This is the official manual for the latest Org-mode release.

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2.2 Headlines

Headlines define the structure of an outline tree. The headlines in Org start with one or more stars, on the left margin1 2. For example:

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

Note that a headline named after org-footnote-section, which defaults to ‘Footnotes’, is considered as special. A subtree with this headline will be silently ignored by exporting functions.

Some people find the many stars too noisy and would prefer an outline that has whitespace followed by a single star as headline starters. Clean view, describes a setup to realize this.

An empty line after the end of a subtree is considered part of it and will be hidden when the subtree is folded. However, if you leave at least two empty lines, one empty line will remain visible after folding the subtree, in order to structure the collapsed view. See the variable org-cycle-separator-lines to modify this behavior.


Footnotes

[1] See the variables org-special-ctrl-a/e, org-special-ctrl-k, and org-ctrl-k-protect-subtree to configure special behavior of C-a, C-e, and C-k in headlines.

[2] Clocking only works with headings indented less than 30 stars.