Sometimes I prefer to do some work offline. I can time it and write it down and avoid starting up my computer.

I like to use a table and org-update-all-dblocks to calculate my hours for the day. It's very convenient for me, because I might spend odd numbers of minutes throughout the day doing work for a client.

If I want to quickly add my offline hours and update the table, does org-mode already have a function for this? I know that I can org-clock-in and org-clock-out to generate a clock, and then manually retype it and use org-update-all-dblocks to recalculate, but I would ideally like a single function I can call that will ask me for how many minutes I want to input. It should probably just use the current time and date as the start, even though that would seemingly conflict with work I start doing after adding the offline hours.

It would be even better if org-mode had a concept of offline hours that understood I might know the date but I probably didn't record the time of day, and so the time of day could be left out, but still calculated in a clock table.

If I have to write some quick and dirty elisp, what functions would be of use to me apart from the above? I think the pieces I'm missing is something to grab the most recent clock, something to add minutes to it, and something to request a number of minutes.

3 Answers 3


The following command inserts the typical org logbook entry, a time range starting from N minutes ago:

(defun org-insert-clock-range (&optional n)
  (interactive "NTime Offset (in min): ")
  (let* ((ctime (cdr (decode-time (current-time))))
         (min (car ctime))
         (start (apply 'encode-time 0 (- min n) (cdr ctime))))
    (org-insert-time-stamp start t t "CLOCK: ")
    (insert "--")
    (org-insert-time-stamp (current-time) t t)))

mutbuerger's answer helped me a lot. It's my first time programming in elisp other than configuration. His answer was close to the mark, but I still wanted the normal functionality of clock-in and clock-out for finding or creating the logbook under the closest heading, and adding a note.

My amended solution was this:

(defun offset-current-time (n)
  (let* ((ctime (cdr (decode-time (current-time))))
     (minutes (car ctime)))
    (apply 'encode-time 0 (- minutes n) (cdr ctime))))

(defun org-insert-clock-range (&optional n)
  (interactive "NTime Offset (in min): ")
    (org-clock-in nil (offset-current-time n))

(defadvice org-clock-out (after org-clock-out-after activate) (org-update-all-dblocks))

(add-hook 'org-mode-hook
    (lambda ()
    ; Keys for org mode
      (define-key evil-normal-state-map (kbd "gl") 'org-insert-clock-range)


I manage offline times with a toolbox of custom functions to manipulate clock logs in Org's own syntax and a script to convert a shorthand plain-text notation to Org's syntax.

Functions in https://github.com/clange/emacs/blob/master/.emacs.d/init/org-clock.el:

  • org-clock-split-current-interval (I bound this to C-c o s): if there is an interval in the current line, in which actually two tasks were done, facilitate splitting it into two intervals.
  • org-clock-change-hh-mm (bound to C-c o :): leaving the day unchanged, adapt the hours/minutes of a clock log. Typical use case: copy a clock log line from somewhere else, adapt it according to time worked offline.

Script: https://github.com/clange/scripts/blob/master/org-offline-to-clock/org-offline-to-clock.pl

My workflow of using it:

  1. record offline times in a text file e.g. on my mobile phone
  2. sync this file to my PC
  3. on the PC, run org-offline-to-clock.pl BEFORE > AFTER
  4. validate with diff BEFORE AFTER
  5. if happy, mv AFTER BEFORE
  6. move selected lines into my actual org file.

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