When creating a new section in an Org-Mode document I want to automatically add a :CREATED: date property, by example:

* Test
:CREATED:: 2022-06-13 11:05:59

I wrote a solution (see answer) however I am not 100% sure it has no side effect. Maybe a better solution exists ?

1 Answer 1


I came up with this solution :

(add-hook 'org-insert-heading-hook
          (org-set-property "CREATED:" (format-time-string "%Y-%m-%d %T")))))


I read what-you-need-to-know-about-hooks :

It’s important to mention that you shouldn’t use anonymous functions for your hooks because it becomes hard to tell the purpose of a lambda when you inspect the hook at some later point. Another benefit of using named functions is that you can easily remove them by passing their name to remove-hook.

By consequence, I updated my solution as follows :

(defun set-creation-date-heading-property ()
    (org-set-property "CREATED:" (format-time-string "%Y-%m-%d %T"))))

(defun my-org-mode-date-heading-on ()
  "Turn on heading creation date property"
  (add-hook 'org-insert-heading-hook #'set-creation-date-heading-property))

(defun my-org-mode-date-heading-off ()
  "Turn off heading creation date property"
  (remove-hook 'org-insert-heading-hook #'set-creation-date-heading-property))

You can use the two functions my-org-mode-date-heading-on and my-org-mode-date-heading-off to turn on/off automatic creation of the "CREATED" property.

  • You might want to consider bracketing the time string, to make it an inactive time stamp: (format-time-string "[%Y-%m-%d %T]") Jun 14 at 19:57
  • @PhilHudson thanks for this idea. Jun 14 at 20:05

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