The great org-mode has a fast way to jump between headings in an org file; M-x org-goto or C-c C-j. This doesn't work with evil mode that well.

If I am on evil normal mode in an org file, C-c C-j gets me the org-goto interface alright but I stay in normal mode. The same happens if I'm in insert mode. Even when I'm in Emacs state.

It is after the invocation of C-c C-j when I have to manually intervene and jump into Emacs state by myself in order to have the functionality work as intended. When I'm finished there, I stay in Emacs state, which I do not desire.

I had these two obvious tries with the machinery but evil ignores both methods. I'm in normal mode, no matter what.

;; No go
(defun progo-org-goto ()
  (call-interactively 'evil-emacs-state)
  (call-interactively 'org-goto))

;; no go; but the advice did run.
;; also tried "after"
(defadvice org-goto (before goto-advice activate)
  (message "adviced goto")
  (call-interactively 'evil-emacs-state))

So what kind of magic do I have to perform to have evil change to Emacs state during the org-goto and then return to normal mode afterwards?

  • "So what kind of magic do I have to perform to have evil...?" As Arthur C. Clarke would say, "Sufficiently advanced technology". Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 7:43

2 Answers 2


Your instincts were right on advising org-goto, but you want around advice rather than before advice. The following advice should do what you want:

(defadvice org-goto (around make-it-evil activate)
  (let ((orig-state evil-state)
        (evil-emacs-state-modes (cons 'org-mode evil-emacs-state-modes)))
    (evil-change-state orig-state)))

It saves your current state in the let-bound orig-state, temporarily adds org-mode to evil-emacs-state-modes so that *org-goto* (whose major mode is org-mode) will be opened in emacs-state, runs the regular org-goto function via ad-do-it, and then restores your original state.

  • That's what I'd missed when trying to find the answer, was trying to set the state rather than default to evil-emacs-state for org-mode temporarily. Should also be more future-proof in case the buffer name were to be changed somewhere. Commented Oct 8, 2014 at 15:06
  • Glad to help. Quick note: fixed a silly bug in the code: the push changed the list in place and left org-mode in the evil-emacs-state-modes list after finishing the function call. Swapping append in for push allows us to clean up after ourselves properly.
    – Dan
    Commented Oct 8, 2014 at 15:12
  • Sigh. Or, if we'd like it to be cleaner and easier on the eyes, use cons in place of append. The code now reflects this.
    – Dan
    Commented Oct 8, 2014 at 15:26
  • Indeed, this is slightly less hacky so better promote this.
    – mike3996
    Commented Oct 8, 2014 at 16:20

org-goto creates a new buffer named *org-goto* when you use it. Therefore, you can check for this name with a hook, using something like:

(add-hook 'org-mode-hook (lambda ()
                           (if (string= "*org-goto*" (buffer-name))
  • Fantastic! thanks so much. I had this question on SU for months, nothing. Moved it here and took 15 mins :)
    – mike3996
    Commented Oct 8, 2014 at 14:50

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