Is there a way to fold a region in org-mode? (Not the whole file, and not an individual item, but a region containing multiple items.)

Often I want to collapse only a portion of an org file, say folding:

* a
** a1
** a2
* b
** b1
** b2
** b3
* c
** c1
** c2
* d
** d1
** d2


* a
** a1
** a2
* b ...
* c ...
* d
** d1
** d2

I know in this particular example I could simply fold the whole file using org-cycle, then expand a and d individually, but imagine there are hundreds of items and I want to fold a dozen contiguous items contained in an active region while leaving the rest of the items in the file expanded.

  • How would this be different than using the C-tab functionality? Using shift-tab cycles the entire file, but C-tab folds a particular tree.
    – GJStein
    Jul 12, 2015 at 19:43
  • Have you tried recording a keyboard macro?
    – Melioratus
    Jul 12, 2015 at 20:53
  • @Melioratus I would rather use a built-in feature or elisp since I do this very often. Jul 12, 2015 at 21:30
  • @GJStein I have updated the question which hopefully clarifies what I am seeking. Jul 12, 2015 at 21:30

1 Answer 1


This seems to do what you want :

(defun org-hide-subtrees-in-region (beg end)
  (interactive "r")
    (narrow-to-region beg end)
    (outline-hide-sublevels 1)))

EDIT: I first gave a wrong solution, which I keep here as it is also interesting IMO (but doesn't answer the question)

The function outline-hide-region-body seems to be exactly what you want, but for some reason it is not interactive. We could add an interactive spec to it, but let's just define org-hide-subtrees-in-region as :

(defun org-hide-subtrees-in-region (beg end)
  (interactive "r")
  (outline-hide-region-body beg end))
  • Excellent, this works! Would it be possible to make this behave like org-cycle on the region? Jul 12, 2015 at 23:48
  • @holocronweaver I don't have an obvious solution in mind.
    – YoungFrog
    Jul 13, 2015 at 9:49

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