Is there a quick way to show where a paragraph is sitting in the document structure hierarchy?

* Chapter 1
* Chapter 5
** Section 4
paragraph X

I would like to tell that paragraph X is sitting under Chapter 5, Section 4 without having to navigate the cursor away from the text.

  • 2
    There is a built-in function called org-display-outline-path, which can be activated interactively with M-x ... or can be activated with the SPC keyboard shortcut if the cursor is at the beginning of a heading and org-use-speed-commands is non-nil.
    – lawlist
    Commented Jun 17, 2019 at 18:34
  • 1
    @lawlist this is almost correct except org-display-outline-path doesn't include the current headline. The question suggests it should.
    – jagrg
    Commented Jun 24, 2019 at 16:59
  • Please do not post a solution in the question post. Instead, please post it as a separate answer.
    – Dan
    Commented Jul 15, 2019 at 0:31
  • @jagrg org-display-outline-path has support for an optional argument to specify whether to include the current headline. one can either evaluate a lisp function interactively, or define a custom function and use (org-display-outline-path nil t)
    – hedy
    Commented Sep 2, 2023 at 1:57

2 Answers 2


Your function is not defined correctly. You don't need the code inside the interactive line, and you don't need the hook function. This should work fine I think:

(defun org-show-position-in-text () ;; display outline path of hierarchical headings
  (message (mapconcat #'identity (org-get-outline-path t) "/")))

My half-successful attempt:

(defun org-show-position-in-text () ;; display outline path of hierarchical headings
  (interactive (mapconcat #'identity (org-get-outline-path t) "/")))

(add-hook 'org-mode-hook 'org-show-position-in-text)

The above function just about does the job. Only that it throws the error Wrong type argument: listp before showing the full path to the heading.

Please refer to @John Kitchin's answer for the correct code.

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