File Explorer Custom Sort

Sought out the forum and made an account just to request this feature


+1 yesss, custom sort order please. What about an extension to handle custom sort order?


That’s a really essential feature since Obsidian is about working with meanings, and not just files.

On the other hand, I understand that developers have more priority features to implement. So I’m wondering if it is possible to make this custom order with plugin or CSS?


Made an account just to add my support for this feature. Position on a list is an important component of organization to me, and using number prefixes is both clunky and makes the filenames less clear. This seems like a very important feature - I was hoping to use this to replace both my personal notes and Scrivener writings, but now I’m not sure.


Manual sort order used to be a feature of the Windows File Explorer, but MS deprecated it a few years ago. But there are some independent file explorers (eg XY) that maintain it as a feature.
I use external file explorers for vault files because they are so much more feature rich, so it’s no problem for me to do this. But I acknowledge many like everything tucked up nicely in Obsidian, and this solution won’t help them.

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would be cool

I’ll chime in as well. manual sorting in File Explorer would be genuinely useful.

Obsidian can become to “go to” app for so many if this can be added.

And thanks to all who contribute to Obsidian. You’re all true heroes.

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How do you locate a document in an external file explorer, and then open it in Obsidian? I have not found a practical way to do that on the Mac?

I use Windows, so that may be very different.

But, I thought I ought to check again - most of the time I have other editors set as default - so I needed to check it still works. (I know, I know, I regard these as Obsidian vaults, but I use external file explorers, and external editors.) I used open with rather than change my defaults temporarily. And it didn’t. Back to the old opening into the last open note. And then into select vault. I know this is how it originally worked (slightly frustrating) but seem to remember it did last time I tried. Possibly a misremembering, because the Obsidian opening sequence has to go Open Vault, Open Note. Maybe Open Note immediately ought to be a FR when Obsidian is already open.

Hmm… I don’t think I understand your response. Maybe I need more coffee.

However, it sounds to me like you’re saying there’s no way for you to use Windows File Explorer to navigate to an Obsidian document (which is just a Markdown file) and open that document in Obsidian. You need to either open it in some other Markdown editor, or navigate to the document in Obsidian and then open it there.


When I tested trying to do it in Obsidian just then, that’s what I found.

I speculated that it may not be possible because Obsidian is not a markdown editor per se, but rather a vault processor that contains a markdown editor. So, from Obsidian’s pov, asking it to open a file can’t work unless it knows what vault it is in. Vaults are unaware of the existence or non-existence of other vaults, so there can never be an assumption that the file will be in Vault X, even if Vault X is the only one that exists. In which case, there must always be an answer to the question ‘Which vault?’ before its editor is able to open any file. And consequently, it’s not something Obsidian will ever be able to do without a change in design. These are only my own presumptions - you may be able to explain why I am mistaken.

That’s my conclusion.

Though, I assume that Obsidian could be redesigned so that Obsidian Editor could operate as a standalone editor, which is automatically triggered when a vault is opened.

And I have just retested and it worked perfectly …
So why then did work today, and not last time?

Ah, the answer to that appears to be coincidence. Obsidian opens into the last open note, which just happened to be the one I just chose. Always opens into the same note, whichever file is selected.
Try it again when Obsidian is already open and it asks to know the Vault.

So my conclusions stand, for the moment.
I see this as a problem for Obsidian. The file explorer would benefit from a lot of upgrading; search works better.
Not a problem for me personally since I am happy to use other editors and usually use links, tags and search when I am working in Obsidian. Probably I would use the Obsidian editor more if it were more directly accessible from external file explorers.


That’s my conclusion as well. Obsidian is an application for working in vaults, not documents.

Manual sorting would be awesome indeed. I have noticed that manual sorting is already possible in the “starred notes” pane. This makes me think it could be possible to implement it in the file explorer as well.
Keep up the good work!


I agree with this, I love obsidian but some features I would assume to be easy are hard because of the markdown structure. It drives me a little crazy, but I want to use Obsidian from now on and this would be great.

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+1! need this

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This would be quite useful, agreed. Especially for fiction writing, to be able to arrange your scenes and chapters manually. I’m close to riding off in the sunset with Scrivener, but I have found the main feature that currently keeps me there is their manual sort.


+1 for this

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The file tree is still vital. This would enhance it greatly.

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This is tangentially-related, but could be useful to someone out there — if you want to add ‘separators’ to your list of files or folders in the sidebar, I like to use blank files or folders with names including superscript characters and hyphens. Let me explain with an example — say I want to separate folders starting with T and V, I can put a blank folder between them and name it ᵘ-----------ᵘ. Other subscript and superscript characters work too. I know it’s a bit of a hacky solution, but it could be of some help while a custom-sort feature is deliberated.

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