Org-remark User Manual

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Org-remark User Manual

This manual is for Org-remark version 1.3.x. The new features introduced with version 1.3.x are currently only available GNU-devel ELPA until the new version is released to GNU-ELPA.

Last updated: 01 February 2024.

Org-remark lets you highlight and annotate text files, websites (EWW), EPUB books (nov.el) and Info documentation (Info-mode).

Copyright © 2021-2023 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with the Front-Cover Texts being “A GNU Manual,” and with the Back-Cover Texts as in (a) below. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled “GNU Free Documentation License.”

(a) The FSF’s Back-Cover Text is: “You have the freedom to copy and modify this GNU manual.”

1 Installation

This package is available on:

GNU ELPA should be already set up in your Emacs by default. If you wish to add GNU-devel ELPA, simply add its URL to package-archives like this:

(add-to-list 'package-archives
             '("gnu-devel" . "") :append)

1.1 Basic Setup

After installation, we suggest you put the setup below in your configuration.

(org-remark-global-tracking-mode +1)

;; Optional if you would like to highlight websites via eww-mode
(with-eval-after-load 'eww
  (org-remark-eww-mode +1))

;; Optional if you would like to highlight EPUB books via nov.el
(with-eval-after-load 'nov
  (org-remark-nov-mode +1))

;; Optional if you would like to highlight Info documentation via Info-mode
(with-eval-after-load 'info
  (org-remark-info-mode +1))

org-remark-global-tracking-mode automatically turns on org-remark-mode when you open a file, website via EWW, EPUB book via nov.el, or other supported buffer that has a marginal notes file associated with it. This is useful to keep the location of your highlights correct across Emacs sessions after you shutdown Emacs.

Unless you explicitly load org during Emacs initialization, we suggest to defer loading org-remark (thus there is no (require 'org-remark) in the example above). This is because it will also pull in org, which can slow down initialization. You can control the timing of loading org-remark by autoloading some commands in a similar way with the example keybindings below.

Below are example keybindings you might like to consider:

;; Key-bind `org-remark-mark' to global-map so that you can call it
;; globally before the library is loaded.

(define-key global-map (kbd "C-c n m") #'org-remark-mark)
(define-key global-map (kbd "C-c n l") #'org-remark-mark-line) ; new in v1.3

;; The rest of keybidings are done only on loading `org-remark'
(with-eval-after-load 'org-remark
  (define-key org-remark-mode-map (kbd "C-c n o") #'org-remark-open)
  (define-key org-remark-mode-map (kbd "C-c n ]") #'org-remark-view-next)
  (define-key org-remark-mode-map (kbd "C-c n [") #'org-remark-view-prev)
  (define-key org-remark-mode-map (kbd "C-c n r") #'org-remark-remove)
  (define-key org-remark-mode-map (kbd "C-c n d") #'org-remark-delete))

Previous: , Up: Installation   [Index]

1.2 Setup with use-package

Alternatively, you can use use-package to set up Org-remark. The example provided below should be equivalent to the setup described above.

(use-package org-remark
  :bind (;; :bind keyword also implicitly defers org-remark itself.
         ;; Keybindings before :map is set for global-map.
         ("C-c n m" . org-remark-mark)
         ("C-c n l" . org-remark-mark-line) ; new in v1.3
         :map org-remark-mode-map
         ("C-c n o" . org-remark-open)
         ("C-c n ]" . org-remark-view-next)
         ("C-c n [" . org-remark-view-prev)
         ("C-c n r" . org-remark-remove)
         ("C-c n d" . org-remark-delete))
  ;; Alternative way to enable `org-remark-global-tracking-mode' in
  ;; `after-init-hook'.
  ;; :hook (after-init . org-remark-global-tracking-mode)
  ;; It is recommended that `org-remark-global-tracking-mode' be
  ;; enabled when Emacs initializes. Alternatively, you can put it to
  ;; `after-init-hook' as in the comment above
  (org-remark-global-tracking-mode +1)
  (use-package org-remark-info :after info :config (org-remark-info-mode +1))
  (use-package org-remark-eww  :after eww  :config (org-remark-eww-mode +1))
  (use-package org-remark-nov  :after nov  :config (org-remark-nov-mode +1)))

2 Getting Started

2.1 Highlighting and Annotating

Once you have installed and set it up (Installation), Org-remark is simple to use. Select a part of text and call M-x org-remark-mark to highlight it. You will see the selected text gets highlighted. This is a range-highlight. With the new version 1.3, you can also highlight a whole line in addition to a range of text by calling org-remark-mark-line. Visually, instead of adding a highlight to the line, it will add a mark on the margin of the buffer (the left margin is the default and you can customize it with org-remark-line-margin-side). This is a line-highlight. Both the range- and line-highlights behave the same way except for how they appear in the buffer you are editing or viewing. You can mix them in the same buffer as you see fit for your purposes.

