I would like to define a sparse tree search in Org mode which returns all TODO s which are in an active state and do not have either a DEADLINE or SCHEDULE assigned.

I tried C-c / m and then entering DEADLINE=|SCHEDULED=/!

but that does not work. /! correctly works in returning only action items in an active state but I do not know how to further reduce those which have no DEADLINE or no SCHEDULED date set.

  • 1
    What is a "TODO in an active state"? What distinguishes them from other TODO items?
    – NickD
    Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 14:28
  • The are on the left side of the | as in #+TODO: TODO(!) | DONE(!) CANCELED(!) DELEGATED(!)
    – JohnDoe
    Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 18:54

1 Answer 1


I think you almost got it. Try

  • Nice, thanks. How would you make it search for active timestamps? Commented Feb 14, 2019 at 8:22

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