should cover all the important tags and TODO keywords, even if Org files use only some of them. Though MobileOrg has in-buffer settings, it understands TODO states sets (see *Setting up keywords for individual files) and /mutually exclusive/ tags (see *Setting Tags) only for those set in these variables.

    Setting Up the Staging Area

    MobileOrg needs access to a file directory on a server to interact with Emacs. With a public server, consider encrypting the files. MobileOrg version 1.5 supports encryption for the iPhone. Org also requires openssl installed on the local computer. To turn on encryption, set the same password in MobileOrg and in Emacs. Set the password in the variable ~org-mobile-use-encryption~142. Note that even after MobileOrg encrypts the file contents, the file name remains visible on the file systems of the local computer, the server, and the mobile device.

    For a server to host files, consider options like account143. On first connection, MobileOrg creates a directory =MobileOrg= on Dropbox. Pass its location to Emacs through an initialisation file variable as follows:

    (setq org-mobile-directory "~/Dropbox/MobileOrg")

    Org copies files to the above directory for MobileOrg. Org also uses the same directory for sharing notes between Org and MobileOrg.

    Pushing to MobileOrg

    Org pushes files listed in org-mobile-files to ~org-mobile-directory~. Files include agenda files (as listed in ~org-agenda-files~). Customize org-mobile-files to add other files. File names are staged with paths relative to org-directory, so all files should be inside this directory144.

    Push creates a special Org file with custom agenda views defined by the user145.

    Finally, Org writes the file, containing links to other files. MobileOrg reads this file first from the server to determine what other files to download for agendas. For faster downloads, MobileOrg only reads files whose checksums146 have changed.

    Pulling from MobileOrg

    When MobileOrg synchronizes with the server, it pulls the Org files for viewing. It then appends to the file on the server the captured entries, pointers to flagged and changed entries. Org integrates its data in an inbox file format.

    1. #+vindex: org-mobile-inbox-for-pull Org moves all entries found in and appends them to the file pointed to by the variable org-mobile-inbox-for-pull. Each captured entry and each editing event is a top-level entry in the inbox file.

    1. After moving the entries, Org attempts changes to MobileOrg. Some
    2. changes are applied directly and without user interaction. Examples include changes to tags, TODO state, headline and body text. Entries for further action are tagged as =FLAGGED=. Org marks entries with problems with an error message in the inbox. They have to be resolved manually.
    1. Org generates an agenda view for flagged entries for user
    2. intervention to clean up. For notes stored in flagged entries, MobileOrg displays them in the echo area when the cursor is on the corresponding agenda item.
    • {{{kbd(?)}}} ::
    • #+kindex: ?

    Pressing {{{kbd(?)}}} displays the entire flagged note in another window. Org also pushes it to the kill ring. To store flagged note as a normal note, use {{{kbd(? z C-y C-c C-c)}}}. Pressing{{{kbd(?)}}} twice does these things: first it removes the FLAGGED tag; second, it removes the flagged note from the property drawer; third, it signals that manual editing of the flagged entry is now finished.

    From the agenda dispatcher, {{{kbd(?)}}} returns to the view to finish processing flagged entries. Note that these entries may not be the most recent since MobileOrg searches files that were last pulled. To get an updated agenda view with changes since the last pull, pull again.

    History and Acknowledgments

    From Carsten

    Org was born in 2003, out of frustration over the user interface of the Emacs Outline mode. I was trying to organize my notes and projects, and using Emacs seemed to be the natural way to go. However, having to remember eleven different commands with two or three keys per command, only to hide and show parts of the outline tree, that seemed entirely unacceptable to me. Also, when using outlines to take notes, I constantly wanted to restructure the tree, organizing it parallel to my thoughts and plans. Visibility cycling/ and /structure editing were originally implemented in the package =outline-magic.el=, but quickly moved to the more general org.el. As this environment became comfortable for project planning, the next step was adding TODO entries, basic timestamps, and table support. These areas highlighted the two main goals that Org still has today: to be a new, outline-based, plain text mode with innovative and intuitive editing features, and to incorporate project planning functionality directly into a notes file.

    Since the first release, literally thousands of emails to me or to the mailing list have provided a constant stream of bug reports, feedback, new ideas, and sometimes patches and add-on code. Many thanks to everyone who has helped to improve this package. I am trying to keep here a list of the people who had significant influence in shaping one or more aspects of Org. The list may not be complete, if I have forgotten someone, please accept my apologies and let me know.

