How Do You Use Obsidian Links for MOC's?

I use Obsidian to take lots of notes on books and other reference material. I’m having a tough time trying to figure out how best to use links in a scenario like this:

I read a book that contains multiple things I’d like to reference in MOC’s or other notes.

Example: a book about copywriting. I might want to highlight material from the book (in my own summary) that are good examples of things like:


and so on. In the past I’ve just used tags and that’s fine I suppose but then it’s just a catalog of things.

Where I’m struggling is say I have a Copywriting MOC open, if I pull in linked mentions from the page containing the book review and drag the linked reference into the MC it simply lists the link as the title of the book review note.

In apps like Roam or Logseq in brings in the specific piece of information I put the link next too. In Roam I can even edit it and have it update in its original location.

Is this not possible in Obsidian or does anyone have a suggestion on what I might be doing sub-optimally?


I’m not quite sure what you’re asking to be honest.

Obsidian does allow you to transclude information from another a note:

Maybe screenshots or recordings would help with explaining your question?

Thanks for the link but I don’t think that’s what I’m looking for.

2 pages in Obsidian

  1. Book Review “A Book about Writing” (Note 1)
  2. Copywriting (Note 2)

When writing my book review I write about a key highlight I want to reference as a good copywriting reference.

In Roam if I put a [[copywriting]] next to a string of text in Note 1, it shows up as a backlink in Note 2 (Copywriting). So the direction starts in Note 1 and goes to Note 2. In Roam I can drag that backlink into the body of Note 2 and manipulate it.

Seems like in the Link to Blocks Obsidian help page, you are in Note 2 and searching for something in Note 1 to insert into Note 2

In Obsidian, if I’m in Note 1 and I write [[copywriting]] next to a string of text, it shows up as a backlink in Note 2. However, if I drag the reference into the Note 2 body from the Linked Mentions it just displays as the title of Note 2, rather than the specific text [[copywriting]] is next to.

You want to be able to edit the backlink, is that it?

I want to be able to drag a backlink from a linked reference into the body of the note it’s linking to and edit it, yes.

Also would like the backlink to display text it’s next to rather than just the title of the note.

Example book review note…with the backlink named copywriting.

Screenshot 2022-12-05 at 8.13.10 PM

Here’s the copywriting page with the linked reference

Here’s what it looks like when I drag it it, I"m seeking to get “This is what I want to see in the other note” text here instead of the note title. Roam does this and logseq too.

Screenshot 2022-12-05 at 8.13.56 PM

You could use logseq :slight_smile:

Hm, I don’t think that exists in Obsidian. There may be a plugin for it but I’m doubtful about that as well - it goes pretty far against normal Markdown.

I think transclusion may bring what you are looking for. From inside Note 2, if you do ![[Note 1^]] and search for [[copywriting]], it should properly embed the text next to the link.

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I think @ThatNerd is right — this is block embedding or block transclusion.

Say you have the note…

# Book Review: Thinking Fast and Slow

"System 1 thinking can lead to irrational decision-making behaviours, such as loss aversion." ^r79rjb

In Copywriting, you’d write:

# Copywriting

![[Book Review: Thinking Fast and Slow^r79rjb]]

then the block link will display the full text from the book review line.

There’s no drag and drop from the backlinks pane to get these, however. At least, not that I know of. Maybe the Strange New Worlds plugin…?

(If you want those blocks to be editable, the upcoming plugin allows editing of embeds.)

Also note that you can modify the text of any links with aliases, so you could write:

[[Some note^abc123|Some contextual discussion of the linked block]]

and the text will render as “Some contextual discussion of the linked block” with a link to block abc123.

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Of course, maybe once it’s out of beta though.

Thank you for this. But this wouldn’t show the “System 1 thinking can lead to irrational decision-making behaviours, such as loss aversion.” ^r79rjb" at all in the backlinks pane for the Copywriting page correct?

I know everyone manages knowledge differently but for me personally this creates some friction/additional processing in the backlinking process that I was wishing to avoid by hoping I was missing something. Alas, I don’t think I was.

Although instead of dragging and dropping I suppose I could look at the backlinks pane and if I wanted to include something from Book Review into Copywriting I could just use the

![[Book Review^searchForTheBlockHere]] use the carrot inside that and find the reference manually. It’s not that laborious to do it that way. And if I wanted to edit it I could just open it to the right or some such.

Yeah, it seems like you probably prefer Roam style etc. But if you’re wanting to go with Obsidian for other reasons, you could try the text transporter plugin to each copying of embed data: GitHub - TfTHacker/obsidian42-text-transporter: Text Transporter - advanced text management for Obsidian. Part of the Obisidan42 family of Obsidian plugins.

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I agree with @derekvan — I think this is a artifact of your workflow from Roam. If you like Obsi for other reasons, you can probably find alternatives for this workflow if you rethink it at a higher level.

Text Transporter, Copy Block Link, and Drag-n-Drop Block Links are all plugins that might help — I haven’t used them for this use case though!

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What is a MOC?

20 characters

Map of content. A place to pile and organize a bunch of links related to some idea.

Sorta like a dynamic, manually-curated table of contents.

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@ryanjamurphy Can you explain the difference between a MOC and a table of contents? Would tags be a way create that pile?

I don’t use them myself! They are largely popularized by the Linking Your Thinking crew. Here’s more, from the official source:

I use MOCs all the time.

My view is that a MOC is ordered in any way the user sees fit while a TOC is ordered in the order in which the items appear. Think chapters in a book or paragraphs in a file.

So I can have my AnimalTrakker MOC with the things that are currently most important or that I am currently working on at the top and the other stuff below. Meanwhile I use a TOC note to handle the ordering of chapters in my NaNoNovel because I want to see them in reading sequence and see how the entire book flows.

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MOCs aren’t anything mysterious or revolutionary. It’s a primary note that links to other notes – a dashboard if you will. It can have elements of a note, table of contents, glossary, index, even tasks. Whatever puts the information you need at hand, and shows you where you want to go for more info.

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