FR: suggestion on implementing a way to use canvas to seamlessly prepare a paper (or any other document)

I’ve been looking for a way to do the following when I prepare a manuscript (or any other types of documents):

  1. Use the mind-map feature (e.g., using Obsidian Canvas) to create a mind map containing my thoughts about how the paper should be organized, e.g., the outline of the different sections and paragraphs it should include, with their child nodes being, e.g., what should be included in each paragraph and how long each topic should be.

  2. After that, I want to create child notes for each topic (probably using Canvas’s nodes of the “file type” ) where I’ll write the REAL CONTENTS that will be included in the manuscript. I’ll call these nodes as the Leave nodes because they are always at the deepest level in the mind-map tree.

  3. Display a separate md file in a separate pane, where it will automatically collect the contents within these “leave nodes” according to their order in the said mind-map tree.

If someone has used latex, he will notice that my suggestion is a bit similar to how latex displayed two panes, with one for typing and one for displaying the compiled result. The difference is that, I want to have a tree structure thing when I prepare the contents, which will guide my writing.

Currently, when I write a manuscript in a latex editor, I have to use a mind-map software to do half of the things, and then use this to guide my writing; but these two operations are essentially separated, which wouldn’t be as convenient as what I’m looking for. For example, if one wants to adjust the structure of the paper by reorganizing the nodes within the mindmap, the CONTENTS will also be changed accordingly in my desired routine. Moreover, upon using obsidian, we might even create some blocks for each Leave node that remind us how many words we have written for this topic and what is the suggested count.

Please stick to one clear feature request per post.


This is indeed one feature in my opinion. Roughly speaking, I’m thinking of potential way of application of CANVAS (in obsidian) to achieve something similar to this:

where the middle pane will be a Canvas file with a tree structure. In this mind-map tree created in Canvas, the leaf nodes contain the contents of the manuscript that are to be collected into another md file, whereas the rest of the nodes within the tree contain guidelines written by myself on what the leaf node will be like, e.g. what topic it will be about, and how long it should be.

As for the right pane, it will be a normal .md file that automatically collects the contents within the leave nodes of the canvas file in the middle pane.

If this is possible, one can directly see the final form of the paper in the right pane; once one finishes the writing, one can also use pandoc to export the .md file into other formats (like .tex), which, after minor revisions, can be submitted to the editor office.

A slight improvement: Besides automatically collecting all the leaf nodes into the md file, certain additional nodes can be set to be automatically collected into the md file if one set them so (e.g., upon selecting these nodes and selecting a corresponding option in the right-click menu). This would be useful to include nodes containing things like “Section titles”.

Seems that what I’m requesting is more like a plugin.