    Before I get to this list, a few special mentions are in order:

    • Bastien Guerry ::

    Bastien has written a large number of extensions to Org (most of them integrated into the core by now), including the LaTeX exporter and the plain list parser. His support during the early days was central to the success of this project. Bastien also invented Worg, helped establishing the Web presence of Org, and sponsored hosting costs for the website. Bastien stepped in as maintainer of Org between 2011 and 2013, at a time when I desperately needed a break.

    • Eric Schulte and Dan Davison ::

    Eric and Dan are jointly responsible for the Org Babel system, which turns Org into a multi-language environment for evaluating code and doing literate programming and reproducible research. This has become one of Org's killer features that define what Org is today.

    • John Wiegley ::

    John has contributed a number of great ideas and patches directly to Org, including the attachment system (org-attach.el), integration with Apple Mail (org-mac-message.el), hierarchical dependencies of TODO items, habit tracking (org-habits.el), and encryption (org-crypt.el). Also, the capture system is really an extended copy of his great remember.el.

    • Sebastian Rose ::

    Without Sebastian, the HTML/XHTML publishing of Org would be the pitiful work of an ignorant amateur. Sebastian has pushed this part of Org onto a much higher level. He also wrote org-info.js, a Java script for displaying webpages derived from Org using an Info-like or a folding interface with single-key navigation.

    See below for the full list of contributions! Again, please let me know what I am missing here!

    From Bastien

    I (Bastien) have been maintaining Org between 2011 and 2013. This appendix would not be complete without adding a few more acknowledgments and thanks.

    I am first grateful to Carsten for his trust while handing me over the maintainership of Org. His unremitting support is what really helped me getting more confident over time, with both the community and the code.

    When I took over maintainership, I knew I would have to make Org more collaborative than ever, as I would have to rely on people that are more knowledgeable than I am on many parts of the code. Here is a list of the persons I could rely on, they should really be considered co-maintainers, either of the code or the community:

    • Eric Schulte ::

    Eric is maintaining the Babel parts of Org. His reactivity here kept me away from worrying about possible bugs here and let me focus on other parts.

    • Nicolas Goaziou ::

    Nicolas is maintaining the consistency of the deepest parts of Org. His work on org-element.el and ox.el has been outstanding, and it opened the doors for many new ideas and features. He rewrote many of the old exporters to use the new export engine, and helped with documenting this major change. More importantly (if that's possible), he has been more than reliable during all the work done for Org 8.0, and always very reactive on the mailing list.

    • Achim Gratz ::

    Achim rewrote the building process of Org, turning some /ad hoc/ tools into a flexible and conceptually clean process. He patiently coped with the many hiccups that such a change can create for users.

    • Nick Dokos ::

    The Org mode mailing list would not be such a nice place without Nick, who patiently helped users so many times. It is impossible to overestimate such a great help, and the list would not be so active without him.

    I received support from so many users that it is clearly impossible to be fair when shortlisting a few of them, but Org's history would not be complete if the ones above were not mentioned in this manual.

