Usually any TODO items show up in my Global TODO list as eg:

[Filename of org file] TODO Buy milk

I had copied some headings from another org mode file into the current org mode file and now the Global TODO list shows the same heading as:

[Filename of org file] file:TODO Buy milk

And the TODO is no longer in bold and does not have the same color as before.

I assume by copying over heading from another file into current file, I corrupted the current file somehow. But I dont know how I might have done that.

Any help on this is very much appreciated.

Also, I tried to search for any ways to check an org mode file for corruption but did not find anything. Is there any way to do this?

Thanks ahead of time.

Edit: Resolved using org-lint which discovered an extra line of text between heading and SCHEDULED line

  • 2
    M-x org-lint - it does not find everything but it is helpful. You might want to post a small portion of your "current" org file, maybe the problematic heading plus a heading above and a heading below (eliding anything private).
    – NickD
    May 29, 2022 at 16:04
  • 1
    @NickD thank you for responding to my post and the help. I will try org-lint. I did not make it clear in my post but this problem is happening for all headings and I have 100's of them, so I am not sure which headings I would post.
    – ironfish
    May 29, 2022 at 17:13
  • 1
    @NickD org-lint did catch some problems and this did resolve the issue - thanks again.
    – ironfish
    May 30, 2022 at 13:08
  • @NickD Can you turn your comment into an answer, sounds like that could then be accepted.
    – glucas
    May 31, 2022 at 14:24
  • @glucas - yes, I expanded the comment into a (possibly satisfactory) answer. Got punished in return by running into a bug :-) Thanks for the push!
    – NickD
    Jun 1, 2022 at 18:23

1 Answer 1


I don't know how the OP's file was broken, but it seems the breakage was detected by org-lint, which is what I suggested in a comment. Although org-lint does not find everything, it is often useful.

The basic application of org-lint is simple: just open the file and do M-x org-lint in the resulting buffer. org-lint does several checks on an Org mode buffer (44 as of today) and reports the results in an *Org lint* buffer, one warning per line, with the line number, a "trust" label and the text of the warning.

You should be able to execute a single linter, with C-u C-u M-x org-lint - you are prompted in the minibuffer (with completion) for the linter; or a subset of the linters (specified by the category' assigned to each linter), with C-u M-x org-lint` - again you are prompted in the minibuffer (with completion) for the category. There seems to be a bug however in this last case: it seems that no linter is run no matter what category you choose. I'm going to post a bug (and possibly a patch) on the Org Mode ML for this.

  • Selected by me, OP, as answer and upvoted :) And added in my original post what org-lint found. Thanks again @NickD
    – ironfish
    Jun 1, 2022 at 22:04
  • Thanks for adding the findings of org-lint to your question!
    – NickD
    Jun 2, 2022 at 2:39

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