My drawers don't seem to collapse with TAB. I've even tried the canonical example:

* This is a headline
  Still outside the drawer
  This is inside the drawer.
  After the drawer.

When I place the cursor on the line :DRAWERNAME: and hit TAB nothing happens:

enter image description here

Also, when I place the cursor on the headline and press TAB repeatedly, I cycle through the following two states:

enter image description here

... and:

enter image description here

In other words the entire headline appears collapsed but the drawer itself is never collapsed.

2 Answers 2


You need to tell org about any custom drawer names you want to use by customizing org-drawers:

org-drawers is a variable defined in org.el. Its value is ("PROPERTIES" "CLOCK" "LOGBOOK" "RESULTS")

Documentation: Names of drawers. Drawers are not opened by cycling on the headline above. Drawers only open with a TAB on the drawer line itself.

(blah blah blah)

The drawer "PROPERTIES" is special for capturing properties through the property API.

With the default, the :PROPERTIES: drawer will toggle, but the drawer :DRAWERNAME: will not. However, you can (add-to-list 'org-drawers "DRAWERNAME"), restart org-mode (M-x org-mode), and it will recognize the latter as well.

  • 2
    Newer org versions appear to have done away with org-drawers in favour of org-drawer-regexp. When I create a drawer named foobar, I can open and close it with the tab key just fine. (My org version is 8.3beta. I live dangerously and update it directly from the git repo at irregular intervals.) Sep 11, 2015 at 7:10
  • 1
    The org-mode 8.3 removed the need to specify custom drawers.
    – erikstokes
    Sep 11, 2015 at 14:04
  • @erikstokes and Harald -- great, I was working with 8.2. Perhaps one of you can add another answer to highlight the changes with the new version?
    – Dan
    Sep 11, 2015 at 14:06

As of org-mode version 8.3 this Just Works without needing to set anything.

Before you had to tell org-mode the names of your custom drawers (as per @Dan's answer) to make the work. The org-drawers variable and #+DRAWERS keyword are now obsolete.

  • Note: as of now, Emacs 25.1 is shipped with Org 8.2 built-in, but Org 8.3 can be installed from the gnu packages collection.
    – 9000
    Jun 20, 2017 at 15:02

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