I am using the following format in my org file [[pdf:file_path.pdf][description]] to link to the file_path.pdf file. When I click on the link I expect the pdf file to open. Instead, I get a dialog box with the question No match - create this as a new heading?

I am using Emacs 28.2 on Mac OS. pdf-tools is installed and I can see PDF Tools in the menubar when I open a pdf file. If I change the link to [[docview:file_path.pdf][description]] it opens the pdf in a DocView buffer as expected. My org-pdftools or pdf-tools setting doesn't seem to be working.

I followed the installation instructions from org-pdftools github page. An issue on that github repo suggests using a new package but not sure what I should be trying.

More info:


((auto-mode . emacs)
 ("\\.mm\\'" . default)
 ("\\.x?html?\\'" . default)
 ("\\.pdf\\'" . emacs))
Original value was 
((auto-mode . emacs)
 ("\\.mm\\'" . default)
 ("\\.x?html?\\'" . default)
 ("\\.pdf\\'" . default)


Its value is
((remote . emacs)
 (system . "open %s")
 ("ps.gz" . "gv %s")
 ("eps.gz" . "gv %s")
 ("dvi" . "xdvi %s")
 ("fig" . "xfig %s")
 (t . "open %s"))

org-link-parameters: No value for pdf.

  • I would uninstall org-pdftools altogether and try the [file:/path/to/file.pdf] link. Does the PDF file get opened? How exactly - in Emacs or with an external application? With the org-file-apps settings above, it should open in Emacs - does it? Next question is: does it open with docview or with pdf-tools? Check the modeline to figure that out. Update your question with your findings. After that, we'll figure out what the next step should be.
    – NickD
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 17:47
  • Not using any prefix in the link works-- the pdf file is opened in emacs pdf-tools mode. That's what I need, so it's fine. I didn't get what your suggestion is exactly. I don't want to uninstall and reinstall things without a clear goal. I am baffled by why the documented suggestions are not working, and trying to see if there's something to learn here. PS: Several comments to which I replied seem to have been deleted, so re-editing the question to avoid confusion.
    – vpk
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 22:11

1 Answer 1


I tried this, and It worked (read the comments in the file).


Although this is not the optimal solution

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