I tried C-c C-x p to set property as VISIBILITY and value as folded. The output looks like this:

* Org Headline Description

But when I close and reopen the file, this headline still shows up in its full unfolded state. What more do I have to do to open this header in folded state?

p.s.: My emacs version is GNU Emacs 27.1.

1 Answer 1


What is the value of org-startup-folded? I'm guessing it's the default value of showeverything. That's the default in order not to surprise new users ("I added all this stuff to my file and now I can't see it: where did it go?"), but you might want to tweak that.

If you want to keep the global value unchanged, then try adding

#+STARTUP: showall

at the top of the file. See the Initial visibility section of the Org mode manual for other possible values.

Otherwise, do C-h v org-startup-folded, click the Customize button and experiment with the different values.

  • Thanks! That worked for me. But how do I set a global value? Sep 10, 2022 at 15:01
  • 1
    Read the last sentence in the answer and do what it says.
    – NickD
    Sep 10, 2022 at 16:55
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    Done. Thanks. :) Sep 11, 2022 at 2:49
  • Alternatively, can also (setq org-startup-folded 'content) or (setq org-startup-folded 'overview) etc. p.s.: Don't like all the extra comments custom adds to the init file. Sep 24, 2022 at 13:45
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    In general, it's safer to use customize (and in some cases, it is necessary). I use a separate customization file, as specified by the variable custom-file. I then do (load custom-file) at the very end of my init file - and I almost never look at the custom file.
    – NickD
    Sep 24, 2022 at 14:06

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