The menu bar item “Org-remark” is available when you turn on org-remark-mode. It helps you discover Org-remark’s main commands. If you use Emacs version 28 or newer, a context menu is also available by right-clicking your mouse. Turn on the Emacs built-in context-menu-mode to enable the context menu.

To display the marginal notes for the highlight you have just marked, place your cursor on the highlight and call M-x org-remark-open or M-x org-remark-view. This will create a new buffer to the left of the current buffer you are editing. You can customize where the marginal notes buffer is to be placed (see the documentation of customizing variable org-remark-notes-display-buffer-action).

The open command takes the cursor to the marginal notes buffer for you to edit notes; the view command keeps the cursor in the current buffer only to display the marginal notes. Both commands narrow the marginal notes file to the entry for the highlight under the cursor. The marginal notes file is a normal Org file. Edit your notes just as you would do with any other Org files and save the buffer.

2.3 Create Your Own Highlighter Pens

Org-remark has a default highlighter pen function, and comes with a set of two additional pens by default:


default highlighter pen


default line-highlighter pen, which adds a mark on the margin instead of a range of text


yellow highlight with “important” category in the marginal notes entry


wavy red underline with “review” category in the marginal notes entry and “Review this” in tool-tips

Org-remark lets you create your own custom pen functions with org-remark-create. Use the yellow and red line pens as examples, and create your own. For how to do it, How to Create Custom Highlighter Pens.

This is all you need to get started. For more detail, refer to the rest of this user manual, especially Usage and Customizing sections. There is more to the commands introduced in this section and more ways in which you can customize Org-remark.

2.4 Highlight and Annotate Websites

org-remark-eww-mode lets you highlight and annotate websites just like text files. It is a global minor mode. It does not require any additional configuration. All you need is to turn it on, visit a website with eww-mode, and select text and highlight it. Refer to the example of a basic setup given in Installation. Org-remark can attempt to automatically adjust the position of highlights when a websites get edited. Lear more about the feature in What is Automatic Adjustment of Highlight Positions?

2.5 Highlight and Annotate EPUB Books

org-remark-nov-mode lets you highlight and annotate EPUB books just like text files. It is a global minor mode. It does not require any additional configuration. All you need is to turn it on, open a EPUB book with nov-mode, and select text and highlight it. Refer to the example of a basic setup given in Installation. If you read books with tables, it is useful to learn about the feature that automatically adjust the highlight positions: What is Automatic Adjustment of Highlight Positions?

2.6 Highlight and Annotate Info documentation in Info-mode

org-remark-info-mode lets you highlight and annotate Info documentation just like text files. It is a global minor mode. It does not require any additional configuration. All you need is to turn it on, open an Info node with Info-mode, and select text and highlight it. Refer to the example of a basic setup given in Installation.

3 Usage, Features, Concepts

3.1 How to Create Custom Highlighter Pens

org-remark-create is a macro that lets you create your own custom pen functions. Org-remark comes with two additional pens that are created by default. Use them as examples to learn how to create your own.

(org-remark-create "red-line"
                   '(:underline (:color "dark red" :style wave))
                   '(CATEGORY "review" help-echo "Review this"))
(org-remark-create "yellow"
                   '(:underline "gold" :background "lemon chiffon")
                   '(CATEGORY "important"))
Macro: org-remark-create label &optional face properties

Create and register new highlighter pen functions. The newly created pen function will be registered to variable org-remark-available-pens. It is used by org-remark-change as a selection list.

LABEL is the name of the highlighter and mandatory. The function will be named org-remark-mark-LABEL.

