Open .pdf files with Preview


Obsidian is really good for me to organize my references when I write some reports. I really like using the file links to access .pdf files. However, these links can be only opened in embedded windows. Obsidian is great, but it’s not for editing pdf files. If I want to draw highlight, write some notes on these files, I still need to switch back to Preview or other pdf readers.

So, all in all, I’m not asking you guys to add more supports to pdf files. I know it’s not easy. But actually if there is an option, that I can choose whether using external pdf readers to open my file links, that would be awesome.

Thanks again for your work. It’s really cool.


Just downloaded Obsidian yesterday. First thing I did was investigate file link options for external and internal links.

I have file links to .pdf and .xls files on my local and external HD’s and they open in the default applications (Preview and Excel). I can annotate and edit files and save. I am not getting the embedded window that you mentioned?

New here to the forums and Obsidian so hope I did not mis-interrupt your post.

Intriguing. I have the same issue as @Lymo on Win10. Could it be a difference between versions of Obsidian?

@ckpiv Which operating system do you run?

@Lymo, @ckpiv

Found the following:

[some name for the link](file:///c:/your/path/name%20of%20your%20file.pdf) will open the pdf in an external viewer.

[[./relative path/name of your file.pdf]] will open within Obsidian.


I am on OS X 10.15.6

Similar though here. I post a feature request for this: Context Menu for Link!

That inconsistency looks like a bug, no?

I found a workaround which can achieve the same thing from the other forum post.

Simply go to Settings -> Plugin, enable Open in default app. After you click on the .pdf link in Markdown file, Obsidian will still open the .pdf in its own PDF viewer. However, when you click on More Options image on the top right hand corner, you will see a new Open in default app option which you can open the .pdf in Preview.

This is good, but better would be an ability to specify the PDF-software. On a Mac I use Preview often, but I use three other packages for various types of work on PDF. I mainly make comments using MarginNote 3.0. I’d most like to link to that in the Obsidian settings.