Headlines for Friday:
The section on projects introduced tags as a way to differentiate active and inactive projects. In this section, you'll learn more about tags and how you can use them to filter your task list.
What's a tag, anyway? In Org, tags are keywords at the end of headlines. Each tag can contain letters, numbers, and the symbols '_' and '@'. Tags begin and end with colons, and a single colon separates multiple tags. For example, you could have headlines like this:
* Personal :PERSONAL: ** TODO Buy milk :@ERRANDS: ** TODO Call Mom :@PHONE: ** TODO Send letters :@ERRANDS: * Work :WORK: ** TODO Call John about report :@PHONE:JOHN: ** TODO Prepare for presentation on Monday ** TODO Call Mary about the presentation :@PHONE:URGENT:MARY:
One way to use tags is to filter your task list by priority. For example, you may want to focus on your urgent tasks first without getting distracted by other items on your task list. Another way to use tags is to keep track of the context of your tasks as suggested in GTD. By doing similar tasks together, you might be able to work more efficiently. For example, if you're on the phone at the office, it may be a good idea to do all of your work-related phone calls. If you're going to go to the post office, you might want to drop by the supermarket on your way back. You can use tags to categorize your headlines any way you want.
Tags can take advantage of the outline structure. For example, although the tasks "Buy milk", "Call Mom", and "Send letters" have one tag each, they also inherit the "PERSONAL" tag from the parent headline. A tag search for "PERSONAL" would display all three tasks. To customize this behavior, look at the documentation for the variables org-use-tag-inheritance and org-tags-match-list-sublevels.
Tags can help you organize and filter your task list. In this section, you'll learn how to add tags to your headlines, view tagged items in your Org file and in your agenda, and define custom agenda views. You'll also learn about custom tag searches and other interesting things you can do once you've tagged your headlines.
You can edit your ~/organizer.org file and add tags manually by typing in :tagname: at the end of the headline. You can also add tags by typing C-c C-c (org-ctrl-c-ctrl-c) when the point is on a headline. Use M-TAB (complete-symbol) to complete a tag based on all the tags used in the current file. If Alt-TAB is not processed by Emacs, you can use ESC-TAB instead.
Separate multiple tags with a single colon, like this: (:@PHONE:URGENT:). The beginning and ending colons are optional when using C-c C-c (org-ctrl-c-ctrl-c), because the function will automatically add them.
If you add certain tags frequently, you can set up single-key shortcuts. For example, if you frequently tag tasks as "URGENT", you may want to define a shortcut (at least until your life gets under control). You can assign shortcuts globally by adding this code to your ~/.emacs and evaluating it:
(setq org-tag-alist '(("URGENT" . ?u) ("@PHONE" . ?p) ("@ERRANDS" . ?e)))
You can also set this on a per-file basis by adding the following line to the beginning of your file:
#+TAGS: URGENT(u) @PHONE(p) @ERRANDS(e)
You can then use these C-c C-c (org-ctrl-c-ctrl-c) to enter these single-key shortcuts, ending it with RET. If you are assigning a single tag, type C-c C-c C-c (org-ctrl-c-ctrl-c, next change exits) to make it even faster by skipping the RET.
If you use single-key shortcuts, you'll need another way to enter tags that start with the shortcut key. You can type them in manually, or you can use C-c C-c (org-ctrl-c-ctrl-c) and type TAB to enter in any tag.
To remove a tag, you could use C-c C-c (org-ctrl-c-ctrl-c) again, or delete it manually. To remove all tags, use C-c C-c (org-ctrl-c-ctrl-c) and press SPC.
Viewing tagged items
Whether you want to view tagged headlines by themselves or in the context of your other headlines, tasks, and notes, Org has some nifty tagging features for you.
To view tagged headlines by themselves, use C-c a m (org-agenda, org-tags-view) and specify the search tag. For example, you can view your urgent tasks by specifying "URGENT". Note that this command displays the top headlines matching that tag, whether they're tasks or not. For example, if you searched for "WORK", you would just get the "* Work" headline. To view tagged tasks, use C-c a M (org-agenda, org-tags-view with a prefix argument). This shows only the tasks that have that tag.
To search for a combination of tags, you can combine tags like this:
[email protected] only your work phone calls [email protected] personal tasks, but without errands JOHN|MARY Anything tagged with "JOHN" or "MARY" For example, if you're going to have a meeting with both of them
If you check certain lists often, you might want to create a custom agenda command for them. In the section on Projects, you configured custom agenda commands for active and inactive projects by adding the following code in your ~/.emacs:
(setq org-agenda-custom-commands '(("p" tags "PROJECT-MAYBE-DONE" nil) ("m" tags "PROJECT&MAYBE" nil) ("a" "My agenda" ((org-agenda-list) (tags "PROJECT-MAYBE-DONE"))) ;; ... put your other custom commands here ))
You can use the same idea to create quick custom views for your other tagged tasks. For example, to create custom views for your urgent work tasks and your phone calls, modify the org-agenda-custom-commands setting in your ~/.emacs to be like this:
(setq org-agenda-custom-commands '(("u" todo "WORK&URGENT" nil) ;; (1) ("c" todo "[email protected]" nil) ;; (2) ("h" todo "[email protected]" nil) ;; (3) ("p" tags "PROJECT-MAYBE-DONE" nil) ;; (4) ("m" tags "PROJECT&MAYBE" nil) ("a" "My agenda" ((org-agenda-list) (tags-todo "URGENT") ;; (5) (tags "PROJECT-MAYBE-DONE"))) ;; (6) ;; ... put your other custom commands here ))
- (1) "u" is for "urgent", "todo" specifies that TODO headlines are to be shown, "WORK&URGENT" is the query string, and the last item means that there aren't any options
- (2) "c" is for "call"
- (3) "h" is for "home"
- (4) The second item here is "tags" instead of "todo", which means that the highest-level matching headlines should be shown whether or not they're tasks.
