In org-mode whenever I have point on heading it shows me in the mini buffer the full hierarchy. For example, if I have the following in a Org file:

* lvl1
** lvl2
*** lvl3
    some text

And I put point on lvl3 it shows /lvl1/lvl2/lvl3 in the mini buffer. Is there a specific function I can call to obtain this information? I sometimes need to retrieve context and with this it would be easier, no need to move point to the heading.

  • What version of org-mode are you using?
    – Melioratus
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 19:07
  • 1
    @Melioratus I forgot to mention that I'am using spacemacs. I'am using the org layer and org-version tell me the version is "9.1.13".
    – plx
    Commented Jun 6, 2018 at 7:31

2 Answers 2


org-get-outline-path will return a list with the heading hierarchy.

org-format-outline-path will take such a path and format it for display. This is what goes into your mini-buffer.

  • 4
    To test this, add an emacs-lisp code block after "some text" in your sample file with content: (org-get-outline-path t), place cursor after the parenthesis, and press C-x C-e.
    – Heikki
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 19:22

org-display-outline-path displays (or optionally returns a string of) the hierarchy already formatted.

It also has a few optional parameters to customize its behaviour (defaults included in parenthesis):

  • include file name? (no)
  • current heading? (no)
  • custom separator (defaults to "/")
  • just return a string rather than display it? (no).

To obtain a formatted string of the heading including the curret one (lvl3):

(org-display-outline-path nil t "/" t)

=> #( "lvl1/lvl2/lvl3" ...<text properties> )

To strip the text properties from it -- just the string:

(substring-no-properties (org-display-outline-path nil t "/" t))

=> "lvl1/lvl2/lvl3"

IMO this method is simpler than using org-get-outline-path, append current heading (lvl3) and joining it with string-join.

The function org-display-outline-path seems to have been available since around version 7.9.

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