How to contribute to Org?

Table of Contents

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

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