Make the new pinned tab behaviour for opening links optional

Use case or problem

With version 1.3, the default behaviour for opening internal links from pinned tabs changed drastically. Whereas before the link has been opened in the last used (non-pinned) tab, now every link will be opened in its own new tab. This, to be honest, breaks much of obsidian’s former functionality and most of my current workflows. It is, for example, now impossible to work with two panes side-by-side where you have a note you are working on to the left and your links opened to the right, thus being able to see them simultaneously in order to change, refine or update your active note.

I also don’t really see the added value of this new behaviour. What problem is it meant to solve? Well, maybe some people like it - but as several early comments on discord and also in this forum suggest, there are even more for whom this new feature does not really make sense.

Proposed solution

It wouldn’t be necessary to revert completely to the old behaviour - but at least an optional toggle (which shouldn’t be too hard to implement) would make sense: let the user chose between “open links from pinned notes in either a new tab or in an existing (unpinned) tab”. If I don’t want an open tab to be replaced, it can be simply pinned by using a hotkey.

Current workaround

Move your current note to the sidebar and pin it there. From my view, however, this is not really an optimal solution. You have to move tabs around all the time; what is more, sidebars are often needed for, let’s say, having the graph view on the left and the outline and backlinks on the right. Furthermore, I have to resize my sidebar regularly - making it bigger when I am working with a note in the sidebar, making it smaller again when I just want the sidebar to show the file explorer or some other stuff.

Related feature requests

None that I know of so far…


Besides putting a note in one of the sidebars and pinning it, you can also:

  1. drag and drop a link into the tab bar
  2. drag-alt-drop a link within another tab.

You are right, this should be added - but I think this i neither very intuitive nor a very handy solution…


Thanks for raising this issue, I strongly agree! It totally ruins my workflow:

  • I have always 8 tabs open, no more, no less.
  • 6 of them are pinned and the other 2 are on which I’m actually working.
  • The pinned ones (weekly plan, canvas, plan of actual day, etc.) contain the important links and I’m navigating through them to get to the note I want to work on – which always open the 2 unpinned ones (editor + preview of the same note).

I need this, I’m used to it! Maybe there are other uses of Obsidian, but if this works for me and I don’t know why I’m forced to use a different method.

Yes, there should be an option in the settings to get back the old functionality as @alltagsverstand proposed.


+1 for me too, my workflow has completely been turned upside down.

See also this, for completeness: Open to the right, opens to bottom


As I mentioned in a different post, this change breaks Obsidian when it’s used for “help” or “knowledge base” systems, where the pinned index is on the left, and articles open on the right. I vote to please make the old behavior an option.


I think I understand both sides - reusing one of opened tabs could be confusing and unexpected, but on the other hand flows described in this thread are also very useful.

What about keeping the new behavior and providing new feature, something like “link tabs”, but where I would specify the target tab, where Obsidian should open links from the specified pinned tab?

So for example I will open 2 tabs, put each next to each other in the window, left is pinned, another is unpinned. And then I right click on the pinned one and select “Set link target panel” (or something like that). Now I will select the second tab as the target. And from now on, all links clicked in left panel will be opened in the right panel. This could be indicated by some icon on the panels, similar to when they are “linked”.

I believe this handles old workflows and also opens up a possibility to new workflows to use.

And perhaps this doesn’t need to be forced to “pinned” and “unpinned” tabs only, but could work universally. So I can even have 2 pinned tabs, and set 1st one to open links in the 2nd one. Where the 2nd one will open its links normally in new tabs. This could be really flexible.


Obsidian v1.3.1 will change “open to the right” (ctrl/cmd+alt+click). Now, it will open a new tab in tab group to right. If a tag group to the right already exists, it will add the new tab to it instead of creating a new tab group.

While this is not doing what this feature request is asking, it will address the use case of users who keep an index note to the left and stack of other tabs to the right.

I’ll begin by saying that I do not feel entitled to any particular behavior of Obsidian. I respect the decisions made by the dev team and the hard work they put into the product. Please treat my feedback as contributing, not complaining!

Obsidian v1.3.1 will change “open to the right” (ctrl/cmd+alt+click). Now, it will open a new tab in tab group to right. If a tag group to the right already exists, it will add the the new tab to it instead of creating a new tab group. … it will address the use case of users who keep an index note to the left and stack of other tabs to the right

this will bring back the use case, but the experience will remain sub-optimal, because the opened articles will gradually accumulate on the right. Including (correct me) the clones of the same article, in case it was opened many times. The tabs will consume resources and will need to be cleaned up periodically.

This is a chore, and exactly the chore that was avoided with the Files tab. When you click a note in Files, a new tab is not created – instead an existing tab is “reused” to load the note. This is perfectly consistent with the original behavior of the pinned tab. So I disagree with folks who described the old behavior as confusing. It felt very natural to me.

To summarize, please observe that, before 1.3.0, three distinct actions were supported by links in pinned tabs:

  • Open (click)
  • Open in a new tab (ctrl+click)
  • Open to the right

In 1.3.0 only two actions remain, because “Open” and “Open in a new tab” (in pinned tabs) now do exactly the same thing (correct me). So, logically speaking, the 1.3.0 change amounts to the reduction of user choice. The “open in a new tab” behavior was always accessible to users, and I see no benefit in making it mandatory to everybody.


I am gonna repost here what I wrote on Discord yesterday.

Pinned tab originally was indented as a way of just saying “don’t open other notes here”. Then, in a second moment, it was added a separate concept “but instead reuse/overwrite” a tab in the adjacent tab group.
Many users did not like 1) either the apparent randomness of which tab was going to be recycled or 2) that another tab was going to be touched at all.
Some of these behaviors are a refuse that made sense when we had a pure tiling (panes) interface, now we have a mix of panes (tab groups) and tabs.

