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 double colon34. For example, when the command org-store-link 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.

Note that all search options apply for Attachment and ID links in the same way that they apply for File links.

Here is the syntax of the different ways to attach a search to a file link, together with explanations for each:

[[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 becomes a 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 (see Regular Expressions). 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.