Handle (edit) other plain text file formats ( rmarkdown, tex, txt, code, etc )

What: I’d like Obsidian to be able to read and save files as .txt as well as .md, with the same file contents.

Why: Interoperability that would blow my mind!

I’ve been using Dokuwiki for years for one of the same reasons that I’m excited about Obsidian: it runs on a directory of simple text files. This makes it trivial to keep and sync a local copy of the pages, refactor things wildly, and pull text out to other systems. I have a plugin running on Dokuwiki that lets it read Markdown, so the .txt files it reads are already actually full of Markdown.

Obsidian would make an amazing interface for writing and editing my wiki, but Dokuwiki takes only .txt and Obsidian takes only .md . I was able to open my Dokuwiki pages directory tree, but Obsidian can’t see any of the files unless I switch them all to .md, at which point Dokuwiki would choke on them.

This is a lot like the request to Show txt files and optionally convert them to md, but is a little different and with a very different reason. Maybe collapse them?

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I support this! And maybe .tex and rmarkdown files as well, just as a text file.

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So the Dokuwiki Markdown Plugin does not accept Markdown .md files?

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Unfortunately, no, though I’ll be asking about that over there, too. The Dokuwiki markdown plugin is really just a parser that allows markdown (as well as its own wiki markup) within the text files. But for Dokuwiki to read and render the files, they need to be .txt .

It looks like there is a separate plugin that allows .md files … I’ll check that out, but it’s a couple years old. Even if that works I think this would be a pretty handy thing for Obsidian that fits the spirit of interoperability and portability. I’m going to leave this open.

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I’d also profoundly appreciate the interoperability of reading & writing .txt files as Markdown files!

My offboard brain is already a more than a thousand text files with Markdown formatting, all of which end in .txt so that the various tools I’ve used can read and edit the files. For my current blend of to-do files and a bullet journal I’ve primarily used Atom on my own computer, but I’d love to have Obsidian as a new option.

Since I’m a college librarian who regularly visits a number of classrooms in a day (at least when we’re not in a pandemic), I work on many different computers owned by the campus. I can’t install software on them, so I’ve often relied on cloud text editors. But unfortunately, some of those text editors have only allowed editing of .txt files, not .md ones.

I’d greatly appreciate keeping that interoperability potential open, if it’s not much work for Obsidian’s developers to give .txt files the exact same features as .md files.

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I think this is really important. I hadn’t thought of it before, but I’ve been trying out Obsidian with (a copy of) a folder of nvAlt notes I’ve built up over many years. I had forgotten that these weren’t all .md files (nvAlt’s default is .txt and I switched it to .md at some point).

I would love it if Obsidian would just work with these files as they are. An option to show the extensions in the file list would also be useful.

With this current mixed set of notes, it’s kind of broken. Any “.txt” notes aren’t showing in the file list, which I didn’t realize until now. But an existing “Note.txt” will show up in the quick search, but when I click on it, it creates a blank “Note.txt.md”.

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So the Dokuwiki Markdown Plugin does not accept Markdown .md files?

I looked further into Dokuwiki’s support for markdown. The plugin from 2012 that I mentioned before which allows .md files isn’t a good solution - it requires markdown universally, breaking the [[internal link syntax]] that Dokuwiki and Obsidian share; it also requires .md files to also have a .txt suffix - which means that using it would still not allow interoperability.

I’ve made the parallel request over in Dokuwiki’s forums, but given the other comments on this thread in the last two weeks, this still feels like a “plays nice with others” option that could really support the format-independence priority of Obsidian.

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I also totally support this! Most/many of my notes are MD formatted in .txt files for interoperability w/ other editors/databases, etc, on Windows, Mac, and Android. The ability to edit .txt is fundamental for me.

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I totally agree with this.
I already have a vault with txt files and use Nextcloud and notes since a long time, which support markdown but format files in txt.

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Not all notes can be markdown, eg I rely on org for heavily hierarchical notes, and some content comes as non-markdown text and always prepending ``` isn’t practical. Obsidian currently ignores all but .md files, so shows only half of my notes. Even limited support for other plaintext formats would make it much more useful for working with mixed-format notes collections.

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I may have missed it, but I could not make Obsidian display any of the txt-files.
If anyone knows how to do that, please let me know.
Some files I intentionally keep as txt because they contain code snippets for quick and easy copy/paste to terminal. To have them show up in the file explorer would be useful, though.

A nice option would be to be able to convert some of the txt files to md in place.

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.txt and .md are pretty much the same for copy/paste operations so I’m not personally sure why those can’t be .md files? My code text snippets are in .md format.

They are the same - for parity/sharing with other apps though, it would be nice to set a custom file extension or list of extensions to recognize as Markdown files (md, Markdown, txt, etc.).

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Ideally it would support any plain text file format (perhaps a per-vault configurable list of formats), and maybe show a little tag indicating the format if not Markdown, like it does on PDFs and PNGs.

My particular use case: I’m a BI developer/data engineer, so I work with a lot of .sql files. I use other tools besides Obsidian (SSMS, Azure Data Studio) for writing and running those queries, of course, but sometimes I just want to treat the .sql files as project documentation and/or archive them along with the project docs, and being able to see them in Obsidian would be really helpful.

I imagine a lot of developers, analysts, system admins, etc. would have similar use cases.

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+1 for this request!

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My notes are wrote in MarkDown but in txt files. The impossibility of defining which extensions notes have it’s the no 1 missing feature stopping me from using this software.

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This would definitely be useful. I guess it would somewhat connect with this feature request I mentioned, in that you could quickly apply rich text formatting to your writing while in Obsidian (Option for Rich text Editor - Click of the Mouse) - this works: Option for Rich text Editor - Click of the Mouse)

), among the many other suitable requests:

  1. Edit with rich text / preview

  2. Convert copy-and-pasted rich text (italic, bold, etc) to markdown instead of or in addition to HTML

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Yeah, I’m also considering moving my notes to Obsidian. Besides the .txt notes I also have for instance .taskpaper notes in my folder that are not visible in Obsidian. TaskPaper files are also basically plain text, with a defined format. I have other apps that work with the TaskPaper format better and I’m not asking for TaskPaper support, but it’d be nice to see them in Obsidian, maybe make quite edits and open in the default application for other uses.

For me at least it’d be great if there was a way to specify a list of file types that are plain text. Obsidian would show them in the search bar and give some very basic ways to edit them without the Markdown formatting.

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Please do add this feature!
I’m not a developer or programmer, but am beginning to learn some skills that will help augment workflows between Obsidian and other systems. For example, I suspect it would be relatively simple to write a code (in multiple languages) that creates a duplicate folder and file set - copying all .md files from an Obsidian vault into a mirror “vault” of .txt files. It would be much easier, though, if Obsidian could work with .txt.
I have been using TiddlyWiki (TW) recently due to its fantastic versatility in creating content that is polished for external consumption. I envision taking our Obsidian vaults in .txt format with internal Markdown syntax, and using a TW plugin to import .txt and parse the Markdown. Then we can use Obsidian for personal thought connection and TW (or any system that can pull from the txt files) to create content from subsets of our vaults.

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+1 for this feature. It’s not an issue for me of doing a one-time conversion of the filenames, it’s about being able to use text editors on various platforms to edit the documents, and right now not all of the apps in my workflow are .md friendly.

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