- (5) This is how to add a tag search for tasks into a custom agenda command.
- (6) This is how to add a tag search for headlines into a custom agenda command.
Sometimes you'll want to see more context instead of just a list of headlines. You can jump from your Org agenda to the corresponding headline by pressing RET (org-agenda-switch-to) on the entry. You can also quickly browse through the headlines in another window by pressing f (org-agenda-follow-mode) while in the Org agenda view, then moving your point to the different lines. These commands work with the summary in the Org agenda view.
If you want to show only matching headlines in your ~/organizer.org file, you can use Org's sparse tree search commands.
In your agenda file
A sparse tree shows only the matching headlines in the context of the headlines above them. This is useful when you want to see your tasks within your outline structure. All other headlines are collapsed so that they're easy to skip. To do a sparse tree search, type C-c \ (org-tags-sparse-tree). You can then expand and collapse subtrees with the TAB (org-cycle) command. To limit the search to only task headlines, type C-u C-c \ (org-tags-sparse-tree with a prefix).
Other cool things you can do with tags
And if you ever want to know how much time you spent on urgent tasks, you can call the following function from your organizer.org file with:
M-x wicked/org-calculate-tag-time RET URGENT RET
to see something like this:
Time: 98:44 (98 hours and 44 minutes)
You can call it with a prefix in order to be prompted for a start time (inclusive) and end time (exclusive).
Here's the code to add to your ~/.emacs:
(defun wicked/org-calculate-tag-time (matcher &optional ts te) "Return the total minutes clocked in headlines matching MATCHER. MATCHER is a string or a Lisp form to be evaluated, testing if a given set of tags qualifies a headline for inclusion. TS and TE are time start (inclusive) and time end (exclusive). Call with a prefix to be prompted for TS and TE. For example, to see how much time you spent on tasks tagged as URGENT, call M-x wicked/org-calculate-tag-time RET URGENT RET. To see how much time you spent on tasks tagged as URGENT today, call C-u M-x wicked/org-calculate-tag-time RET URGENT RET . RET +1 RET." (interactive (list (read-string "Tag query: ") (if current-prefix-arg (org-read-date)) (if current-prefix-arg (org-read-date)))) ;; Convert strings to proper arguments (if (stringp matcher) (setq matcher (cdr (org-make-tags-matcher matcher)))) (if (stringp ts) (setq ts (time-to-seconds (apply 'encode-time (org-parse-time-string ts))))) (if (stringp te) (setq te (time-to-seconds (apply 'encode-time (org-parse-time-string te))))) (let* ((re (concat "[\n\r]" outline-regexp " *\\(\\<\\(" (mapconcat 'regexp-quote org-todo-keywords-1 "\\|") (org-re "\\>\\)\\)? *\\(.*?\\)\\(:[[:alnum:]_@:]+:\\)?[ \t]*$"))) (case-fold-search nil) lspos tags tags-list tags-alist (llast 0) rtn level category i txt p marker entry priority (total 0)) (save-excursion (org-clock-sum ts te) (goto-char (point-min)) (while (re-search-forward re nil t) (catch :skip (setq tags (if (match-end 4) (match-string 4))) (goto-char (setq lspos (1+ (match-beginning 0)))) (setq level (org-reduced-level (funcall outline-level)) category (org-get-category)) (setq i llast llast level) ;; remove tag lists from same and sublevels (while (>= i level) (when (setq entry (assoc i tags-alist)) (setq tags-alist (delete entry tags-alist))) (setq i (1- i))) ;; add the nex tags (when tags (setq tags (mapcar 'downcase (org-split-string tags ":")) tags-alist (cons (cons level tags) tags-alist))) ;; compile tags for current headline (setq tags-list (if org-use-tag-inheritance (apply 'append (mapcar 'cdr tags-alist)) tags)) (when (and (eval matcher) (or (not org-agenda-skip-archived-trees) (not (member org-archive-tag tags-list)))) ;; Get the time for the headline at point (goto-char (line-beginning-position)) (setq total (+ total (or (get-text-property (1+ (point)) :org-clock-minutes) 0))) ;; if we are to skip sublevels, jump to end of subtree (org-end-of-subtree t))))) (if (interactive-p) (let* ((h (/ total 60)) (m (- total (* 60 h)))) (message "Time: %d:%02d (%d hours and %d minutes)" h m h m))) total))
Now you can slice and dice your timeclock records any way you want, thanks to tags!
Random Emacs symbol: cc-imenu-java-generic-expression - Variable: Imenu generic expression for Java mode. See `imenu-generic-expression'.
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