What I’m trying to do

Hi there, I’m new to Obsidian and wide open to the possibility I’m missing something, here, but: Pandoc simply doesn’t seem to work, from what I can tell. When I use the Command Palette to export as anything – docx, md, etc – I get the cryptic message, “Pandoc export failed:” and that’s it.

In the Pandoc plugin settings I’ve got the path (on a Mac) set to “which pandoc,” which I don’t faintly understand but I believe is correct according to the plugin instructions.

Thanks for any help!

Things I have tried

I’ve not found a good answer in the help pages, Reddit, etc, and I’m hoping someone might help me here. Thanks!

Have you installed on your system? The plugin is just a means of sending notes to pandoc.

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Well, this is what I meant about missing something. Ha.

Thank you. I’m trying an entirely new system – Obsidian, Pandoc – through trial and error. Mostly error, it seems.

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Have a good read of their GitHub page - GitHub - OliverBalfour/obsidian-pandoc: Pandoc document export plugin for Obsidian ( - the installation instructions are there :muscle:t3:

Yeah… wow. A couple of hours later and I am staggering through command line code. This seems so strange to me, honestly: Exporting a file to a very common format, like docx, should be easy, right? I am looking forward to the flexibility of Obsidian but so far I’ve spent days trying to get it to offer functionality its competitors offer with the tap of an icon.

Am I the only one who feels this way? Surely not?

For anyone who comes along with this same struggle later: A little glimmer of hope. I got. Pandoc installed, copied the path from the terminal, and pasted it into the plugin settings. And it didn’t work, because something was “null.” Then it didn’t work again. Then – third time is the charm! – it did work. Somehow? And saved a docx file somewhere.

This is just baffling to me.

I find Pandoc via Obsidian (using the pandoc plugin) to be a little clunky. I just tend to revert to using the terminal like I always have. As Obsidian files are just stored as .md files, you just need to use the path to that file in the terminal. You can save it back to your vault as a .docx file but it will open in Word not Obsidian, as Obsidian does not support .docx. I tend to save it outside of Obsidian, because exporting it to Word usually means that the work I have done in Obsidian on that piece of work has finished. If you are wanting a platform to serve as a word processor, I don’t think Obsidian is right for that. I am an academic and I use Obsidian to manage knowledge, not to produce finished documents. Depending on the size, type of document, and collaborators, I use Scrivener, Word, or Rmarkdown for finalising my documents.

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Hi, you are not the only one feeling the same. I had installed pandoc on my computer, but what is unclear to me is which path directory should I use: the one where the pandoc program is downloaded, or the path of the folder of the “obsidian-plugin-pandoc” that is created when dowloading the plugin? whatever I do, I cannot seem to make the “export” work. it fails every time, regardless of the folder I pick. Am I skipping some passage? Could someone make a guide for non-techs - like for dummies? Since it is a widely downloaded plugin, could it be made mre user friendly? thaaaank you! :slight_smile:

Do you mean the path to pandoc? If so, you need to go to your computer’s terminal and type in: which pandoc

This will give you the path for where pandoc is saved. Copy that and paste into where it asks for the pandoc path.

If you are wanting to convert to PDF, you will need to install PDFLaTex. The path to this is set automatically but I had to override it as it would not work for me. If you need to do the same, you find the path through the terminal by typing: which pdflatex and paste the results into where it asks for the over ride path for PDFLatex.

I hope this helps. However, it may be worth learning a little more about how Pandoc works outside of Obsidian, you can always render your .md files via the terminal using the native Pandoc code. This gives you a lot of flexibility.