I am using Emacs 25.1 run with emacs -Q and Org mode version 8.2.10. This problem persists in my customized Emacs with Org mode version 8.3.6.

I am attempting to open hyperlinks of the form


using the external default pdf viewer, evince. When I create the above link, it turns into a blue, underlined documenterino. If I use C-c C-o, C-u C-c C-o, or C-u C-u C-c C-o on it, I get the same result every time: the pdf opens in a new docview buffer in emacs, when I want it to open outside emacs in evince.

I tried changing file: to file+sys:, and ~/documents/documenterino.pdf instead of documenterino.pdf, but there is no change.

LMouse, RMouse, and MMouse also open in doc-view regardless of changes.


2 Answers 2


I fixed the problem by using M-x customize-variable org-file-apps and adding a cons-cell with Extension: \.pdf\' and Command: evince %s at the top.

emacs customize screen

Oddly enough, links starting with file+sys: still open in emacs doc-view, while links starting with file: open in evince (regadless of absolute or relative path). But I don't care because there's no autocompletion for file+sys: anyway.


I added (add-to-list 'org-file-apps '("pdf" . "evince %s")) to my init-file. Now C-c C-o opens any PDF in evince and C-u C-u C-c C-o opens them in doc-view.

  • Same behaviour persists.
    – Zacatexas
    Oct 23, 2016 at 16:57
  • Have you evaluated the form with C-x C-e or restarted Emacs? Oct 23, 2016 at 17:15
  • Yes. I've seen this advice in a bunch of other places too, often it comes with a lot of backslashes and dots in various places (eg '("\\.pdf\\" . "evince \\%s\\"") . Never does anything, always defaults to doc-view. Even tried using this command in emacs -Q (after ('require org), since it won't run otherwise) and nothing changes.
    – Zacatexas
    Oct 23, 2016 at 17:27

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