Here is an illustration of the problem:

 - First item. Pressing M-RET...
 - Another item at the correct position. Now a blank line:

 - Next item after blank line. Now press M-RET again...

 - .. but now I'm down here!

1 Answer 1


You can configure that using the org-blank-before-new-entry variable.

I have set that to '((heading) (plain-list-item)) so that such blank lines are not auto-inserted after M-RET for headings and list items.

You can also set just the cdr of the element with plain-list-item to nil to get exactly what want by doing:

(setcdr (assoc 'plain-list-item org-blank-before-new-entry) nil)

Have a look at C-h v org-blank-before-new-entry output.

Should org-insert-heading leave a blank line before new heading/item? The value is an alist, with heading and plain-list-item as CAR, and a boolean flag as CDR. The cdr may also be the symbol auto, in which case Org will look at the surrounding headings/items and try to make an intelligent decision whether to insert a blank line or not.

It's default value is

'((heading . auto) (plain-list-item . auto))

So what are are seeing is expected.. as you had a blank line before the "- Next item after blank line. Now press M-RET again..." list item, it inserted a blank line before "- .. but now I'm down here!" too.

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