A.9 Extracting Agenda Information

Org provides commands to access agendas through Emacs batch mode. Through this command-line interface, agendas are automated for further processing or printing.

org-batch-agenda creates an agenda view in ASCII and outputs to standard output. This command takes one string parameter. When string consists of a single character, Org uses it as a key to org-agenda-custom-commands. These are the same ones available through the agenda dispatcher (see The Agenda Dispatcher).

This example command line directly prints the TODO list to the printer:

emacs -batch -l ~/.emacs -eval '(org-batch-agenda "t")' | lpr

When the string parameter length is two or more characters, Org matches it with tags/TODO strings. For example, this example command line prints items tagged with ‘shop’, but excludes items tagged with ‘NewYork’:

emacs -batch -l ~/.emacs                                      \
      -eval '(org-batch-agenda "+shop-NewYork")' | lpr

An example showing on-the-fly parameter modifications:

emacs -batch -l ~/.emacs                                      \
   -eval '(org-batch-agenda "a"                               \
           org-agenda-span (quote month)                      \
           org-agenda-include-diary nil                       \
           org-agenda-files (quote ("~/org/project.org")))'   \
   | lpr

which produces an agenda for the next 30 days from just the ‘~/org/projects.org’ file.

For structured processing of agenda output, use org-batch-agenda-csv with the following fields:


The category of the item


The headline, without TODO keyword, TAGS and PRIORITY


The type of the agenda entry, can be

todoselected in TODO match
tagsmatchselected in tags match
diaryimported from diary
deadlinea deadline
timestampappointment, selected by timestamp
closedentry was closed on date
upcoming-deadlinewarning about nearing deadline
past-scheduledforwarded scheduled item
blockentry has date block including date

The TODO keyword, if any


All tags including inherited ones, separated by colons


The relevant date, like ‘2007-2-14


The time, like ‘15:00-16:50


String with extra planning info


The priority letter if any was given


The computed numerical priority

If the selection of the agenda item was based on a timestamp, including those items with ‘DEADLINE’ and ‘SCHEDULED’ keywords, then Org includes date and time in the output.

If the selection of the agenda item was based on a timestamp (or deadline/scheduled), then Org includes date and time in the output.

Here is an example of a post-processing script in Perl. It takes the CSV output from Emacs and prints with a checkbox:


# define the Emacs command to run
$cmd = "emacs -batch -l ~/.emacs -eval '(org-batch-agenda-csv \"t\")'";

# run it and capture the output
$agenda = qx{$cmd 2>/dev/null};

# loop over all lines
foreach $line (split(/\n/,$agenda)) {
    # get the individual values
     $priority_l,$priority_n) = split(/,/,$line);
    # process and print
    print "[ ] $head\n";