Better pane organization for concurrent note-taking

Use case or problem

At the moment, I find it difficult to manage editing multiple files at the same time. The “split” function helps a little, but then when I’d like to open a new file, I don’t have control over where it opens, or which already-open file it replaces. In particular, this issue arises when I’m trying to take notes on a pdf file side-by-side.

Proposed solution

I think the best model for this workflow is a separation between “tabs” and “panes”. What I’ll describe is very similar to how this problem is managed in text editors like VSCode, which seem like a primary competitor to Obsidian. I’d like to have multiple files open concurrently in separate “tabs”. Then, when I want to open files side-by-side, I can split into two panes and open tabs in the new pane, and swap between tabs in the two panes independently.

Current workaround (optional)

At the moment, I often have to open pdfs separately in a browser window so that I can manage my screen space efficiently.

A link always opens in the currently active pane (the one you last focused or clicked on) So you can click on a link in the current pane and open a new pane, but you can’t open it in a different currently open pane.

Yes, that’s a problem, but is it the one you are describing?

Related is what happens with the forward and back navigation arrows when you are working with multiple panes. Back returns to the previous note whichever pane it was in, which is confusing. The panes should have independent histories, just as browser tabs have. But in your scheme would each tab also have its own history?

As I understand it, you want control-click to open a new tab in the current pane, which doesn’t solve the problem I started with. Or when a pane has multiple tabs and you then split it, do both panes then have the same tabs, and loading another note in one without doing control-click will reduce it to a single tab?

Have you tried the Obsidian Tabs plugin? There’s a thread about it in the forum here. You might be able to achieve what you are looking for with it.

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