Support Pandoc-style citations with Citeproc-js engine @citekey [@citekey] and relative Bibliography

As far as citations within markdown docs, pandoc-style citatations are the gold standard.

Proposed solution

The idea is for Obsidian to directly handle anything in the form @citekey, [See @citekey, p 22-23] and variants (
The corresponding preview is generated using citeproc-js based on a .BIB file or CSL-JSON file (user maintained or software maintaned, by Zotero for example).

There should also be an extra pane for the bibbliography of the current file (or a Bibliography section at the bottom of the current file). Possibly, even a pop-up preview on each citation.

On broad strokes, this is essentially the approach that Zettlr follows.

Current workaround (optional)

Right now, there are a few plugins to work with citations. However, either they don’t use the pandoc format at all, or they provide some support of outputting [@citekey], but there’s no handling in preview (and they can’t because the API isn’t there yet).

Related feature requests (optional)


Which existing plugins are you referencing? I only know of the Citations plugin.

For export to PDF, see Support Pandoc citation syntax · Issue #21 · OliverBalfour/obsidian-pandoc · GitHub

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There is also @argentum’s mdnotes for zotero, that can be used to handle references and notes about references in markdown files.


This is not crucial for me (I do a md → latex conversion with pandoc anyway), but support the idea. Maybe it would also prompt me to leave some of my more “lightweight” writing in markdown instead of bothering with the tex.

I think it’s an important feature and important to push. As I explained in another FR (Citations and bibliography), I would add a few more features but having pure Pandoc-style citations is already an important step forward.

I would also suggest offering the possibily to write the bibliography in YAML format.

The second FR mentioned above (Recognise pandoc citations as Obsidian links) also makes a good point: it’s good to make citations, but it’s also important to link them with personal notes when they exist, ideally avoiding duplicating content / links. And it is possible to make this completely compatible with the curent proposal (see my message #10 there):

  • edit mode: clicking the Pandoc citation brings to the literature note if it exists
  • preview mode: add a link to the literature note (if it exists) after the bibliographical item
  • export, publish : omit any link to a literature note, except if explicitly inserted (for example using filename)

For an expanded version of this idea, see my post #14 in this other FR.


This would be great if it does eventuate.

Definitely up-voting this suggestion!

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upvoting this

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Yes, please! This would be amazing! This should be a core functionality.

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Hey all, the Pandoc Reference List plugin may be helpful to some of you (currently installable through BRAT). It displays formatted citations in the side bar for the active document:

It also can show tooltips for in document cite keys:


Hi, this plugin looks great! But after I installed it, I couldn’t enable it, getting a “Failed to load Plugin” message in settings. Any idea what might cause this?

I do have the current version of Pandoc installed on my machine. I also have the Citations plugin and the Pandoc plugin installed, so perhaps there is some kind of incompatibility issue?

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Try reinstalling obsidian. If your installer version is out of date it might not work.

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A very late reply, but that did the trick!

It would be great to hear about any potential progress on this!