The highlighter pen function will apply FACE to the selected region. FACE can be an anonymous face. When FACE is nil, this macro uses the default face org-remark-highlighter.

PROPERTIES is a plist of pairs of a symbol and value. Each highlighted text region will have a corresponding Org headline in the notes file, and it can have additional properties in the property drawer from the highlighter pen. To do this, prefix property names with “‘org-remark-’” or use “‘CATEGORY’”.

As of version 1.3, you can use org-remark-create to create a new line-highlighter pen. Use the PROPERTIES parameter like the example below to specify org-remark-type to be line. This tells Org-remark to create a line-highlighter pen function instead of a default range-highlighter one. The LABEL does not need to include the string “line”, but it is recommended for consistency with the default command org-remark-mark-line.

;; This creates a custom command named org-remark-mark-line-alt with
;; face diff-hunk-header
(org-remark-create "line-alt"
                 '(org-remark-type line))

NOTE: Don’t use ‘category’ (all lowercase, symbol) as a property – it’s a special one for text properties. If you use it, the value also need to be a symbol; otherwise, you will get an error. You can use ‘CATEGORY’ (all uppercase, symbol), which will result in adding ‘CATEGORY’ with the value in the property drawer in marginal notes Org files.

3.2 How to Automatically Turn On Highlights after Re-starting Emacs

It is recommended that org-remark-global-tracking-mode be turned on as part of your Emacs initialization. This should be done before you start adding highlights in any file.

Once you have added highlights to some files, quit Emacs, and re-start it, active org-remark-global-tracking-mode will automatically turn on org-remark-mode and load the highlights from your previous sessions for the files being globally tracked.

Without this global minor mode, you would need to remember to activate org-remark-mode for each file where you add highlights and annotation. This is often unpractical.

3.3 How to Manage Marginal Notes

3.3.1 Marginal Notes File

When you mark a part of text with a highlighter pen function, Org-remark will automatically create a marginal notes file. By default, it will be named and created in the same directory as the file you are editing (How to Change Where Marginal Notes File is Saved ;Customizing, org-remark-notes-file-name).

The important thing to note is that Org-remark uses following properties in the property drawer of the headline to remember the highlights:

  • :org-remark-beg:
  • :org-remark-end:
  • :org-remark-id:
  • :org-remark-label:

Essentially, the marginal notes file is a database in the plain text with using Org mode. As a plain text database, you can easily edit these properties manually if necessary. You can directly edit the marginal notes file as a normal Org file.

The marginal notes file stores highlights and notes like this below; it is designed to organize highlights and notes for multiple files and multiple highlights (You are free to change the default headline titles Org-remark automatically inserts. Refer to section Organize Headlines in Marginal Notes Buffer in Your Way).

* File 1
** Highlight 1 in File 1
** Highlight 2 in File 1
* File 2
** Highlight 1 in File 2

You can leave the marginal notes file as it is without writing any notes. In this case, the entries in marginal notes file simply save the locations of your highlighted text. After you quit Emacs, re-start it, and visit the same source file, Org-remark uses this information to highlight the text again.

In addition to the properties above that Org-remark reserves for itself, you can add your own custom properties and CATEGORY property. Use “org-remark-” as the prefix to the property names (or “CATEGORY”, which is the only exception), and Org-remark put them to the property drawer of highlight’s headline entry in the marginal notes buffer. Define the custom properties in your own custom pen functions (for how to create your own pens, How to Create Custom Highlighter Pens).

3.3.2 Organize Headlines in Marginal Notes Buffer in Your Way

When you highlight a range of text or a line, Org-remark creates a corresponding headline in the marginal notes buffer with using Org mode. By default, the headline’s title is either the selected text for the range-highlight or the first 40 characters of the line for the line-highlight. For the latter, if the string is longer than the maximum characters, it will be truncated and replaced by an ellipsis “…”. Both the 40 character maximum length and the ellipsis can be customized with customizing variables org-remark-line-heading-title-max-length and org-remark-line-ellipsis respectively.

These are only default initial headline titles and you are free to change them as you see fit. For example, you may add a line-highlight to the line where you define a function in an Emacs Lisp script file. The initial title of the corresponding headline in the marginal notes buffer will be something like this below.

