Keep backlinks for currently-focused document when clicking on them

When I click on backlinks, the focus switches to a new window / markdown file, and the current backlinks are replaced by backlinks for that new file. Is there any way to override this behaviour? I would like to click on the backlinks for File X, see the files where the backlinks occur, but still keep the backlinks for File X open. The only way around this is to keep clicking on File X so that the backlinks for this feel keep reappearing. Thanks.

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I agree.

Maybe ctrl clicking the backlink would do this and regular clicking them could maintain the current behavior.


Yep. This would be great if it could be implemented. NB there’s a plug-in which shows the backlinks in the document, not the pane, but even this has the same behviour.

Okay. I see this has been addressed here: Ability to pin Backlinks. The workaround is to not use the backlinks pane. You need to create a backlinks window (using the breadcrumbs), and keep this focused. It works! It’s a bit clunky with the keyboard / mouse, but you can create shortcuts for the backlink window, and also for toggling the pin. This is so much better. It makes you wonder what the point of the backlinks pane is.

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I just ended up recreating that workflow by accident trying to figure out how to do this. To say it wasn’t convenient would be a bit of an understatement.

  1. Show candidate note representing the backlink to search for
  2. Pin the note.
  3. Dots->Show backlinks for candidate note (comes up linked and pinned)
  4. Drag the pinned backlinks pane where you actually want it.

Amusingly, the best place ergonomically is to dock it in the right hand sidebar next to the real backlink tab. If you dock the backlinks pane pinned you can unpin the candidate note pane. Then you can close or reuse that pane for link browsing from the tab.

— at this point we’ve got the browsing list I’d expect to see just using the sidebar —

And if you didn’t dock to sidebar above…

  1. Click on a backlink to get a browsing pane opened.
  2. Position that pane where you want it in relation to the two linked panes you created in steps 1-4, but don’t pin it.

Now that will be the browse pane, as long as no other panes are opened. If you open another pane, it’ll probably start getting used instead.

And the kicker:

When you want it for another note, start over completely with that candidate note.

Today was my first time really trying to use backlinks to understand my notes base. This was so not-fun and so grossly disruptive to my work today to figure this flow out, that it had me researching competitors–and I’ve already paid for Obsidian. There should be a way to enter the very very very common browse my backlinks flow in a click or two, or else they’re not very useful because they can’t be used on impulse.

Moreover, because you can’t fit more than one full width notes pane + sidebars on a laptop screen, the flow cannot require extra panes past browsing. There’s simply no room, especially with Obsidian’s pane management being, frankly, awful.

So I think the idea that this flow can be manually cobbled together by the user out of a drag and drop UI setup should be rejected out of hand, and someone should make a one-shot interface for this that doesn’t require pinning, linking, etc. After all, we’re talking the primary differentiating feature of the editor here.

As has been suggested elsewhere, being able to lock the right sidebar to the current note would be a start. It’d take out the first four steps entirely, and would reuse your current pane for browsing.

Ironically, this seems already implemented, and leads to a different workaround:

You can drag the stock backlinks tab out of the sidebar, pin it, then drag it back in to lock autofollow and bypass all the setup above. Drag, unpin, dock to unlock autofollow again. It’ll naturally reuse panes for browsing, as normal, since the original note never gets pinned.

So it looks like we just need the pin menu exposed (maybe as lock/unlock instead) on the right sidebar tabs for the underlying docked pages. Flip the tab color to make the lock obvious and that’d probably be good enough.