Iterate through files in the file sidebar with keyboard

If I were to say that I was desperate for this feature, it might sound hyperbolic. So be it: I am desperate for this feature. (If it matters, this is the first time I’ve ever asked for anything.)


Another +1. Keyboard navigation of file explorer would be such a great feature.


I mean the fact that the file explorer doesn’t take cursor focus (which would then theoretically allow you to just go up and down the tree with arrow keys etc) is frankly mindblowing… :wink:
Team’s so busy making everything else so awesome though! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: :pray:


+1, reaching for the mouse tends to kick me out of the flow a bit. One can get far with Ctrl-O, but navigating in the explorer would give more context, especially if collapse/expand was allowed.

@BradyR That related request is probably one of these:

(Mentioned for completeness and in hope for consistent implementation of this and those requests)

@Valery_Kondakoff there is dedicated and already implemented request for that.

Related feature request / one possible solution: File Explorer: Navigation Hotkeys
(I expect that request to be merged here.)

Someone might prefer to keep content of active pane preserved while navigating File explorer by keyboard. In that case the solution would be to display Pop-up preview of focused file while the File explorer is “active” when we press one of recognized navigation keys.

Pressing Enter would then open it in the pane active active before activating File explorer (unless that pane is “pinned”). Or Ctrl+Enter in new pane as is the current behavior for opening links. At that point the pop-up preview would disappear and it would also when we “deactivate” the File explorer by activating something else (standard pane, search pane, …).

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I agree with Rick-K, I am desperate for this feature. It happens to be the most intrusive omission in the interface for me. I also thought I’d find some way to get this to work via hot keys or community plugins, and haven’t yet. I live by this kind of arrow key browsing in other writing environments. Now that I’m accessing (and so much more) my directories via Obsidian I’m constantly missing the ability to arrow-up and down through a list of files in the navigation sidebar and see them open without clicking in the active pane. For me this would make a fast review of a collection of notes practical and change Obsidian from wonderful, to life-changing fantastic. Please.

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Is this still not done? Or am I just missing it somehow? Seems like kind of a basic feature!


As far as I know it still isn’t implemented. I personally like the community plugin “Quick Explorer” as a workaround. It can launch a file explorer from the vault or from the current folder. And then you can navigate that list with keyboard, or begin typing the name to jump alphabetically.

(And if you search from folder, you can still navigate up and down the hierarchy.)

It isn’t a real solution to this request. You have to invoke the navigation each time. It isn’t meant as a way to go next, next, next, previous, etc. But it’s useful for me as a workaround.


I need this. Like, I really really need this.

It’s essential that I have this, I should not have to reach for my mouse every time I want to scroll through all my notes. My notes are sorted in order of oldest to newest, and sometimes I really want to go through all of my notes one-by-one quickly to see how my ideas progressed and get a feel for my development. It’s very important


Keyboard only workflow would make me so happy, i.e. the ability to focus the sidebars and use them with the keyboard.


I’ve tried this app a couple times and it’s impossible to overstate how important this feature is. I have to be blunt, especially with the issue unaddressed after this long, Obsidian is unusable to me if I can’t do such very basic navigation with the keyboard, and I’m sure many more people agree who don’t have the patience to make an account to complain.

Discord, another Electron app I also find useful for organizing knowledge by dumping stuff in my private server, lets you iterate through channels in a server’s channel hierarchy with with a simple ALT+Up/Down Arrow (my heavily preferred solution); Zim, another note taking app, lets you iterate through files / wiki pages in its hierarchy with ALT+PgUp/PgDn; there is no good reason why Obsidian should operate differently.


+1 on this as well. I’d really love to have this.

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Another +1 for this; it would be extremely useful.

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+1 again: this is crucial to use Obsidian.


+1, not needing to use the keyboard would be great

Looking for this functionality and found this thread.

Seems like a relatively simple keyboard shortcut to implement compared to the crazy amazing functionality in core obsidian and community extensions, yet FR still open two years in.

What gives?

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I know right?? I think about this feature everyday I open Obsidian, it’s mad

I had a really good professor in college tell me to learn emacs or vim, because muscle memory with hitting keys actually works and it doesn’t with a mouse. I learned vim and never looked back.

Therefore, this is a pretty major feature for me, as it the one thing inside Obsidian I must do with a mouse. The vim bindings you’ve already implement are amazing. It’s just frustrating that this small feature, which in comparison is a cakewalk, hasn’t gotten any attention.

I googled “is Obsidian open source” and learned it is not. If it was, I would gladly submit a pull request for it.

It seems plausible to me there would be an array storing the files within whatever “FilePicker” component you have. And maybe you have an index that dictates which file is open? So can’t you increment and decrement that number? Perhaps there is an onFileLoad handler that needs calling too.

Anyway, throwing another vote to give this attention.

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Just to add another vote into this one. We already can set hotkeys to navigate through Daily Notes. It’s annoying not being able to do the same with files in a folder.