** (defun name-of-the-function (arg)...)
 I will revisit this function later.

It may make sense to change this to something like this, especially if you would prefer to organize marginal notes as TODO items so as to show the headlines in your agenda.

** TODO review name-of-the-function
 I will revisit this function later.

3.3.3 ‘*marginal-notes*’ Buffer

When you display the marginal notes with org-remark-view or org-remark-open for a given highlight, Org-remark creates a cloned indirect buffer visiting the marginal notes file. By default, it is a dedicated side-window opened to the left part of the current frame, and it is named ‘*marginal notes*’. You can change the behavior of display-buffer function and the name of the buffer (Customizing).

Org-remark displays the marginal notes buffer narrowed to the highlight the cursor is on.

After all the properties, you can freely write your notes for the highlight. Once you save the notes buffer, an excerpt of the text (currently up to 200 characters) gets updated back onto the highlight in the source buffer. You can hover your mouse over the highlight to see the excerpt displayed in the echo area (bottom of the screen) of Emacs. If you have tooltip-mode mode turned on, the excerpt is displayed as a took tip for the highlight.

3.3.4 How to Change Where Marginal Notes File is Saved

The location of the marginal notes file is specified by user option org-remark-notes-file-name and its default is “”. This means the marginal notes file will reside in the same directory as the source files as a separate file.

If you use the customize command to customize org-remark-notes-file-name, you will have an option to choose a ‘File’ or ‘Function’ (customization group org-remark). The default is ‘File’ with the default “” as noted above. Use a string to specify the single file name; you can specify a relative path like the default or an absolute path.

If you would like to dynamically change the location based on the file and various different conditions, select the function as an option. The default function is org-remark-notes-file-name-function. It adds ‘’ as a suffix to the source file’s name without the extension. For example, for a file named ‘my-source-file.txt’, Org-remark will store highlights in ‘’. You can create your own function and use it.

Some examples and use cases are listed below:

Store Marginal Notes in the Source File

In order to use the source file also as the marginal notes file (storing the notes in the source file), you can set the built-in function buffer-file-name as the value of org-remark-notes-file-name. Note that you will need to ensure that the source files are an Org file.

Create a marginal notes file for each source file and store all of them in a specific location

Create a custom function that returns an absolute file name per source file, and set org-remark-notes-file-name to the function name. It might look like this:

(defun my/function ()
  (concat "~/path/to/note-files/"
          (file-name-base (org-remark-notes-file-name-function))

(setq org-remark-notes-file-name

3.4 How to Remove and Delete Highlights

You can remove the highlight under the cursor with command org-remark-remove. This command does not delete the corresponding entry in the marginal notes file. This is intentional; Org-remark is conservative when it deletes anything that the user might have edited.

If you wish to delete the entry and the highlight at the same time, pass a universal argument to ‘org-remark-remove‘ (e.g. by adding C-u before M-x org-remark-remove) or use org-remark-delete. org-remark-delete is identical with adding C-u to org-remark-remove.

The delete function will prompt for confirmation if it detects any notes present in the corresponding entry for the highlight in question in the marginal notes buffer.

NOTE: Note that you can undo the deletion or removal in the marginal notes buffer – not in the source buffer where you mark text with a highlighter. Technically, highlights are overlays and are therefore not part of the undo tree in the source buffer.

As of version 1.3, you can use a new optional feature, automatic deletion. When the feature is enabled, Org-remark will automatically delete the highlight’s headline when you delete text that includes a highlight, provided there is no marginal notes for it. If marginal notes are present for the highlight’s headline, Org-remark only removes the highlight, deleting the properties from the highlight headline – same operation as org-remark-remove. Your marginal notes will be kept intact. In either case, Org-remark does not ask for your confirmation.

You can enable it with the new user option org-remark-notes-auto-delete like this example below.

(setopt org-remark-notes-auto-delete :auto-delete)

Furthermore, with v1.3, if you pass a universal argument to org-remark-delete (e.g. C-u M-x org-remark-delete) you can manually get Org-remark to do automatic deletion for the highlight at point. You can also pass double universal arguments to org-remark-remove (e.g. C-u C-u M-x org-remark-remove) for the same operation. This should make sense because passing a single universal argument to org-remark-remove is the same as org-remark-delete. Refer to the documentation of the customizing variable org-remark-notes-auto-delete, the functions org-remark-remove and org-remark-delete.

