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2021-06-12: Folder Indexer, Smarter Typography, & OCR

Featuring a bunch of new plugin features, including iCal imports, adjacency matrix, better file trees, new file placement, & oath handshakes for mobile Dropbox backups.

Eleanor Konik
Written by Eleanor Konik

I write stories & articles inspired by all eras of history & science... so I wind up putting notetaking software like Obsidian & Readwise thru their paces.

4 min read.

In The Community

  • The Knowledge Organization in Obsidian community talk by @brimwats is live on YouTube. It offers a history of library organization, a detour into cataloging vs classification, and the lowdown on foldering/tags in PKMs. This discord post contains links to unfilmed discussion points about geographical terms and classification systems, niche vocabularies, and "semantic obsidian."
  • @SkepticMystic will be giving the Using Pandoc to write PDFs, Word documents, and slideshows in Markdown talk this Sunday at 18:00 (CET).
  • @Payload had an excellent explanation of what plugins are, some examples, and how they work that I recommend for anyone who finds them confusing.
  • I feel a little weird including this, but it made it to the starboard and I posted it directly by request of multiple community members, so here's a condensed paper I wrote for my master's degree about best practices in teaching critical thinking skills. There's probably a fair amount of applicability for learning critical thinking skills, which help a lot with figuring out best practices for personal knowledge management and metacognition and life in general.

Obsidian Updates

Public v0.12.4

  • Quick switcher now has an option to show links to files that aren't created yet.
  • New core plugin "Outgoing links" which can be enabled through the settings page, which shows a list of destinations your note links to and gives a list of unlinked mentions from the current note that can be linked.

Insider 0.12.5

  • The template core plugin now has commands to insert the current time or the current date.
  • There’s now a new dedicated command to focus on the editor.
  • Pasting images copied from Chrome’s “Copy image” menu action will now properly import the image to the vault, instead of creating a link to the image’s original URL.
  • Fixed some Mermaid diagrams not rendering properly (journey missing text, gantt unreadable active task, class diagrams have very faint text).
  • There is now a function available to developers for converting HTML to Markdown called htmlToMarkdown, which is using a pre-configured Turndown Service.

Plugin News


  • the Zoottelkeeper plugin is an automated folder-level index file generator and maintainer that let me delete a bunch of tags  and I'm really thrilled about it.
  • Obsidian smart typography automatically converts straight quotes to smart quotes. It also has support for em dashes, and ellipsis, and I'm really grateful for its existence. @mgmyers wants to expand support to other languages, so if there's something you'd like added, file an issue on the github repo.
  • Obsidian Advanced New File lets you assign folder for a new file when you trigger the hotkey.
  • The Obisidan OCR plugin extracts the text of image attachments.
  • The Obsidian iCal plugin (Mac only) includes the events of your Calendar at the end of your daily notes with templating capabilities.
  • the Adjacency Matrix Maker 0.4.0 by @SkepticMystic (of "helps people with dataview" fame) is a nifty alternative to the graph view.
  • Obsidian text format will "clean up" formatting, getting rid of excessive spaces and newlines if you, for example, paste in text from a pdf.
  • Obsidian grandfather puts the time (and date if you want) in the status bar, which might be useful for people who like to work in fullscreen mode.
  • The File Tree Alternative plugin creates a file explorer similar to Evernote where folders and files are in separate leafs. I think this feature request gives a pretty useful overview of why someone might want this.
  • The Bible Reference Plugin will let you "fetch" a particular passage of the Bible from the


  • Dropbox backups 0.12.4 supports mobile. Developers looking for an example of oath browser handshakes might want to give it a look, as well.
  • The "Collapse All" (folders) plugin how has functionality for expanding all folders.
  • v1.5.0 of the Spaced Repetition plugin allows for nested decks, better load balancing, and some other QoL improvements.
  • Kanban v0.5.6's metadata fields now support rendering markdown.

Under The Radar

Workflow Stuff

  • A tip via @Payload is that the order of plugins being loaded decides the order of content that they populate in the status bar (if they are loaded first, they would be on the left of the status bar). You can change this ordering in .obsidian/config. Look for enabledPlugins, the array contains all your enabled plugins, in the order at which they are loaded. Change the order to one that you like.
  • There was an interesting discussion on the forum about how to build a recipe database using Obsidian.
  • There was a discussion on Reddit about how university teachers use Obsidian to manage their notes and lecture plans.


  • This CSS code will let you style specific headings (e.g. ## Reading Log but not ## Tasking)
  • This CSS code will visually shorten url links so they take up less space in the editor.
  • This CSS code will cause sidebar titles to wrap.
  • @SlRvb figured out how to put svg icons into css for use with folders.
  • @Payload shared a really beautiful bit of code that adds a visual background of stars and nebulae to an Obsidian instance.
  • @Chetachi shared a tutorial for multicolored highlights in Obsidian.

Knowledge Management

Ancillary Tools

  • ShareX is a popular gif creating & sharing tool. Loom is popular for sharing screen captures with voiceover.

Note: There are a couple of affiliate links & codes scattered around, but these always come from links I was already recommending and usually I share them because they benefit you too (i.e. getting you extra time on trials).

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