    List of Contributions

    • Russel Adams came up with the idea for drawers.
    • Thomas Baumann wrote org-bbdb.el and org-mhe.el.
    • Christophe Bataillon created the great unicorn logo that we use on
    • the Org mode website.
    • Alex Bochannek provided a patch for rounding timestamps.
    • Jan Böcker wrote org-docview.el.
    • Brad Bozarth showed how to pull RSS feed data into Org files.
    • Tom Breton wrote org-choose.el.
    • Charles Cave's suggestion sparked the implementation of templates
    • for Remember, which are now templates for capture.
    • Pavel Chalmoviansky influenced the agenda treatment of items with
    • specified time.
    • Gregory Chernov patched support for Lisp forms into table
    • calculations and improved XEmacs compatibility, in particular by porting =nouline.el= to XEmacs.
    • Sacha Chua suggested copying some linking code from Planner.
    • Baoqiu Cui contributed the DocBook exporter.
    • Eddward DeVilla proposed and tested checkbox statistics. He also
    • came up with the idea of properties, and that there should be an API for them.
    • Nick Dokos tracked down several nasty bugs.
    • Kees Dullemond used to edit projects lists directly in HTML and so
    • inspired some of the early development, including HTML export. He also asked for a way to narrow wide table columns.
    • Thomas S. Dye contributed documentation on Worg and helped
    • integrating the Org Babel documentation into the manual.
    • Christian Egli converted the documentation into Texinfo format,
    • inspired the agenda, patched CSS formatting into the HTML exporter, and wrote =org-taskjuggler.el=.
    • David Emery provided a patch for custom CSS support in exported HTML
    • agendas.
    • Nic Ferrier contributed mailcap and XOXO support.
    • Miguel A. Figueroa-Villanueva implemented hierarchical checkboxes.
    • John Foerch figured out how to make incremental search show context
    • around a match in a hidden outline tree.
    • Raimar Finken wrote org-git-line.el.
    • Mikael Fornius works as a mailing list moderator.
    • Austin Frank works as a mailing list moderator.
    • Eric Fraga drove the development of Beamer export with ideas and
    • testing.
    • Barry Gidden did proofreading the manual in preparation for the book
    • publication through Network Theory Ltd.
    • Niels Giesen had the idea to automatically archive DONE trees.
    • Nicolas Goaziou rewrote much of the plain list code.
    • Kai Grossjohann pointed out key-binding conflicts with other
    • packages.
    • Brian Gough of Network Theory Ltd publishes the Org mode manual as
    • a book.
    • Bernt Hansen has driven much of the support for auto-repeating
    • tasks, task state change logging, and the clocktable. His clear explanations have been critical when we started to adopt the Git version control system.
    • Manuel Hermenegildo has contributed various ideas, small fixes and
    • patches.
    • Phil Jackson wrote org-irc.el.
    • Scott Jaderholm proposed footnotes, control over whitespace between
    • folded entries, and column view for properties.
    • Matt Jones wrote MobileOrg Android.
    • Tokuya Kameshima wrote org-wl.el and org-mew.el.
    • Shidai Liu ("Leo") asked for embedded LaTeX and tested it. He also
    • provided frequent feedback and some patches.
    • Matt Lundin has proposed last-row references for table formulas and
    • named invisible anchors. He has also worked a lot on the FAQ.
    • David Maus wrote org-atom.el, maintains the issues file for Org,
    • and is a prolific contributor on the mailing list with competent replies, small fixes and patches.
    • Jason F. McBrayer suggested agenda export to CSV format.
    • Max Mikhanosha came up with the idea of refiling.
    • Dmitri Minaev sent a patch to set priority limits on a per-file
    • basis.
    • Stefan Monnier provided a patch to keep the Emacs Lisp compiler
    • happy.
    • Richard Moreland wrote MobileOrg for the iPhone.
    • Rick Moynihan proposed allowing multiple TODO sequences in a file
    • and being able to quickly restrict the agenda to a subtree.
    • Todd Neal provided patches for links to Info files and Elisp forms.
    • Greg Newman refreshed the unicorn logo into its current form.
    • Tim O'Callaghan suggested in-file links, search options for general
    • file links, and tags.
    • Osamu Okano wrote, a Perl program to create a text
    • version of the reference card.
    • Takeshi Okano translated the manual and David O'Toole's tutorial
    • into Japanese.
    • Oliver Oppitz suggested multi-state TODO items.
    • Scott Otterson sparked the introduction of descriptive text for
    • links, among other things.
    • Pete Phillips helped during the development of the TAGS feature,
    • and provided frequent feedback.
    • Martin Pohlack provided the code snippet to bundle character
    • insertion into bundles of 20 for undo.
    • T.V. Raman reported bugs and suggested improvements.
    • Matthias Rempe (Oelde) provided ideas, Windows support, and quality
    • control.
    • Paul Rivier provided the basic implementation of named footnotes.
    • He also acted as mailing list moderator for some time.
    • Kevin Rogers contributed code to access VM files on remote hosts.
    • Frank Ruell solved the mystery of the keymapp nil bug, a conflict
    • with =allout.el=.
    • Jason Riedy generalized the send-receive mechanism for Orgtbl
    • tables with extensive patches.
    • Philip Rooke created the Org reference card, provided lots of
    • feedback, developed and applied standards to the Org documentation.
    • Christian Schlauer proposed angular brackets around links, among
    • other things.
    • Paul Sexton wrote org-ctags.el.
    • Tom Shannon's organizer-mode.el inspired linking to VM/BBDB/Gnus.
    • Ilya Shlyakhter proposed the Archive Sibling, line numbering in
    • literal examples, and remote highlighting for referenced code lines.
    • Stathis Sideris wrote the ditaa.jar ASCII to PNG converter that is
    • now packaged into Org's =contrib/= directory.
    • Daniel Sinder came up with the idea of internal archiving by locking
    • subtrees.
    • Dale Smith proposed link abbreviations.
    • James TD Smith has contributed a large number of patches for
    • useful tweaks and features.
    • Adam Spiers asked for global linking commands, inspired the link
    • extension system, added support for Mairix, and proposed the mapping API.
    • Ulf Stegemann created the table to translate special symbols to
    • HTML, LaTeX, UTF-8, Latin-1 and ASCII.
    • Andy Stewart contributed code to org-w3m.el, to copy
    • HTML content with links transformation to Org syntax.
    • David O'Toole wrote org-publish.el and drafted the
    • manual chapter about publishing.
    • Jambunathan K. contributed the ODT exporter.
    • Sebastien Vauban reported many issues with LaTeX and Beamer export
    • and enabled source code highlighting in Gnus.
    • Stefan Vollmar organized a video-recorded talk at the
    • Max-Planck-Institute for Neurology. He also inspired the creation of a concept index for HTML export.
    • Jürgen Vollmer contributed code generating the table of contents in
    • HTML output.
    • Samuel Wales has provided important feedback and bug reports.
    • Chris Wallace provided a patch implementing the QUOTE block.
    • David Wainberg suggested archiving, and improvements to the
    • linking system.
    • Carsten Wimmer suggested some changes and helped fix a bug in
    • linking to Gnus.
    • Roland Winkler requested additional key bindings to make Org work on
    • a TTY.
    • Piotr Zielinski wrote org-mouse.el, proposed agenda
    • blocks and contributed various ideas and code snippets.

