How to (basically) add question mark to note titles

Obsidian doesn’t allow certain symbols (including question marks) due to Windows ‘reserved characters’.

A nice little workaround for this is to use a special character that closely resembles the question mark, the interrobang or CJK question mark:

‽ or ?

Since we obviously wouldn’t want to copy and paste the new symbol every time we want to use it, I’ll give a brief walkthrough on how to create a custom keyboard shortcut using AutoHotKey.

  1. Install AutoHotKey, then right click on your desktop and select New > AutoHotKey Script. Name the script file whatever you like.

  2. Right click on the script file and select ‘Edit Script’

  3. Choose your keyboard shortcut using this table.

  4. Use the following format in the ‘Edit Script’ window.
    In this example we’ll use “Ctrl + Shift + /”, since it’s just adding a “Ctrl” to the normal keys you use for the question mark.

  5. Save this file and double click it to run the script.

  6. Because we like to go above and beyond here at Obsidian Forums, you can follow this brief video on how to get your script(s) to autolaunch on startup.
    How to Launch AutoHotkey Scripts At Startup (4k) - YouTube

That’s it! Don’t you let anything in this world stop you from asking the important questions.

Note: Here are some nice alternatives I found for other reserved characters as well.

꞉, 〳

Here is a full list of special characters, and here is a more complete tutorial for all things AutoHotKey

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Just a note: this reserved character rule doesn’t exist on macOS, so you can just use a question mark there.

That said, macOS’s text replacement tools in System Preferences don’t (yet) work in Obsidian, so anyone looking for quick symbol replacement on macOS will need to rely on e.g., Alfred’s snippets feature, Text Expander, Espanso, etc.


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@Harrison: isn’t it easier, and visually more pleasing to use a question-mark-emoji in the note title, rather than an interrobang? I understand that Win 10, like MacOS, has its native collection of emojis.

A note title with a question-mark-emoji shows up in a “?” search.

I also use :question: when needed in titles.

It has the added advantage of being useful inside notes as well, since I can write an actual question that I want to research later and end it (or even begin it) with the :question: and then search for :question: to find all open research questions.


@davecan: good point.