I want to add notes to a heading but instead of using org-add-note, it should be possible to choose any date I want to have as time stamp. I use notes partly as Diary so I want to be able to create an entry without having to manipulate it afterwards for the desired date.

I wrote this function to accomplish this:

  (defun tietan/org-add-note-ts ()
    (let ((date (org-read-date))(res)(inp))
      (setq res (concat "- Note taken on <"
                        "> \\\\\n"
                        (tietan/simplified-read-mb-lines "Insert text (C-j to submit): ") ))
      (setq res (replace-regexp-in-string (regexp-quote "\n") "\n  " res nil 'literal))
      (kill-new res)

Now the questions:

  1. Is there a better way to achieve date selection for org-add-note? I still have to manually insert the output of this function into the org-heading. org-capture would always need a specific configuration for that, which doesn't suit my wish to have it as a possible solution for multiple use cases.

  2. Which function could I use to get the same buffer input window you normally get with org-add-note?


I copied the multiline block prompt from here https://stackoverflow.com/a/17004260 and changed the name to better fit in my personal naming conventions

(defun tietan/simplified-read-mb-lines (prompt)
    (let ((keymap (copy-keymap minibuffer-local-map)))
      (define-key keymap (kbd "RET") 'newline)
      (read-from-minibuffer prompt nil keymap)))

1 Answer 1


How about:

(defun my-org-add-note ()
  (move-marker org-log-note-marker (point))
  (setq org-log-note-purpose 'note
        org-log-note-effective-time (org-read-date nil t))
  (add-hook 'post-command-hook 'org-add-log-note 'append))

This sets org-log-note-effective-time to org-read-date. Everything else should be the same.

  • Thank you this is exactly what I needed. I'm curios of how to find those steps that need to be done. Could you give me a hint of where I can find the procedures a function like org-add-note uses, so that in the future I could come up with this (way better) solution myself.
    – Tietan
    Commented Jan 12, 2022 at 6:44
  • 1
    Do C-h f org-add-note to see the documentation of the function. Among other things, it also gives a link to the definition of the function (look for the file name at the end of the first line which says: org-add-note is a Lisp closure in ‘org.el’. - that org.el is a clickable link that will take you to the definition of the function). Once there, you'll see that it calls org-add-log-setup with an argument of note (a symbol). Repeating the process, you'll get to the definition of that function: compare it with the function in the answer.
    – NickD
    Commented Jan 12, 2022 at 8:44

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