List the current note's outgoing links in the 'links pane'

TL;DR: Add an “Outgoing links” section to the ‘backlinks pane’ — listing all the outgoing links from the current note in a sortable list.

Use case or problem

Like many Obsidian users, I am just as interested in seeing/editing note relationships (i.e. links) as I am in seeing/editing note content. I want to be able to see at a glance how the note I’m currently editing connects to the wider note network.

Example

  1. I free write a 3-page note, working through ideas for a writing project I’m working on.
  2. I create [[wikilinks]] for key ideas as I write. Some already exist as notes, some are new.
  3. When I’m finished, I want to see a summary of the note’s new and related ideas as a list of outgoing links. This list suggests possible next steps for me: contribute new thoughts to existing notes or harvest content for brand new notes.
  4. I click the one that I feel the most energy to work on and get to work.

Proposed solution

Add a forward/outgoing link list to the current ‘backlinks pane’. Here’s a mockup.

Current workaround

Local Graph provides one view into the active note’s outgoing links. But a list view would have UX advantages: it’s sortable, shows context, and is much easier to read than the Local Graph when there are many links.

(This feature might seem redundant to people whose notes tend to be short — the outgoing links are shown in the text after all — but it would be a godsend to people like me with long-form notes that include many links.)

Related feature requests

Closely related and complementary to @lucasd’s request to show “outgoing unlinked mentions” in the link pane — that is, suggestions for links you might want to add to the current note because you’re mentioning topics written about elsewhere:

It would be extra useful for the outgoing link list to visually distinguish between existing and non-existing notes, with color or otherwise (like the graph view does):

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To pre-emptively address the response that the Local Graph already provides this functionality…

The link pane provides value that the Local Graph can’t:

  • Sort orders
  • Easier to read in a list
  • Expand for context

I believe forward/outgoing links should be given equal UI treatment as back/incoming links. Equal UI treatment would also achieve parity between the link pane and Local Graph (w/ incoming & outgoing links on). As I argued in the original post, these are two views of the same network.

1 Like

Implemented in 0.9.0

For the relations, please see Add support for link types

You mis-read my feature request. Would you please re-open it? I’ll try to edit it for clarity and maybe add a mock-up.

The request is to add additional content to the ‘links pane’ that currently lists linked and unlinked mentions in a sortable list. The request is to add something like “Outgoing links” to that pane, which lists all the outgoing links from the current note.

+1 for this feature. For long notes, would be nice to see everything that it links TO.

For the graph, I could see arrows getting pretty unusable when you have lots of things linking to a single note. I think a better solution 3 different colors in the graph - a separate color for backlink, forwardlink, and one color for forward+backward link.

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I think using different colours is a great solution, alternatively this could be something that you can only ‘see’ when graph view is zoomed in enough, so that the colours/arrows aren’t always present

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+1 - This would be great! Ideally, there would be a list of outgoing “linked mentions” as well as (optionally) a list of outgoing “unlinked mentions”.

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That’s a cool idea! I’d suggest creating a specific feature request for it and linking to & from here. It’s a distinct idea and worth requesting.

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I’ve been thinking about the “unlinked mentions” bit for a while, and conceptually I really, really like the idea - I labelled it in my head as “outgoing unlinked mentions” . It’s the list of all of the notes that might possibly be related to the note you’re looking at right now. Having that will let you identify linkages between notes that otherwise you might miss (especially in large vaults), and that would be awesome! :partying_face:

So I started looking at it seriously to build out a plugin, and then got stuck on these points:

  1. if all your other notes are one word, then every word in the current note could be another note (especially the nouns). That could create a huge number of “outgoing unlinked mentions”, which might drown out the useful connections

  2. computationally, you would do this by making a list of all the other notes in the vault (including any aliases for notes) and then searching your current note for any of those names. Not insurmountable, but also not necessarily practical in a large vault either.

  3. Additionally, doing that kind of search this means only an exact match would show up in your “outgoing unlinked mentions”. That could mean you’d miss things (and would definitely not work at all if you’re using ZK prefixes).

  4. Because of the previous points, you’d also want to search for any occurrence of a word in the name of other notes in your note. For example, if I have a note called “Accessibility is important to usability” in my vault, and in the current note I’ve written the phase “A key point in uptake is usability…”, then there’s a good chance I do want to make an explicit link on the word “usability” there. But if I’ve written “It’s important to note …” then I don’t care, and I don’t want to be bothered with an “outgoing unlinked mention”. Problem is, how does Obsidian know the difference?

  5. Following from 4, imagine I have a note that has three phrases in different places:

    • “A key point in uptake is usability …”
    • “It’s important to note …”
    • Accessibility is a component of …”

    Then I have three possible outgoing links (two of which might actually be real and useful to make). But if there’s also other notes in the vault with names of “Usability”, “Accessibility”, and “Good usability improves uptake” then I’ve got 5 possible outgoing unlinked mentions. How do I display that in a list though? They’re highly specific to the context and placement of the text in the note, especially if you image there are one or more other notes in the vault that have the words “key point”, “uptake” and “component” in their names as well…

Thoughts and feedback on this, am I missing something that makes it simpler than I think it is? (and sorry for the wall of text, but I couldn’t explain it in fewer words :wink: )

Related (both my posts):


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Okay. My initial thought was that, just as the current backlinks pane contains both a list of linked mentions and a list of unlinked mentions, it would make sense for the proposed outgoing links pane to have a similar organization. But I’m happy to create a separate feature request. (Or perhaps it’s a plugin request, as per ShaneNZ’s post.)

That’s fantastic news that you’ve been thinking of building a plugin for this! For now, I went ahead and created a separate feature request for this, particularly in light of dsteinbock’s preference to keep the feature requests distinct, but a plugin would be a great solution.

You raise some great questions about how to implement the idea. I’ll plan to respond to those points on the separate feature request thread.

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+1.

Use case: when I write a paper I have a file with an outline/notes, pointing in each section to the relevant literature notes. I have the graph view open to navigate to those notes quickly, but it would be really nice to have a list of them – just like on the “backlinks” pane.

2 Likes

Maybe it is possible to achieve the same effect by some CSS snippet which hides all text and embeds except the links.
Alternatively the CSS snippet can just make links to non-existent pages within text larger font size and/or distinct text background instead of current dull text color so you can easily spot such links in context when scrolling the page in preview mode.

Looking for this, especially for block link. I see a block-id, but sometimes forget where it’s going. is it still important or not.