Linking to external files & folders 🔗

Linking to external files is mentioned in the drag and drop help documentation

Hold Ctrl on Windows/Linux or Option on macOS to create file:/// absolute links to those files instead of importing a copy.

but there aren’t any examples of the options available. I’ll write up a request to add some examples to the official help documentation, but for the time being, here’s a list I’ve collected.


external link to file (Windows)
[link text](file:///C:\Users\USER\Desktop\file.txt)
[link text](file:///C:%5CUsers%5CUSER%5CDesktop%5Cfile.txt) ( %5C for \ )

In my testing on Windows, \ or / both work fine for local paths.
[link text](file:///C:/Users/USER/Desktop/file.txt)

Enclose paths that contain spaces in angle brackets (< >)
[link text](<file:///C:/Users/USER/Desktop/path with spaces.txt>)
or encode the space(s) with a %20
[link text](file:///C:/Users/USER/Desktop/path%20with%20spaces.txt)

external link to a folder (Windows)
[link text](file:///C:\Users\USER\Desktop\folder)
[link text](file:///C:%5CUsers%5CUSER%5CDesktop%5Cfolder)

[link text](file:///C:/Users/USER/Desktop/folder)

[link text](<file:///C:/Users/USER/Desktop/path with spaces>)
[link text](file:///C:/Users/USER/Desktop/path%20with%20spaces)

linking to a network share (Windows)
URL encode the \\ as %5C%5C before the share name/IP address, so →

file →
[link text](file:///%5C%5Cfileservername\path\to\file.docx)
[link text](file:///%5C%5Cfileservername/path/to/file.docx)
[link text](<file:///%5C%5Cfileservername/path/to/file with spaces.docx>)

directory / folder →
[link text](file:///%5C%5Cfileservername\path\to\folder)


external link to file (macOS)
[link text](file:///Users/USER/Desktop/file.txt)
[link text](file:///Users%2FUSER%2FDesktop%2FCfile.txt) ( %2F for / )

Enclose paths that contain spaces in angle brackets (< >)
[link text](<file:///Users/USER/Desktop/path with spaces.txt>)
or encode the space(s) with a %20
[link text](file:///Users/USER/Desktop/path%20with%20spaces.txt)

external link to a folder (macOS)
[link text](file:///Users/USER/Desktop/folder)
[link text](file:///Users%2FUSER%2FDesktop%2Ffolder)

[link text](<file:///Users/USER/Desktop/path with spaces>)
[link text](file:///Users/USER/Desktop/path%20with%20spaces)


Should be similar to macOS above. I don’t run Obsidian on any Linux devices at the moment to check.



All of the above variations were tested and worked when I wrote the post, but backslashes may no longer work in the Windows links.

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