I'm using org-mode's clocking functions to track the hours I spend on projects. Since my main org file is rather large and I scroll through it a lot, it would be great to have a visual cue of the task that's currently clocked in.

Ideally some marker (e.g. a red arrow) in the fringe would be nice, especially if it 'moves' to the parent header if the subheaders are collapsed. Alternatively a highlighted line would be an options (somewhat similar to hl-line-mode, but fixed to the current task (or its parent)). Unfortunately my (e)lisp skills are almost non existent, so I don't have much of a clue where to start. Going through the Emacs manual it looks like overlay-arrow-string and overlay-arrow-position are the variables I could use, and org-clock-in-hook and org-clock-out-hook from org-clock.el look like places where I could (un)set these variables.

I know you can easily jump to the current task with C-c C-x C-j, but a visual cue would be much appreciated.

  • 3
    It should appear in modeline.
    – Muihlinn
    Commented Mar 7, 2019 at 20:58

1 Answer 1


Here is a quick way to do it with a fringe arrow and org clock hooks, as you suggested.

(defun org-clock-flag-active-task ()
  "Identify the clocked-in task with a fringe arrow on its header
    (make-variable-buffer-local 'overlay-arrow-position)
    (setq overlay-arrow-position (make-marker))
    (set-marker overlay-arrow-position (point))))

(defun org-clock-unflag-active-task ()
  "Remove the fringe arrow from the most recent clocked task."
      (marker-buffer (car org-clock-history))
    (setq overlay-arrow-position nil)))

(add-hook 'org-clock-in-hook 'org-clock-flag-active-task)
(add-hook 'org-clock-out-hook 'org-clock-unflag-active-task)
  • Thanks! That looks really neat. Learning a bit of Elisp along the way :-). I've given it a try and it works. One thing that this solution does not have is that it doesn't show the marker when the Org tree is collapsed. But it sure is a nice start. I'll incorporate it into my .emacs!
    – ph0t0nix
    Commented May 1 at 13:51

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