How to contribute to Org?

Table of Contents

{Back to Worg's index}

Types of contributions

Every contribution to Org is very welcome. Here is a list of areas where your contribution will be useful:

  • you can submit bug reports – Before sending a bug report, make sure you have read this section of Org's manual: Feedback You can also read this great text: "How to Send Bug Reports Effectively"
  • you can submit feature requests – Org is already mature, but new ideas keep popping up. If you want to request a feature, it might be a good idea to have a look at the current Issue tracking file which captures both bug reports and feature requests. Or dig into the mailing list for possible previous discussions about your idea. If you cannot find back your idea, formulate it as detailed as possible, if possible with examples, and send it to the mailing list.
  • you can submit patches – You can submit patches to the mailing list. See the Preferred way of submitting patches section for details. You can run make test to check that your patch does not introduce new bugs.

    If your patch is against a file that is part of Emacs, then your total contribution (all patches you submit) should change less than 15 lines (See the CONTRIBUTE file in GNU Emacs.) If you contribute more, you have to assign the copyright of your contribution to the Free Software Foundation (see below).

  • you can submit Org add-ons – there are many Org add-ons.
    • The best way is to submit your code to the mailing list to discuss it with people.
    • If it is useful, you might consider contributing it to the lisp/contrib/ directory in the git repository. It will be reviewed, and if it passes, it will be included. Ask help from Eric Schulte for this step. The lisp/contrib/ directory is somehow relaxed: it is not distributed with Emacs, and does not require a formal copyright assignment.
    • If you decide to sign the assignment contract with the FSF, we might include your contribution in the distribution, and then in GNU Emacs.
  • you can submit material to the Worg website – This website is made of Org files that you can contribute to. Learn what Worg is about and how to contribute to it through git.

For Org developers

  1. Send your public key to Bastien
  2. Wait for confirmation that your public key has been added to the server.
  3. Clone org-mode.git repository like this:

    ~$ git clone
  4. Commit your changes.
  5. Run make test
  6. If the tests pass, push your changes.

If you are undertaking big changes, please create a dedicated branch for them.

For Org contributors: preferred way of submitting patches

Coding conventions

Org is part of Emacs, so any contribution should follow the GNU Emacs Lisp coding conventions described in Emacs manual.

Sending patch with git

Org-mode is developed using git as the version control system. Git provides an amazing framework to collaborate on a project. Git can be used to make patches and send them via email – this is perfectly fine for major and minor changes.

When sending a patch (either using git diff or git format-patch) please always add a properly formatted Emacs ChangeLog entry. See this section for details on how to create such a ChangeLog.

Sending commits

For every patch you send, we suggest to use git format-patch.

This is easy for small patches and more consequent ones. Sometimes, you might even want to work in several steps and send each commit separately. Here is the suggested workflow:

~$ git pull                 # make sure your repo is up to date
~$ git branch my-changes    # create a new branch from master
~$ git checkout my-changes  # switch to this new branch

… make some changes (1) …

~$ git commit -a -m "This is change (1)"  # Commit your change

… make another change (2) …

~$ git commit -a -m "This is change (2)"  # Commit your change
~$ git format-patch master                # Creates two patches

… Then two patches for your two commits are ready to be sent to the list.

Write useful commit messages: please provide 1) a reason for it in your email and 2) a ChangeLog entry in the commit message (see this section on how to format a ChangeLog entry.)

Sending quick fixes for testing purpose

If you want to send a quick fix that needs to be further tested by other people (before you submit a real patch), here is how you can do:

This command will make a patch between the staging area (in your computer), and the file you modified:

git diff -p org-whatever.el > org-whatever.el.diff

If you already committed your changes to your index (staging area), then you should compare against a particular branch (in this example, origin/master):

git diff -p origin/master org-whatever.el > org-whatever.el.diff

You email the output to the mailing list, adding [PATCH] to the subject, and description of what you fixed or changed.

Note that small patches sent like this still need to have a ChangeLog entry to be applied. If your patch looks good to you, it's always better to send a patch through git format-patch.

Sharing changes from a public branch

For more significant contributions, the best way to submit patches is through public branches of your repository clone.

  1. Clone our git repository at You can clone using any of the commands below.

    git clone git://
    git clone

    The url using the git protocol is preferred. If you are behind a firewall that blocks git://, you can use the http url.

