I searched Google for "emacs org subtree" but couldn't find any introductory information on this particular aspect of org mode. My questions are

  • What is it?
  • How do I create one?
  • If possible, can I use it as a todo list?
  • Can I move up/down items using a single key?
  • 7
    Please have a look at some basic tutorials.
    – Dan
    Oct 14, 2015 at 14:53
  • Check out this video for a quick intro to org-mode. Oct 14, 2015 at 15:33

1 Answer 1


A subtree is a line that begins with more * characters than some line above it. Its purpose is just to organize text, the way a paragraph or chapter might work. For example,

* Tree
Some content
** SubTree
More content
*** SubSubTree

You can move trees, subtrees, and paragraphs with M-<up> or M-<down>

Org doesn't have a "todo list". It has TODO items, and it has lists. You would make your Tree (or SubTree) a TODO item but adding TODO between the * character(s) and the name.

You make lists with + or -, and these can optionally have checkboxes attached:

+ List Item
+ Another Item


+ [ ] List item w/ checkbox (unchecked)
+ [X] List item w/ checked checkbox
  • 3
    It will help tremendously to read through the few few chapters in the Info manual for org-mode that ships with emacs: C-h i g (Org). It's also available online: orgmode.org/manual Oct 14, 2015 at 15:39

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