Roam-like "working list" Sidebar

In Roam, it seems to me that one of the most powerful features is being able to add basically anything to the sidebar which you can then reference, drag in, etc… while composing a note, which can then be cleared out when you are done with it.

Obsidian has the great ability to open many panes, but screen real estate quickly runs out, even with the collapsible sidebar. Moreover, what is desired is to have a relevant segment of the notes put into the sidebar, not a full pane of the entire note. I don’t know what limitations markdown imposes, but something would be better than nothing.

I’m sure many other people could flesh this idea out better than I have, but hopefully at least some version of this is do-able.

I have also created a pared-down version of this request here: Create a “Working”/Temporary Starred Files List


This is definitely something I’d love to see in Obsidian. One thing that’s keeping me in Roam still is this very feature.


So far there’s a nice theme for it made by another user @Hitchhiker90 in the Discord Server. Here is the obsidian.css link

Not sure if they made an update here on the forums though.

Thanks, but it doesn’t seem to work for me whatsoever.

I sometimes open multiple notes and drag them to the sidebar. For referencing specific parts, you can scroll within the panes too. You can even edit notes from here. The only issue I sometimes run into is that we cannot switch between edit and preview modes from here. But you can drag it back to the main area, switch, and put it back and the mode persists.


Just a quick comment but since v0.7.4 you can now right click the icon of a note in the sidebar to open the context menu and in there change the edit/preview mode.



This is pretty neat hack. Never knew sidebar could be used this way. :smirk:

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Thanks for sharing. I have been doing the same, but you quickly run out of screen space - you have 5 pages open and have room for maybe 3-5 more before they become unusable with the header and undesired content of each pane taking up a lot of space. Whereas in Roam you just add whatever you want (be it a bullet, link, a few paragraphs, a video, etc…) to the sidebar and it is infinitely scrollable.

Come to think of it, your Scratchpad idea that you shared in my other request is a far better solution to this Roam sidebar feature than opening many panes in the sidebar. Just have one Scratchpad note in the side bar, always in edit mode, and copy whatever you like into it.


A scratchpad note placed in the sidebar is my suggestion, too. You could even do some pretty neat things with a scratchpad note that you can’t do with a special-purpose sidebar. E.g., if it’s synced with a cloud service, you can open it on a smartphone to have an “input page” while away from your desktop.


Interesting - as in edit the Scratchpad/ file from your phone, which then syncs via your cloud service? I hadn’t considered that, but would be quite useful in general and help me transition away from OneNote.


I don’t really open more than 3 notes at a time. I opened more for the screenshot just to showcase. By the way, if you drag the notes over another note’s icon in the sidebar, you can even have them as tabs which could allow for more notes overall but you’d need tab switching + scrolling then. The pane system is quite flexible so you can play around with it to get a good workflow even in the absence of a Roam-like sidebar.

Also with regards to @ryanjamurphy’s suggestion, you can just put your entire vault folder inside any cloud service like iCloud, Dropbox, etc. Many of us do that presently and use separate apps on the mobile to access them like 1Writer for example. That combined with a shortcut on the phone for the scratchpad note makes it so that you have quick capture everywhere.

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I just discovered this CSS code that allows you to open an infinite amount of vertical panes and a scrollbar to navigate across this. Combined with the sidebar-embedded Scratchpad to serve as the Roam-like sidebar, this should suffice for my tab-hoarding and reference needs!


Aye, my point is that it might be valuable for some people to dedicate a note (and shortcuts to said note from phone home screens, etc.) to a scratchpad space that stays in the same place on all devices.

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I think I’ve managed to build this feature out with a new plugin: