Triple brackets with link

Steps to reproduce

  1. Type brackets: []
  2. Insert link in between the brackets: [[[link]]]

Expected result

An existing note is linked. The link is enclosed inside the brackets. The one pair of brackets enclosing the link does not become part of the link.

Actual result

The first bracket of the pair enclosing the link becomes part of the link. Instead of linking to existing note: link, it links to a non-existing one: [link


  • Operating system: macOS Mojave
  • Obsidian version: 0.8.0

Additional information

Screen Shot 2020-07-24 at 2.58.27 PM
Screen Shot 2020-07-24 at 2.58.40 PM


Just curious, is there a real use case behind the [[[link]]] syntax?

Personally, I like to format my references in APA, and most of my sources are from Youtube videos. This would be the format for that:

author. [channel]. (date). title [Video]. YouTube. https://link

Damien, M. [Marcelo Damien]. (2014, April 10). Tiesto @ Ultra Buenos Aires 2014 (full set) [Video]. YouTube.

I have notes (MOCs?) for specific YT channels and sometimes I want to create a link to those in the references while following the APA format, which would mean I’d need to create a link between the channel brackets. This is how I noticed the “bug” in the first place.


Out of curiosity, why don’t you use a proper reference manager for this kind of stuff? I mean Zotero, Citavi, JabRef…

There’s this guy Joel Chan who shared his workflow with references: . Although it’s on Roam, the approach in Obsidian would be the same: don’t reference the reference as is, but reference either a reference page [[@EmryoTripleBrackets2020]], or an entry in reference manager [@EmbryoTripleBrackets2020].

When done editing, convert it with pandoc or something like that to desired output format.

I have thought about this. I guess the reason I don’t is that I just want to be familiar with the format itself, so I kinda decided to do it manually. I’ll think about it tho, maybe I’ll change my mind.

I do tho (unless I’m misunderstanding your point), what I do is I write the APA on the reference note and embed it on the permanent note. That way I’m still linking to a reference page while also seeing the reference itself from the permanent note. Would still be using APA (and the triple brackets) either way.

If you’re into academic writing or any serious writing, at one point or another, you’ll want to use on of those pieces of software, since they do save a lot of time and effort.

I’m not saying that each source needs to be included into reference manager, that would be too time consuming. My current practice is to save smaller pieces (articles, posts, social media) directly to Obsidian, while reserving Zotero for larger forms (books). If I ever need to reference a social media post in an article, I’ll include it to Zotero but not earlier.

Unfortunately, Obsidian doesn’t have any Zotero (or other reference manager) integration for now.

Not sure I understood your workflow here… Please post an example, if you have a spare minute.

Here’s my reference/literature note for an article I read. If you notice at the top, I have a heading for the APA reference (labeled “R”).

Here’s an evergreen note I made where this article was used as reference. Instead of copying & pasting the reference as is, I just embed the reference’s heading from the literature note to the evergreen note (See last line).

And so in preview, the references would look like this:
Screen Shot 2020-07-28 at 4.44.18 PM

I literally just read Sonke Ahren’s How to Take Smart Notes this morning and he talked about using Zotero for adding references and how better it is than manually typing them. I’ll definitely consider using it. That said, I’m not big on academic writing atm and just writing to improve my thinking.

Most of my sources do come from articles, vids, etc. and less on books. But literature notes for books do tend to be longer, and since I read e-books, I’m unable to reference specific pages, so instead I just copy & paste excerpts into Obsidian right below my notes, but I’m also now questioning how I can reference these excerpts when I make evergreen notes for them. It makes sense to use Zotero for referencing books instead.

This might be related with this bug:
Links to notes containing brackets [] are not clickable in edit mode

@Silver When doing scientific research, I prefer to name my references like “[ABC12] The Title of an important Study”. And sometimes I just want to name those files “[ABC12]” in order to have shorter links in the text I write.

Note: below post is offtopic to the discussion of the original bug.

So you’ve found a trick to make references render as if they were proper references. Nice!

No offence intended, but why waste time collecting all those links in APA/MLA format and not stick to plain https:// reference, if you’re not publishing in academic-like format? On the one hand, that is really time- and energy-consuming and makes your system less sustainable, imho. On the other hand, should you ever need academic-style references for a specific piece of text that you intend to publish, it would not take much time for you to gather all the mentioned sources into Zotero (or even Obsidian) to perform proper reference arrangement.

For e-books, if I understood correctly, you’re reading and copying & pasting simultaneously. It makes sense to separate your reading and note-taking process from your thinking process and definitely from your copying & pasting process, see e.g. here:

Again, sorry for the unsolicited advice, I only make them because I’ve been struggling with similar workflow issues myself and wish someone could point me to a convenient procedure, you can definitely ignore them if you’re fine with how you work.

1 Like

This is an interesting discussion, but let’s keep bug reports on topic