If you're new to Obsidian, a powerful note-taking app that uses plain text files, you might be wondering how to format your notes to make them more readable and organized. In this beginner's guide to Obsidian formatting, we'll walk you through the basics of formatting your notes, including headings, bold and italic text, lists, tables, and more. Whether you're a student, a writer, or just someone who wants to keep track of their ideas, this guide will help you get started with formatting your notes in Obsidian.
Table of Contents
Getting Started with Markdown
Markdown is a simple syntax that allows you to format text without having to use HTML tags. To use Markdown in Obsidian, you will need to learn a few basic rules.
Basic Formatting Syntax
To format text using basic Markdown syntax, consider the following:
- Bold text: Surround the text with two asterisks (*) to make it bold.
- Italic text: To italicize text, simply surround it with one asterisk (*).
- Headings: To create a heading, start with a number followed by a period (.) and then the text of the heading. For example, to create a level 1 heading, begin with the number 1.
Tips for Mastering Markdown
Here are a few tips for you to master Markdown:
- Indent your code using spaces.
- Create paragraphs by using double line breaks.
- To escape special characters, use backslash characters (\).
- Before saving, take a look at how your text will look in the Markdown preview pane.
Formatting Your Notes in Obsidian
Obsidian allows you to format your notes in a variety of ways. Here are some of the most common formatting options:
Creating headings and subheadings
To create a heading, simply add a hash (
#) followed by the text of the heading. To create a subheading, simply add two hashes (
) followed by the text of the subheading.
Adding emphasis to text (bold, italics, strikethrough)
To add bold text, simply surround the text with asterisks (
). To add italic text, simply surround the text with underscores (`
). To add strikethrough text, simply surround the text with tildes (`
Creating lists (ordered and unordered)
To create an ordered list, simply start each item in the list with a number followed by a period (
). To create an unordered list, simply start each item in the list with a bullet (`
Adding links and images
To add a link, simply surround the text you want to link with square brackets (
] and then add the URL of the link in parentheses (`
). To add an image, simply add the image file name to the square brackets (`
To create a table, simply add three backticks (
) to the beginning of each row and three columns to the beginning of each column. Then, add the text of each row and column in the appropriate place.
Using code blocks and inline code
To use a code block, simply indent the text you want to be in the code block by four spaces. To use inline code, simply surround the text you want to be in the inline code with backticks (
Creating block quotes
To create a block quote, simply indent the text you want to be in the block quote by four spaces and then add three backticks (
) to the beginning.
Advanced Formatting Techniques
Here are some of the more advanced formatting options that Obsidian offers:
To create a footnote, simply place the footnote number at the end of the text where you want the footnote to appear. Then, add the footnote text to the bottom of the page.
Using YAML front matter
YAML front matter is a way to add metadata to your notes. This metadata can be used to organize your notes, to add tags, or to create custom templates.
Creating graph visualizations with Mermaid
Mermaid is a tool that allows you to create graph visualizations of your notes. This can be helpful for visualizing the relationships between your notes or for creating mind maps.
Using CSS to customize your notes
CSS is a style sheet language that can be used to customize the look and feel of your notes. You can use CSS to change the colors, fonts, and other aspects of your notes.
Troubleshooting Common Formatting Issues for Obsidian
Tips for fixing broken links:
- Check if the file name has changed or if it has been moved to a different folder. If so, update the link accordingly.
- Check if the link is pointing to the correct file. Sometimes links can be misspelled or point to a different file with a similar name.
- If the file has been deleted, check if there is a backup available or if you can recover it from the recycle bin/trash folder.
- Check if the file is still in the same vault. If it has been moved to a different vault, you may need to create a new link to it.
- If the link is still not working, try rebuilding the Obsidian cache by going to
Settings > File > Clear cacheand then restarting Obsidian.
Troubleshooting image display problems:
- Check if the image file exists in the specified location. If it has been moved or deleted, you may need to update the file path in the markdown file.
- Check if the file path in the markdown file is correct. Sometimes the path can be misspelled or point to a different folder than where the image is located.
- Check if the image file type is supported by Obsidian. Obsidian supports most common image file types such as JPG, PNG, and GIF.
- If the image is not displaying, try clearing the Obsidian cache by going to
Settings > File > Clear cacheand then restarting Obsidian.
Fixing formatting errors:
- Check if there are any syntax errors in the markdown code. Common syntax errors include missing or mismatched brackets, parentheses, and quotation marks.
- Check if there are any conflicting plugins or themes that may be causing formatting errors. Try disabling plugins or changing the theme to see if the issue is resolved.
- Check if there are any invisible characters such as non-breaking spaces or tabs that may be causing formatting errors. Try deleting and retyping the affected text to remove any hidden characters.
- If the formatting error is still present, try copying the markdown code into a text editor and then pasting it back into Obsidian. This can sometimes help to remove any hidden formatting that may be causing issues.
In conclusion, Obsidian formatting is an incredibly powerful tool for taking your note-taking and knowledge management to the next level. By mastering the basics of Markdown and understanding how Obsidian implements its own unique features, you can create notes that are not only informative but also visually appealing and easy to navigate. With the tips and tricks outlined in this article, you should have a solid foundation for using Obsidian's formatting capabilities to enhance your workflow and achieve your goals.
We hope this guide has been helpful for you in your journey with Obsidian. Please feel free to leave your comments and feedback below, and don't forget to share this post with anyone else who might find it useful. Happy note-taking!