I am trying to debug a function called when hovering with the mouse over an org link. For example, I instrumented bibtex-completion-apa-get-value with edebug-defun. However, when I hover over an org-ref's citation link, the help echo appears (showing the entry produced using bibtex-completion-apa-get-value) without going into an edebug session. So, how can I debug what's going on when I hover over an org link?

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    I would examine the text properties underneath -- (text-properties-at (point)) and/or set the point and then C-u C-x = -- and see what makes the link tick, and then move forwards with debugging from there. I don't use edebug, so I have no suggestion on using that utility.
    – lawlist
    Jul 12, 2017 at 14:06

1 Answer 1


I just found a solution to something like this. It appears to me the help-echo function call is somehow shrouded so edebug does not get to it. The trick is to call the help-echo function while point is on the link in a regular (i.e. interactive) way so it does trigger edebug things.

The help-echo function on cite links is defined by a lambda function. It isn't a big deal in the end, we can get the lambda function from a text property at point, and then call it with the help-echo arguments. So, define this interactive function:

(defun orc ()
   (get-text-property (point) 'help-echo) nil nil (point)))

instrument the function you want to look at. Then put point on the link, and run M-x orc. That should trigger an edebug on your instrumented function so you can trace through it.

This worked for me. Hopefully it will help you too.

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