Let's say that I have a tree of tasks like so:

* TODO Launch website
** TODO Get database running
*** TODO Select MySQL vs. PostgreSQL

Let's say I'm looking at the "Select MySQL vs. PostgreSQL" and I decide I want to file a task under that headline using my Org Capture template. Is there a way to directly tell org-capture to file the new headline under the current headline (i.e., the headline at (point))? I'm aware of the (clock) capture target, but I don't necessarily want to have to clock in at the current point.

2 Answers 2


Go to a new line below the headline *** TODO Select MySQL vs. PostgreSQL Then press C-u 0 before your capture key, i.e.

C-u 0 <your_capture_key>

and you're good to go. The indentation level will be three stars, so you have to indent it manually by M- rightarrow

You can also press C-0 <your_capture_key> and Emacs will interpret it as C-u 0

  • Yes, this works pretty well actually! I might change my answer to be based on this one, since I still do want to automatically adjust the indentation level. Commented Aug 9, 2020 at 20:57
  • Let me know when you figure out the automatic indentation. I'd be interested, too
    – GNUmon
    Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 16:49
  • Hi, I've updated my function at emacs.stackexchange.com/a/58009/17182 to be more robust Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 20:54

I've implemented the following functions to implement this feature:

  • my-org-capture-under-headline: the main command.
  • Some advice around org-capture to provide a new C-u 2 prefix argument
;; Create ‘C-u 2 M-x org-capture’ command to refile org-capture template under
;; headline at point.
(defun my-org-capture-under-headline (&optional _goto keys)
  "Capture under the headline at current point.

This finds an appropriate point at the end of the subtree to capture the new
entry to, then call ‘org-capture’ with \"C-u 0\" to capture at this new point,
and finally fixes the level of the newly-captured entry to be a child of the
headline at which this function was called.

KEYS are passed to ‘org-capture’ in its KEYS argument.  _GOTO corresponds to the
GOTO argument of ‘org-capture’, but is is ignored because we intentionally place
the point where we want it."
  (interactive "P")
        (unless (eq major-mode 'org-mode)
          (user-error "Must be called from an Org-mode buffer"))
        (org-with-point-at (point)
          (org-back-to-heading t)
          (let* ((headline-marker (point-marker))
                 (headline-level (org-current-level)))
            (org-end-of-subtree t)
            (unless (org--line-empty-p 1)
              (open-line 1)
              (forward-line 1))
                (((symbol-function 'my-org-capture-under-headline--fixup-level)
                  (lambda ()
                    ;; If :begin-marker doesn’t point to a buffer, the capture
                    ;; has already been finalized, so don’t try to do any work
                    ;; in that case.
                    (when-let* ((begin-marker (org-capture-get :begin-marker))
                                ((marker-buffer begin-marker)))
                      ;; Go to the capture buffer.
                      (org-goto-marker-or-bmk begin-marker)
                      ;; Make the captured headline one level below the original headline.
                      (while (< (org-current-level) (+ 1 headline-level))
                        (save-excursion (org-demote-subtree)))
                      (while (> (org-current-level) (+ 1 headline-level))
                        (save-excursion (org-promote-subtree))))))
                 ;; Store the original ‘org-capture-finalize’ for the override before.
                 ((symbol-function 'org-capture-finalize-orig) (symbol-function 'org-capture-finalize))
                 ;; Need to fixup level in case ‘:immediate-finish’ set in ‘org-capture-templates’
                 ((symbol-function 'org-capture-finalize)
                  (lambda (&optional stay-with-capture)
                    (org-capture-finalize-orig stay-with-capture))))
              (apply #'org-capture 0 keys)
              ;; If the template didn’t contain ‘:immediate-finish’, we fix up
              ;; levels now.
(defun my-org-capture-under-headline-prefix (_orig-fn &rest _args)
  "Provide an additional “C-u 2” prefix arg to `org-capture'.

When ‘org-capture’ is called with this prefix argument, it will capture a
headline according to the template you select, and then immediately refile that
headline under the headline at the current point."
  (let ((goto (nth 0 _args)))
    (if (equal goto 2)
        (apply #'my-org-capture-under-headline _args)
      (apply _orig-fn _args))))
(advice-add 'org-capture :around #'my-org-capture-under-headline-prefix)

Update 2022-02-22: make the function more robust.

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