3.5 What is Automatic Adjustment of Highlight Positions?

Org-remark by default attempts to automatically adjust the position of highlights when they are loaded. This is useful especially for EPUB books read by nov.el. It renders tables in different sizes depending on the available space of the window to maximize their readability.

This is a good feature for reading; however, it also changes the positions of subsequent text elements depending on the window size when the page is rendered. It can result in dislocating the positions of highlights, different from they are originally created.

Org-remark attempts to automatically corrects the highlights dislocated. This is a general feature so Org-remark attempts to correct minor edits to websites (for EWW).

More technically, it works as follows.

  1. When you create a new highlight, Org-remark records the original text highlighted in the Org property named “org-remark-original-text”.
  2. Next time when you open a new file (EPUB book as an example), Org-remark loads the highlights from the notes Org buffer.
  3. For each highlight, it compares the currently highlighted text with the value of org-remark-original-text property.
  4. If they are the same, Org-remark does nothing.
  5. If different, Org-remark by default looks for the same text string +- two paragraphs. When it finds the first matching text string, it automatically moves the highlight to the matched text string.
  6. Org-remark adds an icon to the auto-adjusted highlight to make it clear that the position of highlight has been adjusted.
  7. This adjustment is temporary. If you prefer to change the position permanently, you can do so by manually changing the org-remark-beg and org-remark-end properties in the notes buffer and save. You can also choose to alter the value of org-remark-original-text if you have adjusted the range of highlighted text.

You can customize the icon itself and its face with the following customizing variables:

  • Option: org-remark-icon-position-adjusted
  • Face: org-remark-highlighter-warning

3.6 How to Set Org-remark to Use SVG Icons

As of v1.2, highlights can display an icon. With this option, you can customize Org-remark to visually indicate that marginal notes exist for them instead of the default ASCII string “(*)”, or to indicate that the Org-remark has automatically adjusted the highlight position (default ASCII string “(d)”; refer to What is Automatic Adjustment of Highlight Positions?).

There are mainly two ways to set up SVG icons.

  1. Use the new built-in ‘icons‘ library available as of Emacs version 29.1
  2. Create a custom function and use a third-party library such as svg-lib by Nicolas Rougier

Below is a quick guide on the first option to use the built-in library

  1. Get or create an SVG icon
  2. Put the downloaded SVG file somewhere in your local
  3. Use define-icon macro to create an icon with the SVG file

First, create or download an icon as an .svg file. For example, Boxicons has a collection of SVG icons, which are provided under The MIT License. Second, place the SVG file in your local directory, e.g. ~/.config/emacs/.cache/svg/bx-pen.svg. And finally, use define-icon to define the icon in your configuration like this example below.

(define-icon annotation nil
'((image "~/.config/emacs/.cache/svg/bx-pen.svg"
         :height (0.8 . em)))
"Notes svg icon for Org-remark"
:version 29.1)

Now the icon has been defined, you can set it to customizing variable org-remark-icon-notes like so:

;; This example uses `setopt' that is made available as of 29.1. `setq' works too.
(setopt org-remark-icon-notes (icon-string 'annotation))

If you have a buffer with highlights already open, use revert-buffer to reload the highlights. You should see the icon you have defined instead of the default “(*)” string.

3.7 Other Commands

Command org-remark-toggle

Toggle showing/hiding of highlights in current buffer. If you would like to hide/show the highlights in the current buffer, it is recommended to use this command instead of org-remark-mode. This command only affects the display of the highlights and their locations are still kept tracked. Toggling off org-remark-mode stops this tracking completely, which will likely result in inconsistency between the marginal notes file and the current source buffer.

Command org-remark-change

Change the highlight at point to one by another pen. This command will show you a list of available pens to choose from.

To navigate through highlights in the current buffer, you can use org-remark-view-next / org-remark-view-prev or the following pair of commands. The former moves your cursor and displays the marginal notes buffer; the latter only moves your cursor.

Command org-remark-next

Move to the next highlight, if any. If there is none below the point but there is a highlight in the buffer, cycle back to the first one. After the point has moved to the next highlight, this command lets you move further by re-entering only the last letter like this example: ‘C-n ] ] ] ] ]’ (assuming this command is bound to C-n ])

Command org-remark-prev

Move to the previous highlight, if any.

