Add toggle for plaintext table editing in Live Preview mode

With the updated the table editor in Obsidian 1.5.3, users must now switch into Source mode to get a plaintext view of a table. Previously, users could work directly with the plaintext table in the Live Preview mode which would then nicely render the table once the cursor was outside of the table. For users who default to Live Preview and prefer plaintext table manipulation, switching to Source mode is an additional step every time a table needs editing.

While there are hotkeys available for add/delete/move/align row/column, that’s that’s a lot of things to bind when one could simply work with actual characters in the table itself before without needing to switch edit modes.

Adding a Settings toggle to enable the previous behavior of plaintext editing while the cursor is actively in a table would save users the step of switching into Source mode to make table edits or needing to take their hands off the keyboard to use the mouse contextual menu commands or binding numerous additional hotkeys to restore previously available functionality.

21 Likes

This would be great +1

+1 New tables are a pain to edit outside of source mode. Need a way to remain in live preview to see markdown source (like before).

2 Likes

Yeah this is somewhat unexpected that tables in 1.5.3 were introduced as fixed features contrary to properties for example that can be set to source in settings -> editor -> properties in document. I thought that Obsidian would introduce table editing as a core plugin that could be easily disabled. It is unacceptable that Obsidian can directly interfere users’ workflows by introducing several new features in a year. I previously thought that when Obsidian releases new big features, it will give users the choice to disable these features easily.

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Hi, first time participant in the forums… I was excited about new table editing functionality when I saw the release notes. But it I am now quite disappointed, so much so I signed up to the forums to participate in this thread.

The new table editing not only does mostly not work for me (on a chromebook, see below), but it also breaks the vim key bindings, appears to override the previously functional Advanced Tables plugin, and can’t be deactivated?

I found the new table editing functionality works only in live preview mode, so I’ve now switched permanently to that, as it’s the only solution that seems to work around the new misfeature. I don’t mind the markdown source, except for wide tables now go off screen and require lateral scrolling. Live preview was good for that.

I am using the flatpak package on ChromeOS/Linux for various reasons (DIGRESSION ALERT: mostly because the Android version, which also runs on Chromebooks, does not work with vim bindings, and does not support the mouse well in canvases. And BTW the Linux packages (flatpak and AppImage) do not support the international keyboard fully on Chromebooks either.)

This is not the first time vim keybinding functionality has been impacted by new “features”. It seems that no one pays attention to that, or there are no regression tests? I would like to not have to use the mouse at all at least while editing, and I am a longtime vim user, so that was one important feature when I started using Obsidian. Paying a little more attention to keyboard usability, for vim users, but not only, would be nice.

Anyway, I’ve loved Obsidian for a couple of years, but it’s slowly becoming less attractive and more of a struggle for me. I am a pretty pedestrian (or maybe lazy?) user of note taking software, tend to minimalism, and try and quickly disable most bells and whistles as they come out.

I’ve seen quite a few good ideas coming out in Obsidian, but I feel often they end up not being fully developed; perhaps too many. There is also too much focus on visuals, and too little on computational intelligence or usage aspects.

For instance, canvases are promising but superficial, and would need to go deeper to be really useful, beyond just a way to lay out a few pages. I understand canvases are new-ish and would expect them to receive a lot of future effort, but even the layout is kind of painful, for instance as soon as one wants to rearrange nodes and arrows become spaghetti. Similarly, the graph view is nice to look at, but not that useful for daily use. I feel the graph view and canvases are notionally strongly related, and could benefit from some integration. For instance, a canvas could be basically a view of the underlying graph, with some additional features. And by a view of the graph I don’t mean the graph view, if that makes sense…

Or I never understood why, with all the emphasis on links, backlinks and the graph view, Obsidian does not include an actual graph database engine as a core feature. That could be the base of an actual graph. The dataview plugin leaves a lot to be desired in my opinion, and there are off-the-shelf graph db engines and query languages that could be integrated and could be the base for some intelligence features, for instance the canvas-graph integration above.

Anyway, could the impact on vim keybindings be fixed or at least a toggle added for the table editing feature?

Thank you.
Bernardo Rechea

4 Likes

We need a way to disable this new table mode. That would resolve all users issues here.

I utilized the “Advanced Tables” plugin, which this “update” totally breaks. The “Advanced Tables” plugin has many more features and capabilities than what has been added in this new table mode, and thus has reduced the functionality of the Obsidian application.

I absolutely agree with those who looked forward to this but expected the interaction with the tables feature to be much smoother. I would prefer something like a “</> edit this block” button for this (and, in fact, all pre-rendered content in Live Preview mode), which could appear in the upper corner when hovering above the table and lets you edit the source directly.

Meanwhile, I found an easy workaround for going into (kind of) source mode without the pain of switching to it in the settings: I just add some character in the line directly above the table which makes the md interpreter think it’s no longer a table. Has the additional benefit of long lines wrapping nicely :smile:.

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Tables in Live Preview also deactivates the ability to have Multiple Cursors and and select via Rectangular Selections. I agree that a “Edit this Block” is needed, but also an option to enable alignment of columns in Source mode so one can use Rectangular Selections for editing.

I agree with others who suggest boxing it as a core plugin.

3 Likes

I’m also using flatpak on a Chromebook and find the new table editing experience is very counterintuitive. It feels like Live Preview functions properly as a live preview for everything except tables now, where it’s this new very hand-hold-y mode that reminds me of MS Word.

Agreed, please provide a mechanism for disabling the fancy new editor. It looks pretty and is convenient for small tables but the actual editing experience is far worse than advanced tables with vim keybindings enabled. Plain text editing with a live preview was a better option for any decent sized table.

Switching to source mode is a horrible alternative because you then loose all the benefits of live preview or are constantly switch back and forth between source mode and live preview mode.

1 Like

I would like this too. I use the Vim keybindings setting and the new table editor isn’t compatibly with Vim motions. For example, a very common part of my workflow is to type yy to copy a row, then p to paste it and then search and replace a specific string in the row. This is not possible and it seems like even when i try to do this manually with the left menu it glitches.

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I didn’t know that the person behind the advanced tables plugin is now part of the obsidian core team.

I really hope that the grace of that plugin is ported over to future versions of the experience. I still think about this every single day as I do everything.

yeah. this is exactly the way i use vim to edit markdown tables. been happily use obsidian until i found out that the new table feature completely ruined my vim editing experience. an option to disable the feature like other core plugins would be great.

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+1
Im using the vim key bindings and the new preview forces me to always use source mode.

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Hi there, I am also on a Chromebook. Experiencing exactly the same emotions and inconvenience.
I have bound a hotkey (Ctrl + shift + s) to the “Toggle live preview / Source Mode” command as a dirty workaround.

I don’t think I saw this in this helpful thread, so I’ll add that side-by-side mode can be useful when working on a table in a note. Hover over the edit-toggle icon and command-click (on Mac or equivalent elsewhere as prompted) to get the side-by-side. As others have mentioned I added a hotkey for the live preview toggle which is a big help.

I wanna lend my voice to this feature request as well.

The handling of text editing in live preview in Obsidian (with vim) was the best markdown editing experience I ever had as a developer.
A right mixture between “live preview” and selective “source view”.

I completely understand the need for the new tables and I’m happy for every user getting use out of it.
My thanks to the developers, this is a wonderful implementation in the context of this user group.

That being said, since it breaks vim functionality and since the behavior (in my opinion) diverges quite a lot from other editor components, there should be a toggle for plaintext editing.

Toggling source mode for the whole page is currently an ok workaround, but a clear downgrade.