So in order to customize my org mode files, I have

(setq org-ellipsis "⤵")

in my config, which seems to be a very popular customization (the arrow being U+2935). This works correctly for the most part. In some cases, the ellipsis character is displayed as a block as if I don't have the proper Unicode fonts set up; only I do because some headlines have the ellipsis displayed properly. Here's an example:

enter image description here

I tried to set up utf-8 encoding for my files according to this answer but it didn't help. I'm new to emacs so I don't even know how to go about debugging this issue.


I forgot to mention that I noticed this behavior consistently on Debian Linux, Arch Linux and Mac OS X.

EDIT 2 (another symptom)

I have discovered the difference between the headlines that display properly and the ones that don't. It is so seemingly insignificant that I ignored it earlier. It seems any headlines that have a blank line before the start of the next headline cause the ellipsis to display improperly. So for example in:

* Headline 1

* Headline 2
  More contents
* Headline 3
  Last contents

The ellipsis for headlines 2 and 3 (when folded) displays correctly but a block is shown for headline 1. If I remove the blank line between headlines 1 and 2, the ellipsis for headline 1 is displayed correctly as well. What is going on here?


If I remove the customization, the default ellipsis is displayed correctly for all headlines.

  • This happens only sometimes, but you aren't yet able to tell when/why it happens, I guess. I wonder if this might be an issue to report: M-x report-emacs-bug. But perhaps someone here can help.
    – Drew
    Feb 26 '19 at 4:57
  • @Drew Right, I can't see a difference between the content of the different headlines to point me to why they're behaving differently. I'm hoping this is not a bug and this is just a silly newbie mistake that someone here can point out.
    – Joseph R.
    Feb 26 '19 at 5:02
  • FWIW, I cannot reproduce it (bleeding-edge versions of both org-mode and emacs).
    – NickD
    Feb 27 '19 at 19:12
  • If you remove the org-ellipsis customization, do the normal ellipses work as you would expect?
    – NickD
    Feb 27 '19 at 19:20
  • @NickD They do. I will add that to the question.
    – Joseph R.
    Feb 27 '19 at 23:18

I finally found the answer. It is due to the fact that org considers blank lines to be part of the headline's content by default. Following this Q&A, I added

(setq org-cycle-separator-lines -1)

to my init.el and everything is now working as expected.

  • While that fixes the behaviour, I kind of get the feeling that something is missing. I would like to keep the old behaviour (with the default separator-lines value) but make it display whatever is not displaying.
    – edmz
    May 2 '19 at 23:27
  • @edmz I agree that this doesn't solve the core issue, but I'm afraid that tackling that is beyond my current level of experience with emacs.
    – Joseph R.
    May 3 '19 at 3:16

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