I have a text file that contains about 200000 lines with basically notes, with the most recent notes on top of the file, and the oldest notes at the end of the file. I want to convert it to a orgmode-compatible file so I can use the cool features in orgmode, like displaying images live in the editable emacs buffer. The problem is that when I just rename my file notes.org and start emacs on it, emacs starts churning, eating CPU cycles and doesn't load the file. Supposedly this is because the file is too large, or contains something that brings orgmode to an endless loop. So I am wondering if there are ways of finding out why it's breaking, or forcing orgmode to load or parse only the head of the file, which is what I'll be editing in the end.

Ideally I would not like to chop the file into pieces, since I use emacs search to navigate across all the notes in the file.

So how can I open my large file in orgmode as instantaneously, or close, to a simple txt mode? Any suggestions?

  • 1
    Have you tried simply breaking the file down into smaller parts and load each part individually? – Mokubai Jun 18 '11 at 16:15
  • added note: Ideally I would not like to chop the file into pieces, since I use emacs search to navigate across all the notes in the file. – 719016 Jun 18 '11 at 16:47
  • While breaking the file apart is not a long term option, it is at least a valid method to a) test if orgmode will in fact work with the file to begin with then b) if orgmode will open one file and not another (of equal size) then that file has the formatting that is breaking the import. Past reading through all the documentation for orgmode to see if the features or limitations you're after is in there I'm not sure what else to suggest... – Mokubai Jun 18 '11 at 16:55

There's no reason to rename the file, and if you open (C-x C-f) it first and then enter org-mode (M-x org-mode) you will already have enough information to discern whether it is simply too big for emacs, or if there's some weird formatting that org-mode trips on.

I would also recommend you to read up on keyboard macros, to make it easier to initially reformat each note into an org-mode outline item.


Is your emacs compiled for a 32 bit or 64 bit machine? There have traditionally been problems with large files in emacs on 32-bit architecture. Not sure why this would effect org mode in particular, other than perhaps it uses up tags faster than plain old txt.

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