Canvas: Cards and Notes in Links / Backlinks and Outgoing Arrows in Graph View

Right now,

  1. Wikilinks contained in Canvas’ specific cards do not appear in the Cavans’ outgoing links (where they logically belong) and they do not appear as outgoing arrows from the canvas’ dot in the graph view.

  2. Similarly, the Notes (files) added to Canvas could be logically interpreted as “embedded in the Canvas” and hence appear in its Outgoing links.

Likewise, the originating canvas should appear in the backlinks section of the referenced note.

It would be nice if if functionality is implemented.

Note: Connections FROM files/notes TO canvases already work.


Similarly, the Notes (files) added to Canvas could be logically interpreted as “embedded in the Canvas” and hence appear in its Outgoing links.

This. Please. I was definitely expecting Canvas to work this way, was surprised to learn that wasn’t the case. At the very least make this an option, although I can’t see any reason for it not to be the default behavior.


I am also really looking forward to this feature. I want to use the canvasses to graphically build my maps of content (MOCs).


Would love this as well. The “Linking Your Thinking” guy talks in his video about canvas as if this functionality is inevitable and likely coming soon - I hope he’s right.


Thirding this. Would be great!


Use case or problem

There is no native feature that allows you to see if a note is referenced or used in any of the canvases.

Proposed solution

When a note is used in a canvas, I’d like to see the canvas as one of the backlinks for that note. This way I can see everywhere where the note is referenced, including canvases.

Current workaround (optional)

Omnisearch plug-in can be used to find out if a note is referenced in a canvas, as it searches within the text of the canvas files.


I’m using canvas a lot to brainstorm ideas or get a better overview of notes. So this feature would definitely be helpful


Steps to reproduce

Create a backlink in a card that hasn’t been created before

Expected result

Clicking on the backlink should show a reference to the canvas card

Actual result

The backlink page is created but no reference to the card is shown


  • Operating system:
  • Debug info:

Obsidian version: v1.1.16
Installer version: v1.0.0
Operating system: Darwin Kernel Version 21.1.0: Wed Oct 13 17:33:23 PDT 2021; root:xnu-8019.41.5~1/RELEASE_X86_64 21.1.0
Login status: not logged in
Insider build toggle: off
Live preview: on
Legacy editor: off
Base theme: adapt to system
Community theme: Typewriter v2.0.0
Snippets enabled: 0
Restricted mode: off
Plugins installed: 17
Plugins enabled: 17
1: Mind Map v1.1.0
2: Obsidian Git v2.16.0
3: Checklist v2.2.12
4: Editor Syntax Highlight v0.1.3
5: LanguageTool Integration v0.3.3
6: Natural Language Dates v0.6.1
7: Ozan’s Image in Editor Plugin v2.1.6
8: Reminder v1.1.15
9: Tag Wrangler v0.5.6
10: Tasks v1.22.0
11: Super Simple Time Tracker v0.1.6
12: Dataview v0.5.55
13: Highlightr v1.2.2
14: Day and Night v1.0.3
15: Simple Note Review v0.6.1
16: Excalidraw v1.8.14
17: ExcaliBrain v0.1.11

Custom theme and snippets: for cosmetic issues, please first try updating your theme and disabling your snippets. If still not fixed, please try to make the issue happen in the Sandbox Vault or disable community theme and snippets.
Community plugins: for bugs, please first try updating all your plugins to latest. If still not fixed, please try to make the issue happen in the Sandbox Vault or disable community plugins.

Additional information

In my opinion this is more of a bug than a missing feature. Part of what makes canvases exciting for Obsidian is the hope that they’ll integrate like other notes, this is the expected behavior.

My use case: I like using canvases for moodboarding. If I open a .jpg in Obsidian, I want to see “Linked Mentions” of everywhere this image is used. I can see other notes in this panel, but not canvases.


I am in total agreement that this feature would be incredibly useful as it is part of what makes Obsidian such a great host for canvas. That being said, it really is the ability to follow links and actually embed editable notes and media in the canvas that is indispensable. This is not a judgement or criticism, but the fact that this thread is not marked as “valuable” affects how I build my canvases. Not that “valuable” is some magic predictor, I just like to keep my expectations managed so that I don’t find myself stuck desperately waiting for something to be implemented.

Looking at the roadmap of Obsidian, it is hard to argue against the immense value of “Metadata improvements” and “API docs & developer portal” (both in Working on) and Tasks (in Short-term). I continue to feel very excited for Obsidian’s future.


