I've been reading this and this, trying to figure out how to have an org-mode in-buffer settings template such as this:

# # -*- mode: org -*-
# # -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
#+TITLE: $1
#+AUTHOR: `(user-full-name)`
#+DATE: `(format-time-string "%e %B %Y")`

actually evaluate the back-quoted expressions and the $ markup upon .org file creation. This is, BTW, my init code for auto-insert

(use-package autoinsert
  :ensure t
  ;; Don't want to be prompted before insertion:
  (setq auto-insert-query nil)

  (setq auto-insert-directory (locate-user-emacs-file "templates"))
  (add-hook 'find-file-hook 'auto-insert)
  (auto-insert-mode 1)

  (define-auto-insert "\\.org?$" "default-org.org"))

where default-org.org begins like the first code section. But again, when I call into existence a file with a .org none of the back-quoted expressions have been evaluated, the expressions are returned verbatim. What am I missing here?

1 Answer 1


I just ran across this question. Hopefully, you got your answer. If not (and for the almost 1000 people who have viewed this), I figured I could weigh in.

I don't believe that Auto Insert expands an Lisp code if you are just inserting a text file. In the second link you posted, you'll notice that it will, if you give it an s-expression of strings with code to evaluate.

This is why a number of us use YAS to expand stuff dynamically. For instance, if you create a helper function, like:

(defun my/autoinsert-yas-expand()
  "Replace text in yasnippet template."
  (yas/expand-snippet (buffer-string) (point-min) (point-max)))

Then set your auto-insert variables to call this function, e.g.

 '(auto-insert 'other)
 '(auto-insert-directory "~/autoinsert/")
 '(auto-insert-alist '((("\\.org?$" . "Org Files") . ["default-org.org" org-mode my/autoinsert-yas-expand])
                       ;; ...

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