I would like to know if it is possible for org-mode to open its org files in unfolded state, and possibly with specified level (e.g no more than *** headlines) and possibly with option to fold/unfold bodies as well.


You should check the #+STARTUP directive for per-file default view settings:

You can use org-customize to set global defaults, or even use the VISIBILITY property inside a heading to affect a particular sub-tree.

Allowed values include: overview, content, showall, showeverything.

I don't recall an option for specifying a global N levels of visibility (you can put together some elisp for this); anyhow this is quite easy to do on the keyboard (e.g. M-3 S-TAB will display all headings up to level 3).


Start-up folding is controlled by the org-startup-folded variable. It can also be set by placing:

#+STARTUP: fold
#+STARTUP: nofold
#+STARTUP: content
#+STARTUP: showeverything

any where in the buffer.

  • 1
    I want to do this without changing the org file. I want all of the org files to open showing everything. Is there no magic for the init.el file to make this happen, always? – pauljohn32 Jul 19 '18 at 16:24

In your dot emacs:-

(setq org-startup-folded "showall")

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