Question: How can I retrieve, over a set of files S (in particular: over my agenda files + their archive files) the total time clocked (as the return value of an elisp function; not as a clock table)? So for example, if I have:

* Header1
  CLOCK: [2019-05-01 Sat 18:10]--[2019-05-01 Sat 18:30] =>  0:20

# File2
* Header2
  CLOCK: [2019-05-11 Sat 18:10]--[2019-05-11 Sat 18:11] =>  0:01
* Header3
  CLOCK: [2019-05-11 Sat 18:10]--[2019-05-11 Sat 18:20] =>  0:10

I'd like to run a function like (sum-all-time-from "[2019-05-10]" "[2019-05-12]") to get as answer ~0:11~.

1 Answer 1


Here's how you can sum the times of each subtree within a time range (deprecated):

 (lambda ()
    (org-clock-sum "[2019-05-10]" "[2019-05-12]")))
 nil 'agenda-with-archives)

The org-clock-sum function is run on every subtree in the buffer, but since we are using org-map-entries we probably only need to run org-clock-sum once with the subtree narrowed. If anything this function should run a lot faster:

 (apply '+ (org-map-entries
            (lambda ()
                (org-clock-sum "[2019-05-10]" "[2019-05-12]")))
            nil 'agenda-with-archives)))

Here's an explanation of what each part of the function does: First, org-map-entries calls org-clock-sum at each headline of the agenda files and any archive files associated with them, but to avoid repetition, org-clock-sum is run with the subtree narrowed. Lastly, we add the time sum of all subtrees and use org-duration-from-minutes to get the duration string of the number of minutes, so that 61 minutes becomes "1:01" and so on.

  • I think this is correct but it is a bit tricky: in particular, it depends on what org-clock-sum returns, something which is not specified in the docstring of the function (arguably, a documentation bug). I would encourage you to add a couple of short paragraphs of explanation (I would suggest one for org-map-entries explaining the arguments and one for org-clock-sum explaining what it does and what it returns, plus a line of explanation for the much simpler org-minutest-to-clocksum-string). That would make the answer much more self-contained and therefore more valuable.
    – NickD
    Commented May 13, 2019 at 3:07
  • This function overcounts time that is nested in subtrees (the further nesting, the more it overcounts). I think I fixed it here.
    – George
    Commented May 13, 2019 at 18:31
  • 1
    Can you provide an example where it overcounts? Maybe edit your question and add it?
    – NickD
    Commented May 14, 2019 at 22:28
  • I updated the answer. Please test and report back (cc: @NickD, @George).
    – jagrg
    Commented May 17, 2019 at 13:15
  • Very nice: thanks! I've already upvoted, so cannot do so again. Let's see what @George sees in his tests.
    – NickD
    Commented May 29, 2019 at 22:36

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