Auto-create new notes by linking to them

Not sure if this is more of a feature or a plugin (so feel free to move to the plugins section if it’s more appropriate there), but either way, this is one of the key features that allows the Roam workflow to function (since you can link to pages without filling them in and use them to accumulate backlinks, building up an “implicit definition”).


I am also interested in this, and I’ll describe it another way. Obsidian should create a new note file when you enter a name in brackets that doesn’t exist rather than creating the file after you click into that link.


yeah, but due to the way obsidian works, this should be coupled with a routine that deletes unreferenced empty files (a garbage collector of sorts)


Once you’ve linked to a page, it will show in the auto-complete for easy linking next time. So whenever you need it, you can just go to that page to check out the backlinks, at the same time creating that file on disk.

Am I missing anything? The behavior seems to be the same before you actually click on the link, i.e. it’s as easy to accumulate backlinks.


But IF you’ve got a link created in Obsidian then moved to your mobile device and wanted to work on that file you’d have to remember and get the exact right name or look it up in your list of files (which of course could be many thousands or more).

Having the file already created would help with that use case.


I see, that is indeed different. Or if the mobile app you’re using only auto-completes filenames, not existing link names.

Thanks for the clarification, @curtismchale!


So are we talking about being able to search links that don’t have files behind them? Will these links still show up on the graph?


They exist both in link auto-complete and graph view from my testing.

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@Silver How about quick switcher? Sorry, should have included that in my prior reply. :sweat_smile:

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Quick switcher indeed does not show links, and that’s quite inconsistent. Good feature request candidate!


Done - Include links in quick switcher


Under that topic there’s a backlink to here, haha. Just like GitHub. Sorry I just found it funny since it’s a little meta :smile:.

Bidirectional linking FTW!

Preference setting. Kind of makes sense.


Ah, my bad for not checking the behavior carefully enough! That does indeed do pretty much all I want (though curtismchale makes a good point that I hadn’t even considered). I didn’t realize links without files behind them showed up in autocomplete (I thought I had checked that, perhaps I did with a previous version where it wasn’t implemented yet. I haven’t been using very regularly, precisely because I didn’t realize this was implemented!)

Hey all, I found this thread when searching for an answer about basic backlinking functionality that works great in Roam but not so much in Obsidian: when I enter a new page [[foo]] in a note, I expect that page to be automatically created.

  1. Reading this thread, I see that [[foo]] does automatically show up in auto-complete.
  2. However, it does not show up as a page under Quick Switch (CMD+O). I feel like it should, no? When things are flowing out of my brain, [[new page]] tags should show up as destinations anytime I pull up Quick Switch.

The new (empty) page is created only when you actually click on an [[internal link]]. This is why it does not shows in Quick Switch: it just does not exists.

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Yep, I understand that’s the current behavior in Obsidian. My suggestion is that is should work like Roam: where the page is automatically created as soon as the first reference is created.

Use case: you’re free-flowing, typing your notes out in a meeting and highlighting [[topics]] as you go. I wouldn’t expect that I have to go back thru my notes and CMD+click every item to create the page.

Let’s say I reference [[a_topic]] 10 times but never CMD+clicked it. It would be odd to go into my vault, hit CMD+O and not be able to find it, no?


Maybe this option should go to settings - in my workflow, I often create [[link]] for later when in write about topics, I don’t need them to be created right away


TiddlyWiki doesn’t create the file until the link is clicked. This could work for this situation. TW also displays links to non-existent files in italics.

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