I have several capture templates. With one of them, I want an Elisp function to transform the contents before saving it. I know of org-capture-prepare-finalize-hook, but this will run for every template. Is there a way to ensure a hook runs only for a given capture template?

In case people are interested, the transformation I want to do is this:

The capture template will have a long list of checkbox items (all unchecked). I want to check one or two of these every time I use that template. Then I want to store only the items that were checked - so my function would delete all unchecked items (declutter).

4 Answers 4


See my answer here: https://emacs.stackexchange.com/a/48566/18296

Here’s the example code from it:

(defun tina/test-finalize ()
  (let ((key  (plist-get org-capture-plist :key))
        (desc (plist-get org-capture-plist :description)))
    (if org-note-abort
        (message "Template with key %s and description “%s” aborted" key desc)
      (message "Template with key %s and description “%s” run successfully" key desc))))

(add-hook 'org-capture-after-finalize-hook 'tina/test-finalize)

So, wrapping your function in a test like (when (and (not org-note-abort) (equal (plist-get org-capture-plist :key) "g")) … ) should do the trick!


The solution by Tina Russell is probably the way to go (did not try it). I solved it using the code below.

  (defun clean-up-template ()
    "Remove all unchecked items in the checklist"
    (if (org-entry-get (point-min) "EntryKey")
    (let* ((lines (split-string
               (buffer-substring-no-properties (point-min) (point-max))
               "\n" nil nil))
           (cleaned-lines (seq-remove (lambda (x) (string-match-p "- \\[ \\]" x)) lines))
           (final-string (mapconcat 'identity cleaned-lines "\n")))
          (delete-region (point-min) (point-max))
          (insert final-string))))))

  (add-hook 'org-capture-prepare-finalize-hook 'clean-up-nvc-template)

org-capture-prepare-finalize-hook worked for me, not org-capture-after-finalize-hook.


Not sure when this was added but if anyone's looking at this in 2023 capture templates can themselves specify individual hooks to run

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