I am a relative emacs/org newcomer, and I am trying to get org-capture tuned to what I am looking for. I do spend a lot of time trying to search for answers, but sometimes I just get stuck.

what is happening is org-capture seems to be adding to much "header level".

I have stripped down my template to the minimum:

  ("j" "Journal" entry (file+olp+datetree ,(concat my/org-dir "journal.org")) "* %U\n%?")

After capturing I end up with:

* 2021

*** 2021-08 August

***** 2021-08-07 Saturday
******* [2021-08-07 Sat 08:21]
This is an entry.

You can see that it is adding ** on each level where I would want it to just add *.

Is there any way to configure this, or does anyone see what might be wrong with my template?
I am a Windows, I get the same thing with Emacs on Windows, and on WSL (Ubuntu).

1 Answer 1


You probably have the variable org-odd-levels-only set to t. The default is nil, so see if you have set it inadvertently in your init file or through a Customization.

See its doc string with C-h v org-odd-levels-only which says:

Non-nil means skip even levels and only use odd levels for the outline.
This has the effect that two stars are being added/taken away in
promotion/demotion commands.  It also influences how levels are
handled by the exporters.
Changing it requires restart of ‘font-lock-mode’ to become effective
for fontification also in regions already fontified.
You may also set this on a per-file basis by adding one of the following
lines to the buffer:

   #+STARTUP: odd
   #+STARTUP: oddeven

BTW, you might also want to check the variable org-hide-leading-stars: if you set it to t, you see the initial start as indentation.

  • Thank you, I had both set already. I set org-odd-levels-only to nil, and it is working as I expect now. Much of my settings were taken from various places, that I customise as I want a change. Thank you so much. Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 20:08

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