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15.2 A cleaner outline view

Some people find it noisy and distracting that the Org headlines start with a potentially large number of stars, and that text below the headlines is not indented. While this is no problem when writing a book-like document where the outline headings are really section headings, in a more list-oriented outline, indented structure is a lot cleaner:

     * Top level headline             |    * Top level headline
     ** Second level                  |      * Second level
     *** 3rd level                    |        * 3rd level
     some text                        |          some text
     *** 3rd level                    |        * 3rd level
     more text                        |          more text
     * Another top level headline     |    * Another top level headline

If you are using at least Emacs 23.1.50.3 and version 6.29 of Org, this kind of view can be achieved dynamically at display time using org-indent-mode, which will prepend intangible space to each line. You can turn on org-indent-mode for all files by customizing the variable org-startup-indented, or you can turn it on for individual files using

     #+STARTUP: indent

If you want a similar effect in earlier version of Emacs and/or Org, or if you want the indentation to be hard space characters so that the plain text file looks as similar as possible to the Emacs display, Org supports you by helping to indent (with <TAB>) text below each headline, by hiding leading stars, and by only using levels 1, 3, etc to get two characters indentation for each level. To get this support in a file, use

     #+STARTUP: hidestars odd