I am sure this is a trivial question, but I just started out and honestly can't solve it.

I have a plain org file. Where I created a couple of headlines, which I tagged. How do I list all headlines with a given tag? (org-tags-view) seems to be the right tool for that. But calling it with C-c a m does not work, because after the a it tells me that a is undefined.

Lets say I have a simple file: test.org

  • header1 :tag1
  • header2 :tag2
  • header3 :tag1

Now I want to retrieve header1 and header3 and maybe its content. And I thought I can do that by typing C-c a m and "tag1". But C-c a gives me "a is undefined"


1 Answer 1


C-c a is the agenda shortcut, try running it directly using org-agenda in the run menu. You can also filter by tag inside the agenda buffer using the / key. Have you added this org file into the agenda files?

https://orgmode.org/manual/Agenda-files.html check this out, manually is basically C-c [ in the org file buffer.

C-c \ also works to search tags inside a org buffer, but I think the agenda buffer is way better dealing with multiple files, and it's definitely worth your time if you're using Org-mode.

  • Thanks, I stumble across it in my search, but excluded it because it did not seem to fit to my needs. Has this an additional advantage, even if I don't want to organize dates and schedules?
    – user21978
    Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 14:54
  • I don't usually plan my stuff using deadlines since they are not needed in my life at this moment (I organize them by priority), so I end up using agenda as an uncluttered index of things that I have to do. It is an index of my org-files, I mark things as done inside the agenda view, because it's easier to deal with it, than navigating multiple org-files. You can also press tab in the agenda view to pop up a buffer with the org file and the cursor over the entry. I don't think there is anything better than that for this kind of purpose.
    – user21917
    Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 18:40
  • ah ok. I want to use it as a plain text substitute for citavi, endnote and so on. So when I read scientific papers (pdfs), I add notation via org-noter where each notation is a headline with a taq what this note is about. So this should more build up to a knowledge database, instead of an agenda file.
    – user21978
    Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 21:55
  • 1
    What's the problem with org-match-sparse-tree then? I don't think I get your problem, you got some org-noter annotations in a org file and your entries have tags. What exactly do you want to do with them? Export to an external file or just filter the file for visualization? I think it's the first one, since you don't seem satisfied with sparse tree, I think you could make a macro and refile the tagged entries check out how org-refile works. You can easily make a macro and run it through the entire file and put all entries in a second one. If it's not this, please explain it better.
    – user21917
    Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 22:08
  • Oh sry. org-match-sparse-tree works for me. I just added this comment to ask, whether the agenda mode could add anything to my workflow which I am just not aware about. However, the org-refile option looks interesting, I will give it a try, maybe this is even better. Thanks
    – user21978
    Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 22:37

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