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7.5.3 Capturing column view

Since column view is just an overlay over a buffer, it cannot be exported or printed directly. If you want to capture a column view, use a ‘columnview’ dynamic block (see Dynamic Blocks). The frame of this block looks like this:

* The column view
#+BEGIN: columnview :hlines 1 :id "label"


This dynamic block has the following parameters:


This is the most important parameter. Column view is a feature that is often localized to a certain (sub)tree, and the capture block might be at a different location in the file. To identify the tree whose view to capture, you can use four values:


Use the tree in which the capture block is located.


Make a global view, including all headings in the file.


Run column view at the top of the FILENAME file.


Call column view in the tree that has an ‘ID’ property with the value LABEL. You can use M-x org-id-copy to create a globally unique ID for the current entry and copy it to the kill-ring.


When set to a string, use this as a tags/property match filter to select only a subset of the headlines in the scope set by the :id parameter.


When t, insert an hline after every line. When a number N, insert an hline before each headline with level <= N.


When non-nil, force column groups to get vertical lines.


When set to a number, do not capture entries below this level.


When non-nil, skip rows where the only non-empty specifier of the column view is ‘ITEM’.


List of tags to exclude from column view table: entries with these tags will be excluded from the column view.


When non-nil, indent each ‘ITEM’ field according to its level.


Specify a column attribute (see Column attributes) for the dynamic block.

The following commands insert or update the dynamic block:


Insert a dynamic block capturing a column view. Prompt for the scope or ID of the view.

This command can be invoked by calling org-dynamic-block-insert-dblock (C-c C-x x) and selecting “columnview” (see Dynamic Blocks).

C-c C-c C-c C-x C-u (org-dblock-update)

Update dynamic block at point. point needs to be in the ‘#+BEGIN’ line of the dynamic block.

C-u C-c C-x C-u (org-update-all-dblocks)

Update all dynamic blocks (see Dynamic Blocks). This is useful if you have several clock table blocks, column-capturing blocks or other dynamic blocks in a buffer.

You can add formulas to the column view table and you may add plotting instructions in front of the table—these survive an update of the block. If there is a ‘TBLFM’ keyword after the table, the table is recalculated automatically after an update.

An alternative way to capture and process property values into a table is provided by Eric Schulte’s ‘org-collector.el’, which is a contributed package58. It provides a general API to collect properties from entries in a certain scope, and arbitrary Lisp expressions to process these values before inserting them into a table or a dynamic block.



Contributed packages are not part of Emacs, but are distributed with the main distribution of Org—visit

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