When opening .org files, Emacs asks for a master file.

Why is that and how can I disable this feature?

I guess it is because of using latex-related packages like ox-latex and ox-beamer.

Is there a way to make the master file for .org files latex mode-specific or switch it off completely?


  • If you post (here in your question) the exact message you see (e.g., in the *Messages* buffer), then even someone who is unfamiliar with the particular issue you are experiencing can easily do a word-search of the source files to help troubleshoot your issue. To enable broader debugging messages, you can use this: (setq debug-on-error t)
    – lawlist
    Oct 20, 2014 at 1:14
  • @lawlist It is not an error. It just says Master file : dirpath/filenames .... Then I do C-j to cancel this but it slows down loading of the file. It was not asking for this before.
    – Anusha
    Oct 20, 2014 at 1:28
  • Emacs.SE is still a very small beta site. I've migrated it there now as an exception but we typically do not do this.
    – slhck
    Nov 12, 2014 at 21:21
  • @slhck I thought of asking here only because it was not getting any answers on superuser. Thanks.
    – Anusha
    Nov 13, 2014 at 15:12

2 Answers 2


Use debug-on-message to see a stacktrace when this message appears.

— Variable: debug-on-message

If you set debug-on-message to a regular expression, Emacs will enter the debugger if it displays a matching message in the echo area. For example, this can be useful when trying to find the cause of a particular message.

Source: http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/manual/html_node/elisp/Error-Debugging.html

So, eval (setq debug-on-message "Master file") then open an org file. That should point you to why it happens. As for how to disable ... that might be worth a second question.

  • I have already asked it here and is the main purpose of asking the question as stated in the title.
    – Anusha
    Nov 13, 2014 at 7:16
  • There is no stacktrace when I add that to .emacs. Its not an error.
    – Anusha
    Nov 13, 2014 at 9:16
  • Hmm, maybe debug-on-message doesn't work on prompts. Good luck debugging that one! Nov 13, 2014 at 14:53
  • Could not find the function debug-on-message. Is it a built-of emacs or do it to install a specific package?
    – DJJ
    Sep 22, 2015 at 7:11

Got the same problem. For me it was the reftex that I added as a hook to my org-mode, and the error appeared as soon as I upgraded one of the repositories. You need to use the option:

    (setq TeX-master t).

If you don't know where to put it, have a look at the next link. http://draketo.de/english/emacs/writing-papers-in-org-mode-acpd#sec-2-1

  • Indeed the issue come from Auctex and not org-mode. I here is the auctex doc related to this issue
    – DJJ
    Sep 22, 2015 at 7:12

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