If I have some tags already assigned to headlines and press

C-c C-c Tab

then org mode presents me with a dynamic list of all tags that are used in the file, eg:

Click on a completion to select it. In this buffer, type RET to select the completion near point.

Possible completions are: Tag1 Tag2 Tag3 Tag4 Tag5

When I click on a tag, eg Tag1, immediately the tag list is closed, and any tags that were assigned to the headline previously are replaced by Tag1. I can click and select only 1 tag.

  1. How can I select multiple tags in the tag list, eg how can I select Tag1 and Tag2?

  2. How can I add tags from the tag list to the existing tags that are already attached to the headline, so that the existing tags are not replaced by the tags I select from the tag list?

I can select multiple tags if I predefine tags in the org mode file by using eg:

#+TAGS: Tag4(4) Tag5(5)

The problem with this method is that the list will not show me tags already assigned to headlines in the file eg Tag1 Tag2 Tag3.

I would like to have a list of all tags already assigned in the file, and be able to select multiple tags to assign to a headline.

I have done a lot of searching and watched vids:



and they do show ways to do this, but I cannot duplicate those ways with my emacs. I wonder if it is because I have a different version or setup.

I have tried to thoroughly understand the help page at https://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/manual/html_node/org/Setting-Tags.html But have had no luck. Sorry I dont understand something obvious.

I do not have helm installed and I understand that this is not needed.

Thanks ahead of time....

  • "...watched vids and they do show ways to do this...": you should add some videos that show how to do this to your question. You may be doing something wrong or they may have additional setup that allows them to do that. Adding that information improves your chances of getting an answer - so why not do it?
    – NickD
    Commented Aug 1, 2022 at 2:14
  • If I do C-c C-c on a headline, I get the list of existing tags on that headline in the minibuffer. Pressing <TAB> gives me a completion list, and clicking on an item in the list adds it to the tags list in the minibuffer and is still waiting for more input, so I can press another <TAB> and click on some other tag in the completion list to add it. The process does not complete until I press <RET> in the minibuffer. If that does not work for you, please explain exactly what you do and what happens when you do it.
    – NickD
    Commented Aug 1, 2022 at 2:24
  • @NickD, thanks once again for helping out :)
    – ironfish
    Commented Aug 1, 2022 at 13:13
  • 1
    I have added links to the vids as you suggested
    – ironfish
    Commented Aug 1, 2022 at 13:13
  • "If I do C-c C-c on a headline, I get the list of existing tags on that headline in the minibuffer" < I get the same
    – ironfish
    Commented Aug 1, 2022 at 13:14

1 Answer 1


Just to summarize: this is a bug in Org mode that dates from at least version 9.1.9 and persisted up to version 9.4.6. It was fixed in Org 9.5 with this commit.

  • NickD thanks for taking the time and effort to dig into this and come up with the solution
    – ironfish
    Commented Aug 3, 2022 at 0:19

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