So, let’s say I have two different TODO keyword sequences:


I want both to cycle to “DONE.” But, the Org manual says not to use duplicate TODO keywords. And, I can’t find any established way to have separate sequences “merge” into one. I know the obvious solution would be to have two separate “DONE” keywords, but that just sounds insane to me; I’d rather have a heading start as a TODO, then I either shift+right to DONE or shift+Ctrl+right to the other sequence, which will eventually lead to DONE as well. Please help! Thanks!

1 Answer 1


I think the closest you can get here is to have three lists in org-todo-keywords like this:

(setq org-todo-keywords
      '((sequence "TODO" "|")
        (sequence "RESEARCHING" "WORKING" "FINISHING" "|")
        (sequence "|" "DONE")))

If you start with TODO, then S-right will cycle through the second sequence, and eventually land on the third one. C-S-right will cycle first to RESEARCHING, and then to DONE.

If you type C-u C-c C-t, then you get completion on the state. In this specific set, C-u 5 C-c C-t will switch to DONE (it is the 5th state in the lists). I would probably type C-S-right in most cases to mark something DONE.

If you only need this locally in one file, you can do it like this:


In each of these cases, it should work fine when you open the org-file, but if you make the changes while in an org-file you may have to run M-x org-mode to restart org-mode.

  • (edit: grrr! markdown linebreaks do not work on comments) I think I might end up doing it like this: (LINEBREAK) TODO RESEARCHING WORKING FINISHING | (LINEBREAK) | DONE (LINEBREAK) …so that at least I have the original idea of two branches forking from “TODO” (one with shift+right, one with shift+Ctrl+right), one of which cycles straight to “DONE,” the other taking the long route. Of course, if anyone wants to suggest how to hack in my original conception of this, I’m open :) Sep 3, 2018 at 18:56

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