In-Note Flexibility re. List or No List

Use case or problem

Sometimes when I type a number or a dash, I don’t want to start a list.
Sometimes I do want to start a list.

If Settings has “Smart indent list” turned on and I don’t want a list, that’s a problem.
If Settings has “Smart indent list” turned off and I want a list, that’s a problem.

Proposed solution

Create a way, when we are working in a note, to counteract the global Setting.
Give us a choice in the moment.

Current workaround (optional)

Go to Settings and toggle the “Smart indent list” button.

If you don’t want a list, all you have to do is hit return twice. The first time makes a second item in the list. A second time and it removes the dash.

More generally, hitting return on a bullet character removes the bullet if it contains no content.

Thank you for the response, but that does not fix the issue.

I am saying that I want a number or dash there. If I hit return twice, then click (or maneuver via arrow keys) back to type after the number, a list is automatically created.

I had a situation where I simply wanted to enter some non-sequentially numbered sentences, like this:

  1. sentence A
  2. sentence B
  3. sentence C

It was impossible.

Furthermore, in Preview mode the numbers turned sequential, like this:

  1. sentence A
  2. sentence B
  3. Sentece C

Those numbers were identifiers for something, I did not want them to change.

My workaround was to remove the period and put a double space after each number:

3 sentence A
18 sentence B
74 sentence C

But really, I just want to be able to choose to make that text and not a list. Most word processors have an easy in-the-moment way to do that. (I know, Obsidian isn’t a word processor, it’s so much more awesome than that. But I think it could implement this feature if it wanted to.)

Omg - see? Even in my first example, the numbers were changed. I had originally typed these numbers:


but Obsidian automatically changed them to

I can’t replicate this - I added these two lists, the first in the Windows app, the second in an IOS app and neither list was changed by Obsidian.

17 one
3 two
99 three
2 four


A number followed by a full stop is standard Markdown syntax for a numbered list. A number followed by a space should behave as text, as in my examples above.

Yeah that’s Markdown. This forum (Discourse) uses Markdown too.

It’s not impossible. You just have to use some workarounds for Markdown. This workaround works in Obsidian and in Discourse:

12. Test
99. Numbers
65. Here

The workaround is to put a \ before the period. This will not show up in either live or reading modes.

12\. Test
99\. Numbers
65\. Here

(EDIT: But I notice this doesn’t support nested fake-lists. But that also makes sense in Markdown, since these aren’t actually lists, so you can’t nest them without adding bullets.)

Otherwise, yeah like @IWC suggests, format it in a different way to prevent the Markdown list from triggering:

12 - Test
99 - Numbers
65 - Here

I’m offering workarounds, because my bet is that you won’t have much luck with this feature request to change the way Markdown works. Perhaps someone might make a plugin that helps.

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Thank you for explaining this to me! I confess I didn’t even know what Markdown was. Now I do - thank you!

Yes, I’ll definitely do a workaround. Maybe I’ll even delete (deactivate? withdraw?) the feature request. It probably makes more sense for me to conform to an underlying principle than for Obsidian to spend time on something like this. :+1:

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No problem. Yeah once you embrace Markdown, it gets easier to either follow it, or find workarounds.

You can also use inline html to override things in special cases.

If you want to withdraw the feature request I suggest marking it as the “Resolved Help” category. If you can edit it.