Here, two headings are collapsed, but they do have some content represented by org's s...

* Heading 1...
* Heading 2...

How can I insert a heading right below Heading 2, including below all its content? My cursor is at caret when I do M-RET: Heading 2^.... As example:

* Heading 1...
* Heading 2...
* Heading 3...

Right now, it seems the behaviour is kind of buggy, where pressing M-RET on the previous heading's ... will lead move all the content below the heading? Unfortunately this isn't the behaviour that I want..

* Heading 1...
* Heading 2
* ...
  • Go to after the ellipsis with C-n or <right>...<right> (as many as required to move you to after the ellipsis - you can use C-f instead of <right> if you prefer) - and then press M-RET.
    – NickD
    Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 17:26
  • @NickD Hmm, this inserts a second level heading: ** instead of what I would like: * . Any way to change to same level heading behaviour?
    – herophant
    Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 19:24
  • So you have a second level heading under Heading 2? What I do is insert a heading and then adjust the level with M-<left> or M-<right>, although there are probably slicker methods: my trouble is that the only way I can remember these things is if they are baked into my muscle memory and that's M-RET and M-<left> - anything else might as well not exist :-) But try C-u M-RET.
    – NickD
    Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 19:32

1 Answer 1


You are probably looking for C-u M-RET which calls org-insert-heading with a prefix argument. The doc string for org-insert-heading says:

With a ‘C-u’ prefix, set ‘org-insert-heading-respect-content’ to a non-nil value for the duration of the command. This forces the insertion of a heading after the current subtree, independently on the location of point.

So if you are in the first-level subtree, it will go to the end of the subtree and insert a first-level heading, but if you are in a second-level subtree, it will go to the end of that and insert a second-level heading. In this second case, there is no way to guess that you want a first level heading, so you'll have to adjust the level with M-<left> or M-<right> as I mentioned in the comment.

If you really want a first-level heading at the end of the current subtree, you can define a function and bind it to a key (but IMO, that's a waste):

(defun ndk/org-insert-top-level-heading-at-end-of-current-subtree ()
   (org-insert-heading '(4) nil t))

(define-key 'org-mode-map (kbd "S-<f12>") #'ndk/org-insert-top-level-heading-at-end-of-current-subtree)

The '(4) makes org-insert-heading behave the same way that it would if it were called interactively with a C-u prefix and the t forces it to insert a first-level headline instead of what it normally would. I bound it to S-<f12> because that is likely unused but you can suit yourself.

  • No ya, C-u M-RET works fine. I just did an example for first level headings but this default behaviour is exactly what I needed. Thanks! I saw using C-h k M-RET that this keybinding should do org-insert-heading in the correct conditions, but didn't really understand the lisp code. Now it seems that doing RET on the link to org-insert-heading does mention this lol.. Does your knowledge about org-mode come from reading the manual from start to end, reading the source code or doing such experiments? (my guess is experiments, but..)
    – herophant
    Commented Oct 27, 2020 at 1:21
  • All three - but my first encounter with Org mode was ca 2006, so I've had plenty of time to do them :-)
    – NickD
    Commented Oct 27, 2020 at 1:43
  • Just a curiously : why not type star with a single stroke instead of C-u M-Return:-)
    – Vaibhav
    Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 2:56
  • Note where point is: at the end of the headline but before the ellipsis that rrepresents the folded content. If you type * there, it would break the current headline.
    – NickD
    Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 13:21

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