    GNU Free Documentation License

    Main Index

    Key Index

    Command and Function Index

    Variable Index

    This is not a complete index of variables and faces, only the ones that are mentioned in the manual. For a more complete list, use {{{kbd(M-x org-customize)}}} and then click yourself through the tree.


    This manual is for Org version {{{version}}}.

    Copyright \copy 2004--2018 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

    Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with the Front-Cover texts being "A GNU Manual", and with the Back-Cover Texts as in (a) below. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

    (a) The FSF's Back-Cover Text is: "You have the freedom to copy and modify this GNU manual."

    Export Setup noexport


    with (add-hook 'org-mode-hook 'turn-on-font-lock).

    minimize the work the mailing list moderators have to do.

    and org-ctrl-k-protect-subtree to configure special behavior of {{{kbd(C-a)}}}, {{{kbd(C-e)}}}, and {{{kbd(C-k)}}} in headlines. Note also that clocking only works with headings indented less than 30 stars.

    to the current tree. Editing the indirect buffer also changes the original buffer, but without affecting visibility in that buffer. For more information about indirect buffers, see GNU Emacs Manual.

    honor the default visibility state when first opening a file for the agenda (see *Speeding Up Your Agendas).

    much context is shown around each match.

    are not interpreted as headlines. Also, when you are hiding leading stars to get a clean outline view, plain list items starting with a star may be hard to distinguish from true headlines. In short: even though * is supported, it may be better to not use it for plain list items.


    org-list-allow-alphabetical. To minimize confusion with normal text, those are limited to one character only. Beyond that limit, bullets automatically become numbers.

    before the checkbox. If you have activated alphabetical lists, you can also use counters like [@b].

    variable org-M-RET-may-split-line.


    Use {{{kbd(C-M-i)}}} or {{{kbd(ESC TAB)}}} instead.

    or #+STARTUP: nofninline.

    and #+STARTUP: nofnadjust.

    inside a word abc\vert{}def.

    does not use this syntax when offering a formula for editing. You can customize this behavior using the variable ~org-table-use-standard-references~.

    {{{var(FOO)}}} is parsed for each field to be copied.

    two different unit systems, SI and cgs. Which one is used depends on the value of the variable constants-unit-system. You can use the =STARTUP= options constSI and constcgs to set this value for the current buffer.

    value passed to it is converted into an "integer" or "double". The "integer" is limited in size by truncating the signed value to 32 bits. The "double" is limited in precision to 64 bits overall which leaves approximately 16 significant decimal digits.

    only alphanumeric/underscore characters.

    can be used. Just type a star followed by a few optional letters into the buffer and press {{{kbd(M-TAB)}}}. All headlines in the current buffer are offered as completions.

    mandatory in order to get proper numbering (see *Images and Tables).

    variable org-link-search-must-match-exact-headline. If its value is ~nil~, then a fuzzy text search is done. If it is t, then only the exact headline is matched, ignoring spaces and statistic cookies. If the value is query-to-create, then an exact headline is searched; if it is not found, then the user is queried to create it.

