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

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A.8 Special agenda views

Org provides a special hook to further limit items in agenda views: agenda, agenda*1, todo, alltodo, tags, tags-todo, tags-tree. Specify a custom function that tests inclusion of every matched item in the view. This function can also skip as much as is needed.

For a global condition applicable to agenda views, use the org-agenda-skip-function-global variable. Org uses a global condition with org-agenda-skip-function for custom searching.

This example defines a function for a custom view showing TODO items with WAITING status. Manually this is a multi step search process, but with a custom view, this can be automated as follows:

The custom function searches the subtree for the WAITING tag and returns nil on match. Otherwise it gives the location from where the search continues.

     (defun my-skip-unless-waiting ()
       "Skip trees that are not waiting"
       (let ((subtree-end (save-excursion (org-end-of-subtree t))))
         (if (re-search-forward ":waiting:" subtree-end t)
             nil          ; tag found, do not skip
           subtree-end))) ; tag not found, continue after end of subtree

To use this custom function in a custom agenda command:

     (org-add-agenda-custom-command
      '("b" todo "PROJECT"
        ((org-agenda-skip-function 'my-skip-unless-waiting)
         (org-agenda-overriding-header "Projects waiting for something: "))))

Note that this also binds org-agenda-overriding-header to a more meaningful string suitable for the agenda view.

Search for entries with a limit set on levels for the custom search. This is a general appraoch to creating custom searches in Org. To include all levels, use ‘LEVEL>02. Then to selectively pick the matched entries, use org-agenda-skip-function, which also accepts Lisp forms, such as org-agenda-skip-entry-if and org-agenda-skip-subtree-if. For example:

(org-agenda-skip-entry-if 'scheduled)
Skip current entry if it has been scheduled.
(org-agenda-skip-entry-if 'notscheduled)
Skip current entry if it has not been scheduled.
(org-agenda-skip-entry-if 'deadline)
Skip current entry if it has a deadline.
(org-agenda-skip-entry-if 'scheduled 'deadline)
Skip current entry if it has a deadline, or if it is scheduled.
(org-agenda-skip-entry-if 'todo '("TODO" "WAITING"))
Skip current entry if the TODO keyword is TODO or WAITING.
(org-agenda-skip-entry-if 'todo 'done)
Skip current entry if the TODO keyword marks a DONE state.
(org-agenda-skip-entry-if 'timestamp)
Skip current entry if it has any timestamp, may also be deadline or scheduled.
(org-agenda-skip-entry-if 'regexp "regular expression")
Skip current entry if the regular expression matches in the entry.
(org-agenda-skip-entry-if 'notregexp "regular expression")
Skip current entry unless the regular expression matches.
(org-agenda-skip-subtree-if 'regexp "regular expression")
Same as above, but check and skip the entire subtree.

The following is an example of a search for ‘WAITING’ without the special function:

     (org-add-agenda-custom-command
      '("b" todo "PROJECT"
        ((org-agenda-skip-function '(org-agenda-skip-subtree-if
                                     'regexp ":waiting:"))
         (org-agenda-overriding-header "Projects waiting for something: "))))

Footnotes

[1] The agenda* view is the same as agenda except that it only considers appointments, i.e., scheduled and deadline items that have a time specification ‘[h]h:mm’ in their time-stamps.

[2] Note that, for org-odd-levels-only, a level number corresponds to order in the hierarchy, not to the number of stars.