For example in a org file (cursor represented as |):

* heading
    this is body |of the heading
    1. some
    2. list

After 'org-beginning-of-line' :

* heading
    |this is body of the heading
    1. some
    2. list

Is there a good way to do this without losing org-mode syntax awareness org-beginning-of-line provided ?

  • See: emacsredux.com/blog/2013/05/22/…
    – mankoff
    Sep 27 '14 at 14:44
  • Specifically for org-mode I don't see any value in manually indenting like you seem to do. I suggest you try using org-mode with this setting: (setq org-startup-indented t).
    – paprika
    Sep 27 '14 at 15:01
  • @mankoff, I am talking about an implementation that will work well with org-mode, not just ignore all org mode syntax.
    – Rangi Lin
    Sep 28 '14 at 3:42
  • @paprika I did not manually indent the text like that, just FYI.
    – Rangi Lin
    Sep 28 '14 at 3:44

A possibility would be to add an advice to org-beginning-of-line

(defadvice org-beginning-of-line (around ad-org-beginning-of-line-around act)
  "Move back to indentation first, then to beginning of line"
  (let ((initial-position (point)))
    (when (looking-at "^ +")
      (when (equal initial-position
                   (progn (back-to-indentation)

But really, the only advantage of doing that is to keep using C-a (which behaves differently on headers and items). Ideally, it would probably be better to start using the "proper" binding for back-to-indentation directly: M-m

  • Your advice does work, but it also make org-beginning-of-line not able to move to the first character of the line.
    – Rangi Lin
    Sep 28 '14 at 3:36
  • I already use back-to-indentation. But I use C-a in other mode with implementation like @kaushalmodi's answer. Just wondering whether I can make C-a works like I do in other mode.
    – Rangi Lin
    Sep 28 '14 at 3:39
  • @RangiLin I edited my code so that hitting C-a repeatedly would toggle between beginning of line and indentation position.
    – Sigma
    Sep 28 '14 at 4:03
  • Ah, nice, I didn't think of that :), it works pretty well. Thank you.
    – Rangi Lin
    Sep 28 '14 at 4:56

I have bound C-a to the back-to-indentation-or-beginning-of-line function below that I got from @lunaryorn's init.el. I recommend having a look at that init.el for more useful snippets like this.

;; Make C-a toggle between beginning of line and indentation
;; https://github.com/lunaryorn/stante-pede/blob/master/init.el
(defun back-to-indentation-or-beginning-of-line (arg)
  "Move point back to indentation of beginning of line.
Move point to the first non-whitespace character on this line.
If point is already there, move to the beginning of the line.
Effectively toggle between the first non-whitespace character and
the beginning of the line.
If ARG is not nil or 1, move forward ARG - 1 lines first.  If
point reaches the beginning or end of the buffer, stop there."
  (interactive "^p")
  (setq arg (or arg 1))

  ;; Move lines first
  (when (/= arg 1)
    (let ((line-move-visual nil))
      (forward-line (1- arg))))

  (let ((orig-point (point)))
    (when (= orig-point (point))
      (move-beginning-of-line 1))))

I have bound this to my minor mode key map so that it can override the C-a bindings of all other modes (including org-mode).

  • This implementation does not aware of org mode syntax, which is why I prefer use org-beginning-of-line in org mode.
    – Rangi Lin
    Sep 28 '14 at 3:27

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