If I use (thing-at-point 'paragraph) (or mark-paragraph, for that matter), the selection isn't necessarily aware only about the empty lines. Especially, with lists and code blocks in org-mode.

So, I need a function which returns the bounds which include everything between surrounding blank lines. How would I do that?


So, to clarify, if I do (thing-at-point 'paragraph) here:

#+BEGIN_SRC python
x = 1
y = 2

I get:

"x = 1
y = 2
#+END_SRC" <font info>
  • Can you clarify? Eg give an example where this does not do what you want. – JeanPierre May 26 at 19:50
  • @JeanPierre sure, edited the answer. – user3496846 May 26 at 19:59

Here is a function that returns the text between two surrounding blank lines:

(defun region-between-surrounding-blank-lines ()
  (let ((beg nil) (end nil))
      (re-search-backward (rx bol (* blank) eol))
      (setq beg (point))
      (re-search-forward (rx bol (* blank) eol))
      (setq end (- (point) 1)))
    (buffer-substring-no-properties beg end)))

Edit: Executing the function above raises an error if there are no two blank lines in the buffer. Here is an alternative version where text is selected from the beginning/end of the buffer if there are no blank line above/below the current position:

(defun region-between-surrounding-blank-lines ()
  (let ((beg nil) (end nil))
      (if (re-search-backward (rx bol (* blank) eol) nil t nil)
        (setq beg (point))
        (setq beg (point-min)))
      (if (re-search-forward (rx bol (* blank) eol) nil t nil)
        (setq end (- (point) 1))
        (setq end (point-max))))
    (buffer-substring-no-properties beg end)))

Hopefully StarBug gave you an answer to your literal question about stuff between newlines.

Your clarification suggests that you are actually looking for org-element-context.

That function gives you the org element at point which can be a source block.

The returned element has properties like its bounds (:begin and :end) and its contents (:value).

The following Elisp code makes (thing-at-point 'org-src-block) work. You can use that instead of (thing-at-point 'paragraph) if you are actually looking for the source block.

(defun org-src-block-at-point ()
  "Return source block at point as string."
  (let ((el (org-element-context)))
    (when (eq (org-element-type el) 'src-block)
       (org-element-property :begin el)
     (goto-char (org-element-property :end el))
     (skip-chars-backward "\n[:space:]")

;; Enable (thing-at-point 'org-src-block):
(put 'org-src-block 'thing-at-point #'org-src-block-at-point)
  • This will come in handy, thank you! – user3496846 May 27 at 18:37

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