I'm trying to figure out a way to change the behavior of org-fill-paragraph for a list with checkboxes. I would like the indentation to take into account the checkbox, but here is what I see:

- This is a long line in a plain list and fill-paragraph works as I expect
  it would (it takes into account the marker for the list in the indentation) 

- [ ] But when I write a long line with a checkboxed list, the behavior
  of fill-paragraph is to ignore the checkbox and indent as if the checkbox
  is not there

- [ ] This is the way I would like to see a long line in a checkboxed
      list. Currently, the only way I can achieve it is by manually adding 
      spaces in the beginning of the line

I realize that some people may prefer the current behavior, but is there a way for me to achieve my desired behavior?


1 Answer 1


The key is to play with adaptive-fill-function which should return a fill-prefix, a string which prefix newlines of the filled item. It will work because the call chain is org-fill-paragraph > org-fill-element > fill-region-as-paragraph > fill-context-prefix.

If you C-h f fill-context-prefix, it says

Compute a fill prefix from the text between FROM and TO. This uses the variables ‘adaptive-fill-regexp’ and ‘adaptive-fill-function’ and ‘adaptive-fill-first-line-regexp’. ‘paragraph-start’ also plays a role; we reject a prefix based on a one-line paragraph if that prefix would act as a paragraph-separator.

and C-h v adaptive-fill-function says

Function to call to choose a fill prefix for a paragraph. A nil return value means the function has not determined the fill prefix.

First, define the function below. Its job is returning a string of spaces whose the length is the one of - [ ] if your are in a item, otherwise nil.

(defun my/item-cb-fill-function ()
    (when-let* ((beg (org-in-item-p))
        (beg-line-end (save-excursion (goto-char beg) (line-end-position)))
        (line (buffer-substring-no-properties beg beg-line-end))
        (match (string-match "\\([[:space:]]*-[[:space:]]*[][ ]+\\).*" line)))
      (make-string (length (match-string 1 line)) ? ))))

Now you can define your custom org-fill-paragraph :

(defun my/org-fill-paragraph (&optional justify region)
  (let ((adaptive-fill-function #'my/item-cb-fill-function))
    (org-fill-paragraph justify region)))

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