I've got a couple dozen org files that I'd like to have loaded at once. They're in a directory structure something like this:


What's the best way to load all these files at once so that I can have the buffers in memory when I'm working on my notes? It's nice to be able to type C-x b and have my buffers listed for autocomplete with ido, rather than navigating the directory tree.

  • 1
    Would you be interested in using the org-agenda-files or do you have files that are not a part of that list, or do you have only some of those files and wish to exclude others in the list? Essentially, I'm asking whether it is necessary to select the region of text in your buffer to extract a list of files, or whether that list already exists somewhere else -- e.g., org-agenda-files.
    – lawlist
    Commented Dec 30, 2014 at 7:00
  • 1
    Something like this will open all of the org-agenda-files (if you want everything that is a part of that list, the elements of which are determined based upon your user configuration): (defun open-all-org-agenda-files () (interactive) (let ((files (org-agenda-files))) (mapcar (lambda (x) (find-file x)) files)))
    – lawlist
    Commented Dec 30, 2014 at 7:19
  • It's achievable with github.com/abo-abo/helm-org-wiki if you're willing to invest some effort to set it up.
    – abo-abo
    Commented Dec 30, 2014 at 12:51
  • I'm a little unsure what exactly you want. Do you want to be able to open multiple files at one time, and your question is unrelated to org? Do you want to define a project as a collection of specific files and open them all at once? Do you want to define a project and let `find-file' included all files in the project?
    – grettke
    Commented Dec 31, 2014 at 1:55
  • @grettke I have a set of org files that I want to work on at the same time. So, I'd like to have these easily accessible so I don't have to navigate up/down directories to find them. Seems reasonable, right? I publish by simply using 'org-publish-project'. I defined the project so I'd like to take advantage of that. I guarantee that I'm not the first person want to do this.
    – h4labs
    Commented Jan 1, 2015 at 16:27

3 Answers 3


You can use wildcards with find-file:

C-x C-f ~/path/to/*.org RET

This will open all org files in /path/to/. You could also use find-file-other-frame to instantly display all the buffers that were created. Otherwise the buffers are created but only one is displayed initially.

This does not open org files in subdirectories. To do that additionally use

C-x C-f ~/path/to/*/*.org RET

Use additional instances of */ to open files nested even deeper. I don't think there's a magical wildcard that stands for "this directory and all its subdirectories".

  • How do I use this programmatically? I tried (find-file "~/org" "*.org") but instead of loading the files, it shows all the files that are matching and I can select which to load. Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 20:17

@Lawlist gave a nice snippet of code in his comment. You can assign a function to load all org files via:

(defun my/open-all-org-agenda-files () 
  (let ((files (org-agenda-files))) (mapcar (lambda (x) (find-file x)) files))) 

(this is his code, if you like this, please up-vote his comment)

Now you can add files to your agenda file list very quickly via: C - c [ . You can view/edit your current file list via var: org-agenda-files. C - c h then type: org-agenda-files to view/customize it.

You can add a line of code to the end of your .emacs to load these file on start-up:


Hope it helps.

[edit] in hind sight, the above doesn't work that well as all those files are added to agenda clock reports, making reports very long with many files showing 0 time.

In hind-hind sight, this does actually work. I simply add the :fileskip0 parameter and it skips files where time is zero.


As @grettke mentioned in the comments, this question is not specific to org mode. From what I understand you need a solution to quickly open any file from a "project".

If that's the case, you can try using the projectile package, also available through Melpa.

For projectile to work on your set of files, you need to define that set as being a part of a "project". The easiest way to do so is by doing git init in the base directory of your "project" i.e. org directory. You can do this even if you don't plan to later git manage your files.

Once you have projectile set up as per its documentation, here are some usage scenarios:

  • Let's say you have one of your org files open and you want to open some other file from the same "project". You can do that by doing C-c p f or M-x projectile-find-file.
  • Let's say you are working on a file NOT in that "project" and you want to quickly go to one of your org files. You can do C-c p p or M-x projectile-switch-project, select the project you want to switch to ( org ) and then pick one of the files from that project.

This setup compliments very well with the emacs built-in desktop package.

The simplest way to get the desktop save and restore working is by adding these to your emacs init.

(require 'desktop)
(desktop-save-mode 1) 

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