Windows 10 Emacs 26.1

Here example of my org file with many inner items enter image description here

In my opinion it does not look very comfortable. I think asterisks make "noise". Is it possible to remove asterisks?

  • 6
    Not removing but hiding is possible by setting org-hide-leading-stars to t. See the doc of that variable. It cal also be customized. You can set it on a per-buffer basis with #+STARTUP: hidestars or #+STARTUP: showstars. Also have a look at org-indent-mode.
    – Tobias
    Oct 29, 2019 at 11:19

2 Answers 2


Several possibilities are exposed in the manual. The first is to use org-indent-mode.

Org provides an alternate stars and indentation scheme, as shown on the right in the following table. It uses only one star and indents text to line with the heading:

* Top level headline             |    * Top level headline
** Second level                  |      * Second level
*** 3rd level                    |        * 3rd level
some text                        |          some text
*** 3rd level                    |        * 3rd level
more text                        |          more text
* Another top level headline     |    * Another top level headline

To turn this mode on, use the minor mode, ‘org-indent-mode’. Text lines that are not headlines are prefixed with spaces to vertically align with the headline text(1)

If you don't want the text to be indented you can just configure the variable org-hide-leading-stars

Org can make leading stars invisible. For global preference, configure the variable ‘org-hide-leading-stars’. For per-file preference, use these file ‘#+STARTUP’ options:

      #+STARTUP: hidestars
      #+STARTUP: showstars
 With stars hidden, the tree is shown as:
     * Top level headline
       * Second level
        * 3rd level

If you had previously set #+STARTUP: indent you may need to reset with C-c C-c with the cursor on the#+STARTUP line (or any other keyword line).

  • If you had previously set #+STARTUP: indent you may need to reset with M-x org-mode
    – rofrol
    Aug 11, 2021 at 9:38
  • 1
    @rofrol It seems to me it is sufficient to type C-c C-c on the #+STARTUP: line after having edited it to the chosen value (indent, showstars or hidestars.) Please do correct me if I'm wrong!
    – JeanPierre
    Aug 11, 2021 at 12:02
  • Yeah, works. But I needed to typeC-c C-c twice after changing from indent to hidestars.
    – rofrol
    Aug 11, 2021 at 16:08

You can change the asterisks for any UTF-8 character using org-bullets-mode.

Just download org-bullets from MELPA repository and add the following into your init file:

(require 'org-bullets)
(add-hook 'org-mode-hook (lambda () (org-bullets-mode 1)))

If you don't like default org-bullet symbols, you can set yours as follows:

(setq org-bullets-bullet-list '("✙" "♱" "♰" "☥" "✞" "✟" "✝" "†" "✠" "✚" "✜" "✛" "✢" "✣" "✤" "✥"))

Since you want to remove the "noise", the cleanest option is to set bullet symbols to zero width space.

(setq org-bullets-bullet-list '("\u200b"))

You can find other bullet symbols sets here.

Note: some Windows users have reported rendering issues of unicode, the solution seems to be here.

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