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2021-11-20: Live Preview Updates, Fancy Checkboxes & Tips for Devs

Check out how Obsidian is used by software developers, content creators, & TTRPG fans. Plus, a roundup of how people use tags.

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.

Obsidian Updates

v0.13.3 and v0.13.4 are now available for Insiders, with many improvements for Live Preview, including backlinks in document, mermaid, query blocks & block quotes, better image handling, (some) custom code blocks from plugins & other code block improvements (see the developers section for more), more native cursor handling on MacOS, better IME handling (which should help Chinese and Japanese users) and auto-pairing of brackets for markdown formatting symbols such as $, =, ~ and %.

The devs also...:

  • Added show-plugin Obsidian URI action. Example: obsidian://show-plugin?id=admonition
  • Added notice for indexing large files taking too long to help debug indexing stuck issues.
  • Fixed a bunch of little things, like a bug in the replace all function and the way reference style markdown links and images render.

Plugin News

Note: Not all new plugins are available in the community list yet, as they need to go through code review first. You can manually install plugins that aren't in the community list yet by using the Beta Reviewer's Auto-update Tool. Note, though, that this is not as safe as waiting for them to go through code review.


  • Extra Markdown Commands has hotkeys for html commands, underscore bold & italics, and multicolor highlights.
  • Note From Template is a new templating plugin that allows users to fill in the set fields without leaving the active note. I think of it as being like QuickAdd but with templates.
  • Customizable Page Header buttons adds command buttons left to the standard buttons in Obsidian (which is particularly great for mobile).
  • icon shortcodes has Built-in Unicode 13.1 Emoji, Font Awesome, and Remixicon support and the ability to import svg icons.
  • You can now automatically upload images in your vault to Cloudinary.


  • Auto Class v2.0.0 now supports adding CSS classes to the markdown view based on tags in the current file.
  • Excalidraw 1.4.10 has support for the new Live Preview Insider build, but it'll need to run a quick patch 7 minutes after your update.
  • Various Complements v1.2.0 supports custom dictionaries, delays, and a toggle for auto complete. v1.0.0 added support for mobile & live preview mode.
  • alx-folder-note v0.12.0 added support for custom folder icon in file explorer
  • BRAT 0.6.0 works with themes!
  • CodeMirror Options 0.9.0 can now render icon shortcodes in edit mode. There were some other small fixes, and a new Style Settings option to enable minimal page & header embeds in edit mode.
  • Obsidian RSS allows users to create custom filtered folders and tag articles.
  • Natural Language Dates v0.6.0 added @time to the auto-suggest and is compatible with the new Live Preview and fully-compatible with mobile.
  • Another Quick Switcher displays tags and aliases matched by queries.


  • Expiring Notes lets users mark notes in your vault as expiring via a frontmatter date. After that date, they either get deleted or moved to a configurable archive folder, so ephemeral notes don’t clutter up your vault.

For Developers

  • Here's a guide for how to update your plugins and CSS for Live Preview.
  • If your plugin uses registerCodeBlockPostProcessor then the new custom code block handling will work. If your plugin uses registerPostProcessor and finds the code block yourself then it won't.
  • There is now a .is-live-preview class on div.markdown-source-view which will allow you to differentiate live preview from source mode for CSS styling purposes (Thanks @NothingIsLost)
  • the new Live Preview mode changes the pre.HyperMD-codeblock element to a div.HyperMD-codeblock. This has been the case on mobile for awhile now but if you're seeing syntax highlighting issues with your themes in live preview, look out for any styles you have that may still reference pre.HyperMD-codeblock (Thanks @NothingIsLost)
  • Here's where @argentum discusses how she handled the migration to CodeMirror 6.
  • GitHub would love it if you enabled 2FA on your accountto help prevent stuff like the recent issues with npm security.

Feature Requests


Ancillary Code



Knowledge Management

In The Wild

Ancillary Tools


  • For clarity's sake, CardBoard is the plugin that works like an alternate kanban board. CorkBoard is a Scrivener-esque corkboard view that functions as a visual canvas for Obsidian notes.
  • Normally, a premium membership for my history & fantasy fiction newsletter is $20/year, but I'm currently running a 25% off sale for the annual membership. I don't mention it often, but membership comes with .zip files of my actual working Obsidian vault backups. I remove obvious stuff like my taxes & copyrighted PDFs, but otherwise it's my actual setup, complete with all my notes into weird history, niche science, and how my fantasy stories connect with everything.

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).