I have several .org file and typically have them all open in Emacs at the same time. Recently, my agenda started showing one of those file names as "???" instead of the actual filename--whereas, all of the other files display correctly by name.

I haven't made any changes to the files since I created them and all management of the tasks within are done through Emacs or beOrg.

The file displaying as "???" is listed in Dropbox and is readable in a text editor. I checked its properties against the other files that are displaying correctly and everything appears to be the same.

Any ideas on what what might be causing this and how to remedy it?

Everything is otherwise working fine--the items from that file are displaying correctly in the Agenda view, it's just the filename that isn't.

I'm using the following stack for managing these files and tasks:

  • macOS
  • Dropbox
  • Emacs Org-Mode
  • beOrg

Screenshot of problem

  • 1
    Welcome to emacs.sx! One general strategy I would start with is: what's different between the files that show up as "Home" and "Health" and the file that comes triple-question-marks? Is there some weird character in the file name? Then, if you want to do some elisp spelunking, where in the org code does it decide to show ??? instead of a meaningful name? What logic is triggering that?
    – Dan Drake
    Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 11:29
  • It might be triggered by org-get-category - its doc string says: Get the category applying to position POS. Return "???" when no category is set. I presume you know which file is causing the problem, so maybe you can add a #+CATEGORY: foo keyword line to the file and see if that fixes it. Normally, the filename (withouth the .org suffix) becomes the category if that is not set, but something seems to prevent that from happening here.
    – NickD
    Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 13:40
  • I'm not sure what caused this but it cleared itself up. I've been waiting for it to occur again but it hasn't--I'm wondering if maybe there was a resource issue on my computer or with Emacs that caused this anomaly. I ended up needing to reboot for something and then got busy with other stuff and forgot about this as the problem was no longer present. lol I just wanted to post a status update in case anyone else was faced with this issue. If it happens again, I'll try and gather more diagnostic info and may try the suggestions above.
    – Tom
    Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 18:13


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