Obsidian users: What would make the app more Mac-native?

Thought I’d ask the MPU Obsidian users: what’s missing for you, from a native Mac app perspective?

It may be possible to build out some aspects of a macOS native experience via plugins.

For instance, I’ve added a plugin to enable Mac standard alt-based keyboard text navigation:

Some things depend on changes to Electron, of course, and others on Obsidian developer time. Still, I’m curious about what we might build on our own. Discuss!


Above all, I would like it to work with native macOS autocorrection. That’s absolutely the thing I miss (and I know the cause is Electron), which still makes me glance elsewhere at greener pastures despite my love for the app.


Yep +1 for autocorrect


Thanks for that great plugin! I use that!
Implement more UNIX/Emacs’y keybindings please :slight_smile:

I did try to better simulate UNIX/Emacs-y keybindings, ⌃⌥F and ⌃⌥B. But I cannot figure out how to get next/previous words’ cursor coordinate with CodeMirror. The wip pull request still linger in one branch of my fork from your repo.

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Putting access to all of Obsidian’s functionality in a well-organized set of menus in the menu bar. Even if power users end up using keyboard shortcuts to access this functionality, having everything accessible in the menu bar is huge for discoverability.


Re: text replacement

Hmm. Looks like the root problem was a lack of support in Chromium, on which Electron is based. Chromium support might’ve been built out recently, so perhaps Electron will include this by default soon:

That said, there may be a potential solution via plugins.

Getting technical for a moment: the trick seems to be adding the event listener from the above package into every Obsidian text window. I think it’s doable, but I’ll have to do some trial and error before I know for sure…

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I would like a proper File menu with the ordinary commands for a document-oriented app:

… New
… Open
… Open Recent
… Rename
… Page Setup

Especially Print!


This would be already a good thing but I was meaning more about system-wide autocorrection than the system text expansion. If you use a third party text expander (I use Typinator), you can already replicate the smart punctuation with a few snippets, for instance. What I really miss is macOS correcting my typos as all other apps do :sweat_smile:


Access to the Mac Services menu, so that we can use Brett Terpstra’s markdown tools, for example.


Ah, I didn’t know autocorrect and text replacement worked differently.

Chatted with the Obsidian team about this. Electron has implemented support for system spellcheckers as of October 2019, but CodeMirror—the text editing layer on top of Electron that Obsidian uses—doesn’t use that.

I believe the devs have submitted a pull request to CodeMirror though. Fingers crossed!

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I really, really hope we get there. Craft is whispering the sweet song of a native app in my ear… Obsidian still has a comfortable lead, but the competition in this space is fierce!


I’m with the @anon85228692 here. The fact that I can use Obsidian seamlessly (more or less) with DT3 and Drafts helps drown out the siren’s call of Craft, but depending on what happens Monday (when Craft is set to release the next big update), that could all change! If Craft gets automation support…and I think it will…plus better keyboard shortcuts (as it will), gonna be hard to ignore the native iOS/iPadOS apps!


What I am really waiting for is the iPad app for Obsidian. That would make the perfect companion to Obsidian. There is one thing that would help a person like me that does not understand CSS, and that would be a program that allows you to choose your own color schemes and then save that as the Obsidian CSS.


Another thing I find myself more and more (but I doubt we’ll ever get) in continuity camera.


That and continuity markup/sketching would be awesome!


So! On the menu front—I am hoping to help the Obsidian devs build a good macOS menu. Here’s my thinking. Looking for suggestions/edits from others. (Some obvious things are missing—e.g., Services, Spelling and Grammar, Substitutions—as they need further development elsewhere in the app.)

... About Obsidian
... Preferences

... New Vault
... New Note
... Open Vault
... Open Note
... Open Recent
... Save
... Close Active Pane
... Move to...
... Rename Current Note
... Reveal Note in System Explorer
... Reveal Note in File Explorer
... Open in Default App
... Share...
... Export
... Print
... Page Setup (What would this do in Obsidian?)

... Undo
... Redo
... Cut
... Copy plain text
... Copy HTML
... Copy rich text
... Copy Obsidian URL
... Copy File Path
... Follow Link Under Cursor
... Open Link Under Cursor in New Pane
... Edit File Title
... Paste
... Delete
... Delete Paragraph
... Swap Line Up
... Swap Line Down
... Select All
... Find ...
... Start Dictation
... Emoji & Symbols

(all Markdown formatting shortcuts go here)

... Load Workspace
... Manage Workspaces
... Split Vertically
... Split Horizontally
... Toggle Pin
... Open Graph View
... Open Local Graph
... Open Backlinks for the Current File
... Open the Outline of the Current File
... Start Presentation

... Reload
... Theme ... 
... ... (Downloaded themes go here)
... Dark Mode/Light Mode
... Show/Hide Left Sidebar
... Show/Hide Right Sidebar
... Fold All Headings and Lists
... Unfold All Headings and Lists
... Toggle Fold on the Current Line
... Show Preview/Edit
... Text Size...
... Enter Full Screen

... Navigate Back
... Navigate Forward
... Open Quick Switcher
... Today's Note
... Next Daily Note
... Previous Daily Note
... Open Random Note

Plugins (This is a personal dream of mine—that any plugin that adds a command to the command palette has that same command added to this menu.)
... Plugin 1
... ... Plugin 1 Command A

... Minimize
... Tile Window to the Left
... Tile Window to the Right
... Move to (iPad)
... Bring All to Front
(I'm not sure how easy it is to implement some of these macOS Window menu features in Electron—e.g., I just noticed that Pocket Casts, another Electron app, has a "Tile Window to Right/Left" option that doesn't do anything, ha.)

... Search
... Open Help Vault
... Open the Obsidian Forum
... Open the Obsidian Members Group Discord

I have no idea how feasible implementing all of these menu items might be, but from what I can see in the Electron documentation, some of it should be easy. Famous last words, of course.

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I think you also need

New Folder
Rename Folder
Reveal Folder in Finder
Delete Folder
Move Folder

What is the difference between System Explorer and File Explorer? We’re talking about a macOS menu, so those terms are sort of Windows-ish and don’t belong in a macOS menu.


System Explorer is just how Obsidian refers to Finder (macOS) and Explorer (Windows). (Not sure what it is on Linux distros.) File Explorer is how Obsidian refers to the in-vault view.

So, “Reveal in System Explorer” would show a file in Finder, and “Reveal in File Explorer” would show where the file is in your Obsidian vault.

There’s been lots of debate on the terminology but I think the devs are fixed on this approach. (I would prefer a conditional “if macOS, call this Finder; if Windows, call this Explorer” approach, but alas!)

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I know that. It’s wrong and a bit sloppy, IMO.

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I’m glad I’m not the only one. For me it’s about a native experience across all of my apple gear. Craft seems really great. I don’t think it holds a candle to obsidian if we are comparing MacOS to MacOS. BUT! I might be willing to sacrifice some of the functionality on Mac to have more balanced functionality across devices.

The one thing that is keeping me from jumping is transclusion. It’s so easy to build an outline for something in obsidian, then hit the preview button, have everything from all of the notes right there. Then you can copy it out into another text editor or use it as is for a lecture outline.

Also, I do love the app. It’s funny to me that I’m having such a hard time with this because I’ve been complaining for years about lack of zk iOS support…and now it’s there…but the macOS app that I’m using is so good that I’m not yet entirely ready to make the jump.