Option for pop-out windows to have panes as main window like file explorer and outline

Use case or problem

Loving the ability to use pop-out windows, but I wish I could create multiple windows while keeping the following layout in each window:

  • search pane
  • starred pane
  • file explorer
  • tag pane
  • outline pane
  • backlinks pane
  • graph pane

To me those are amazingly helpful for even navigating a single file. Can work around it right now by accessing those widgets in the main window, but would be nice if the new window came with it all, almost appearing like I’ve opened multiple vaults.

Proposed solution

Allow launching a pop-up window with the same set of panes and their layout as the main window.

Current workaround (optional)

Current workaround is just to alt-tab back to main window or just not use the features those other panes have.


Possibly related, as there could be similar issues of these pane widgets needing to affect only the active window:


I want to emphasize this problem once again since I believe no satisfactory solution to it exists yet.

Use case or problem

Allow multiple windows of the same vault to be open to allow easy context switching in a multiple virtual desktop setup / workflow.

I am an IT grad student and I keep my virtual desktops organized into a few categories or “working contexts” - eg. subject 1, subject 2, subject 3, todo-ing, hobby-ing, chilling, gaming.
On each virtual desktop, I have a different background and keep various windows relevant to the current work-in-progress task open. This way, I can then easily switch between the contexts (and I do that multiple times a day), so that I can directly continue on things I was doing previously in a given context, without needing to use the energy and time to remember and reopen everything needed back again. It helps me properly focus on the things that I am doing.

Proposed solution

As from what I have read, the problem preventing the implementation of this feature seems to be in file locking for writing access (correct me if am wrong). In that case, I would propose maintaining which window is in focus. If another window is focused, release the file. If the newly focused windows was an obsidian one, lock the file.

This way, allow multiple instances of the same vault to be opened. Even if the solution would not be perfect, I would like that option for me to be available without workarounds.

Current workaround (optional)

Users mention the usage of symlinks or nested vaults. I have tested creating a soft link (on Windows) and opening the vault, but it only lead me to the original vault window instead of opening a new one. Even if I managed to get it working, I would need to eg create and maintain a symlink for each desktop, moreover it is still an officially unsupported approach. The same goes for nested vaults.

The current way I switch contexts is basically reopening Obsidian to the state I want it in, with additional help from Obsidian workspaces. When I want to switch context, I need to remember to always check if an Obsidian window is open on this desktop, focus it, save the workspace (if desired), close obsidian, switch desktop, open obsidian, load workspace. Even when I would reduce the closing and opening to moving the window to other desktop, this is still way more conscious effort than just pressing a shortcut to switch to a different desktop in an instant. In reality, I forget to check for opened Obsidian windows. Then, when I switch a task and start working, wanting to open Obsidian to make a note, I am interrupted by the need to first go to a different desktop to properly close my previous session.

Popup windows - irrelevant to this case since they lack the full UI.

Related feature requests (optional)

It has been mentioned here:

And later here:


I noticed that my issue was merged into this one as a reply.
The original title of my issue was:
Multiple windows of the same vault (repost once again)

It is true that I see not much of a difference between upgrading pop-up windows to the same functionality as main windows versus allowing multiple windows of the same vault to be opened.

Nevertheless, I am still a bit worried about approaching this problem from the “upgrade pop-up windows” kind of view, instead of my proposed “allow multiple windows of the same vault” view. A key feature to allow the convenient multiple-virtual-desktop workflow I described is that I can start a new window from any desktop, even where no Obsidian window is opened yet. If going to a desktop with an already open window would be needed to open a new window, then this poses severe limitations to the workflow. The ideal goal here is to be able to open and close obsidian windows independently of each other.


+1 to this feature request. It’s really weird to have seemingly identical windows, including support for multiple tab groups, but only one of the windows allows left and right sidebars. If you want to use the file explorer to open an existing note in a non-primary window, you have to track down your primary Obsidian window (which may or may not have any sidebars open), open the note there, then drag-and-drop it to the appropriate tab pane in the non-primary window.

I’d imagine that implementing this capability may cause some hard trade-offs to be made regarding how this should work with the Workspaces feature. Should each app window behave as an independent Workspace container, should Workspaces support multi-window configurations (including per-window sidebar state), or should users be able to choose between global and per-window Workspaces on a per-Workspace basis? Hmm. I lean towards Workspaces being scoped only to individual app windows, but I could totally see valid arguments for the global multi-window workspace scenario too.


Agreed on this, for those using virtual desktops this is a big problem. I need a full instance of obsidian in each of my work contexts, so that I can take notes for each context and navigate my file system for resources


Another agree!

The option of opening the Files sidebar on satellite windows would greatly improve my workflow. Using multiple workspaces I must jump back/forth to the Obsidian’s mothership window for many common actions.


As a stopgap while we wait for this, I just found out you can do Ctrl+P “Outline: Open outline of current file” and it opens a linked pane of the outline in your current window. I wish I knew about this earlier, as it solves a major pain point of using multiple windows, and thinking that only documents in the main window can use the outline panel.

and it works more as expected if you unlink it so it shows the outline of whichever tab/pane you’ve focused. I can move it to it’s own window even and just make it always on top

Would one solution to this FR be to make all the panel widgets able to open in a regular panel or their own tab in the same way? Might also be practical, e.g. have multiple search tabs open


I made a proof of concept as a plugin:


It works by manually overriding the electron code that prevents a vault from being open twice. So these are full application windows.

This probably breaks some things, and it would prevent opening multiple vaults at once, but it seems to work.

Since this is still proof of concept stage it’s unpublished with some cleanup I can release it.

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So it didn’t take long to turn it into a plugin. There’s a good chance this will lead to bugs.
Install it with the BRAT plugin: GitHub - ibash/obsidian-new-window


  1. Install the BRAT plugin (GitHub - TfTHacker/obsidian42-brat: BRAT - Beta Reviewer's Auto-update Tool for Obsidian.)
  2. Within BRAT settings you can add a plugin with “ibash/obsidian-new-window” to install my plugin
  3. Then Cmd-P → “New Window” to get new windows

Interesting. What happens to workspace.json? Last instance to close overwrites it?

Good question from looking at the code it’s probably whatever window was changed last wins. Since it looks like workspace is saved anytime the layout changes.

We could probably inject some javascript to handle that (via a preload or wrapping the code that saves the layout).

+1 for this future. I cannot wait for it to became built in.

+1 too!
It would be nice to have without creating subVaults :pray:

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+1 from me as well!

Yes please!

Use case:
I use of one vault for everything (second brain).
I work on different topics in different virtual desktops (e.g. one for coding, one for PhD related stuff).
I need to be able to browse the different windows the same way and I can’t.


+1 very needed, right now I have to windows+tab and move obsidian between desktops like a peasant… :sweat_smile:

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+1,This feature is very useful to me