Get Organized with Emacs Org-mode

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Use Emacs to create a flexible plain-text organizer and personal productivity system.
Work Flow and To-Do Lists

In Org-mode you can create a to-do list in the same file that you are using to write notes or outline a project. This has the advantage of placing the task in the context of the entire project. To mark a headline as a to-do item, start the headline with the word TODO. You can do this more quickly by placing the cursor on the headline and typing in C-c C-t. This adds the label TODO to the start of the headline for you. The same command can be used to toggle the TODO to DONE when you complete the task. Use the command once again, and Org-mode removes DONE from the headline.

TODO and DONE are the standard work-flow states in Org-mode, but it's possible to configure your own work flow, either globally for all Org-mode files or a custom one for each file. For example, if you wanted to set up a custom work flow, such as TODO --> TEST --> DONE, add the following to the top of your Org file:

#+SEQ_TODO: TODO TEST DONE

Priorities

Once you create tasks, you will need to prioritize them. Org-mode supports three priority levels: A, B and C. A is the highest priority. Priority for a task can be set by adding [#A] to a headline. The command C-c also can be used to set priorities. Figure 9 shows an example of a task list using tags, a custom to-do work flow and priorities.

Figure 9. Tags, Custom To-Do Work Flow and Priorities

Tags, custom work flows and priorities, make Org-mode flexible enough for many different uses. It's easy to develop a custom organization system that suits a project. Each Org file can use a different system.

Timestamps

To associate an event or a meeting with a date in Org-mode, use a plain timestamp. You can insert a plain timestamp in headlines or the body of an entry with C-c. You also can specify date ranges. Org-mode provides special timestamps useful for scheduling and tracking tasks. To set a reminder to start working on an entry on a certain date, precede the timestamp with the label SCHEDULED. If an entry is to be completed by a certain date, precede the timestamp with the label DEADLINE. You also can use Org-mode for tracking time spent on each task. This is done by using the CLOCK label preceding the timestamp. Org-mode has keyboard commands to make it easy to insert timestamps and timestamp labels.

Example

Figure 10 shows a fictional example that illustrates some of Org-mode's planning and scheduling features. This Org file uses a custom to-do work flow, which is specified at the top of the file. Task are marked with work-flow states. Major project phases are outlined some with scheduled or deadline dates. Tags are used for marking activity type and team member responsibilities. Dates and times are marked for meetings. A clock timestamp is used to track time spent on a meeting. The “On-site Meetings” entry uses a date range because it spans multiple days. High and low priority markers help prioritize tasks. Folded away from view are the project proposal, meeting minutes, reports and a budget spreadsheet. Everything related to a project can be kept in one file.

Figure 10. Project Planning with Org-mode

Tag Searches

Since Org files can get large, Org-mode provides mechanisms to generate different views of an Org file showing only the information you are interested in. In Figure 10, if you want to search for all entries with the tag PAT, use the command C-c \ and type in PAT (Figure 11).

Figure 11. Tag Searches

Agenda Views

Org-mode's Agenda feature offers other views, such as a list of all to-do items or an agenda-like display of entries and their dates. First, you need to add your Org file to your Org agenda by using the command C-c [. Then, type C-c a to be presented with options for different views. For example, to see a to-do list of the fictional project shown in Figure 10, type C-c a t (Figure 12). You also can generate views based on tags (Figure 13).

Figure 12. Agenda To-Do List

Figure 13. Agenda Tag List

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I have been nurturing an

sasima's picture

I have been nurturing an ambition to be a freelance writer for quite few years and also looking for suitable software for the purpose, but haven't gotten any. It seems to me that my searching stopped with Emacs that versatile toolbox for working with text. Though I haven't tried yet, but I hope it would meet my requirement.Solid Wood Computer Desks

Hi, org-mode is included with

Anonymous's picture

Hi,

org-mode is included with emacs 22.1.1 for windows, but has to be activated. You'll find the org-mode manual including installation howto following these steps: emacs -> help -> more manuals -> all other manuals -> (Org Mode) node of the info tree.

Tks a lot

Anonymous's picture

I started learning Emacs just to use org-mode and your tutorial is the first I read, thanks a lot, I'm sure I'll use org mode, goodbye strange and uncompatible software, hello pure text. Tks a lot.
João Brito

Good info

Anonymous's picture

Hello! bkgfbea interesting bkgfbea site!

timestamp insertion

llahwehttam's picture

Timestamp insertion is done with "C-c .", not just "C-c".

Is this possible in windows

Mridul's picture

I downloaded GNU Emacs 22.1.1 binary for windows but i could not see "Org-mode" included . So it there any method I can install Org-mode in windows

Hi Mridul, just close Emacs,

Anonymous's picture

Hi Mridul,

just close Emacs, download the zipped archive from http://orgmode.org/index1.html, extract it and open the new folder. Then copy the files contained in its subfolder "lisp" into the "lisp" subfolder of your Emacs installation.

Follow the instructions at http://orgmode.org/manual/Activation.html - and start Emacs. Good luck, it worked for me... ;)

Martin

Create new org file

Anonymous's picture

Create new org file ('test.org' for example) and open it. You will be in org mode automatically...

Hi, org-mode is included with

Anonymous's picture

Hi,

org-mode is included with emacs 22.1.1 for windows, but has to be activated. You'll find the org-mode manual including installation howto following these steps: emacs -> help -> more manuals -> all other manuals -> (Org Mode) node of the info tree.