[Meta] Fonts

Sorry but using css to create simple text notes is a big turn-off for normal, non-tech users.
When I start to use any note taking app, I would like to focus on creating notes, not on searching the Internet for a way to change something so basic as font size.

Just create options in configuration, as it is for example in Stroll, which also uses markdown


Also I would love to have simple edit icons like in Stroll or Tiddlywiki:

Learning all these shortcuts to start simple editing is also a turn-off. Not that I can’t do that but come on - there are more pleasurable things in life. Even when I write this message there are editor icons available.

Software that is based on one of the greatest ideas of note taking should not turn off users just because from the start they need to learn tones of shortcuts and remember how to bold some text.


related topics:

Support Numeric Keypad (+ / -) Zoom In / Out

I don’t expect Obsidan to have a bunch of fancy editing features. It’s not meant to be a word processor bristling with typesetting functions. I get that. But I work on a 13-inch Macbook, and the font is just plain huge. The top-level header font size is big enough on my screen to be a New York Times headline announcing World War 3. I’d just like to be able to alter fonts and colors in specific contexts, like edit mode. The difference between edit and preview mode is so subtle that sometimes I start typing thinking I’m in edit mode, and nothing is happening. I’ve turned on vim line numbers to make it more obvious when I’m in edit mode, but it would be great if I could get a monospace font in edit mode so markdown tables are aligned while I’m editing them. Right now, that simple desire is like walking into a store to buy a fur coat, and being handed a bow & arrow (with an Obsidian tip :slight_smile:).


Conversely, I use obsidian on a 32 inch 8k monitor and the default font size and icons are too small to be usable.

We need a simple accessibility mechanism to change the size of everything proportionally. I don’t have the time to hunt down all the css mechanisms for that.

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@NicolasRouquette the above ↑ mentioned hotkeys ⌘+ (Ctrl+Plus) and ⌘- (Ctrl+Minus) do exactly that. Did you try them?

Thanks, on linux, it is Ctrl+Equals (increase) and Ctrl+Minus (decrease).

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Not being able to change text size without zooming in the entire program is one thing that is holding me back from fully integrating or using it as much as I would like to


+1 for a non-css approach for font family and size changes. Looks like a big overlook for an editor.


On my Linux, it is (as should be) Ctrl++, Ctrl+​-, and Ctrl+0.

Using Obsidian 0.11.5 (AppImage) on Linux Mint 20.1/Cinnamon, with a German keyboard.

I would recommend to everyone struggling with custom fonts and font size issues to install @kepano 's excellent “Minimal” theme and its companion plugins “Minimal Theme Settings” and “Hider”.

The plugins allow you to set custom fonts and font sizes directly in Obsidian settings, without fussing with CSS.


Waw this is nice!, thanks for sharing

+1 This user is exactly right. The fact that this software can’t even allow someone to change the font size without typing a bunch of css is a huge turnoff and basically makes it unusable in my eyes. I use font sizes and other editing features to differentiate different kinds of text such as different kinds of thoughts about my writing, notes, edits, and stuff like that. There is a real lack of editing features in obsidian which make it impossible for me to take up as a writer. It just doesn’t have what I need.

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Have you tried installing one of the many community themes available under Settings > Appearance > Browse? These are pre-built CSS themes, many of which have different font sizes available for different header levels. As I mentioned above, the Minimal theme even has a companion plugin that lets you type in your own preferred font size.

After looking into what you suggested, it seems there is a slight misunderstanding. What you suggest changes the base font properties for all notes. What I’m looking for is a quick way to adjust the font size of a specific line of text or paragraph relative to the rest. Setting them as headers is not helpful either, because I don’t want to have to set a header and (worse) a fold at every line I want to adjust font size.

There is such tremendous value in being able to adjust font size on the fly for working as a writer and researcher. It helps keep track of things and keep everything on the same screen while allowing you to zoom out to different parts of text with your own eyes (or face, rather). It immensely expands the usability of screenspace. Of course, I could set it in HTML, but even that would require typing a butt ton of ugly code before anything I want to adjust. That’s a huge stick in the wheel in terms of workflow. Ok, so say I set some kind of quicktextpaste that converts a keystroke into this html code. I still have to do it at the beginning and end, and I’m still stuck with this ugly html wrapping my code. And most importantly, it doesn’t work until I switch to preview mode, which entirely defeats the purpose of changing the font size for individual lines and paragraphs in the first place. This is why I still do most of my work in Word and Google docs, and why obsidian has been frustrating me to no end.

@mangosteel this would be difficult using just markdown. Do you have any ideas to do so?

Personally, I would be happy if:

  1. I could zoom into the text (Obs: this is not equivalent to changing the size of the font)


  1. Define the size of my font for a particular note. (obsidian already stores the ‘fold’ state, it could store the font state also)

I’m sort of hoping the typora-like mode on the roadmap will help with this, but then again I don’t know if it will render html live. If it does, then that’s something I can work with.

A text editor based on markdown may not meet your needs then. It’s not a word processor / desktop publishing app. People often choose markdown editors because they don’t want fine-grained formatting tools to fiddle with. It can distract from getting work done. It’s not a problem with Obsidian. All markdown editors I’ve used are built this way. It’s a deliberate, opinionated design decision that doesn’t suit all people and all workflows.

As a researcher and writer myself, I can understand your desire to use Obsidian’s other features for your work. This may be a case, however, where your formatting workflow needs to adapt to the tool and not the other way around. That said, one of Obsidian’s strengths is its customizability. Could you describe more specifically how you’re using different text sizes in your writing workflow? Maybe show an example or screenshot? This community is very helpful and may help you find an adaptation. Someone may even build you a custom CSS snippet that will get you most or all of the way there.

Personally, I use headers and highlights to make certain lines visually stand out in a note. I customized my CSS theme to set the colors and sizes I like. Sure it may look a little unconventional, and introduces extra line breaks to use headers, but they fulfill the function well. These notes are for me and my understanding. No one else is going to see them. If I prepare something for sharing and publication, I’d copy the text into a different app, one designed for formatting and presentation.

This is the unfortunate solution, I think. As a writer and researcher, I use quick text resizing, text color changing and multiple different colored highlights. I will strongly disagree though that having an option to format text distracts from the writing process. Only a child with no self-control would succumb to such a silly confusion. There is no reason not to have text editing options (remember, nobody is forcing you to format your notes) other than for some reason that involves programming complexity.

I am consistently baffled by the choices made by programmers who seem to have no idea of real-world usability and live in a bubble. The fact that people here have no idea of the value of the things I mentioned above is just absurd. I can’t even fathom the lack of awareness of people’s workflows on a day to day basis. This is very simple stuff. I don’t think there is any valid argument for not having these features other than programmer laziness. “Deliberate” choice is a completely nonsensical argument.

Also, currently, the fact that notes must be edited in code mode and you must switch back and forth to see the result is about as ridiculous as one can imagine for the writing and editing process. It’s honestly such a hot mess that this software is currently unusable until the WYSIWYG or typora-like editor.

Hey. I appreciate the frustration that comes from using an app that is missing a key feature for you. We all experience this.

However, try to check the attitude. Your condescension is not constructive. We all have different needs. Insinuating that others’ needs are less than yours is neither necessary nor healthy.

Perhaps you could try to shape your thinking in the form of a #plugins idea, and someone might develop a plugin to meet your needs before the core app developers get there.


2. and 3. will be implemente in 0.12.
I suggest to archive this and open a thread specific for 1.