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Outshine attempts to bring the look and feel of Org Mode to the world outside of the Org major-mode. It’s an extension of outline-minor-mode that should act as a replacement of Outline Mode. Just change all your calls to outline-minor-mode into outshine-mode.



Simply install the outshine package from MELPA.


Installing directly with Quelpa into your Emacs config is also very easy:

  1. Install quelpa-use-package (which can be installed directly from MELPA).
  2. Add this form to your init file:
(use-package outshine
  :quelpa (outshine :fetcher github :repo "alphapapa/outshine"))

After installation, upgrading can be done through quelpa, e.g. with C-u M-x quelpa RET outshine RET.


Manual installation is not recommended because it’s difficult to keep up with changes. If you want to do this, you’ll have to install the elisp files and dependencies manually.


Keymap prefix

To enable the keybindings, you must set the variable outline-minor-mode-prefix (note the variable name carefully) before loading Outshine, e.g.:

(defvar outline-minor-mode-prefix "\M-#")


Activate outshine-mode in buffers in which you want to use it. You may add it to major mode hooks like so:

(add-hook 'emacs-lisp-mode-hook 'outshine-mode)


The extensions to outline-minor-mode aim to make its use similar to Org. Given a correctly structured outshine buffer, outline navigation, structure editing, and visibility cycling with outshine should make an Org user feel right at home.

Try C-h m (describe-mode) and C-h b (describe-bindings) in an outshine buffer to see the available functions and their keybindings.

Speed commands

The very useful Org speed commands are available in outshine. To activate them, customize the variable outshine-use-speed-commands. Call outshine-speed-command-help to get an overview of the commands and keybindings.

Terminal support

Emacs running on a terminal may have issues with M-up and M-down bindings. There used to be a hack in Outshine itself to get those to work, which was removed in

(define-key input-decode-map "\e\eOA" [(meta up)])
(define-key input-decode-map "\e\eOB" [(meta down)])

If you experience issues with Emacs not recognizing these bindings when running in a terminal, adding these two lines to your init.el may help. You may need to adapt the escape sequences depending on the emulator you use.


  • imenu is supported with the command outshine-imenu.
  • Show the number of hidden lines in folded headlines with the command outshine-show-hidden-lines-cookies.
  • latex-mode commands:
    • outshine-latex-insert-header
    • outshine-latex-insert-headers-in-buffer
    • outshine-TeX-command-region-on-subtree.




  • Add outshine-define-key macro for defining conditional key bindings (e.g. on headlines). Improves on previous outshine-define-key-with-fallback macro by interning a named function and matching the function signature of define-key.
  • Bind <backtab> to outshine-cycle-buffer on headlines


  • More fully override Imenu configuration when using outshine-imenu. (#93. Thanks to Dan Kessler.)


  • Declare outshine-define-key-with-fallback as obsolete, use outshine-define-key instead

3.0 and earlier

<2018-12-30 Su>Thibault Polge3.0
<2018-10-24 We>(Various contributors)2.1
<2014-09-20 Sa>Thorsten Jolitz2.0
<2013-05-03 Fr>Thorsten Jolitz1.0
<2013-02-20 Mi>Thorsten Jolitz0.9


Outshine was originally authored by Thorsten Jolitz, based on outline-magic by Carsten Dominik (the creator of Org Mode) and out-xtra by Per Abrahamsen. Maintainership was transferred to Adam Porter in 2017. It was refactored to a minor mode and released as 3.0 by Thibault Polge in 2018.






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