Org-Mode and MobileOrg Installation and Config



Throughout the years, I’ve flipped back and forth between Org-Mode and applications such as Drafts (iOS), Evernote, Simplenote, and even plain ol’ text files (with the Notational Velocity and nValt) for my most basic note-taking needs; however, I’ve always found myself coming back to Org-Mode in the end for another spin around the block. The one positive thing that kept me coming back to Org-Mode, and perhaps the same thing that Emacs is often criticized for, is the fact that it has a lot of functionality under the hood - almost too much. Org-Mode is a very feature-rich application. For my basic needs, I use Org-Mode primiarly for three things:

  • Basic note-taking and outlines
  • TODO lists
  • Tracking and clocking time

Here Comes MobileOrg

When I first learned about MobileOrg, I was really stoked that I would be able to record notes, update TODO statuses, and even just view my org files on the go. Unfortunatley, I found that the basic setup instructions on their website left a few minor things out for someone new to MobileOrg, and this is my attempt to supplement that to help others with the same issues I faced with setup.

Org-Mode Configuration

First off, it should be noted that I’m using Emacs 24 with Org-Mode already baked in. If you’re using an earlier version of Emacs that doesn’t have Org-Mode by default, please install it according to your own preference (which we won’t get into here since there are a few different ways to install Org-Mode).

My root directory for all of my org files is kept in Dropbox in a directory called org:


I’ve found that this setup fits my workflow best since I also work off a second laptop at times and would like all my org files to be synced across all machines with as little effort as possible.

MobileOrg Setup

Next, install MobileOrg from the App Store. I chose the path of least resistance and decided to use Dropbox as the source for server config, so when you first open the application, click on the Dropbox option, click to link account, and allow authentication with Dropbox to proceed. It should have created a new directory for you under:


Emacs Configuration for MobileOrg

You will need a few more lines of code to get this all working with your local org files and MobileOrg. This is my basic config based on the two main directories above that will need to go in your Emacs config:

;; mobileorg settings
(setq org-directory "~/Dropbox/org")
(setq org-mobile-inbox-for-pull "~/Dropbox/org/")
(setq org-mobile-directory "~/Dropbox/Apps/MobileOrg")
(setq org-mobile-files '("~/Dropbox/org"))

Finally, from within Emacs - edit any org file located in ~/Dropbox/org/ and save those changes. Then send these changes to MobileOrg to sync up:

M-x org-mobile-push

With any luck, you should be able to go back to MobileOrg on your mobile device and click the refresh button to see your org file(s) all there.

Happy hacking!