With the recent change, we are back to the simple “pinned=don’t open other notes here, don’t touch this”, without the second part “but instead reuse/overwrite” a tab in the adjacent tab group"

Beyond the user facing simplicity, it helps us code-wise to have one consistent way where notes are opened and not have to account for multiple options when adding new features. Adding a toggle cannot be the answer to every, because it increases the cognitive load for new users who have to learn/understand what the toggle does and for the long term maintainability of the code. Plugins are there for customizability.

Reusing a note that is already open in a different tab is an orthogonal topic and you can follow this FR for that:


That solution could solve the problem, good idea! It can be inactive by default, not to overload or confuse the new users, but a possibility to switch on for those, who need this feature.
In the way how it works in 1.3.0, the freedom of choice is decreased and a specific use is imposed on all the users, regardless of their preference. This option was available before (with ctrl+click), so the change didn’t increase the functionality, it only decreased.
Btw: I didn’t experience any random behavior, the link from the pinned tabs were always opening in the same unpinned tab, I could count on that.
But of course: Obsidian is the most brilliant software, full respect for the dev team! This is the first time that my jaws are not dropped when seeing some new feature, development, functionality…


Chiming in to mention that I also really miss the old behavior. The current solution slows me down significantly when reviewing links to a specific not because I either loose the context of the base note when opening a new tab on top of it, or I have to “right-click → search for “open to the right” in the popup” and then end up with countless open tabs on the right side…

I completely get the need for streamlining user interactions and making things cleaner but I think this is really an important use case for power users, because it is the most frictionless behavior when looking into lots of notes with a high frequency. Tbh the current solution feels familiar from browsers, but also unusually “causal user targeted” for Obsidians design ethos.

*disclaimer: I think this is the very first time ever I do not really like a design decision of the Obsidian team, please keep up the amazing work :slight_smile:


Just read this linked thread and learned about the option to pull notes into the sidebar :sweat_smile:
I think this actually fixes my complaint and is a neat solution :relieved:

So great job as always!

I have been having trouble lately with a lot of duplicate tabs appearing, but I see that the behavior of the pinned tabs has changed :thinking:.

In my case, I often hit Open Daily Note button when a pinned tab is in focus, and end up opening several daily notes for the day, and since I have also pinned the task aggregation page with the tasks plugin, when I jump to each task page from there, I also end up mass producing tabs.

I hope the past behavior will be optionally selectable. At the very least, I hope it will no longer open duplicates if the linked file has already been opened.

Is there any way to revert the v1.3 changes to opening method in pinned/linked panes? My vault is all kinds of screwed up after this change. It was lovely and working with this set up before:
Clicking on things in files/search/ or any of the pinned tabs would open them in the Main Pane which would update the linked graph/outline. Now it opens them in a new tab by default which is absolutely maddening.


(Sorry about the misslick for the posts above, I didn't realize CTRL+ENTER meant posting until I refresh the page).

If I remember correctly, before v1.3, if you had a pinned tab located inside a left side panel, and you used the:

  • 1/ Left click on your mouse - Option 1
    → it would open the link on the panel on which you are working.

  • 2/ Middle click (the clickable mouse-wheel button) - Option 2
    → it would open the link in a new tab, in the same panel (which is exactly the current default behavior in v1.3)

Therefore, I fail to see where the improvement is. The update v1.3 just removed Option 1, and made Option 2 the default, without adding anything new at all.


The behavior of pinned tabs in the sidebars has not changed. Both 1 and 2 still work the same. Try in the sandbox vault. (That’s why above I encouraged users to put pinned tabs in the sidebars)

I have been following this topic for a long time and I finally couldn’t resist registering an account to express my opposition.

We can understand that many people do not like the mode of clicking links in the original pinned tab, support the addition of new modes, and also support setting the new mode as default, but we completely oppose canceling the old mode.

The reason that retaining the old mode will cause trouble for users is not valid. The coolest thing about OB is that it can be set up the way we want it to be, rather than choosing a style that some people think is better. Just like Apple thinks that 3.5-inch phones are the best and 6-inch phones are foolish.

OB itself is very complex, so if you think that too many options will confuse users, most of OB’s functions should be removed. There should be no themes, no dataview, no quickadd plugins, they are too complex. Even the option of strict line breaks should not exist. It should be made like Evernote, without giving users any choices.

Finally, for locked pages, many of our users lock MOC, which is equivalent to a browser bookmark. Opening it on a certain page is equivalent to clicking a bookmark in the browser to open a link in the current page instead of opening it in a new tab. It can also be seen as a more flexible file list. Clicking a file in the file list opens the note in a fixed tab. In many cases, opening a bunch of tabs is foolish, and making users add many actions to close tabs is also foolish.

Dragging MOC to the sidebar is also foolish. Previously, fixing MOC only required a shortcut key, and the new mode requires adding a drag and a close action. The old mode could expand and fix multiple MOCs, but now only two can be fixed.

Finally, if a bug becomes a feature, it should be retained instead of being discarded just because the author does not need it. This behavior is not at all OB-like, it is very Apple-like, authoritarian, dictatorial, and indifferent to user feedback.


You are right, we can definitely achieve this through the sidebar. But this requires adding a drag-and-drop action, which will also affect the functionality of the sidebar (in many cases, the sidebar should not be obscured and we can only fix a limited number of pages in the sidebar).

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Again, as I mentioned above, we also made change to open to the right (ctrl/cmd-alt-click) for people who keep a fixed note/index to the left and open notes to the right.