For a year or so I've used Bernt Hansen's good org-mode workflow and init file, with a couple small adaptations. http://doc.norang.ca/org-mode.html

I'm almost done setting up org-mode on a new computer (new job) but I can't get refile working properly.

From the agenda, when I use C-c C-w for single refile or m B r for bulk refile, I get the Refile to: prompt as expected. But there are no target options displayed.

On my previous computer, I had a nice list of target locations to select from (similar in look+functionality to C-x b, but the Refile to: list also included headlines ... I'm not sure what this is called ... IDO?). I would like to have this functionality again.

This part of init.el looks correct:

; Targets include this file and any file contributing to the agenda - up to 9 levels deep
(setq org-refile-targets (quote ((nil :maxlevel . 9)
                                 (org-agenda-files :maxlevel . 9))))

and IDO is turned on:

; Use IDO for both buffer and file completion and ido-everywhere to t
(setq org-completion-use-ido t)
(setq ido-everywhere t)
(setq ido-max-directory-size 100000)
(ido-mode (quote both))
; Use the current window when visiting files and buffers with ido
(setq ido-default-file-method 'selected-window)
(setq ido-default-buffer-method 'selected-window)
; Use the current window for indirect buffer display
(setq org-indirect-buffer-display 'current-window)

Where can I look next to troubleshoot this?


See section 7.1 ("Refile Setup") of the source cited by the original poster.

One option would be to enable ido-mode and set the variable org-completion-use-ido to t.

Another option would be to use the tab key to open up the completions buffer.

Another option would be to use the up/down arrow keys to navigate potential completions in the mini-buffer.

  • Thanks @lawlist. ido-mode is already on with the variable you mention set to true. I added that part of my init to the question above. – andytilia Jan 16 '17 at 20:14
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    I recommend recursively bisecting your user-configuration file to find the problem, because this answer works with emacs -q. I can open Emacs 25.1 with no user-configuration, go to the *scratch* buffer, save it as a file to the desktop such as foo.org, create three simple headings at the first level, evaluate (setq org-completion-use-ido t) and type M-x ido-mode, and then place my cursor on any of the headings and type M-x org-refile, and I am presented with ido-style choices. – lawlist Jan 16 '17 at 21:06
  • Thanks @lawlist. I tried recursively bisecting my init but there were too many dependencies (ie. I needed agenda to test refile, etc). More importantly I learned that my init contained too much that I didn't understand. So I started over and rebuilt my init, following a "literate programming" approach (sachachua.com/blog/2012/06/…). Now my refile+IDO works as expected, and more importantly I understand my init better. Thanks for your help. – andytilia Jan 22 '17 at 14:35

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