I'm currently running Spacemacs+evil and pressing C-RET calls evil-org-org-insert-heading-respect-content-below, which inserts a a heading below the current one.

I couldn't find a dual/mirror command that would create a heading above the current one, though. Is there one, or what's a good implementation that does this?

Note: I'm self-answering with my solution, which is the first elisp I've ever written and is very tied to Spacemacs+evil, but I would love it if others could chime in with snippets that don't depend on Spacemacs nor evil and are as such more useful to the general org-mode user. Thanks!


M-x org-insert-heading (usually bound to M-ret) will insert a heading above the current heading, and with a prefix arg below the current heading.

  • 1
    It will insert a heading above the current heading iff you are at the beginning of the line. There might be interactions with the setting of org-M-RET-may-split-line though.
    – NickD
    Jan 2 '18 at 22:07
  • @Nick exactly. My answer actually calls org-insert-heading, but first calls evil-digit-argument-or-evil-org-beginning-of-line to go to the beginning of the line.
    – kbdluv
    Jan 3 '18 at 9:32

Building on kbdluv's answer, here's a simpler generic version that doesn't require evil-mode:

(defun org-insert-heading-above ()
  (move-beginning-of-line nil)

I've bound it to C-o (normally open-line) for org-mode files:

(add-hook 'org-mode-hook
          (lambda ()
            (define-key org-mode-map (kbd "C-o") 'org-insert-heading-above)))

This is the solution that works for me. It is unfortunately very coupled to evil-mode (and to Spacemacs, if you consider the keybindings.)

I define a function which does the same as pressing 0,iha, then bind it to ,b.

I also bind the original evil-org-org-insert-heading-respect-content-below to ,f so that the ,b/,f pair uses the "backwards/forwards" mnemonic.

(defun my-org/insert-heading-above ()
  "Same as 0 , i h"
  (evil-append 1))

(with-eval-after-load 'org
  (spacemacs/set-leader-keys-for-major-mode 'org-mode "f" 'evil-org-org-insert-heading-respect-content-below)
  (spacemacs/set-leader-keys-for-major-mode 'org-mode "b" 'my-org/insert-heading-above))
  • 1
    Another limitation of this solution is that it only works if the point is on the heading (the line starting with the ***s). If it is within a heading (like in text written inside it), it turns the current line into a heading instead of inserting a heading above the current one.
    – kbdluv
    Jan 2 '18 at 19:05

Thanks to @kdbluv @steve-simms . I'm using Spacemacs on macOS and utilize ⌘return to insert new heading below and ⌃⌘return to insert new heading above (respect content) in both normal mode and then switch to insert mode.

(defun my-org-insert-heading-below ()
  "Insert heading below and switch to insert mode."
  (evil-insert-state 1))
(defun my-org-insert-heading-before ()
  "Insert heading above current heading and switch to insert mode."
   ((org-on-heading-p) nil)
   (t                  (org-backward-heading-same-level 0)))
  (move-beginning-of-line nil)
  (evil-insert-state 1))

(with-eval-after-load 'evil-maps
 (define-key evil-normal-state-map (kbd "<s-return>") 'my-org-insert-heading-below)
 (define-key evil-insert-state-map (kbd "<s-return>") 'my-org-insert-heading-below)
 (define-key evil-normal-state-map (kbd "<C-s-return>") 'my-org-insert-heading-before)
 (define-key evil-insert-state-map (kbd "<C-s-return>") 'my-org-insert-heading-before)

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