The number of configuration options is deliberately kept small, to keep the Org-roam codebase manageable. However, we attempt to accommodate as many usage styles as possible.

All of Org-roam's customization options can be viewed via M-x customize-group org-roam.

Setting the Org-roam Directory

Set org-roam-directory to the folder containing all your Org files:

(setq org-roam-directory "/path/to/org/")

Every Org file, at any level of nesting, within /path/to/org/ is considered part of the Org-roam ecosystem.

Having More Than One Org-roam Directory

Emacs supports directory-local variables, allowing the value of org-roam-directory to be different in different directories. It does this by checking for a file named .dir-locals.el.

To add support for multiple directories, override the org-roam-directory variable using directory-local variables. This is what .dir-locals.el may contain:

((nil . ((org-roam-directory . "/path/to/here/"))))

All files within that directory will be treated as their own separate set of Org-roam files. Remember to run org-roam-db-build-cache from a file within that directory, at least once.

Org-roam Buffer

The Org-roam buffer defaults to popping up from the right. You may choose to set it to pop up from the left with (setq org-roam-buffer-position 'left).

The Org-roam buffer name can also be renamed: e.g. (setq org-roam-buffer "*my-buffer-name*").

The Org-roam buffer width is adjustable via org-roam-buffer-width. The value of org-roam-buffer-width set as a percentage of the total frame width. For example:

(setq org-roam-buffer-width 0.4)

Will result in the Org-roam buffer taking up 40% of the screen width.

You can change backlinks appearance in the buffer by customizing org-roam-backlink face (M-x customize-face org-roam-backlink).

By default, links are inserted with the title as the link description. This can make them hard to distinguish from external links. You may choose add special indicators for Org-roam links by tweaking org-roam-link-title-format, for example:

(setq org-roam-link-title-format "R:%s")

If your version of Org is at least 9.2, you may also choose to simply style the link differently, by customizing org-roam-link face (M-x customize-face org-roam-link).

Org-roam Files

Org-roam files are created and prefilled using Org-roam's templating system. The templating system is customizable, and the system is described in detail in the Org-roam Template page.


As your collection grows, you might want to create an index where you keep links to your main files.

In Org-roam, you can define the path to your index file by setting org-roam-index-file.

(setq org-roam-index-file "")

You can then bind org-roam-jump-to-index in your configuration to access it (see Basic Install and Configuration to review how to set key-bindings).


Encryption (via GPG) can be enabled for all new files by setting org-roam-encrypt-files to t. When enabled, new files are created with the .org.gpg extension and decryption are handled automatically by EasyPG.

Note that Emacs will prompt for a password for encrypted files during cache updates if it requires reading the encrypted file. To reduce the number of password prompts, you may wish to cache the password.

Org-roam Graph Viewer

Org-roam generates an SVG image using Graphviz. To setup graph navigation, see the Roam Protocol page.

Org-roam tries its best to locate the Graphviz executable from your PATH, but if it fails to do so, you may set it manually:

(setq org-roam-graph-executable "/path/to/dot")

You may also choose to use neato in place of dot, which generates a more compact graph layout.

(setq org-roam-graph-executable "/path/to/neato")
(setq org-roam-graph-extra-config '(("overlap" . "false")))

Org-roam also attempts to use Firefox (located on PATH) to view the SVG, you may choose to set it to any compatible program:

(setq org-roam-graph-viewer "/path/to/image-viewer")

Excluding Nodes and Edges

One may want to exclude certain files to declutter the graph. You can do so by setting org-roam-graph-exclude-matcher.

(setq org-roam-graph-exclude-matcher '("private" "dailies"))

This setting excludes all files whose path contain "private" or "dailies".

Org-roam Completion System

Org-roam offers completion when choosing note titles etc. The completion system is configurable. The default setting,

(setq org-roam-completion-system 'default)

uses Emacs' standard completing-read. If you prefer Helm, use

(setq org-roam-completion-system 'helm)

Other options included 'ido, and 'ivy'.