I would like to have an org-protocol that supports line numbers. For example


This would open file /foo/ss/subdir/foo.js at line 132.

How do I create an org-protocol that supports opening a file at a particular line?

  • You made a statement. What is your question?
    – Tobias
    Aug 9, 2019 at 14:40
  • I added a question at the end Aug 9, 2019 at 15:08

1 Answer 1


The following Elisp code enables you to open files at specified lines with emacsclient via org-protocol.

The format of the org-protocol is like you specified it with the addition of the key read-only. You can give that key any value to open the file in read-only-mode.

(defvar org-protocol-open-file-at-line nil
  "A property list used by `org-protocol-server-visit-hook-fun'.")

(defun org-protocol-server-visit-hook-fun ()
  "Jump to line number detected by `org-protocol-open-file'.
Transferred from `org-protocol-open-file' via variable `org-protocol-open-file-at-line'."
  (let ((file (plist-get org-protocol-open-file-at-line :file))
    (line (1- (string-to-number (or (plist-get org-protocol-open-file-at-line :line) "1")))))
    (when (file-equal-p file (buffer-file-name))
      (unless (plist-get org-protocol-open-file-at-line :read-only)
    (read-only-mode -1))
      (goto-char (point-min)) ;; should actually already be there...
      (forward-line line))))

(add-hook 'server-visit-hook #'org-protocol-server-visit-hook-fun)

(defun org-protocol-open-file (pars)
  "Act as org-protocol-protocol-alist function with PARS as args.
Handle links like: org-protocol://open-file?file=/foo/ss/subdir/foo.js&line=132"
  (let ((file (plist-get pars :file)))
    (setq org-protocol-open-file-at-line pars)
    (and (file-exists-p file)

(eval-after-load 'org-protocol
  (lambda ()
    (add-to-list 'org-protocol-protocol-alist
           :protocol "open-file"
           :function org-protocol-open-file))))

My previous answer was:

See the the page on External Links in the org manual.

There you find the entry:

file:sometextfile::NNN file, jump to line number

The NNNN stands for a number.

Your example would look like follows: file:/foo/ss/subdir/foo.js::132

  • 1
    If I understand your answer correctly, it applies to org documents. What I am looking for is a way to handle org-protocol URLs (as in org-protocol.el) so that I can open a particular file+line from an external application. Aug 9, 2019 at 14:51
  • @DamienCassou I added the solution for org-protocol links.
    – Tobias
    Aug 9, 2019 at 17:16
  • Thank you so much for your answer, this is a very nice approach. Apparently, org-protocol uses an advice on server-visit-files to do its job and this function already supports line numbers so I was hoping we could have a better solution. Nevertheless, my idea requires changing org-mode whereas yours doesn't :-). Aug 12, 2019 at 9:20

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