Emulate the graph view organisation and ability to create nodes of The Brain app

I would love to see a plugin that emulates the ability to add nodes/notes visually from the graph view like in the “The Brain” app, and also arranges links to the top, side and bottom depending on direction (in The Brain, it’s parent, child or ‘jump link’, for Obsidian I suppose it could be based on direction - From, to or bidirectional). For reference, this is how the graph looks in The Brain when a node is focused:


There are small bullets on the top, left side and bottom of each node, clicking and dragging will open a dialogue box that will let you type to select an existing node or name a new one. The top bullet will let you link a parent, the bottom a child, and the side one is a ‘jump link’ which is neither parent or child.

I’ve been using The Brain for a little while and only recently discovered Obsidian so it might be a case of not yet understanding how to effectively use Obsidian, but as a more visually oriented person I really love this way of creating and navigating notes. I really like the way it stacks the different chunks of notes for easy comprehension, unlike Obsidian which is a bit all over the place.

The Brain seems to have a decently large userbase as well (half a million copies sold apparently) and I’m sure it’s users would be more willing to switch over if the program could behave in this way (and if they could convert their data but that’s another thread…)


The graph in TheBrain is its convention for showing parent (top link), child (bottom link) and related (side link). A note can have multiple parents, multiple children, and multiple related notes (“thoughts” in TheBrain-speak).

I believe you can do all that with Obsidian. With links to parents, children, related notes.

However, I would also suggest you might not want to emulate TheBrain with Obsidian because doing so with the three “types” of links in TheBrain’s model is more limited than the more expansive possibilities for establishing relationships between notes that Obsidian offers.


Yeah, my thinking might be a bit limited there, I understand that Obsidian is a lot more expansive in its ability to display relationships between notes - But I do think it would be good to be able to traverse notes in this way if your data was organised that way already and if that was something that you were used to. This is why I have suggested it as a plugin and not a feature request.

I’m guessing also that parent-child-sidelink is synonymous with from-to-bidirectional relationships in Obsidian? In which case it seems like it would be easy enough to import data from The Brain.

Another thing it just occured to me that I like about The Brain’s graph besides the organisation is the absence of floaty animations.

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I think you can get the same result with Obsidian. Play around with links, “linked mentions”, linking to headers, etc. See what you think.

Perhaps. You’d have to play with writing your own exporter. I’m not fond of TheBrain 11’s ability to integrate with the rest of the world via import/export. The product did this a lot more elegantly before the architectural rewrite of TheBrain v7.


what you mean by “more expansive possibilities for establishing relationships between notes”?

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I`m interested in the same stuff. Can we get in touch and maybe find the way to implement the plugin?

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Sorry for the delay. I was thinking (back in September) of the links, backlinks, unlinked mentions, etc., that Obsidian supports. This is somewhat overcome by events here in November. Now, TheBrain v12 in beta provides those features. Still rough around the edges, I would think the feature will evolve as that app evolves toward its public release. The beta is free if you wish to take a look.


Very new user. My opinions may be uninformed, and I’m definitely not yet used to how to present myself on this forum. Even so, it is my hope that even my modest contribution offers something useful. Thank you for your time.

Use case or problem

The user should be able to do everything in the graph view that you can with markdown in the editing/outliner modes. Furthermore in order to make it more accessible to people who use a mobile, tablet, or simply are not as comfortable with visualizing the connections made with markdown there should be a way of switching to a wysiwyg view. Typing markdown, even for those comfortable with it will be very difficult on a mobile device for example.

At this point the graph would be the most logical place for that. The graph at this point is very limited and there is very little that you can do with a mouse or potentially finger or stylus. Even the basic functionality that would exist mundane tools such as paper and pen and scissors is virtually non-existent. I believe this should be rectified. However, I also acknowledge that the amount of work to redesign the graph to cope with this would be a massive effort for those who are not already experienced.

Proposed solution

Please take a moment to consider the top link from the three links at the bottom of this page. Note I have no affiliation with the company I’m sharing

This is the feature collection of the latest iteration of “thebrain” Which does much of what obsidian does except it does so in a visual way without the use of markdown. I don’t think it’s unfair to say that compared to other software solutions they have been struggling to make a foothold for themselves and they, like obsidian are primarily free. I suggest that collaboration or merging would solve our graph problem and give them a much-needed image uplift as obsidian is currently considered more innovative and the brain seems to be thought of as out of date and in need of an uplift. This would also save us massive time in building the graph from scratch. Why re-invent the wheel?

Many companies are so trapped with trying to compete with others. I see no reason to. I think in this case collaboration would strongly benefit both Obsidian and TheBrain and the emergent software solution would have a massive leg up on other competitors. I hope you take the time to talk to one another and that in the end, you feel the same. Thank you for your consideration.

Current workaround (optional)

Related feature requests (optional)

1 Introducing TheBrain 12 Beta
2 TheBrain v12 with backlinks and mentions
3 TheBrain v12 with backlinks and mentions - #4 by Sander

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Check out Excalidraw with its The Brain plugin. @zsviczian has recreated this.