4 Customizing

Org-remark’s user options are available in the customization group org-remark.

Face: org-remark-highlighter

Default face for org-remark-mark

Option: org-remark-create-default-pen-set

When non-nil, Org-remark creates default pen set. Set to nil if you prefer for it not to.

Option: org-remark-notes-file-name

Name of the file where we store highlights and marginal notes. It can be either a string or function. If it is a string, it should be a file name to the marginal notes file. The default is ‘’. The default will result in one marginal notes file per directory. Ensure that it is an Org file. If it is a function, the default function is org-remark-notes-file-name-function. It returns a file name like this: ‘’ by adding ‘’ as a suffix to the file name without the extension.

Option: org-remark-notes-display-buffer-action

Buffer display action that Org-remark uses to open marginal notes buffer.

Option: org-remark-notes-buffer-name

Buffer name of the marginal notes buffer. org-remark-open and org-remark-visit create an indirect clone buffer with this name.

Option: org-remark-source-file-name

Function that returns the file name to point back at the source file. The function is called with a single argument: the absolute file name of source file. The ‘default-directory’ is temporarily set to the directory where the marginal notes file resides. This means that when the ‘Relative file name’ option is selected, the source file name recorded in the marginal notes file will be relative to it.

Option: org-remark-use-org-id

When non-nil, Org-remark adds an Org-ID link to marginal notes. The link points at the relevant Org-ID in the source file. Org-remark does not create this ID, which needs to be added manually or some other function to either the headline or file.

Option: org-remark-icon-notes

It’s the icon used to indicate that a given highlight has its associated notes entry. The default is a combination of ASCII characters to be compatible with terminal and others. If it is preferred, you can set an emoji to it. The author has not experienced well with icon fonts and other means of displaying graphic elements. The face of the icon becomes the same as the highlight, thus it does not have its own face definition.

By setting it to nil, you can disable the icon altogether.

org-remark-toggle also toggles the icon along with the highlight

Option: org-remark-icon-position-adjusted : It’s the icon used to indicate that the position of a given highlight has been automatically adjusted by Org-remark. The default is a combination of ASCII characters to be compatible with terminal and others. If it is preferred, you can set an emoji to it. The author has not experienced well with icon fonts and other means of displaying graphic elements.

By setting it to nil, you can disable the icon altogether.

org-remark-toggle also toggles the icon along with the highlight

Face: org-remark-highlighter-warning

This face is used by the icon to indicate that the position of a given highlight has been adjusted. To know more about the feature itself, refer to What is Automatic Adjustment of Highlight Positions?.

Option: org-remark-open-hook

Hook run when a note buffer is opened/visited. It gets run with no additional argument but the current buffer will become the note buffer.

Option org-remark-highlights-after-load-functions

Abnormal hook run after Org-remark loads the highlights from the note org buffer. It is run with OVERLAYS and NOTES-BUF as arguments. OVERLAYS are highlights. It is run with the source buffer as current buffer. This hook is used by the automatic adjustment feature. To know more about the feature itself, refer to What is Automatic Adjustment of Highlight Positions?.

Up: Customizing   [Index]

4.1 Customizing Line Highlights

These are user options for line highlights available as of v1.3. They are listed in customizing group org-remark-line.

Face: org-remark-line-highlighter

Face for the default line highlighter pen.

Option: org-remark-line-icon

Glyph displayed on the margin to indicate the line-highlight. You can set an SVG icon to it. Refer to How to Set Org-remark to Use SVG Icons.

Option: org-remark-line-minimum-margin-width

Margin width in a natural number. It can be a single number or a cons cell of two. When it is a single number, both the left and right margin widths will be the

same. When this customizing variable is a cons cell, the format is as follows: (LEFT-MARGIN-WIDTH . RIGHT-MARGIN-WIDTH).

Option: org-remark-line-margin-padding

Padding between the main text area the glyph/icon on the margin.

Option: org-remark-line-margin-side

The side of margin to display line highlights.

Left or Right can be chosen.

Option: org-remark-line-heading-title-max-length

Maximum length of string included as the highlight title.

Option org-remark-line-ellipsis

Ellipsis used when the highlight title is longer than maximum.

