I am trying to create links within the body of an outline to files that are attached to that outline using the guidance in the documentation

***** Test outline                                                    :ATTACH:
      :ID:       385a7ddd-0bb9-478c-9b3c-9bd87f14b344
      :Attachments: test-file


I realise my example is not identical to the docs but the item in the docs doesn't seem to have an attachment. When I click on my resulting link I get a dialog "No match - create this as a new heading?" which is exactly the behaviour for any internal link for which no heading matches i.e. it doesn't seem to be interpreting this as an attachment link. If I click 'Yes' it gives me a new heading attachment:test-file

What am I doing wrong? How can you create a link to an outline attachment?

  • Have you changed any of the defaults? If not, have you created a data/ directory in the same place where the Org mode file is? Is there a subdirectory 38/ under data/? Is there a subdirectory 5a7ddd-0bb9-478c-9b3c-9bd87f14b344/ under data/38/? Is there a file test-file under data/38/5a7ddd-0bb9-478c-9b3c-9bd87f14b344? Is the file readable? AFAIK, org-attach does not add an Attachments property, so who added that? But if you created that data/ directory and then did C-c C-a a giving it an existing file, then the link should work (and it does for me, FWIW).
    – NickD
    Commented Jan 14, 2022 at 2:21
  • If you evaluate this in your *scratch* buffer: (assoc "attachment" org-link-parameters) what does it return?
    – NickD
    Commented Jan 14, 2022 at 3:04

1 Answer 1


The link is dispatched to a wrong handler, which means your org-attach package is probably not loaded yet. You can verify it by inspecting the org-link-parameters variable to check whether the attachment link type is present: evaluate (assoc "attachment" org-link-parameters) - if it returns nil, that means that org-attach is not loaded yet. You can also check by asking for help on one of its functions, e.g. C-h f org-attach: the doc string will say [Arg list not available until function definition is loaded.] in that case.

You can just add:

(with-eval-after-load 'org
  (require ‘org-attach))

to your init file (and restart emacs), so that all of the features that org-attach provides will always be available. Or invoke one of its autoload functions like org-attach or org-attach-dired-to-subtree before you try to follow an attachment link: that will trigger the autoload of the file which will add the attachment type to org-link-parameters and allow such links to be resolved properly.


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