In orgmode, I'd like shift-cursor keys and shift-control-cursor keys to do selection extension and selection extension by word.

I have that partially working already, using the recipe from www.reddit.com/r/emacs/comments/tbj09/using_shift_selection_in_orgmode_buffers_without/.

What works is:

  • Doing shift- or shift-control-cursor in regular orgmode text.
  • Setting the point in regular text and extending into a header.
  • Setting the point in a header and extending with shift-home or shift-end and then extending with shift- or shift-control-cursor.

What does not work is:

  • Setting the point in a header and immediately continuing with any shift-cursor and shift-control-cursor.
  • Setting the point in a header, doing shift-home or shift-end and extending with shift-Up/Down.
  • Setting the point in a header, doing shift-home or shift-end and then extending to the initial point position (so, transitioning the selection size through 0), then trying to shift- or shift-control-cursor in any direction.

'Does not work' means I still get orgmode item status functions called. I'd like to get CUA selection extension.

I suppose could try the add-hook 'org-shiftup-final-hook recipe, but I don't know how the functions I need should be called.

Is it doable then?

  • Sorry, I don't understand your question. Could you provide us with some practical examples? If your issue is: how to turn a selection into headings when using CUA mode? Then you just have to do a normal selection and then do C-S-c *. The same goes for items and tables (C-S-c - and C-S-c |), etc.
    – crocefisso
    Commented Apr 30 at 9:15
  • @crocefisso I'd like shift-cursor and shift-control-cursor to work, i.e. to expand the selection, regardless of where the point was before that. Now it works smoothly only from anywhere inside regular text
    – yury10578
    Commented Apr 30 at 14:15
  • What are shift-cursor and shift-control-cursor? I don't see any Emacs command with these names. Do you mean what shift+arrow and shift+control+arrow do outside of Emacs? In Emacs (and org-mode), selection can be made with C-SPC and then arrows (or also Control + arrows).
    – crocefisso
    Commented Apr 30 at 21:33
  • @crocefisso: Okay, shift+arrow and shift+control+arrow then (I've seen the cursor-style references on this site) And yes, I mean what those combinations do in word processors.
    – yury10578
    Commented May 1 at 3:54
  • 1
    i have (setq org-support-shift-select t) in my .emacs file and items 2 & 3 are working. Only item 1 where you do, shift-cursor does todo status change or priority change. But that can be overcome, if you press shift-home/shift-end to select the whole line and move in the reverse direction.
    – Saravana
    Commented May 1 at 4:27

1 Answer 1


On org-mode headings, S-<left> and S-<right> allow to cycle through task states, while S-<up> and S-<down> allow to cycle through priorities. On org-table, org-timestamp, org-item, etc. they also do something specific.

In org-mode, these commands are defined in org.el, see:

  • org-shiftup
  • org-shiftdown
  • org-shiftright
  • org-shiftleft

Of course, it is possible to unbind S-<left> or C-S-<left> from org-shiftleft, but this will downgrade org-mode.

Below is an example of such unbinding using use-package. Note that we strongly recommend avoiding such unbindings and getting used to C-SPC instead.

(use-package org
  (unbind-key "S-<left>" org-mode-map)
  (unbind-key "S-<right>" org-mode-map)
  (unbind-key "S-<up>" org-mode-map)
  (unbind-key "S-<down>" org-mode-map)
  (unbind-key "C-S-<left>" org-mode-map)
  (unbind-key "C-S-<right>" org-mode-map)
  (unbind-key "C-S-<up>" org-mode-map)
  (unbind-key "C-S-<down>" org-mode-map)
  • 1
    Thank you, but that's looks more like a comment, not an answer to my question. If I knew how to do those unbindings and rebindings, I wouldn't ask. As far as I understand that's not such a straightforward thing.
    – yury10578
    Commented May 1 at 18:06
  • ...and why org-mode? Because of the control it gives over the document structure, and the markup being lightweight, and exporting to interesting formats being well-documented.
    – yury10578
    Commented May 1 at 18:08
  • Updated. Note that as a consequence of a bad problem, the solution is also bad. Better get used to C-SPC.
    – crocefisso
    Commented May 2 at 11:14
  • Thank you. Would you add C-S-arrows to those keychords already mentioned? I checked, and with C-S- ones the answer would be complete.
    – yury10578
    Commented May 2 at 17:48
  • Updated. I didn't put the C-S part in the first place because I thought it was trivial.
    – crocefisso
    Commented May 2 at 19:23

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