    link, which results in a wrong link---you should avoid putting a timestamp in the headline.

    org-customize, by enabling id in org-modules, or by adding ~(require 'org-id)~ in your Emacs init file.

    a link. Links in Org are plain text, and you can type or paste them straight into the buffer. By using this command, the links are automatically enclosed in double brackets, and you will be asked for the optional descriptive text.

    from the list of stored links. To keep it in the list later use, use a triple {{{kbd(C-u)}}} prefix argument to {{{kbd(C-c C-l)}}}, or configure the option org-keep-stored-link-after-insertion.

    property of a link in org-link-parameters.

    within a buffer with the STARTUP options inlineimages and =noinlineimages=.

    single colon.

    lists of TODO items, but this is not required.

    effective after restarting Org mode in a buffer.

    and agenda buffers.

    a special meaning here.

    it allows you to change the TODO state through the tags interface (*Setting Tags), in case you like to mingle the two concepts. Note that this means you need to come up with unique keys across both sets of keywords.

    after visiting a file. {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} with the cursor in a line starting with #+ is simply restarting Org mode for the current buffer.


    {{{kbd(SPC)}}} in the agenda to show an entry---use {{{kbd(C-u SPC)}}} to keep it folded here.

    are using both org-log-done and state change logging. However, it never prompts for two notes: if you have configured both, the state change recording note takes precedence and cancel the closing note.


    by modifying org-list-automatic-rules accordingly.

    want such cookies to count all checkboxes below the cookie, not just those belonging to direct children.

    checkbox adds checkboxes to the rest of the list.

    C-c)}}} activates any changes in the line.

    tests including properties (see *Property Searches).

    configured keys.

    the parent values are computed according to the first of them.

    defined in org-effort-durations, e.g., 3d 1h. If any value in the column is as such, the summary is also an effort duration.

    line; it is wrapped here only because of formatting constraints.

    distributed with the main distribution of Org---visit https://orgmode.

    date/time format. To use an alternative format, see *Custom time format. The day name is optional when you type the date yourself. However, any date inserted or modified by Org adds that day name, for reading convenience.

    to be very careful with the order of the arguments. That order depends evilly on the variable calendar-date-style. For example, to specify a date December 12, 2005, the call might look like =(diary-date 12 1 2005)= or (diary-date 1 12 2005) or (diary-date 2005 12 1), depending on the settings. This has been the source of much confusion. Org mode users can resort to special versions of these functions like org-date or org-anniversary. These work just like the corresponding diary- functions, but with stable ISO order of arguments (year, month, day) wherever applicable, independent of the value of calendar-date-style.

    that variable to the symbol time to even make a time before now shift the date to tomorrow.



    DONE. If you do not like this, set the variable ~org-agenda-skip-scheduled-if-done~.

    right below the headline. Do not put any text between this line and the headline.

    lognoteredeadline, and nologredeadline.

    lognotereschedule, and nologreschedule.

    REPEAT_TO_STATE property, the variable org-todo-repeat-to-state if it is a string, the previous TODO state if org-todo-repeat-to-state~ is ~t, or the first state of the TODO state sequence.

    STARTUP options logrepeat, lognoterepeat, and nologrepeat. With lognoterepeat, you will also be prompted for a note.

    than 30 stars. This is a hard-coded limitation of lmax in ~org-clock-sum~.

    on this task while outside Emacs, use (setq org-clock-persist t).

    this to org-clock-in-prepare-hook.




    line---the line is broken here only to fit it into the manual.

    idleness, not just Emacs' idle time. For X11, you can install a utility program x11idle.c, available in the =contrib/scripts/= directory of the Org Git distribution, or install the xprintidle package and set it to the variable org-clock-x11idle-program-name if you are running Debian, to get the same general treatment of idleness. On other systems, idle time refers to Emacs idle time only.

    a flat list (*Using Column View in the Agenda).

    capture. Now, Org automatically translates these to use ~file+olp+datetree~, applying the :time-prompt and :tree-type~ properties. Please rewrite your date/week-tree targets using ~file+olp+datetree since the older targets are now deprecated.

    level, months or ISO weeks as sublevels and then dates on the lowest level. Tags are allowed in the tree structure.

    with a backslash.

