Drag and drop PDF to create wikilink not embed

Not sure if this should be a help request or a feature request.

What I’m trying to do

Within my Obsidian vault, I’m trying to drag from the navigation panel on the left into an open note on the right, such that it results in a wikilink rather than an embed.

The result I want:

The problem

No matter which combo of keys I hold down while dragging (Alt, Shift, Ctrl, two of them at the same time) I always get the same result: the pdf is always embedded in my note.

Things I have tried

I’ve looked at 8-10 similar topics. Most are archived and two of them indicate that there are multiple ways to drag and drop files but I think that may relate to dragging from outside Obsidian. I want to do this internally:


I second this request but with an option to create standard Markdown links instead. Sometimes I have to add a list of PDFs to a document. Editing each of them to remove the exclamation mark and add a link title can become tedious.


I second this request. I should be very simple to implement with an option to turn it off and on.

Other requests for this:

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Essentially the same problem here, I think. I want to drag and drop files from the file system into an Obsidian note and have the file copied into the attachments folder (this works today) and then a link created instead of an embed (can’t find any way to do this.) I never want an embed. I always want a link. I wish that was the default, or at least an option.

I too tried all the different key combinations, such as; Shift, Ctrl, Alt, Shift+Ctrl, Shift+Alt, Ctrl+Alt. I cannot find this as a settings option to modify.

My current work around is to set a shortcut key “Shift+Ctrl+C” to copy the full Obsidian path of a file.
Then “Ctrl+Alt+V” as a shortcut key for QuickAdd plugin with a simple Macro that is just a Editor commands → Paste command into Capture Format

[[<% tp.system.clipboard() %>]]

Hi did you find a way to do this? I want exactly what you described…

Actually I found out you can remove the ! at the beginning of the pdf embed and that turns it into a link. Then just put a name in the square brackets and voila

same here.

I would like an option in the settings to have all drag-drop operations (within obsidian but also from external file system explorer) to make a link like [filename.pdf](filename.pdf) with relative Links when inside the vault and absolute links when files outside the vault.

The drag-drop could also “always ask” on drop, showing a small menu at the drop location where I can select “embed” or “link” for the kind of link.

Going beyond the popup-menu at the location, it could also be a small popup window with additional options at the mouse location: “copy file to vault attachment folder/link to file where it currently” and “absolute / relative links”. But this may be overengineered and featuritis though.


It’s much easier to add an exclamation mark “!” in front of the link than it is to remove the exclamation mark and copy the filename into the link title.

Also the embed viewer always loads on drag-drop and it is slow & sluggy when linking to >10MB PDFs or large fotos.

My use cases:

  • link to a file I mention in text
  • describing the contents of PDFs or other files
  • documenting projects
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Auto-embed isn’t always needed or wanted and creates extra busy work if utilizing a lot of attachments

I work in a field that requires a lot of referencing PDFs, which I mostly manage inside of Obsidian. It’s extraordinarily useful for this purpose. However, I manage the index of files within a note/notes via nested bullet lists. Having to constantly remove the embed to turn it into a simple link is exhausting.

Proposed solution

I propose a simple radio toggle in the settings to stop auto-embedding of attachments; whether drag-and-dropped outside of Obsidian or within Obsidian, using the command palette or hotkey, or any other method of adding attachments aside from simply typing the wikilink.

Ideally, there’d be a hotkey and command palette method to turn this on and off, as needed.


If you hold alt (on Mac, I’m not sure on Windows) while dragging a file into a note, you will get a file:/// link instead of a Wiki link. This also works on multiple files at once.

I’ll second this one. Sometimes i just want the file to import and leave a link, but NOT embed. Usually pdf’s.

That’s useful and I appreciate it, but how does Obsidian handle it if I’m utilizing links on other devices I’ve synced? I imagine it can’t use those links to point to that local file.

Your original request would also not work with Sync. I’m not sure what to tell you. Yes a local file is local.

It absolutely would work with sync if I enabled PDFs in the Sync extension. However, the recommendation you gave would simply sync a broken link.

Want to also +1 this request.

I attach videos to note that I don’t want to embed and merely reference, but because of the auto-embed, it causes Obsidian to falter when the videos are large.

+1 to have a setting option to turn off auto-embed. Having to manually remove the embed each time is annoying.

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I’m back to Obsidian after a while. This auto-embed issue seems not to be fixed yet. So +1 also from me.

I work with PDFs and Tag Pages a lot, so I’m also looking for a solution here – either the proposed setting or a workaround.

As a student I need often to add several pdf to my course. It would be great to have the possibility to disable temporarily autoembed.

Workaround when several file in a same note :
Search and remplace “![[” by “[[”

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Does anyone have a solution ?