Obsidian as a markdown editor?

I’ve been working with Obsidian for a few weeks now, and other than a little use of markdown in Ulysses, I’m pretty new at that, too.

I’ve been disappointed with the state of tools for writing and editing in markdown in Obsidian. I mean, really… to change a bulleted item to a level 3 heading: clicking the mouse at the start of the paragraph, hitting backspace twice to remove the list code, then shift-3 three times, followed by the spacebar? (trying to avoid too much mouse-grabbing) It seems there should be a way to put the cursor anywhere in that paragraph and hit one keyboard shortcut for “H3” and be done with it. But I haven’t found a way…

A lot of experts, far, far more skilled than me, are “all over” Obsidian, and I can’t imagine them being happy with the lack of powerful automations for markdown editing.

I’ve been working with the markdown-formatting-assistant plugin, but it’s awkward for formatting pre-existing text, since its backslash trigger obliterates any text you’ve selected. It appears to made for writing, not editing and formatting, where you’re selecting text that’s already there. You can reach for the mouse and click its icons in the sidebar, but that’s a disaster unless the cursor is at the very start or end of the paragraph, or the entire paragraph is selected. And Obsidian provides no help with selecting a paragraph via the keyboard-- it’s hands off the keyboard and a triple-click with the mouse.

My “Holy Grail” is to drag the mouse and select from the middle of one paragraph to the middle of another one four paragraphs down, and have one keyboard shortcut change the formatting of all paragraphs with anything at all selected in them, fully or partially. Like I can with styles in Pages.

So, I think I must be missing something as I start to move TONS of material from OmniOutliner into Obsidian and reformatting it into markdown. What are you using to create a modern editing environment?


You’re not alone in wanting to get around Markdown. There’ve been 218 replies to the feature request for a Typora-like WYSIWYG editor:

It’s worth noting that such an editor is on the short-term horizon (it’ll be the priority after mobile apps are polished and shipped). The plans I’ve heard are to adopt a Typora-style interface and to make it a third option, so you can switch between Edit, WYSIWYG, and Preview.

In the meantime, besides the approaches you’ve already described, you can open any given file in whatever markdown editor you’d like. To wit, Typora itself might give you a better interface for writing. So that might be an option when you’re out of patience for Markdown.


As above really - if I wanted to do serious Markdown editing, I’d open up the file in Typora. At the minute however, I’ve not had to do that, as I haven’t had a long form document to write in Obsidian.

I find the benefit of markdown is that I can use a number of different programs on the same file to get the right tool for the job at hand.

Good timing on this post. I tried using iAWriter but I can’t get it to save a file with the .md extension, it only takes .txt. For now I’m using 1Writer.

Do you recommend something better for both the Mac and iPad?

On the Mac you have to go Preferences > Files > Default extension and set it to be .md

I did, but it does “take.”

After changing it in iAWriter, it still defaults to .txt

If it’s just about not using the mouse, what I do is

CMD + Left arrow (to the beginning of line)
Shift + Right arrow (select one character left)
shift + 3 3 times.

odd. I’ve found that it doesn’t always respect the default extension for files added via x-callback-url but otherwise it’s always md for me. Maybe message the developers?

Will do. Anyone else have this experience?

I got it working, I had to close and reopen iAWriter to get the default extension change to stick.


Was about to suggest that to get .md as default. iA Writer is default markdown editor for me though a lot of work’s done on DEVONthink. Reduced number of apps moving away from Obsidian since bulk stuff’s on DEVONthink plus preference of using item link instead of wiki link - have set up shortcut/script to quickly cogeneration for item link. Still miss the beauty of Obsidian though.

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Thanks for the ideas. Since my big lift in Obsidian is currently moving material from OmniOutliner, a side-trip through a good markdown editor, like Typora, etc., is a great idea, at least until Obsidian gets their editing tools in shape.


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Why struggle - use Vim - struggle more. All jokes aside, I think the beauty of markdown/text and an app that uses standard markdown is the ability to use any text editor(and remain app and platform agnostic). I like using Vim for its ease of use… :grinning:


I agree, and looked at Typora this morning. It offers the tools I was missing in Obsidian, and because it’s just text, will fit into my workflow very well.


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