    Types]]), any property you store with org-store-link-props can be accessed in capture templates in a similar way.


    another, you may want to configure org-attach-directory to contain an absolute path.

    lognoterefile, and nologrefile.

    name, then the list of agenda files in maintained in that external file.

    selecting a command actually limits the command to the current file, and ignores org-agenda-files until the next dispatcher command.

    restrict to the current buffer.

    restrict to the current region/subtree.

    {{{kbd(C-u)}}} causes all TODO entries to be listed before the agenda. This feature is deprecated, use the dedicated TODO list, or a block agenda instead (see *Block agenda).

    like diary-anniversary, but the argument order is always according to ISO and therefore independent of the value of ~calendar-date-style~.

    org-agenda-tag-filter-preset as an option. This filter is then applied to the view and persists as a basic filter through refreshes and more secondary filtering. The filter is a global property of the entire agenda view---in a block agenda, you should only set this in the global options section, not in the section of an individual block.



    org-agenda-include-diary is set.

    a cons cell with the prefix and the description.

    information attached to them, like a time-stamp, a scheduled or a deadline string. See org-agenda-entry-types on how to set what planning information is taken into account.

    from Hrvoje Niksic's repository.

    installed on the system. Selecting a PDF file also creates the postscript file.

    the global TODO list as well, you need to define custom commands for them in order to be able to specify file names.

    for examples.

    version 1.34 of the htmlize.el package, which you need to install). Fontified code chunks in LaTeX can be achieved using either the listings package or the minted package. Refer to ~org-export-latex-listings~ for details.

    interactively or on export. See *Working with Source Code for more information on evaluating code blocks.

    while using line numbers for the links, which might be useful to explain those in an Org mode example code.

    a comma prepended, to keep them from being interpreted by Org as outline nodes or special syntax. These commas are stripped when editing with {{{kbd(C-c ')}}}, and also before export.


    org-pretty-entities, or on a per-file base with the STARTUP option =entitiespretty=.

    *Export Settings).

    system. Many of the features described here as "LaTeX" are really from TeX, but for simplicity I am blurring this distinction.

    MathJax are processed. When dvipng, dvisvgm, or ImageMagick suite is used to create images, any LaTeX environment is handled., and from the ImageMagick suite. Choose the converter by setting the variable org-preview-latex-default-process accordingly.

    a fragment, see the documentation of the function ~org-inside-LaTeX-fragment-p~.

    this timestamp are exported.

    specification. For example, LaTeX export excludes every unnumbered headline from the table of contents.

    have to be escaped with the backslash character. So only those backslash characters before a comma need escaping with another backslash character.

    *Export Settings) instead.

    to make it visible. The tag serves as a visual aid and has no semantic relevance.


    about extensions.

    use the variables org-html-todo-kwd-class-prefix and ~org-html-tag-class-prefix~ to make them unique.

    for different files. However, "smart" LaTeX compilation systems, such as latexmk, can select the correct bibliography compiler.

    (OpenDocument) Version 1.2]].

    OpenDocument-v1.2 specification.

    table:use-first-row-styles, table:use-last-row-styles, =table:use-first-column-styles=, table:use-last-column-styles, =table:use-banding-rows-styles=, and table:use-banding-column-styles= of the =<table:table> element in the OpenDocument-v1.2 specification.

    directory, is exported as, so you probably do not want to do this.

    to remove code evaluation from the {{{kbd(C-c C-c)}}} key binding.

    are not evaluated when they appear in a keyword line---i.e. lines starting with #+KEYWORD:, see *Summary of In-Buffer Settings.

    in org-tempo.el.

    property, such that visual-line-mode (or purely setting word-wrap) wraps long lines (including headlines) correctly indented.

    for indenting and wrapping long lines of headlines or text. This minor mode handles visual-line-mode and directly applied settings through word-wrap.


    characters, this may cause problems with Font Lock in LaTeX mode. As shown in the example you can fix this by adding an extra line inside the comment environment that is used to balance the dollar expressions. If you are using AUCTeX with the font-latex library, a much better solution is to add the comment environment to the variable LaTeX-verbatim-environments.

    only considers appointments, i.e., scheduled and deadline items that have a time specification [h]h:mm in their time-stamps.

    corresponds to order in the hierarchy, not to the number of stars.

    configure the variable, ~org-mobile-encryption-password~; please read the docstring of that variable.

    documentation has details of WebDAV server configuration. Additional help is at this FAQ entry.

    as their targets.

    all referenced entries, so that these entries can be uniquely identified if MobileOrg flags them for further action. To avoid setting properties configure the variable ~org-mobile-force-id-on-agenda-items~ to nil. Org mode then relies on outline paths, assuming they are unique.