  2. Create a repository that can be publicly accessed, for example on GitHub,, or on your own server.
  3. Push your topic branches (and optionally the master branch) to your public repository.

    Define a remote for your public repository you push topics to.

    git remote add REMOTE URL-GOES-HERE

    Push branches to the remote

    git push REMOTE BRANCH1 [BRANCH2 BRANCH3 ...]


    git remote add github ssh://.../     # Done once to define the remote 'github'
    git push github my-topic
  4. Do your work on topic-specific branches, using a branch name that relates to what you are working on.
  5. Often do

    git remote update

    to pull commits from all defined remote repositories, in particular the org-mode master at

  6. When you have something workable, publish the git path and branch name on the mailing list, so that people can test it and review your work.
  7. After your topic has been merged to the project master branch you can delete the topic on your local and remote repositories.

    git branch -d NEWTOPIC
    git push REMOTE :NEWTOPIC

The instructions above are generally useful to let people test new features before sending the patch series to the mailing list, but the patches remain the preferred way of receiving contributions.

Commit messages and ChangeLog entries

We have decided to no longer keep a ChangeLog file to record changes to individual functions.

A commit message should be constructed in the following way:

  • Line 1 of the commit message should always be a short description of the overall change. Line 1 does not get a dot at the end and does not start with a star. Generally, it starts with the filename that has been changed, followed by a colon.
  • Line 2 is an empty line.
  • In line 3, the ChangeLog entry should start. A ChangeLog entry looks like this:

    * org-timer.el (org-timer-cancel-timer, org-timer-stop): Enhance
    (org-timer-set-timer): Use the number of minutes in the Effort
    property as the default timer value. Three prefix arguments will
    ignore the Effort value property.
  • After the changelog, another empty line should come before any additional information that the committer wishes to provide in order to explain the patch.
  • If the change is a minor change made by a committer without copyright assignment to the FSF, the commit message should also contain the cookie TINYCHANGE (anywhere in the message). When we later produce the ChangeLog file for Emacs, the change will be marked appropriately.
  • Variables and functions names are quoted like `this' (backquote and single quote).
  • Sentences should be separated by two spaces.
  • Sentences should start with an uppercase letter.
  • Avoid the passive form: i.e., use "change" instead of "changed".

Here is an example for such a message:

org-capture.el: Fix the case of using a template file

* lisp/org-capture.el (org-capture-set-plist): Make sure txt is a
string before calling `string-match'.
(org-capture-templates): Fix customization type.

* doc/org.texi (Capture): Document using a file for a template.

The problem here was that a wrong keyword was given in the
customization type.  This let to a string-match against a list value.

Modified from a patch proposal by Johan Friis.


If you are using magit.el in Emacs, the ChangeLog for such entries are easily produced by pressing C in the diff listing.

Another option to produce the entries is to use `C-x 4 a' in the changed function or in the diff listing. This will create entries in the ChangeLog file, and you can then cut and paste these to the commit message and remove the indentation.

Copyrighted contributors to Org mode

Here is the list of people who have contributed actual code to the Org-mode core. Note that the manual contains a more extensive list with acknowledgments, including contributed ideas! The lists below are mostly for house keeping, to help the maintainers keep track of copyright issues.

Current contributors

Here is the list of people who signed the papers with the Free Software Foundation and can now freely submit code to Org files that are included within GNU Emacs:

