What is the meaning of the possible values for #+STARTUP?

  • Did you consult the documentation for this? If not, try looking in the Org manual (C-h i) for STARTUP. i #+STARTUP takes you to node In-buffer settings of the manual. And each individual one is indexed also - e.g., ‘showall’, STARTUP keyword. You can also use C-s STARTUP, repeating C-s, to search for STARTUP throughout the manual. If you find that the doc is incomplete, incorrect, or unclear, please consider filing a bug report: M-x report-emacs-bug.
    – Drew
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 3:34
  • 1
    Yes, I did, as it can be inferred from my answer. But since I had to consult 3 different places, I decided to create this question to give an answer in just 1 shot.
    – nephewtom
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 3:41
  • 1
    Good job. I didn't see your answer when I wrote the comment (I could see only the question while looking at the review queue for new questions). BTW, I submitted bug #24595 for the fact that this information is not indexed as well as it should be.
    – Drew
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 3:51

1 Answer 1


The Org-mode manual indicates these possible values for initial visibility:

#+STARTUP: overview
#+STARTUP: content
#+STARTUP: showall
#+STARTUP: show2levels
#+STARTUP: show3levels
#+STARTUP: show4levels
#+STARTUP: show5levels
#+STARTUP: showeverything

With the following meanings, according to the summary of in-buffer setting:

overview         top-level headlines only
content          all headlines
showall          no folding of any entries
showeverything   show even drawer contents

*Bonus*: the Elisp command `describe-variable`, shortcut `C-h v`, shows in the documentation for `org-startup-folded` variable, these two possible values:
#+STARTUP: fold              (or `overview', this is equivalent)
#+STARTUP: nofold            (or `showall', this is equivalent) 

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