The maximum is set in org-remark-line-heading-title-max-length.

Next: , Previous: , Up: Org-remark User Manual   [Index]

5 Known Limitations

No export together with the source file

There is no out-of-the-box feature to export marginal notes together with the source file. Nevertheless, the marginal notes is a normal Org file, thus if the source file is also an Org file, you could use the built-in ‘include’ feature, for example, to include relevant parts of the marginal notes into the export output.

Copy & pasting loses highlights

Overlays are not part of the kill; thus cannot be yanked.

Undo highlight does not undo it

Overlays are not part of the undo list; you cannot undo highlighting. Use org-remark-remove or org-remark-delete commands instead.

Moving source files and marginal notes files

Moving your files and remark file to another directory does not update the source paths and file names stored in the marginal notes file. One way to keep the links between the source files and marginal notes files is to use relative file names with org-remark-source-file-name (default).

With org-remark-eww-mode highlights can get displaced

This happens when the website is edited and its content changes outside Emacs – of course this is normal for websites. Currently there is no way to fix the location of highlights.

6 Credits

To create this package, I was inspired by the following packages. I did not copy any part of them, but borrowed some ideas from them – e.g. saving the margin notes in a separate file.


John Kitchin’s (author of Org-ref). Great UX for markers with hydra. Saves the marker info and comments directly within the Org file as Base64 encoded string. It uses overlays with using ov package.


Bastian Bechtold’s (author of Org-journal). Unique display of annotations right next to (or on top of) the text. It seems to be designed for very short annotations, and perhaps for code review (programming practice); I have seen recent issues reported when used with variable-pitch fonts (prose).


Part of Org’s contrib library. It seems to be designed to annotate a whole file in a separate Org file, rather than specific text items.

InPlaceAnnotations (ipa-mode)

It looks similar to Annotate.el above.

Transient navigation feature

To implement the transient navigation feature, I liberally copied the relevant code from a wonderful Emacs package, Binder by Paul W. Rankin (GitHub user rnkn).

7 Contributing & Feedback

Create issues, discussion, and/or pull requests in the GitHub repository. All welcome.

Org-remark is planned to be submitted to GNU ELPA and thus copyrighted by the Free Software Foundation (FSF). This means that anyone who is making a substantive code contribution will need to “assign the copyright for your contributions to the FSF so that they can be included in GNU Emacs” (Org Mode website).

Thank you.

Appendix A Index - Features

Jump to:   *  
C   E   H   L   M   O   R  
Index Entry  Section

*marginal notes* buffer: *marginal-notes*’ Buffer

Context menu: Navigating from One Highlight to Another
Custom highlighter pens: Create Your Own Highlighter Pens
Custom highlighter pens: How to Create Custom Highlighter Pens

Echo text / Tool tip on the Highlight: *marginal-notes*’ Buffer

Highlighting EPUB Books with nov.el: Highlight and Annotate EPUB Books
Highlighting Info documentation with Info-mode: Highlight and Annotate Info documentation in Info-mode
Highlighting websites with EWW: Highlight and Annotate Websites

line-highlight: Highlighting and Annotating

Marginal notes file: Highlighting and Annotating
Marginal notes file: Marginal Notes File
Menu in the menu bar: Navigating from One Highlight to Another

Org-remark automatically adjusts positions of highlights: What is Automatic Adjustment of Highlight Positions?
Org-remark properties for highlights: How to Create Custom Highlighter Pens
Org-remark properties for highlights: Marginal Notes File

range-highlight: Highlighting and Annotating
Relative or absolute file names pointing back at source files in marginal notes: How to Use Relative or Absolute File Names for Links in Marginal Notes File

