I like to use the archive tag just to collapse the subtree automatically on opening the file (and also its gray coloring); I do not see why it should force me to use some esoteric hotkey (which my terminal emulator doesn't support) to expand the archived subtree. Any way to remove this limitation?

2 Answers 2


Yes, you can set the variable org-cycle-open-archived-trees to t and org-cycle (to which TAB is bound) will behave with archived trees as it does normally.

If you prefer to keep that variable's default value, you can instead bind a key sequence of your choice to the function org-force-cycle-archived, e.g.

(define-key org-mode-map (kbd "C-c r") 'org-force-cycle-archived)

A third approach (and my preferred one) is to enable org speed keys and add a mapping to org-speed-commands-user, like this

(setq org-use-speed-commands t)
(add-to-list 'org-speed-commands-user (cons "r" 'org-force-cycle-archived))

Then when point is at the very beginning of an archived subtree, pressing r will unfold it.

(A disadvantage of allowing org-cycle to operate on archived subtrees is that you typically do not want to expand them when point is on a parent heading. That's why I personally like to keep org-cycle-open-archived-trees set to nil.)


I got what I wanted (folded archive tags on startup but unfoldable by TAB) with this config:

(setq org-startup-folded 'overview)     ; @upstreambug https://github.com/hlissner/doom-emacs/issues/3693
 :map evil-org-mode-map
 "TAB" 'org-force-cycle-archived
  • @NickD Adding this to init.el directly achieves what I have asked for. How is it not an answer?
    – HappyFace
    Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 8:29
  • Sorry - I don't know what I was thinking :-(
    – NickD
    Commented Mar 24, 2021 at 12:14

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