Differentiate between navigation links and relationship links

I’m very excited for the addition of note metadata through YAML and aliases for notes and the huge amount of possible future features that are now possible.

There’s an interesting discussion going on about the need for link types here. And in this topic, instead of talking about custom link types in general that we could add, I’d like to propose one specific link type.

First let’s look at some of the “link types” that Obsidian already has.

  1. Linked mentions:
    • Must be explicitly declared by the user using [[ ]].
    • Marked on the graph with a line
    • Creates a clickable link to navigate to that note.
  2. Unlinked mentions:
    • Not explicitly declared by the user
    • Not marked on the graph (As far as I can tell)
    • Doesn’t create a clickable link to navigate to that note.

Use case or problem

Sometimes I want to reference another note and create a clickable link, but I do not want to show a relationship between those notes.


  • Say I have three notes: Directors, George Lucas, and Stephen Spielberg.
  • In the Directors note, I want to explicitly link George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg Why? Because:
    1. It will create link to navigate to the George Lucas note quickly.
    2. It will create a backlink to go back to the Director note from the George Lucas note.
    3. It will show a relationship between the two links on the graph view.
  • In the George Lucas note I might want to link Stephen Spielberg since they were friends, and Stephen Spielberg directed George Lucas’ script Raiders of the Lost Ark. But:
    1. I’d like a clickable link for quick navigation (like a linked mention)
    2. But I wouldn’t necessarily want a relationship on the graph. George Lucas is not a Stephen Spielberg and vice versa.

Now, that might not necessarily be how you think, and that’s fine. But my point is this: the more links we put into the graph, the more noise there is, the less relevant and helpful the graph view is to us. Right now, if I want to add a link for easy navigation, then I also am adding a relationship in the graph view. If that relationship isn’t relevant then it’s more noise.

Proposed solution

Simply add @ to any square bracket wiki link [[ ]] and Obsidian will create a clickable link in the note but WILL NOT create a relationship between the two notes in the graph view.

In Graph View, click a line between two nodes, Obsidian will highlight the node. If you press Delete Obsidian will remove the relationship in Graph View and convert the [[link]] to @[[link]]

Advantages of this approach:

  • Completely optional: If you don’t want to use this feature, just carry on creating [[ ]] links like before. If you do want to use it, then just add @.

Possible Workaround

I see that v0.10.2 is adding support for embedded search queries. Perhaps “navigation” links might be less necessary with the release of embedded search queries. Not sure.