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4.7 Search options in file links

File links can contain additional information to make Emacs jump to a particular location in the file when following a link. This can be a line number or a search option after a double45 colon. For example, when the command C-c l creates a link (see Handling links) to a file, it encodes the words in the current line as a search string that can be used to find this line back later when following the link with C-c C-o.

Here is the syntax of the different ways to attach a search to a file link, together with an explanation:

[[file:~/ Target]]
[[file:~/*My Target]]

Jump to line 255.

My Target

Search for a link target ‘<<My Target>>’, or do a text search for ‘my target’, similar to the search in internal links, see Internal links. In HTML export (see HTML export), such a file link will become an HTML reference to the corresponding named anchor in the linked file.

*My Target

In an Org file, restrict search to headlines.


Link to a heading with a CUSTOM_ID property


Do a regular expression search for regexp. This uses the Emacs command occur to list all matches in a separate window. If the target file is in Org mode, org-occur is used to create a sparse tree with the matches.

As a degenerate case, a file link with an empty file name can be used to search the current file. For example, [[file:::find me]] does a search for ‘find me’ in the current file, just as ‘[[find me]]’ would.



For backward compatibility, line numbers can also follow a single colon.

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