Help Is Stuck In Dark Mode

Steps to reproduce

  • Open a vault other than Help
  • Set its Base Theme = Light
  • Click the Help icon. It comes up Dark
  • Set its Base Theme = Light
  • Close Help
  • Click the Help icon. It comes up Dark

It also comes up in side-by-side mode every time, even if I close the Edit panel, leaving the Preview panel open.

Expected result

  • When I set Help to use the Light theme, I expect it to continue using the Light theme.
  • When I close the Edit panel in Help, I expect it to stay closed.

Actual result

  • Every time I open Help, it opens in its “original” configuration: Dark mode and both edit and preview panes.


  • Operating system: macOS Big Sur
  • Obsidian version: 0.12.5

Additional information

I’m not certain, but I think maybe this behavior started happening when you moved Help from being a vault in my ~/Documents/Obsidian folder to ~/Library/Application Support/Obsidian.

That’s been my experience since day one.
Help vault in Light mode!?

Obsidian doesn’t store any global settings—everything is per-vault. Further, the help vault doesn’t store anything whatsoever: every time you close it, it’s wiped. Your vault’s settings and the help vault’s settings are totally unrelated.

So, there’s a few uncertainties about “fixing” this:

  • Should the help vault store settings? Arguably no, because it is designed to remain a “default” state so that folks can’t mess it up.
  • Should the app store global settings? If so, how should you determine which setting a given vault should follow? If you have a global theme and a vault theme, which one wins, and why?

How to deal with this is not as straightforward as it might seem, unfortunately.

How about an option at install time to not install help and point the help icon to

I’m getting in non-dark mode.

Or, failing that, I undstand the help vault is getting “reset”. Where do I go to hack the “master” for the help vault and how do I manually change its internal setting from dark to light? (I’m capable of using a hex editor on a byte in a file, if it is binary. And if it gets reset on every upgrade, I can write a script to flip the setting to light every day, if I just know where to find the setting.)

  1. Open the help vault.
  2. Right click a file and choose ‘show in system explorer’.
  3. From the system explorer, you can copy the entire help vault to wherever you want and do whatever you want to do with the copied files.


Agreed. Thank you. The challenge there is in causing the help icon to point to it.

I tried updating ~/Library/Application Support/Obsidian/Obsidian Help/.obsidian/appearance.json and then marking the file as read-only, but it does indeed get wiped.