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?
Yes, you can set the variable
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
(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