Improve UX for adding custom display text to an internal link

Use case or problem

  1. Start typing an internal link to an existing note, e.g. [[Vault
  2. Use arrow keys to select an existing note and hit TAB to auto-complete and jump cursor to end of the note title.
  3. Now type the vertical bar character | to start adding custom display text, e.g. [[Vault is just a local folder|

Because I have selected and auto-completed the full title of the target note, I expect it to remain visible and selected in the link auto-complete pop-up, as I add my own custom display text to this link.

Instead, my selected note disappears from the auto-complete pop-up and I get the error “No match found”.

As I learned when I filed this as a bug, once I hit |, Obsidian searches the linked note’s pre-defined aliases (as listed in its frontmatter).

This UX is confusing and limited for a few reasons:

  • The aliases are already in the search scope when auto-completing the note name so nothing new is offered by showing me options I already declined.
  • This secondary search only shows results for notes that have aliases. Everything else gets ‘No match found’. I have a few notes with aliases but I’m 1000x more likely to be writing custom link text. It’s a shame to waste this functionality on such a narrow, rare use case.

Proposed solution

Simplest cosmetic improvement would be to update the UI copy:

“No matching aliases. Editing custom display text…”