Outliner mode (similar to Logseq, Roam, Dynalist)

For me, while some of the features are there via the basic Markup text editor, they aren’t well integrated and useful for a true Outliner mode, like Logseq or Roam. It’s currently clunky in Obsidian to curate thoughts and move sections around.

It’s really the combination of these Outliner elements that originally made the super-clean Workflowy UI so popular (and inspired Roam).

For example, in Obsidian, while you can start with a bullet and can then automatically generate a bullet on the next line, you aren’t held in that mode and can easily break out via normal editing, like backspacing, etc. It’s “fragile.”

Of course, you can’t easily drag bullet sections around (by default).

Small touches matter as well. For example, the fold triangle is present all the time vs hover only which just adds extra visual complexity to the workspace that isn’t needed (vs. Workflowy or Roam where hovering the line reveals the fold triangle and is a nice visual touch to remind there is more tucked underneath).

That’s what I love about Obsidian, is their attention to detail around the UI and how clean it is. Would love to have a single tool for both outlining and writing and hoping they bring the same clean UI to an integrated Outliner mode.


Forgot to mention, ability to “zoom” into a bullet (like Workflowy or Roam) would be a great bonus feature!


Yes to all of this! I’ve found it hard to put into words just why apps like Roam are so much easier to outline in vs Obsidian which technically has the ability to outline but just doesn’t feel the same. I think you explained it well.


Very well articulated, @NotesFTW! Agree with all of it. That explains what I’ve been missing in Obsidian so far.

Some seem like easy elements to incorporate, while others may be harder or impossible to reconcile with the premise of using a markdown file backend.

Even more interesting is perhaps whether a yet-to-be-imagined superior outlining system is possible with Obsidian, rather than simply copying outlining features from existing systems.


Even a basic outliner mode would be so appreciated in Obsidian. If every new line could automatically be a bullet and allow shift/shift+tab, it would be amazing. But of course, everything is easier said than done.


Here is a request for using a hotkey to indent from within line just like shift Tab (which already works like that): Hotkey to Indent Entire Line Regardless of Cursor Position

And here is a request for rearranging: Rearrange parts of note



Been wanting this from the beginning… An outliner mode is more than possible- it’s jusy a matter of the right person developing a plugin to make it happen…

The devs have stated that they won’t implement an outliner in core, but that they believe it’s only a matter of time until a plugin is created.

I agree with all the points raised here- we need a friction-free outliner mode.

I’ve heard a lot of talk that an outliner won’t work well with .md files but logseq has falsified that assumption as it’s an amazing .md based outliner.

Can’t wait for an outliner plugin in obsidian… it will definitely convert a lot of people to obsidian who otherwise can’t do without the outlining workflow of roam/etc.


+1 here from an OmniOutliner user. The current TAB situation in my notes is a total mess, indenting/outdenting is not consistent, sometimes it seems to cover two tabs instead of one; I tried indenting in VIM mode and that introduced a third length of the tab space. It all looks ugly and distracting.

I envision outlining entirely from the keyboard, so that, no matter where the cursor is in a line:

  • [ ] Line can be indented, no effect elsewhere
  • [ ] Line can be indented, carrying with it its sub-levels (so that each one will get a further indentation)
  • [ ] Line can be outdented, no effect elsewhere
  • [ ] Line can be outdented, carrying with it its sub-levels (so that each one will get a further outdentation)
  • [ ] A new line can be added above, retaining current level (currently possible but it doesn’t retain checklist box)
  • [ ] A new line can be added below, retaining current level (currently possible but it doesn’t retain checklist box)
  • [x] Line can be deleted (currently possible)
  • [x] Line can be split at cursor, creating new line with same outlining style (bullet, number, list; currently possible)
  • [ ] Line can join up its parent or line above (i.e. cut the whole line, get rid of bullet, add a space to line above, append)
  • [ ] Header above gets folded
  • [x] Checklist status can be toggled (currently possible)
  • [x] Line can be moved up/down (currently possible)
  • [x] Line can be toggled between styles (currently possible)

If I had to sum it up, I’d say that Obsidian outlining feels way too precious compared to other tools.

For me, I’ve found that bullet based outlining in Obsidian (Using minimal theme with vertical lines turned on in the the Minimal plug-in) works and displays better than Markdown header based outlining, but even that requires the cursor to be in just the right place and copying, moving things around often breaks things.


Yes, it’s definitely fragile when it comes to outlining.

I sure hope they consider integrating solid Outliner features into core. Seems so integral to the thought process & writing.


Thanks @NotesFTW remind outliner feature again. My thread was archived Hope enhance outliner mode experience in Obsidian

I would really like to see some enhanced tab behaviour along the features described in this thread.

Especially being able to hit tab to indent a bullet list line even when I am not right next to the bullet point but anywhere within the line would help… Also being able to move items around/reorder them …


I’ll add block inline embeddings. Maybe not a feature inherent to an outliner, but certainly helpful since the outlining experience is all about ideas flowing. Obsidian already has block embeddings but the way they show breaks the flow of the outline.

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Logseq implements a roam-like outliner mode, all backed by regular markdown files. It would be cool if Obsidian could do the same


I’ll just post this thread here: Logseq and Obsidian.md Colaboration Projects - Feature Requests - Logseq

In particular @tienson’s response :wink:


A Logseq and Obsidian collaboration / integration would be awesome! But until then, I’m just hoping for some basic outlining improvements to make it more usable for me during ideation (mainly… stick to bullet mode, better tabbing, and drag & drop section capability).


You beat me to it… was gonna post that thread in the forum here…

Tl;dr - the logseq dev said they would support and donate to anyone who would write a logseq-integrated outliner plugin for obsidian :raised_hands:

Also, the Obsidian devs have stated many times that they will not implement an outliner in core, so this thread should probably be moved to the plugins forum.


Related: Treat a selected folder in File Explorer as a note in edit/preview window - #4 by brian23498324

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I think an argument can be made to have this as a core plugin.

I thought I posted something about this on the forum, can’t seem to find it now…
Found it (https://forum.obsidian.md/t/fully-transclude-backlinks

/325/64?u=mabdallay) Although this is in relation to backlinks, my request for an outliner core plugin is the same — A more inclusive design for all! :slight_smile:

As others have noted, some things are already possible either directly or via css and shortcuts. It’s likely that we will add more shorcuts to make folding/unfolding faster.

A full blown outliner (with the relative data structure) is probably better developed as plugin.

I am gonna move this to plugins and open a FR for indent/unindent. (there was already one)