This post explains how you can setup dynamic blocks to create tables based on meeting minutes.

In short, you can extract the TODOs of the minutes and put them in a table of actions like so:

* Actions
#+BEGIN: columnview :id global :match "/TODO|DONE" :format "%ITEM(What) %TAGS(Who) %DEADLINE(When) %TODO(State)"
| What                     | Who          | When            | State |
| Inventory of equipment   | :@Fred:      |                 | TODO  |
| Definition of main goals | :@Sara:      |                 | TODO  |
| Talk to companies        | :@Lucy:@Ted: | <2020-03-01 So> | DONE  |

This uses the columnview dynamic block to automatically generate and keep the table up-to-date.

It works well except for the date. It extracts the active date in the <2020-03-01 So> format. This causes the insertion of an empty duplicated entry in my agenda view for this date.

Is there a way to convert the date to inactive, so it is displayed as [2020-03-01 So] in the table?

  • 1
    Nice question! I am not at all sure that I'm reading the documentation correctly (I don't know much about column view), but this seems to indicate that %DEADLINE in the format should be the DEADLINE string without the angle brackets, persumably for exactly the reason you describe - yet it isn't. So not quite sure yet, but this might be a bug worth reporting to the mailing list.
    – NickD
    May 9, 2020 at 5:29

1 Answer 1


Thank you, @NickD for the tip. I posted to the mailing list and got a solution from Kyle Meyer. They are keeping the behaviour above, that is, keeping the active dates to prevent breaking other parts of the code and third-party libraries. And they are updating the docs instead.

Then, in my case, to remove the angle brackets, the solution is to add the following to my init.el file:

(defun my/org-columns-remove-brackets (_title value)
      (and (string-match org-ts-regexp value)
           (match-string 1 value)))

(setq org-columns-modify-value-for-display-function
  • Actually, I think the current thinking is to change them to inactive dates, but the change has not made it into the code yet.
    – NickD
    May 11, 2020 at 16:50
  • 1
    The change from active to inactive timestamps is now in upstream master.
    – NickD
    May 15, 2020 at 13:31

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