Specifically, I want tags in org mode to be a variant of the color of the corresponding heading (e.g. less saturated or lighter).

Each org mode heading level is a different color, so I can't just directly change the color for the org tag face.

Screenshot of org customize options

I can clearly inherit a variant of the size, but there doesn't seem to be any way to inherit a variant of the color. Is it possible?

  • This is a really nice idea. I'd love to do this in my own org-mode. Please do share if you figure out a way! :)
    – user3871
    Mar 10, 2016 at 22:39

1 Answer 1


No, you cannot set a face to always be a certain amount lighter or darker than the inherited face.

You can not customize a face based on context either.

If you would like org tags to change color based on their location in the org tree, you will need to use a custom font-lock keyword function that programmatically apply colors to org tags based on location.

See the function and (matcher . facespec) sections of this document specifically: Search Based Fontification

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