Backlinks for Blocks

UPDATED

Use case or problem

We got blocks! Hooray! But now blocks are in this sort of grey area where they are convenient because they can make it more helpful to link to a particular area in a large note, but they lose cool features of notes (showing up in graphs, and backlinks). So blocks are now basically 2nd class notes. They make large notes more powerful but also weaker at the same time.

Problem: It becomes tempting to separate large notes into smaller notes because we want to regain backlink functionality).

Proposed solution

What if we add backlink functionality to blocks. The vast majority of blocks don’t even have backlinks so we don’t need to worry about them. But if a block gets linked then Obsidian auto-generates an id code like ^4c00a6. Well what if Obsidian just made ^4c00a6 purple (clickable). When you click it, Obsidian opens the backlinks page for that block. :slight_smile:

Note: For this feature to really work well, Obsidian would need to stop auto-generating a new block id EVERY time you link to a block. Instead, when linking to a block, Obsidian should check if there already is a block id. If so, just use that some one. If not, then create a new block id (like it already does today).

Current workaround (optional)

Do a text search for that block link id.

15 Likes

Played around with block links a little more and I think that Obsidian auto generates a new block id every time you link to a block. In other words the same block will have multiple block id’s which I think is not ideal and would break the feature for “backlinks for blocks.” I’ve updated the proposal to match.

This shouldn’t be the case. Are you sure that’s the behavior you’ve seen?

1 Like

Super weird. I just tested it again and it didn’t have that behavior. Not sure why.

1 Like

+1 for this idea. Would love block IDs to be clickable to list backlinks to the block! Miss this from Roam.

1 Like

+1 to this

+1 for making block ids clickable. It would also be cool to be able to sort backlinks by their respective levels as mentioned about headings here.

Also, if people are interested in this feature, they may be interested in this (tldr; seed random ids with the text so similar text will generate the same block id).

3 Likes

Just saw this popup in the discord: It’s not a full-blown backlinks pane, but there’s a block/heading level link counts plugin.

2 Likes