    1. If you do not use Font Lock globally turn it on in Org buffer
    2. Please consider subscribing to the mailing list in order to
    3. See the variables ~org-special-ctrl-a/e~, ~org-special-ctrl-k~,
    4. See, however, the option ~org-cycle-emulate-tab~.
    5. The indirect buffer contains the entire buffer, but is narrowed
    6. When ~org-agenda-inhibit-startup~ is non-~nil~, Org does not
    7. See also the variable ~org-show-context-detail~ to decide how
    8. This depends on the option ~org-remove-highlights-with-change~.
    9. When using =*= as a bullet, lines must be indented so that they
    10. You can filter out any of them by configuring
    11. You can also get =a.=, =A.=, =a)= and =A)= by configuring
    12. If there's a checkbox in the item, the cookie must be put
    13. If you do not want the item to be split, customize the
    14. If you want to cycle around items that way, you may customize
    15. See ~org-list-use-circular-motion~ for a cyclic behavior.
    16. Many desktops intercept {{{kbd(M-TAB)}}} to switch windows.
    17. If you do not use Font Lock globally turn it on in Org buffer
    18. If you do not use Font Lock globally turn it on in Org buffer
    19. The corresponding in-buffer options are =#+STARTUP: fnadjust=
    20. To insert a vertical bar into a table field, use =\vert= or,
    21. Org understands references typed by the user as =B4=, but it
    22. The computation time scales as O(N^2) because table
    23. The file =constants.el= can supply the values of constants in
    24. The printf reformatting is limited in precision because the
    25. Such names must start with an alphabetic character and use
    26. To insert a link targeting a headline, in-buffer completion
    27. When targeting a =NAME= keyword, =CAPTION= keyword is
    28. The actual behavior of the search depends on the value of the
    29. If the headline contains a timestamp, it is removed from the
    30. The Org Id library must first be loaded, either through
    31. Note that you do not have to use this command to insert
    32. After insertion of a stored link, the link will be removed
    33. This works if a function has been defined in the ~:complete~
    34. See the variable ~org-display-internal-link-with-indirect-buffer~.
    35. The variable ~org-startup-with-inline-images~ can be set
    36. For backward compatibility, line numbers can also follow a
    37. Of course, you can make a document that contains only long
    38. Changing the variable ~org-todo-keywords~ only becomes
    39. This is also true for the {{{kbd(t)}}} command in the timeline
    40. All characters are allowed except =@=, =^= and =!=, which have
    41. Check also the variable ~org-fast-tag-selection-include-todo~,
    42. Org mode parses these lines only when Org mode is activated
    43. The corresponding in-buffer setting is: =#+STARTUP: logdone=.
    44. The corresponding in-buffer setting is: =#+STARTUP:
    45. See the variable ~org-log-states-order-reversed~.
    46. Note that the =LOGBOOK= drawer is unfolded when pressing
    47. It is possible that Org mode records two timestamps when you
    48. See also the option ~org-priority-start-cycle-with-default~.
    49. To keep subtasks out of the global TODO list, see the
    50. With the exception of description lists. But you can allow it
    51. Set the variable ~org-hierarchical-checkbox-statistics~ if you
    52. {{{kbd(C-u C-c C-c)}}} on the /first/ item of a list with no
    53. As with all these in-buffer settings, pressing {{{kbd(C-c
    54. This is only true if the search does not involve more complex
    55. Keys are automatically assigned to tags that have no
    56. If more than one summary type applies to the same property,
    57. An age is defined as a duration, using effort modifiers
    58. Please note that the =COLUMNS= definition must be on a single
    59. Contributed packages are not part of Emacs, but are
    60. The Org date format is inspired by the standard ISO 8601
    61. When working with the standard diary sexp functions, you need
    62. See the variable ~org-read-date-prefer-future~. You may set
    63. If you do not need/want the calendar, configure the variable
    64. If you find this distracting, turn off the display with
    65. It will still be listed on that date after it has been marked
    66. The =SCHEDULED= and =DEADLINE= dates are inserted on the line
    67. Note the corresponding =STARTUP= options =logredeadline=,
    68. Note the corresponding =STARTUP= options =logreschedule=,
    69. In fact, the target state is taken from, in this sequence, the
    70. You can change this using the option ~org-log-repeat~, or the
    71. Clocking only works if all headings are indented with less
    72. To resume the clock under the assumption that you have worked
