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 clone

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