In non-graphic mode I set org-hide-leading-stars to t. Unfortunately, under these circumstances, whenever point is on a leading star, the cursor disappears altogether. IOW, not only the leading star is hidden, but also the cursor.

This can make navigation in an org outline file truly bewildering.

Is there a way to hide the stars but at the same time keep the cursor always visible?

FWIW, I'm using a solarized-dark theme.

  • 1
    It sounds as if the colors of the cursor and the colors of the asterisk are overlaying each other in a way that the foreground color of the one is the same as the background color of the other, so that you can see neither. You can try M-x set-cursor-color white and see if things are visible again. Maybe changing the according colors via a customized theme or simply using a similar theme where things are all visible helps.
    – user17303
    Oct 28, 2017 at 22:18
  • I'm having the same exact issue - did you ever find a solution? user17303's suggested answer of doing M-x set-cursor-color white did not work for me.
    – HelmetFace
    Apr 5, 2018 at 20:52
  • @HelmetFace: no, I have not found an answer to this question
    – kjo
    Apr 6, 2018 at 20:52

2 Answers 2


What my solution does is apply hl-line-mode when the current line is a heading. This wasn't what I wanted ideally, but I had awful trouble attempting to mess with the text properties of org-indent-mode. The result for me looks pretty nice because I have the hl-line-mode face set as just a bright yellow underline.

(defun org-indent-reveal-point ()
  "Meant to be added to list variable 'post-command-hook'.
Don't do this directly. Instead, have your init file perform

  (add-hook 'org-mode-hook
  (when org-indent-mode
      (if (org-at-heading-p) 1 -1))))

(defun org-indent-post-command-hook-function ()
  "Meant to be added to list variable 'org-mode-hook'.
  (add-hook 'org-mode-hook
  (add-hook 'post-command-hook 'org-indent-reveal-point nil t))

(add-hook 'org-mode-hook 'org-indent-post-command-hook-function)

My experience has led me to never add lambda functions to hook variables because they aren't straightforward to remove or edit.


I found the reason why I had the same problem: the cursor color was not set by default by my terminal emulator (gnome-terminal on Ubuntu), making Emacs set this foreground color to the text below the cursor (according to M-x customize-face cursor). Now as you can also read in M-x customize-face cursor:

Currently, only the ‘:background’ attribute is meaningful; all                                          
other attributes are ignored.                                          

My solution: customize your terminal emulator settings so the colors of the cursor and the underlying text are fixed. That way the cursor will be visible also on hidden stars.

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