Chances are that every time utf-coding should be activated by invoking 'M-x revert-coding-system` , even though a long list of utf-prefer configuration:

(prefer-coding-system        'utf-8)
(set-terminal-coding-system  'utf-8)
(set-keyboard-coding-system  'utf-8)
(set-selection-coding-system 'utf-8)
(setq locale-coding-system   'utf-8)
(setq-default buffer-file-coding-system 'utf-8)

Try to automate the process by

;;Set buffer coding system
(add-hook 'org-mode-hook (lambda () (revert-buffer-with-coding-system  "utf-8")))

However, it does not work as expected.

What's the problem with my function to to handle the revert-buffer-with-coding-system'

  • 1. Calling revert-buffer-with-coding-system in the major mode hook looks wrong. The selection of the major mode (set-auto-mode in normal-mode in after-find-file) is part of revert-buffer. 2. Why do you want to call revert-buffer-with-coding-system in the first place? Does the auto-selection of the coding system go wrong such that characters are shown in wrong encoding?
    – Tobias
    Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 8:50
  • Yes, it failed to display Chinese characters. @Tobias
    – Wizard
    Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 18:24

1 Answer 1


As I already tried to describe in my comment:
(add-hook 'org-mode-hook (lambda () (revert-buffer-with-coding-system "utf-8")))
cannot work because revert-buffer-with-coding-system indirectly runs org-mode-hook. So you get into an infinite loop.

Thereby, "indirectly runs" means:

  • the major mode hook org-mode-hook is run by the major mode function org-mode
  • the major mode function is run by set-auto-mode-0 with is part of set-auto-mode
  • set-auto-mode is run by normal-mode
  • normal-mode is run by revert-buffer (which is the essential part of revert-buffer-with-coding-system)

You can enforce the coding system for reading .org files with the following line in your init file:

(add-to-list 'file-coding-system-alist '("\\.org\\'" . utf-8))

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