Jump to:   *  
C   E   H   L   M   O   R  

Appendix B Index - Commands

Jump to:   O  
Index Entry  Section

org-remark-change: Other Commands
org-remark-create: How to Create Custom Highlighter Pens
org-remark-delete: How to Remove and Delete Highlights
org-remark-eww-mode: Highlight and Annotate Websites
org-remark-global-tracking-mode: How to Automatically Turn On Highlights after Re-starting Emacs
org-remark-info-mode: Highlight and Annotate Info documentation in Info-mode
org-remark-mark: Highlighting and Annotating
org-remark-mark: How to Create Custom Highlighter Pens
org-remark-mark-line: Highlighting and Annotating
org-remark-mark-red-line: How to Create Custom Highlighter Pens
org-remark-mark-yellow: How to Create Custom Highlighter Pens
org-remark-mode: How to Automatically Turn On Highlights after Re-starting Emacs
org-remark-next: Other Commands
org-remark-nov-mode: Highlight and Annotate EPUB Books
org-remark-open: Highlighting and Annotating
org-remark-prev: Other Commands
org-remark-remove: How to Remove and Delete Highlights
org-remark-toggle: Other Commands
org-remark-view: Highlighting and Annotating
org-remark-view-next: Navigating from One Highlight to Another
org-remark-view-prev: Navigating from One Highlight to Another

Jump to:   O  

Appendix C Index - User Options

Jump to:   O  
Index Entry  Section

org-remark-create-default-pen-set: Customizing
org-remark-highlighter: Customizing
org-remark-highlighter-warning: What is Automatic Adjustment of Highlight Positions?
org-remark-highlighter-warning: Customizing
org-remark-highlights-after-load-functions: Customizing
org-remark-icon-notes: Customizing
org-remark-icon-position-adjusted: What is Automatic Adjustment of Highlight Positions?
org-remark-icon-position-adjusted: Customizing
org-remark-line-ellipsis: Organize Headlines in Marginal Notes Buffer in Your Way
org-remark-line-ellipsis: Customizing Line Highlights
org-remark-line-heading-title-max-length: Organize Headlines in Marginal Notes Buffer in Your Way
org-remark-line-heading-title-max-length: Customizing Line Highlights
org-remark-line-highlighter: Customizing Line Highlights
org-remark-line-icon: Customizing Line Highlights
org-remark-line-margin-padding: Customizing Line Highlights
org-remark-line-margin-side: Highlighting and Annotating
org-remark-line-margin-side: Customizing Line Highlights
org-remark-line-minimum-margin-width: Customizing Line Highlights
org-remark-notes-auto-delete: How to Remove and Delete Highlights
org-remark-notes-buffer-name: Customizing
org-remark-notes-display-buffer-action: Highlighting and Annotating
org-remark-notes-display-buffer-action: Customizing
org-remark-notes-file-name: How to Change Where Marginal Notes File is Saved
org-remark-notes-file-name: Customizing
org-remark-open-hook: Customizing
org-remark-source-file-name: How to Use Relative or Absolute File Names for Links in Marginal Notes File
org-remark-source-file-name: Customizing
org-remark-use-org-id: Customizing

Jump to:   O  

Appendix D GNU Free Documentation License

Version 1.3, 3 November 2008
Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2008 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies
of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.

    The purpose of this License is to make a manual, textbook, or other functional and useful document free in the sense of freedom: to assure everyone the effective freedom to copy and redistribute it, with or without modifying it, either commercially or noncommercially. Secondarily, this License preserves for the author and publisher a way to get credit for their work, while not being considered responsible for modifications made by others.

    This License is a kind of “copyleft”, which means that derivative works of the document must themselves be free in the same sense. It complements the GNU General Public License, which is a copyleft license designed for free software.

    We have designed this License in order to use it for manuals for free software, because free software needs free documentation: a free program should come with manuals providing the same freedoms that the software does. But this License is not limited to software manuals; it can be used for any textual work, regardless of subject matter or whether it is published as a printed book. We recommend this License principally for works whose purpose is instruction or reference.


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ADDENDUM: How to use this License for your documents

To use this License in a document you have written, include a copy of the License in the document and put the following copyright and license notices just after the title page:

  Copyright (C)  year  your name.
  Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
  under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3
  or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation;
  with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover
  Texts.  A copy of the license is included in the section entitled ``GNU
  Free Documentation License''.

If you have Invariant Sections, Front-Cover Texts and Back-Cover Texts, replace the “with…Texts.” line with this:

    with the Invariant Sections being list their titles, with
    the Front-Cover Texts being list, and with the Back-Cover Texts
    being list.

If you have Invariant Sections without Cover Texts, or some other combination of the three, merge those two alternatives to suit the situation.

If your document contains nontrivial examples of program code, we recommend releasing these examples in parallel under your choice of free software license, such as the GNU General Public License, to permit their use in free software.