  1. Aaron Ecay
  2. Abdó Roig-Maranges
  3. Achim Gratz
  4. Adam Elliott
  5. Adam Spiers
  6. Alan Schmitt
  7. Alexey Lebedeff
  8. Andreas Burtzlaff
  9. Andreas Leha
  10. Andrew Hyatt
  11. Andrzej Lichnerowicz
  12. Andy Steward
  13. Anthony John Day
  14. Anthony Lander
  15. Arni Magnusson
  16. Arun Isaac
  17. Baoqiu Cui
  18. Barry Leonard Gidden
  19. Bastien Guerry
  20. Benjamin Andresen
  21. Bernd Grobauer
  22. Bernt Hansen
  23. Brian James Gough
  24. Brice Waegenire
  25. Carsten Dominik
  26. Charles Berry
  27. Charles Sebold
  28. Christian Egli
  29. Christian Moe
  30. Christopher League
  31. Christopher Miles Gray
  32. Christopher Schmidt
  33. Christopher Suckling
  34. Clément Pit–Claudel
  35. Dan Davison
  36. Daniel M German
  37. Daniel M. Hackney
  38. David Arroyo Menéndez
  39. David Maus
  40. David O'Toole
  41. Dieter Schoen
  42. Dima Kogan
  43. Dmitry Antipov
  44. Don March
  45. Eric Abrahamsen
  46. Eric S. Fraga
  47. Eric Schulte
  48. Erik Hetzner
  49. Erik Iverson
  50. Ethan Ligon
  51. Feng Shu
  52. Florian Lindner
  53. Francesco Pizzolante
  54. Frederick Giasson
  55. Gary Oberbrunner
  56. Georg Lehner
  57. George Kettleborough
  58. Giovanni Ridolfi
  59. Grégoire Jadi (aka Daimrod)
  60. Gustav Wikström
  61. Henning Dietmar Weiss
  62. Ian Barton
  63. Ian Kelling
  64. Ilya Shlyakhter
  65. Ippei Furuhashi
  66. Jake Romer
  67. James TD Smith
  68. Jan Böcker
  69. Jan Malakhovski
  70. Jarmo Hurri
  71. Jason Riedy
  72. Jay Kerns
  73. Jeffrey Ryan Horn
  74. Joe Corneli
  75. Joel Boehland
  76. John Kitchin
  77. John Wiegley
  78. Jon Snader
  79. Jonas Bernoulli
  80. Jonathan Leech-Pepin
  81. José L. Doménech
  82. Juan Pechiar
  83. Julian Gehring
  84. Julien Barnier
  85. Julien Danjou
  86. Justin Gordon
  87. Justus Piater
  88. Karl Fogel
  89. Kaushal Modi
  90. Kodi Arfer
  91. Konstantin Antipin
  92. Kyle Meyer
  93. Lambda Coder
  94. Lawrence Mitchell
  95. Le Wang
  96. Lele Gaifax
  97. Lennart Borgman
  98. Leonard Avery Randall
  99. Luis Anaya
  100. Lukasz Stelmach
  101. Madan Ramakrishnan
  102. Magnus Henoch
  103. Manuel Giraud
  104. Marcin Borkowski
  105. Marco Wahl
  106. Martin Pohlack
  107. Martyn Jago
  108. Matt Lundin
  109. Max Mikhanosha
  110. Michael Albinus
  111. Michael Brand
  112. Michael Gauland
  113. Michael Sperber
  114. Miguel A. Figueroa-Villanueva
  115. Mikael Fornius
  116. Moritz Ulrich
  117. Nathan Neff
  118. Nathaniel Flath
  119. Nicholas Dokos
  120. Nicolas Berthier
  121. Nicolas Goaziou
  122. Nicolas Richard
  123. Niels Giessen
  124. Nikolai Weibull
  125. Noorul Islam K M
  126. Oleh Krehel
  127. Paul Sexton
  128. Pedro Alexandre Marcelino Costa da Silva
  129. Peter Jones
  130. Phil Hudson
  131. Phil Jackson
  132. Philip Rooke
  133. Pieter Praet
  134. Piotr Zielinski
  135. Puneeth Chaganti
  136. Rafael Laboissière
  137. Rainer M Krug
  138. Rasmus Pank Roulund
  139. Richard Kim
  140. Richard Klinda
  141. Richard Riley
  142. Rick Frankel
  143. Russel Adams
  144. Ryo Takaishi
  145. Rüdiger Sonderfeld
  146. Sacha Chua
  147. Samuel Loury
  148. Sebastian Reuße
  149. Sebastian Rose
  150. Sebastien Vauban
  151. Sergey Litvinov
  152. Seweryn Kokot
  153. Simon Michael
  154. Stephen Eglen
  155. Steven Rémot
  156. Suvayu Ali
  157. T.F. Torrey
  158. Tassilo Horn
  159. Thibault Marin
  160. Thierry Banel
  161. Thomas Baumann
  162. Thomas Holst
  163. Thomas S. Dye
  164. Thorsten Jolitz
  165. Tim Burt
  166. Titus von der Malsburg
  167. Toby Cubitt
  168. Tokuya Kameshima
  169. Tom Breton
  170. Tomas Hlavaty
  171. Tony Day
  172. Trevor Murphy
  173. Ulf Stegemann
  174. Vitalie Spinu
  175. Yann Hodique
  176. Yasushi Shoji
  177. Yoshinari Nomura
  178. Yuri D. Lensky
  179. Zhang Weize
  180. Zhuo Qingliang (Killy Draw)


These people have been asked to sign the papers, and they are currently considering it or a request is being processed by the FSF.

