I want to specify a default output file for all my tangle exports. I'm using Org mode 8.x. (For Org mode ≥9.0, see How to tangle all code blocks to a common file)

This works:

#+BEGIN_SRC js :tangle "../js/out_file.js"
console.log("hello from org mode");
#+BEGIN_SRC js :tangle "../js/out_file.js"
console.log("hello from org mode 2");

However, I don't want to keep repeating "../js/out_file.js" on each block.

I've looked at these following two links, which seem to be asking essentially the same question:

link 1

link 2

However, none of the recommendations work: If I just have a SRC block with no tangle arg, I get either "Tangled 0 code blocks from dummy.org" or "Wrote ./org/dummy.org" (which is the default file name)

Here's my final code. Currently, all the methods are uncommented, so it's possible they are interfering with each other, but I have tried each method in isolation to the same effect:

* Header

# method 1
:tangle: "../out_file.js"

# method 2
#+TANGLE: "../js/out_file.js"

# method 3
#+BABEL: :tangle "../js/out_file.js" 

# method 4
#+PROPERTY: header-args+ :tangle  "../js/out_file.js" 

# method 5
#+PROPERTY: header-args :session *my_js_session* :results silent :tangle "../js/out_file.js" 

** some js source
console.log("hello from org mode");
console.log("hello from org mode 2");

Can anyone see what I'm doing wrong?

Do I have to somehow evaluate the properties before they take effect?

Are there any org commands I can issue to verify if the properties are properly set?

  • You've misspelled your first example, perhaps that it. I'm using a similiar method for my init.org, with :header-args:emacs-lisp: :tangle ../.emacs instead of :tangle:.
    – wasamasa
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 9:04
  • Use #+PROPERTY: tangle "~/.path/file.js". Put the cursor on it and C-c C-c it should give you Local setup has been refreshed message in minibuffer. Tangle a file with C-c C-v t (org-babel-tangle). It works for sure, because that is how I generate my dotfiles ;)
    – kmicu
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 17:06
  • Bingo. That's it. Thanks for mentioning the "C-c C-c" part. That might have been the part I was missing all along. Thank you so much.
    – vt5491
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 1:40
  • Possible duplicate of How to tangle all code blocks to a common file
    – mankoff
    Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 5:52
  • @mankoff Not everyone is using the latest version, so this question is still relevant. It just needs to be clarified so people know which version it applies to. Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 20:36

1 Answer 1


To set ‘tangle file’ globally we should use #+PROPERTY: tangle "~/.path/to/file.extension".

Unfortunatelly, that change is not enough; we need to trigger a refresh. We put cursor on that line and press C-c C-c which gives Local setup has been refreshed message in a minibuffer (or in *Messages* buffer). We could also reopen file which applies new settings. C-c C-c is a binding for org-ctrl-c-ctrl-c — a ‘swiss knife’ org-mode function which

If the cursor is in one of the special #+KEYWORD lines, this triggers scanning the buffer for these lines and updating the information.

Now, when our changes are ready we can C-c C-v t (or C-c C-v C-t; or M-x org-babel-tangle) to tangle our file.

We can read more about specifying header arguments (not only at global level) at org manual page.

  • 10
    Note it does not work in org-mode v9 any more. Now it is #+PROPERTY: header-args :tangle "~/file/path"
    – RNA
    Commented Mar 3, 2017 at 1:10

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