Modern Org Style

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Modern Org Style

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1 Introduction

This package implements a modern style for your Org buffers using font locking and text properties. The package styles headlines, keywords, tables and source blocks. The styling is configurable, you can enable, disable or modify the style of each syntax element individually via the ‘org-modern’ customization group.

The screenshots shows with ‘org-modern-mode’ turned on and off. The elegant theme featured in the screenshot is modus-operandi.

Since this package adjusts text styling, it depends on your font settings. You should ensure that your ‘variable-pitch’ and ‘fixed-pitch’ fonts combine harmonically and have approximately the same height. As default font, I recommend variants of the Iosevka font, e.g., Iosevka Term Curly. ‘org-modern-mode’ tries to adjust the tag label display based on the value of ‘line-spacing’. This looks best if ‘line-spacing’ has a value between 0.1 and 0.4 in the Org buffer.

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2 Configuration

The package is available on GNU ELPA and MELPA. You can install the package with ‘package-install’. Then ‘org-modern’ can be enabled manually in an Org buffer by invoking ‘M-x org-modern-mode’. In order to enable ‘org-modern’ for all your Org buffers, add ‘org-modern-mode’ to the Org mode hooks.

;; Option 1: Per buffer
(add-hook 'org-mode-hook #'org-modern-mode)
(add-hook 'org-agenda-finalize-hook #'org-modern-agenda)

;; Option 2: Globally
(with-eval-after-load 'org (global-org-modern-mode))

Try the following more extensive setup in ‘emacs -Q’ to reproduce the looks of the screenshot above.

;; Minimal UI
(menu-bar-mode -1)
(tool-bar-mode -1)
(scroll-bar-mode -1)

;; Choose some fonts
;; (set-face-attribute 'default nil :family "Iosevka")
;; (set-face-attribute 'variable-pitch nil :family "Iosevka Aile")
;; (set-face-attribute 'org-modern-symbol nil :family "Iosevka")

;; Add frame borders and window dividers
 '((right-divider-width . 40)
   (internal-border-width . 40)))
(dolist (face '(window-divider
  (face-spec-reset-face face)
  (set-face-foreground face (face-attribute 'default :background)))
(set-face-background 'fringe (face-attribute 'default :background))

 ;; Edit settings
 org-auto-align-tags nil
 org-tags-column 0
 org-catch-invisible-edits 'show-and-error
 org-special-ctrl-a/e t
 org-insert-heading-respect-content t

 ;; Org styling, hide markup etc.
 org-hide-emphasis-markers t
 org-pretty-entities t

 ;; Agenda styling
 org-agenda-tags-column 0
 org-agenda-block-separator ?─
 '((daily today require-timed)
   (800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000)
   " ┄┄┄┄┄ " "┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄")
 "◀── now ─────────────────────────────────────────────────")

;; Ellipsis styling
(setq org-ellipsis "…")
(set-face-attribute 'org-ellipsis nil :inherit 'default :box nil)


3 Alternatives

The tag style of ‘org-modern’ is inspired by Nicholas Rougier’s beautiful svg-tag-mode. In contrast to ‘svg-tag-mode’, this package avoids images and uses cheap and fast Emacs box text properties. By only styling the text via text properties, the styled text, e.g., dates or tags stay editable and are easy to interact with.

The approach restricts our flexibility and may lead to font-dependent issues. We do our best, but for example there is no way we can get round corners. Combining ‘org-modern-mode’ with ‘svg-tag-mode’ is possible. You can use SVG tags and use the table and block styling from ‘org-modern’. If you are interested in further tweaks, Emacs comes with the builtin ‘prettify-symbols-mode’ which can be used for individual styling of custom keywords.

Popular alternatives are the older ‘org-superstar’ and ‘org-bullets’ packages, which have are more limited and mainly adjust headlines and lists. ‘org-superstar’ relies on character composition, while ‘org-modern’ uses text properties, which are considered more future-proof. Note that ‘org-modern’ is a full replacement for both ‘org-superstar’ and ‘org-bullets’. You can easily disable styling of certain elements, e.g., ‘org-modern-timestamp’, if you only want to use a subset of ‘org-modern’.

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4 Contributions

Since this package is part of GNU ELPA contributions require a copyright assignment to the FSF.