[Feature Request] Make Builtin PDF Annotations

  • Current PDF viewer only allows for reading PDF files.
  • If you work with them annotating is most likely thing you have to use.
  • I know there is plugin for that, but it is clunky and detracts from real work: if one wants just to open few PDF files and annotate them it is not possible, that plugin makes you to create files for annotations manually.

Possible Resolution

  • Builtin feature for annotating and text boxes
  • Possible stylus support for Android and iPadOS

I’m writing a plugin called PDF++, which adds a “pseudo-annotation” feature to the builtin PDF viewer.

The idea is, when you insert a link to a selection in a PDF (e.g. [[file.pdf#page=1&selection=0,1,2,3]]), the referenced text is displayed with highlights in the PDF viewer.

However, this plugin relies on many private APIs of Obsidian since the public API does not allow us to modify how the PDF viewer behaves.

So there is a relatively high risk that this plugin may break when Obsidian is updated.

For this reason, I hope this plugin’s functionalities will be natively supported by Obsidian itself so that we won’t need this plugin anymore.


The roadmap mentions PDF annotation, and it says

Currently waiting for native support in PDF.js.

And I think it’s a right and natural decision.

But at the same time, I believe Obsidian’s awesome features (rich markdown editor, backlinks etc) can achieve something more than just a usual PDF annotation.

For example, it can transform backlinks into highlights as PDF++ does. This new style of PDF annotation might be beneficial in that it fits into Obsidian’s note-taking workflow more naturally than the conventional ones (such as just adding underlines or highlights, which is not closely connected to ideas stored in our vaults as markdown files).