    73. To add an effort estimate "on the fly", hook a function doing
    74. The last reset of the task is recorded by the =LAST_REPEAT=
    75. See also the variable ~org-clock-modeline-total~.
    76. The corresponding in-buffer setting is: =#+STARTUP:
    77. Language terms can be set through the variable
    78. Note that all parameters must be specified in a single
    79. On computers using Mac OS X, idleness is based on actual user
    80. Please note the pitfalls of summing hierarchical data in
    81. Org used to offer four different targets for date/week tree
    82. A date tree is an outline structure with years on the highest
    83. If you need one of these sequences literally, escape the =%=
    84. If you define your own link types (see [[*Adding Hyperlink
    85. This is always the other, not the user. See the variable
    86. If you move entries or Org files from one directory to
    87. Note the corresponding =STARTUP= options =logrefile=,
    88. If the value of that variable is not a list, but a single file
    89. When using the dispatcher, pressing {{{kbd(<)}}} before
    90. For backward compatibility, you can also press {{{kbd(1)}}} to
    91. For backward compatibility, you can also press {{{kbd(0)}}} to
    92. For backward compatibility, the universal prefix argument
    93. The variable ~org-anniversary~ used in the example is just
    94. Custom commands can preset a filter by binding the variable
    95. Only tags filtering is respected here, effort filtering is
    96. You can also create persistent custom functions through
    97. This file is parsed for the agenda when
    98. You can provide a description for a prefix key by inserting
    99. /Planned/ means here that these entries have some planning
    100. For HTML you need to install Hrvoje Niksic's =htmlize.el=
    101. To create PDF output, the Ghostscript ps2pdf utility must be
    102. If you want to store standard views like the weekly agenda or
    103. Quoting depends on the system you use, please check the FAQ
    104. This works automatically for the HTML backend (it requires
    105. Source code in code blocks may also be evaluated either
    106. Adding =-k= to =-n -r= /keeps/ the labels in the source code
    107. Upon exit, lines starting with =*=, =,*=, =#+= and =,#+= get
    108. You may select a different-mode with the variable
    109. You can turn this on by default by setting the variable
    110. This behaviour can be disabled with =-= export setting (see
    111. LaTeX is a macro system based on Donald\nbsp{}E.\nbsp{}Knuth's TeX
    112. When MathJax is used, only the environments recognized by
    113. These are respectively available at
    114. Org mode has a method to test if the cursor is inside such
    115. Many desktops intercept {{{kbd(M-TAB)}}} to switch windows.
    116. The variable ~org-export-date-timestamp-format~ defines how
    117. At the moment, some export back-ends do not obey this
    118. Since commas separate the arguments, commas within arguments
    119. For a less drastic behavior, consider using a select tag (see
    120. By default Org loads MathJax from [[][]] as recommended by
    121. See [[][TeX and LaTeX extensions]] in the [[][MathJax manual]] to learn
    122. If the classes on TODO keywords and tags lead to conflicts,
    123. This does not allow setting different bibliography compilers
    124. See [[][Open Document Format for Office Applications
    125. See [[][MathToWeb]].
    126. See [[]].
    127. [[][OpenDocument-v1.2 Specification]]
    128. See the == element of the
    129. See the attributes =table:template-name=,
    130. If the publishing directory is the same as the source
    131. The option ~org-babel-no-eval-on-ctrl-c-ctrl-c~ can be used
    132. Actually, the constructs =call_()= and =src_{}=
    133. For Noweb literate programming details, see
    134. For more information, please refer to the commentary section
    135. Note that ~org-indent-mode~ also sets the ~wrap-prefix~
    136. If you do not use Font Lock globally turn it on in Org buffer
    137. The ~org-indent-mode~ also sets the ~wrap-prefix~ correctly
    138. Also see the variable ~org-adapt-indentation~.
    139. Because =LEVEL=2= has 3 stars, =LEVEL=3= has 4 stars, and so
    140. If the =TBLFM= keyword contains an odd number of dollar
    141. Note that, for ~org-odd-levels-only~, a level number
    142. If Emacs is configured for safe storing of passwords, then
    143. An alternative is to use a WebDAV server. MobileOrg
    144. Symbolic links in ~org-directory~ need to have the same name
    145. While creating the agendas, Org mode forces ID properties on
    146. Checksums are stored automatically in the file
    147. The file will be empty after this operation.