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Given that (setq org-list-allow-alphabetical t).

Consider the following example, where | stands for the point:

1. |Lorem Ipsum
   1. Lorem Ipsum
1. |Lorem Ipsum
   a. Lorem Ipsum

While org-fill-paragraph does nothing in the first Org snippet, it collapses the two lines in the second:

1. Lorem Ipsum a. Lorem Ipsum

I'm working on a specific case where read-only-mode is in use and don't need to export the Org buffer to pdf or other file types. However, I have to keep the alphabetical numbering at least visually as the content refer to them as such. Hence, I'm currently considering a workaround which consists of

  1. replacing alphabetical bullets by numeral ones ;
  2. then using overlays with the 'display property to display them as they were alphabetical bullets.

As the underlying bullets are numeral, org-fill-paragraph would work as expected.

Are there better solutions for this issue ?

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  • I cannot reproduce this with Org mode version 9.4.6 (release_9.4.6-553-g9aa304). Neither of the lists gets reformatted.
    – NickD
    Jul 14 at 19:58
  • 1
    Did you run (org-element-update-syntax) or restart emacs after updating org-list-allow-alphabetical?
    – NickD
    Jul 14 at 20:06
  • @NickD Ah, my bad. Looks like I didn't read the documentation thoroughly... Do you perhaps know why org-list-allow-alphabetical is not set to t by default ? Jul 14 at 20:22
  • 1
    I don't know - the manual may point to a rationale: confusion with normal text.
    – NickD
    Jul 14 at 21:53
1

As @NickD pointed out and per the documentation:

This variable needs to be set before org.el is loaded.  If you
need to make a change while Emacs is running, use the customize
interface or run the following code after updating it:

  ‘M-x org-element-update-syntax’
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