Edit: It is marked valuable now. Perhaps it was before, and I might have misread it. I also hadn’t realized who the request was created by. I am feeling better already, but still think it is smart to not get ahead of things.


+1, I would really love to see this feature added.
My use case: I am using canvas for thematic analysis, placing notes in different places on the canvas (partially using groups within canvas for this). For each note, I really need some way of seeing whether/where it has already been placed in the canvas, but as far as I can see there is currently no way to do this (either through backlinks as in this thread, or through a local search function within the canvas).


Come from another post, I was trying to “add note from vault” canvas A to canvas B. I discovered that ‘Linked Mentions’ are not being displayed for Canvas A and Canvas B. Would it be more helpful if these were listed as linked?


Bumping this to the top / adding activity to help support this feature request.

I’m migrating some notes from Heptabase to Obsidian now that the Canvas feature has been out a while; Heptabase does track backlinks on their visual canvases, so it’s still a better option than Obsidian for visual note-taking. The lack of this feature in Obsidian really breaks the “link your thinking” / backlinks focused navigation, and makes Canvas feel like a feature that was released without being fully implemented.

I’ve also been experimenting with Personal Kanban within Obsidian Canvas, and being able to see the backlink to the canvas a project note is embedded in would be incredibly helpful in this context as well.

  1. If you cannot display canvas notes, you cannot display the location of orphaned notes.Notes with links become isolated notes.

  2. can not give canvas notes, do a yaml tag, the previous notes will be less functional, can be customized under canvas, a yaml block, some of the previous plug-ins can be used.

Doesn’t anyone use a Graph-view to check isolated notes?

1 Like
2. Similarly, the Notes (files) added to Canvas could be logically interpreted as “embedded in the Canvas” and hence appear in its Outgoing links.

I have implemented a plugin named “Canvas View” to fit this requirement, Wish it be help to you

It is still waiting for merge to community plugin list, so you can try it with manually installing

  1. git clone
  2. npm install
  3. put main.js, styles.css, manifest.json under <Your Vault>/.obsidian/plugins/obsidian-canvas-view

Hi @WhiteNoise

As you mention

I have created a plugin named “Canvas More” to meet your requirement

it registers two views to show Which canvases the active file embedded like the backlinks of canvas for it and Which files the active canvas contains like the outgoing links of canvas from it

Wish you like it


It would be great if I could use the graph view to see all files and images linked within that canvas.
I use many links, and sometimes I am unsure if I have included a certain image or not in a file if I am importing many.
On a regular markdown file I can simply check graph view and see isolated images and attachments, however with me putting images into a canvas, my entire graph view now looks like hundreds of stranded files on the peripheral of my graph view.


For all those who love freedom of clustering and organizing items themselves.

You might find that this Canvas file could replace your file tree from the side bar. It’s just easier to remember where something is if it is spread in two dimensions, and not just the vertical file tree.

Can also be used to create document outlines.

In this workflow, we will import separate .md files into the canvas and resize them to be as small as possible so we can easily move them around in clusters or create a layout you prefer. Maybe you’re designing research or just a mind map based of your notes. This is especially useful if your notes are ‘short and sweet’ i.e or if you are using the Zettelkasten method.

Keep 2 separate subfolders for notes. One for those you’ve already added to the Canvas (B), another for those you have yet to add to the Canvas (A).

Step 1. Create new Canvas
Step 2. open Finder (on Mac), File explorer on Windows
Step 3. navigate to the folder A.
Step 4. drag and drop all files into the canvas. This will create the same result as if you dragged in a note from the vault.
Step 5. Open .canvas file using Visual Studio Code
Step 6. Select “Replace”, and type “height”:400 to be replaced with “height”:50
Step 7. Go back to the Canvas. Select all notes in the canvas that were just imported.
Step 8. Select “Align” then “Arrange in a grid” or as you like.
From there on, you can rearrange them as you wish into your mind map.

Please let me know if this helps you in any way, or how this could be improved.

Further improvement could be great to extract the rearranged notes from the canvas and import all those into embedded references into a new note which could be printed out for review.

This tool still lacks one thing and that’s graph connections. I intend to create a python tool that can read the canvas file, and then add a tag with the canvas file name into each and every .md file that is inside of the canvas. This way, you would be able to see connections between canvas files and files inside, within the graph view.


Made an account just to add one more comment and like here. I’m extremely new to Obsidian, and was confused to see that this was not the standard behaviour for links in a canvas. Right now it feels very seperate from the rest of the app, when it shouldn’t be. I’d love to be using canvases almost as often as regular notes, but right now it feels like that doesn’t really work.