When preparing for a meeting or conversation I often take notes using org-mode in advance and write up some questions.

During the meeting or conversation I want to take quick notes (answers and comments from other persons to what I prepared) into this org-file.

For me it seems to be best to add the notes just to the section of the original where it belongs to. However what is a good way to distinguish notes taken during the meeting from my prepared notes? When writing by hand I would just for example take another color. If I want to distinguish different persons comments/answers I would probably use different colors.

So is there a quick way to change colors during taking the notes or is there another mechanism to add the comments/answers of the other persons from the meeting?


3 Answers 3


You could use hi-lock (a minor mode for interactive automatic highlighting). You could define regexps in advance for the comments/answers (e.g., using a prefix to each line) or to different people, etc. Then you would get different colors which would be saved in your file.


You could either use a special block, or a drawer. I would setup a snippet to make it easy to enter. For example this yasnippet:

# -*- mode: snippet -*-
# name: note drawer
# key: <d
# contributor: John Kitchin <[email protected]>
# --
`(with-temp-buffer (org-insert-time-stamp nil t t) (buffer-string))` ${1:`(if (region-active-p) (yas-selected-text) "replace. Tab to end.")`}

Then in your buffer where you want a note, type <d, press tab, type your noted, and press tab again to get out of it. they look like this after that.

[2023-02-02 Thu 10:04] some note you want to capture

There are numerous variations of this including using an org-tempo, a skeleton, your own function bound to a convenient key, replace the drawer with a block that looks like:

add note



Rough translation of snippet...

* Timeline
** <date via org-time-stamp-inactive>
*** key Qs   
  + [ ] Q: <question>
        A: <answer from convo>
*** discusssion   
  + ...   
  + ...

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