Formatting Easier to Use

Where I constantly get frustrated with writing in Obsidian is formatting. Markdown is discussed by many as the preferred method, when wanting to quickly jot ideas down without having to worry about formatting. I find for me, with Obsidian at least, I get frustrated with formatting text (I.e. for a template) and then I step away all together.

For instance,

Have you tried to use something like Typora or iA Writer? You can make one of those apps your “default editor”

If you want, copy and paste all of that text and I’ll show you how I might format it.

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Sorry, but I don’t quite understand the actual purpose of your post…

Is it:

  1. a feature request to add more (non-markdown) formatting?
  2. a complaint about the limited abilities of markdown to support advanced formatting tasks?

In the first case, tag your post as a feature request and give more explanation what you want (but I don’t think obsidian should support a lot of non-standard markdown syntax as this would break the actual goal of markdown files to be readable and transferable from and to everywhere…)

In the second case, the problem is not with obsidian but with markdown. If you don’t like markdown, then obsidian should certainly not be your preferred app.

In addition, before complaining about markdown, learn about its syntax (there are thousands of documentations and cheatsheets around the web and even in obsidian’s help…).

For example, as to your first formatting issue (in your picture):
standard markdown syntax requires two paragraphs separated by an empty line.

I don’t completely understand your second formatting issue… What do you want to achieve?

In addition, you are always free to use html for further formatting of your files - but in this case your files could be less transferable between different apps…

I’m interpreting the post as the user is new to markdown and formatting issues are getting in the way of writing.

Exactly, I think the user is new to Markdown and hasn’t yet understood it’s whereabouts.

Dear Mabdallay,

You are thinking “formatting”, while Markdown is about meaning or “semantics”. To make the best use of Markdown, you have to think in terms

  • level headings (H1, H2, …, H6)
  • paragraphs
  • bullet lists
  • numbered lists
  • citation
  • … and let’s not forget LINKS ! :wink:

and that’s about it — there are some other “niceties”, but to begin, stick to the above, that would be my advice.

THEN, once you’ve got the “semantics”, you can think about the formatting. And that’s done in a style sheet (CSS). Either you find one that conveys esthetically and visually the meanings of your words, OR you make your own by editing one that is nearly what you want.

My two cents.

Olivier :slight_smile:

PS : what I mentioned may seem limited, but frankly, it’s quite powerful as far as note taking/making is concerned. And it’s quite possible to make beautiful and structured texts with just these few possibilities. If you need more… then, obviously, Obsidian is not the best tool and you’ve better use a word processer or, better still, a page layout program. One can imagine, for a few notes, to use PDFs as reference material or notes in an Obsidian vault.


Like others, I believe that your problem is with markdown and not Obsidian. I really recommend learning it, though, as it will give you the ability to have your plain text structured (and subsequently formatted) in a huge variety of apps and platforms. For me at least, there was no going back.

There are a ton of online guides (like Markdown Guide) and online markdown editors (like Dillinger).

As for Obsidian’s editor, there’s still room for improvement. A very popular feature request is a WYSIWYM (Typora-like) editing mode, and that will probably make it easier for people with little or no knowledge of markdown to deal with its syntax.

I second Scotty’s offer

It might be interesting to see how different people would go about it.


Welcome @mabdallay! As others have mentioned, the WYSIWYG editor might help with the visual aspect, but I’m afraid you’ll still need to know the syntax.

I’m moving this to the resolved help section since this is related to the markdown syntax and I believe others have shared already quite a few resources that could help out. Let us know if that’s not the case! Thanks to everyone who helped!

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My comment wasn’t meant to be harsh or unfriendly - I just haven’t understood what the actual question was - that is what I wanted to find out, and already gave some very general replies related to the broader topic.

Yet, I still think it would be a better way to state an exact question when asking for help - I find it rather difficult to give detailed support when I only read several times how “frustrated” one is with the app… :thinking:


Hi @alltagsverstand,

It’s a feature request. Made the necessary change with the tag. Sorry about that. Roam Research uses markdown, I just find it nicer visually in terms of spacing and bullets. You can work using markdown using Dynalist as well. I don’t believe I would have a problem with their formatting either.
Apologies if the initial post sounded in any way harsh.

@alltagsverstand just saw this reply, meant to to respond to your first reply. Understood :blush:

@argentum. Thank you. Yes, getting used to the same text is totally fine. I think it’s just a visual look of things with how Obsidian is using markdown. My response to @alltagsverstand is of better help in understanding my troubles for you and all others have responded to help.

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@macedotavares @Scotty thank you for your responses. Thank you for your offers! Will let you know if needed! :blush::+1:

This whole thread is a warm reminder of the friendly and welcoming nature of the Obsidian community - it was a delight to read :slight_smile:

Markdown isn’t something everyone who discovers Obsidian is already familiar with. But if someone asks, then the folks here are ready to help them on their way. Whether a reply guides them towards fundamentals, makes sure everyone understands what is being asked, or suggests alternative methods - they are bound to leave “here” (the thread) having learned at least a handful of things.

@mabdallay don’t stop asking questions! :slight_smile:


@mabdallay By the way, as to the question of line breaks: as I mentioned, the “pure” standard markdown syntax is that you need an empty line between two paragraphs so that they will correctly be rendered as two separated paragraphs. However, you can change this behavior in Settings → Editor: turn of the “strict line breaks”. But be aware that in this case your text will be rendered differently if you open your file with another markdown editor that only supports standard syntax/rendering!

For basic markdown syntax as well as some of its extensions you can find a good overview here .

I’m going to branch off here and ask for quick formatting like outliner programs (like Dynalist):

Adding to this list as I come across frequently looked for features, if that’s alright

  • Apply formatting lists, highlighting etc. to selection of text (select all & highlight or bold selection)

  • Re- arranging of bulleted list (drag and drop easier)

    • Will add a gif of what exactly I mean soon

Related Posts

This is going to get buried in the archive. I would suggest looking up existing threads and voicing your support there (those are commonly requested features, there are definitely threads for that).