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A Function to Get Org-Mode Contents Under a Heading

Ever wondered how to programatically get the direct contents under a heading in Emacs Org-mode? This Emacs Lisp function will do just that.

Today I’m sharing an interactive function I wrote as an exercise to extract just the inner text content of an Org-mode subtree, excluding the heading itself and any subheadings or their contents. The function adds it to the kill-ring (a.k.a. copies it to the clipboard) and returns it, but can easily be modified to do anything to the contents.

Take this org-mode example file:

* Heading 1
Some text for heading 1
** Subheading 1a
1a text should not be included for heading 1
* Heading 2
Some text for heading 2

If the point (a.k.a. cursor) is on Heading 1 or Some text for heading 1 then it should extract just Some text for heading 1. It should also work the same way for Heading 2.

However, It should only extract the text for Subheading 1a if the point is in or on Subheading 1a.

Here’s the function:

(defun my-org-copy-subtree-contents ()
  "Get the content text of the subtree at point and add it to the `kill-ring'.
Excludes the heading and any child subtrees."
  (if (org-before-first-heading-p)
      (message "Not in or on an org heading")
      ;; If inside heading contents, move the point back to the heading
      ;; otherwise `org-agenda-get-some-entry-text' won't work.
      (unless (org-on-heading-p) (org-previous-visible-heading 1))
      (let ((contents (substring-no-properties
        (message "Copied: %s" contents)
        (kill-new contents)))))