  • Brian Carlson [2016-05-24 Tue]
  • Bill Wishon
  • Mats Kindahl (as of 2013-04-06) for this patch
  • Georg Lehner (as of 2013-06-27)
  • Kodi Arfer (as of 2013-06-29)

Tiny Changes

These people have submitted tiny change patches that made it into Org without FSF papers. When they submit more, we need to get papers eventually. The limit is a cumulative change of 20 non-repetitive change lines. Details are given in this document.

  1. Aaron Jensen
  2. Adam Aviv
  3. Alex Branham
  4. Allen Li
  5. Aman Yang
  6. Andrew Burgess
  7. Andy Lutomirski
  8. Anthony Cowley
  9. Arun Persaud
  10. Aurélien Aptel
  11. Austin Walker
  12. Axel Kielhorn
  13. Brian Carlson
  14. Chunyang Xu
  15. Craig Tanis
  16. Derek Feichtinger
  17. Eduardo Bellani
  18. Eric Danan
  19. Federico Beffa
  20. Feng Zhou
  21. Fernando Varesi
  22. Florian Beck
  23. Francesco Montanari
  24. Greg Tucker-Kellogg
  25. Gregor Zattler
  26. Hiroshi Saito
  27. Ivan Vilata i Balaguer
  28. Jacob Gerlach
  29. Jacob Matthews
  30. Jakob Lombacher
  31. Jan Seeger
  32. Jan Seeger
  33. Jason Furtney
  34. Jay Kamat
  35. Jeff Larson
  36. Joe Hirn
  37. John Foerch
  38. Jon Miller
  39. Jonas Hörsch
  40. Joost Diepenmaat
  41. Kodi Arfer
  42. Konstantin Kliakhandler
  43. Leslie Harlley Watter
  44. Lixin Chin
  45. Luke Amdor
  46. Marc Ihm
  47. Mario Frasca
  48. Mario Martelli
  49. Martin Vuk
  50. Matt Price
  51. Matthew Gidden
  52. Matthew MacLean
  53. Michael O'Connor
  54. Michael Strey
  55. Michael Welle
  56. Michael Weylandt
  57. Mike McLean
  58. Miro Bezjak
  59. Moritz Kiefer
  60. Muchenxuan Tong
  61. Myles English
  62. Myq Larson
  63. Nathaniel Nicandro
  64. Nick Gunn
  65. Peter Feigl
  66. Peter Moresi
  67. Philip (Pip Cet)
  68. Renato Ferreira
  69. Richard Hansen
  70. Richard Lawrence
  71. Richard Y. Kim (Kim)
  72. Robert P. Goldman
  73. Roberto Huelga
  74. Ruben Maher
  75. Sami Airaksinen
  76. Saulius Menkevičius
  77. Sebastien Le Maguer
  78. Sergey Gordienko
  79. Stardiviner
  80. Stefan-W. Hahn
  81. Stig Brautaset
  82. Sylvain Chouleur
  83. Teika Kazura
  84. Thierry Pellé
  85. Thomas Alexander Gerds
  86. Thomas Rikl
  87. Tom Hinton
  88. Vicente Vera Parra
  89. Viktor Rosenfeld
  90. Vladimir Lomov
  91. Wojciech Gac
  92. Xi Shen
  93. York Zhao
  94. Zane D. Purvis
  95. Иван Трусков

(This list may be incomplete - please help completing it.)

No FSF assignment

These people cannot or prefer to not sign the FSF copyright papers, and we can only accept patches that do not change the core files (the ones that are also in Emacs).

Luckily, this list is still empty.

Documentation from the website (either in its HTML format or in its Org format) is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License version 1.3 or later. The code examples and css stylesheets are licensed under the GNU General Public License v3 or later.