I have a decent number of different org files I use to store useful information. I can easily search and navigate org files.

Lately I've been reading the emacs (and other packages) manual which is in GNU "Info format". I'm considering converting some or all of my personal notes into Info format to see if I can improve my workflow.

I like the idea that Info format is the standard emacs manual format but org-mode has a lot of capability and is really flexible for changing or moving content. It has tables, latex support etc that are all really nice features.

What are the advantages of "Info format" compared to org mode?

  • 2
    I have never tried it, but org-mode provides a texinfo exporter. You might want to experiment with that, as well as with pandoc as one answer suggests.
    – NickD
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 5:15

2 Answers 2


This is the key point for me:

org-mode has a lot of capability and is really flexible for changing or moving content

Texinfo is great for static manuals, and has nice features for navigation, tables of contents, indexes and bookmarking. But it is a "compiled" language, meaning you write in .texinfo format, and then compile to .info files that are then installed in dir files before you can read them. Consequently, you write in one file, and read in another, with a processing step in between.

Org files, on the other hand, are read-write. You read and write to the same file, with no processing. For anything that you will regularly modify and update, this is going to be much easier to manage than texinfo. The main features missing from org mode are menus and indexes. You can get some of those features back with links, but it won't be quite as powerful or automated as texinfo.

So, if you're writing yourself lengthy and detailed (i.e., complex enough you want tables of contents and indexes) reference material that you don't need to modify much, texinfo might be nice. But if you are frequently adding notes to these references, org mode will be much easier.

(Another nice thing about org-mode is that you can link to any other file or webpage. I'm not sure if texinfo does that?)

  • Thank you, this is exactly what I needed to hear! The static features of navigation etc are what caught my eye. I am frequently adding only to certain portions of my org files. Some of my older ones are starting to have a lot of content which is why I'm thinking about texinfo. I will probably give it a try some weekend and see how it goes. Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 0:20
  • Glad to hear it! If you find an answer helpful, the custom here is to give it an upvote ;)
    – Tyler
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 0:34
  • I tried for several posts but my reputation isn't high enough :( Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 15:42

...if I can improve my workflow.

You'll have to describe whatever that workflow is precisely to be able to get answers that will help you decide. Otherwise its just random feature comparisons thrown around, which will devolve into opinions.

Update your question with an explanation of your workflow. But first why not try both formats for your workflow and see which makes intuitive sense.

Lastly, you may not realize this but both info and org formats can be intermediate formats for each other depending on the final destination formats in your workflow.

  • I get information and store it in a lot of different org files. Some of the files I modify frequently, others sit until I find something really useful to add. Some of the files are growing very large, which is why I thought textinfo might be worth considering. I've used org for years, but never have written my own textinfo. I like you comment that I should try both and I think I will try textinfo some weekend! Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 0:23
  • "both info and org formats can be intermediate formats for each other" - can you explain that? For example how do I use org format to go to info? Since I have a lot of org files it would be nice to convert one to info and see how I like it. Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 0:26
  • If all you are concerned about is converting, look into pandoc or one of the many backend engines for Org mode. But on the other hand, you are looking at something more deeper, such as making a change in texinfo file that updates a remote org file that is then published to a website automatically, then you need to explain your workflow properly.
    – Emacs User
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 3:01
  • I don't need web pages, these are all personal notes I keep in emacs. My current workflow is to quickly open org files from emacs when I need information or I want to store information. Org lets me navigate and search quickly with the bullets. I have not advanced to any of the automation techniques you describe. Because my org files are growing large I will consider texinfo and see where things go from there. I think I will continue to update org files because they are fast, easy and powerful. And then see if I can offload the larger ones to texinfo. Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 17:46

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