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In org-mode, one can define a set of local TODO keywords with the "#+TODO" keyword, or sets can be defined globally with org-todo-keywords. It is also possible to define multiple sets that can be used in parallel.

The problem I'm seeing is that you can apparently define multiple sets globally, or locally. If you define any set of TODO keywords local to a file, then that file will no longer recognize the global TODO keywords set.

There are cases where I want to use a local keyword for sub-headings in a file, but also use my global keywords (and associated agenda) for the top-level headings.

Is there a way to do this without duplicating the global settings in each file that also defines a set of local keywords?

  • I guess you could convert all global org-todo-* to local TODO tags in a "header" file. Then include that header with #+SETUPFILE or #+INCLUDE – Rusi Feb 29 at 8:07
  • BTW, "tags" are different things from "TODO keywords" in Org mode, so be careful when you use these terms. – NickD Feb 29 at 16:46
  • @NickD I updated the question to clarify tags vs keywords, thxs. – Digicrat Mar 1 at 5:21
  • @Rusi I suppose a SETUPFILE could work, though it would still require duplicating the global setup in there. It feels like there has to be an easier way to do this. ie: A simple setting to add to the existing sets instead of replacing. – Digicrat Mar 1 at 5:28
  • It might feel that way, but there really is not. Besides, the use case is not clear: why do you want (some) sub-headings to have a local keyword? Why can't you just add to the global list and be done with it? In all cases I know of, people decide on the TODO states that they want and set the global list to that: that accounts for the vast majority of their usage. The rest are treated as "snowflakes": each has its own local list (which may vary from file to file: if not, you can add a second group to the global list, but I always found that a bit clumsy). – NickD Mar 1 at 13:08

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