Pimp Up Your Org-mode Files

Step 1: Pretty Bullets

You can use org-bullets to get nice bullet symbols such as these:


Here is my setup:

(use-package org-bullets
:ensure t
(setq org-bullets-bullet-list
'("◉" "◎" "⚫" "○" "►" "◇"))
(add-hook 'org-mode-hook (lambda () (org-bullets-mode 1))))

You can omit the org-bullets-bullet-list: the defaults look quite nice, too.

If you need inspiration, you can find an exhaustive list of utf-8 symbols here.


Step 2: Fancy Todo States

You can make your org files even more decadent, if you setup utf-8 (see here).

You can then add fancy symbols directly to your todo states definitions.

For example:

(setq org-todo-keywords '((sequence "☛ TODO(t)" "|" "✔ DONE(d)")
(sequence "⚑ WAITING(w)" "|")
(sequence "|" "✘ CANCELED(c)")))

The full picture then looks like this:


16 thoughts on “Pimp Up Your Org-mode Files

      1. I’m not sure what you mean with marker? Of course if you change the definition of the todo states the old ones will be “forgotten”. You can get them back by simply re-running your original setq org-todo-keywords command (or remove the new one and reload org-mode and the org-file).


      2. Sorry, what I mean is, after I update org-todo-keywords to the new ones, I’d like to automatically change the contents of some org files to update the org-todo-keywords: i.e., if the change is from “TODO” to “-> TODO”, I’d like to iterate over a .org, look for instances of “TODO” and replace them with “-> TODO”. I can write this when I get the chance, but is there a built-in way of doing this?


      3. Ah, OK! Simplest way is to open your org file and just run replace-string and replace the old ones with the new ones. If you have many org files you can check out helm-swoop which can do it for all of them in one go. Alternatively you can go outside emacs and run a sed command in your org directory to replace everything….

        Liked by 1 person

    1. My initial idea was to use the built-in prettify-symbols-mode, but that one allows only single symbol displays (like lambda). Not sure about pretty-lambda though.


  1. Hi, can I ask which theme you are using in the “org-bullets preview” screenshot at the top? I find the colour palette very pleasant but I don’t think I’ve come across this theme before. Many thanks!


      1. Thanks! Having looked at both themes, they just aren’t as good as your palette (in my view anyway :).

        I tried to colour-pick from your screenshot, but it’s a very fiddly process and I end up with many shades of each colour.

        Do you by any chance have your config from that long time ago? I would really appreciate it if I can reuse it.

        Thanks again.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s