Org tables are great! But sometimes, for non-trivial cases, the formulas get a little unwieldy. E.g.:

#+TBLFM: @III+1$3..@IIII-1$>='(let ((l (-non-nil (mapcar* (lambda (w v) (when (equal w $2) (string-to-number v))) (list @II+1$2..@III-1$2) (list @II+1..@III-1))))) (/ (-sum l) (float (length l))));E%.1f

(There might be a denser Calc syntax for the above, but that's beside the point.)

Editing it as it is all cramped in one line is not great. There is also no way to document the formula or its parts.

Is there a way to split the formula into multiple lines?

If not, is there a way to define an Emacs Lisp function within the same file, so that it is evaluated automatically when the .org file is opened?

  • Or a way to fold it and toggle visibility like a drawer, maybe?
    – Joseph8th
    Dec 29, 2020 at 1:26

2 Answers 2


Org-Babel allows creating functions (written in, but not limited to, emacs-lisp), which can then be referenced in table formulas:

#+NAME: add
#+begin_src emacs-lisp
  (+ a b)
  ; feel free to use as many lines or comments here!
  ; press C-c ' here to edit in emacs-lisp-mode

|  a |  b | a+b |
|  1 |  2 |   3 |
| 10 | 10 |  20 |
|  5 | -7 |  -2 |
#+TBLFM: $3='(org-sbe "add" (a $1) (b $2))

However, passing ranges to such functions is problematic (because of some serious shortcomings of the org-sbe function's implementation).


You'll find it in the org manual Multi-line org mode formula definitions .

| x | y |
| 1 |   |
| 2 |   |
#+TBLFM: $2=$1*1
#+TBLFM: $2=$1*2
  • 1
    No idea what this has to do with my question. Your link is also broken, it links to this page. Mar 15, 2018 at 10:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.