I'm trying to figure out how I can use ERT and libraries like el-mock to test simple functions that manipulate my org-document.

Consider a function like this:

(defun promote-next-heading ()
  (org-next-visible-heading 1)

How would I write a test for this? Should I have a .org file dedicated for tests like these? And then when the headline gets promoted, how do I confirm this? And then revert it for the next test?

While the example above is contrived, I'm writing quite a few functions that manipulate or query my org document, and I really would feel better if I could test for it.

1 Answer 1


One way is by string comparisons, e.g.

(require 'ert)

(ert-deftest test-1 ()
      (insert "

* test heading
      (goto-char (point-min))

** test heading

You could also have content in files and do it like this:

(ert-deftest test-2 ()
      (insert-file-contents "ref-1.org")
      (goto-char (point-min))
    ;; this file is what the transformed text should look like.
      (insert-file-contents "ref-2.org")

You run the tests with M-x ert

  • I don't find it an elegant solution, however, at the moment I think it serves my purposes. I wish Org Mode had functions that took in text rather than rely on where my point is - leads to a lot of boilerplate in my tests: Creating buffers, moving the point, etc. Perhaps I can abstract it into a function/macro.
    – Beetle B.
    Commented May 24, 2019 at 19:12
  • you might find some abstractions at repo.or.cz/org-mode.git/tree/HEAD:/testing For some reason these aren't on my load path, or I would have pointed to them. Commented May 24, 2019 at 21:57

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