Add menu item and/or button to make local graph easier to find and discover

Use case or problem

Case 1: When I’m viewing a note, I want an easily findable way to open the note’s local graph.

Case 2: When viewing actions I can take related to a note, I want to discover that a local graph is available, even if I didn’t know (or forgot) about it.

Problem: The local graph is currently difficult to find, with multiple posts from people asking how to access it. This also makes novice users less likely to discover the local graph even if they already know about the global graph.

Proposed solution

Add one or more UI items to open the local graph from the current note, such as:

  1. A menu item in the note menu (don’t know what the menu is called–the one that you open from the three dots in the upper right while viewing a note)
  2. A button in the toolbar for the right-hand sidebar (after backlinks, outgoing links, tags, outline). [This implies that the local graph could also be a panel in the right sidebar by default. You can set this up manually, but other posts & social media show that this is a common use case.]

Either or both solutions could be implemented independently of each other.

Background & why I think this is a good idea

I’ve been using Obsidian for 6 months, and until today, I haven’t used the local graph a single time even though it would have been useful. I might have been aware of the local graph when I started, but I forgot about it while there was so much else I needed to learn.

Today, something reminded me of it, but I couldn’t figure out how to open the local graph by browsing the menus and toolbars. I had to search online for the answer.

The local graph increases the usefulness of Obsidian tremendously, and novice to intermediate users would benefit if the option was more visible in the UI, to help them discover it. Current pathways to open the local graph only work if you already know what you’re looking for.

Graphs are arguably a feature of Obsidian’s user interface, and the local is commonly viewed as a side panel. All other major parts of the UI (global graph, palette, switcher, backlinks, outline, note views, etc.) are accessible via toolbars and/or menus. I think users would reasonably expect the local graph to be represented this way as well.

Related requests

Example of someone asking how to show local graph in sidebar: How to open a local graph view pane on the right sidebar?

Request to show local graph in sidebar by default - I wasn’t able to find this before I had written this post, but I’m going to go ahead and post this request anyway because proposed solution #1 above isn’t mentioned. Easier mobile graph mode access

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There already is a menu item.

You can open any local graph and drag and drop it to the right (or left) sidebar and it will stay there.

You can also quickly open the local graph via hotkey.

Thanks for your quick response.

There already is a menu item.

Where is it?

You can open any local graph and drag and drop it to the right (or left) sidebar and it will stay there.
You can also quickly open the local graph via hotkey.

I’m aware, but good info for others reading this as I didn’t say it explicitly in the post.

If it wasn’t already clear, what I’m trying to highlight is that the existing options aren’t findable or discoverable enough to novice and intermediate users, compared to advanced users who already know about them.

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Well, in general anyone using a new app should at first discover how this app works and what it can do by reading help docs etc. It would be clear then that there is a local graph feature and how it can be opened. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to blame you personally, it’s more of a general statement: there are dozens of people each day who ask questions like “I am new to obsidian, how do I do this and that…” - and a good deal of such questions turn around very basic things that should become clear if one would have read the documentation. This can become a bit annoying for those who are always willing to help but have to reply to the same basic questions every second day. I just want to say that, imho, feature requests such as “add a button for this and that for those folks who don’t want to waste their time reading the docs or searching in the forum” is maybe not a really important priority when compared to feature requests that really expand obsidian’s abilities…

I admit it’s a little bit hidden under “open linked view” (not completely sure if that is the exact English phrase as I am using the German version…).

I respectfully disagree. Usability improvements are a legitimate type of feature request, and should be just as much a priority as new functionality.

I don’t think it’s fair to characterize usability improvements as “for those folks who don’t want to waste their time reading the docs or searching in the forum”. I educated myself about Obsidian, used it heavily for 6 months, and spend plenty of time reading discussions. I looked pretty hard for this menu option, and I still couldn’t find it. That’s an indication there’s a usability issue. If basic questions are being posted every day about functionality that should be obvious, that can also be an indication of a design or documentation issue. Lack of user knowledge can be a problem some of the time, but that doesn’t make usability less important. Actually, everybody is a beginner before they become a power user, so you have to keep usability for beginners as a consideration if you want to turn them into advanced users. (Otherwise, we could just get rid of all the menus and toolbars and have only a command prompt.)

I’m new to the forum. Maybe the topic of usability has been discussed before. That’s my take.

Not everything needs to have a button or menu, but some things have buttons and menus for a variety of reasons. If outgoing links and backlinks have buttons, I think the local graph should too!


As I said, my objection wasn’t directed against you - my objection was more of a general nature, and maybe I got stuck on “The local graph is currently difficult to find”… This is what I disagree about, as you can use the command palette or a self-defined hotkey or the note’s menu. So there are already three possibilities to quickly open the local graph - as long as one knows that such a funtionality exists.

You are right, as we already have an icon for “open graph view”, one for “open local graph” would be a legitimate feature request. So, sorry if my reply read a bit rude - the main thing I wanted to say was that I don’t consider this a real high-priority-request as there already exist a couple of different possibilities :wink:

Btw, which buttons are you referring to? :thinking:

That’s okay - I think I see what you are saying now, in that this particular issue is not as a high a priority as it would be if, for example, the command was missing altogether.

Btw, which buttons are you referring to?

I mean the buttons in the toolbar at the top of the Right Sidebar.


Backlinks and Outgoing links are conceptually similar to the idea of the Local Graph, so it might make sense to put a Local Graph button there. Not to mention that some people like to move their local graph into the right sidebar anyway, suggesting it’s an intuitive location for it.

Local Graph is also conceptually related to the Open Graph View button in the Ribbon on the left, as you mentioned. The difference seems to be that the left side contains global actions, while the right sidebar contains things related to the current note (in the default workspace layout).

Just brainstorming a little more, an alternative to my proposed solution #2 above could be to provide access to the local graph from inside one of these areas so that it is more discoverable, without adding top-level buttons. i.e.:

  • One the global Graph View has been opened, provide a way to access the local graph [the same could be done from the local graph to global graph]
  • Inside the Backlinks and Outgoing links panes, provide a button to open the local graph. Or perhaps a toggle to show/hide the local graph within the pane itself. [I don’t think this idea is as good - nesting features this way isn’t really consistent with how Obsidian is organized.]
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I see - but I don’t think this is good solution. First, the backlinks and outlinks areas are only located in the sidebar because they have been opened there initially. After opening them once, they stay there as long as you don’t remove them. So it’s actually the same behaviour as for the local graph: if you once drag it into the sidebar, it will stay there, including the graph icon (or maybe, for backlinks and outlinks, they have been located there from the beginning by default, I don’t exactly remember…). Anyway, to have the local graph located into one of the sidebars by default could impose performance issues to slower computers as the graph needs a bit of RAM, I guess… So I think it makes more sense to let the user decide if he/she wants to open the graph in the sidebar.

May be a minor point, but I believe they are located there by default - the user doesn’t have to come up with the idea to do this by themselves.

let the user decide

The user can decide to add it or remove it no matter what, I think it’s more a question of what the default should be - what default would be the best for the most people (which I’m not qualified to decide).

Either way, I’m not attached to the idea of having it the sidebar, just continuing the conversation.

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But isn’t that what you suggested? Or did I misunderstand completely? The buttons you are talking off are only there because the respective file or pane is located there.

Yes, it’s one of the two potential solutions I’m proposing. By not attached I meant I don’t have particularly strong feelings about which solution is chosen. The request is just to make the thing easier to find, one way or another.