I was just wondering if there is a way to create a standard set of sections for my daily journal entry. So if I want a section for Todos, and another section for meetings, etc. Is it possible to just create a standard template in emacs that gets built when a new journal file is created?


I just wanted to clarify any ambiguity. Org-journal will create a new empty journal file for each day. The file is usually named with the date, so "20151106". The file is empty when it is created.

So I wanted to create a set of org bulletted sections that were created in the new file. So they should include:

  • Tasks
  • Exercise
  • Meal Plan

That way I don't have to manually create these each time a new journal entry is created.

2 Answers 2


I have a hack that uses a hook on org-journal-after-entry-create-hook to insert a daily template

  (defun pc/new-buffer-p ()
    (not (file-exists-p (buffer-file-name))))

  (defun pc/insert-journal-template ()
    (let ((template-file (expand-file-name "template.org" org-directory)))
      (when (pc/new-buffer-p)
          (goto-char (point-min))
          (insert-file-contents template-file)))))

  (add-hook 'org-journal-after-entry-create-hook #'pc/insert-journal-template)
  • 1
    Thank you @punchagan. It's working perfectly fine. Just the pain part is I don't know much about elisp. I think now it's the time to learn bit by bit.
    – Ashfaq
    Commented Feb 17, 2020 at 9:23

Updated answer

Here's a capture template that will get you started. You may want to change org-directory into the directory where you want to store the journal files.

(setq org-capture-templates '(("j" "Journal" entry (file
                                                (expand-file-name (concat (format-time-string "%Y%m%d") ".org") org-directory))
                           "* Tasks%?\n* Exercise\n* Meal plan")))
  • Hey @Erik thanks for trying to help. Sorry I was ambiguous. I tried to clarify the OP above. I need is to create a template for an org-journal entry and then save new capture requests to the current org-journal entry. Let me explain. So org-journal will create a new empty file for each day with the C-c C-j keystrokes. On creation of the new journal entry, I would like these sections created in the current journal entry file--so I can't hard code the filename for the capture template--as you did above with "myfile.org." Let me know if anything is still unclear, and thanks again for your help.
    – krishnab
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 22:36

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