I open an org file in emacs and it displays thus:

enter image description here

I enable word wrap with M-x visual-line-mode and get:

enter image description here

But I prefer the extra indenting of headlines provided by org indent mode, so then do M-x org-indent-mode and get this:

enter image description here

Which spoils the body text indentation. What I would ideally like is for all the body text to remain flush left, beginning under the S of each Sn heading.

How can I do this please?

2 Answers 2


Check out org-adapt-indentation. Setting this to nil should get what you are looking for. TAB will no longer indent past the heading text with this disabled.

On my Emacs, C-h v org-adapt-indentation:

org-adapt-indentation is a variable defined in ‘org.el’.
Its value is t

Non-nil means adapt indentation to outline node level.

When this variable is set, Org assumes that you write outlines by
indenting text in each node to align with the headline (after the
stars).  The following issues are influenced by this variable:

- The indentation is increased by one space in a demotion
  command, and decreased by one in a promotion command.  However,
  in the latter case, if shifting some line in the entry body
  would alter document structure (e.g., insert a new headline),
  indentation is not changed at all.

- Property drawers and planning information is inserted indented
  when this variable is set.  When nil, they will not be indented.

- TAB indents a line relative to current level.  The lines below
  a headline will be indented when this variable is set.

Note that this is all about true indentation, by adding and
removing space characters.  See also ‘org-indent.el’ which does
level-dependent indentation in a virtual way, i.e. at display
time in Emacs.
  • It's entirely possible I'm doing something wrong, as a bit of a noob, but while this does align the first characters of non-headline text correctly, text that wraps to following screen lines is indented to the LHS of the screen, i.e. to the left of the indented headline. Commented Jun 19, 2019 at 9:35
  • Hm, it's all lining up for me. There must be some other variable in play with your configuration, as all I'm doing is M-x org-indent-mode, then M-: (setq org-adapt-indentation nil), and M-x visual-line-mode. I must say this org-indent-mode does seem to behave strangely, with pushing column 0 of lines out to a virtual column in the middle of the frame. I'm not surprised you're seeing bad behavior... Commented Jun 19, 2019 at 14:29
  • 1
    OK thanks. I should have mentioned I'm using spacemacs so there's probably all manner of other stuff going on that might be impacting. I'll play with it more if I can summon the interest :) Commented Jun 20, 2019 at 10:11

Turns out I needed to add adaptive-wrap to dotspacemacs-excluded-packages.

   dotspacemacs-excluded-packages '(org-bullets adaptive-wrap exec-path-from-shell)
  • 1
    Please show the code you used to resolve the issue for the benefit of future readers.
    – Dan
    Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 13:29
  • And maybe explain how the code you'll show answers the question. Thx.
    – Drew
    Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 14:04

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