I'm trying to always display inline images in my org mode files.

I have images inserted as [[my-image.png]].

What I have already tried:

  1. Set startup variable (see this answer:
(setq org-startup-with-inline-images t)
  1. Set inline config (see this comment):
(setq org-display-inline-images t) 
(setq org-redisplay-inline-images t) 
(setq org-startup-with-inline-images "inlineimages")

None of the two above (or any combination of) work. When I open the file, I always see the text [[my-image.png]] instead of the image. Using C-c C-x C-v works but I need to do it every time.

I have actually another related problem which is I can't set visual-line-mode by default at startup either. Maybe I have an issue with my org-mode settings? I can't figure out what is causing these issues.

1 Answer 1


2) is wrong: there is a function org-display-inline-images but no variable of that name. Similarly there is a function org-redisplay-inline-images but again no variable of that name.

If you look at the doc string of org-display-inline-images, you will find the conditions that the link has to obey in order to be considered as an inline image:

An inline image is a link which follows either of these

  1. Its path is a file with an extension matching return value
     from `image-file-name-regexp' and it has no contents.

  2. Its description consists in a single link of the previous
     type.  In this case, that link must be a well-formed plain
     or angle link, i.e., it must have an explicit \"file\" type.

I will be the first to admit that this description is NOT a model of clarity. However, it does point out the fact that there are restrictions. The last sentence in particular is telling: it must have an explicit "file" type.

A little experimentation shows that the following works (assuming there is a file foo.jpg containing the image in the same directory as the Org file):

#+STARTUP: inlineimages showall

* Inline images?


If you want to set it permanently, then add

(setq org-startup-with-inline-images t)

to your init file.

  • Thanks, I did try (setq org-startup-with-inline-images t) in my init file and that doesn't work. #+STARTUP: inlineimages showall works for the file where I put it in but ideally I would like that to be set globally somehow.
    – AEmacs
    Apr 5, 2020 at 18:08
  • Maybe something in your init file curdles things: try with emacs -q, then evaluate (setq org-startup-with-inline-images t) then open the Org mode file. That should work. If it does, then something is wrong with your init file.
    – NickD
    Apr 5, 2020 at 18:29
  • Thanks! Found the culprit: Setting (setq org-agenda-files '("~/org")) breaks (setq org-startup-with-inline-images t). Any idea why? If I remove the line setting the org-agenda-files then the inline images load by default.
    – AEmacs
    Apr 6, 2020 at 11:15
  • I can also call (setq org-startup-with-inline-images t) before I call (setq org-agenda-files '("~/org")) and that works too. Weird.
    – AEmacs
    Apr 6, 2020 at 11:16
  • That does not sound right at all: can you reproduce that behavior from emacs -q?
    – NickD
    Apr 6, 2020 at 15:58

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