URL scheme: explicitly open the vault picker or the help vault

This is a very minor request for potentially improving the UX at least on Linux. In some desktop environments, you can define custom actions for the context menu to launch the application with different options. Firefox is a good example:

My proposal is to add:

  1. An URL scheme to explicitly open the vault picker, so we can have a custom action for “Open Vault Picker”. Feeding an empty vault name here would be the easiest: obsidian://open?vault=

  2. An URL option to explicitly open the help & demo vault, something like obsidian://help, which does the exact same thing as pressing F1 in Obsidian. This is nice to have so the help vault is more prominent and people can get help on basic usage without having to look things up on the forums or ask about it in the Discord community.

You don’t need to worry about the actual .desktop file, I can fix those up for you since it’s a very trivial change.


Use case or problem

When working with multiple vaults, the vault selector window appears only if there’s a vault already open. If there’s no Obsidian window currently open, using the default application shortcut opens the last used vault, whether or not it is the one you’ll want to work with.

Obsidian supports a custom URI protocol obsidian:// which can be used to trigger various actions within the app.

This gives us greater control over the workflow, allowing us to create separate shortcuts for each vault. It does, however, lead to unnecessary cluttering of workspace. I am currently working with 6 vaults, which forces me to either contend with the automatic last-vault reopening, or to have 6 same-looking icons on my shortcut toolbar.

I can already see a couple more usages for Obsidian in my life, so I’ll probably create more vaults in the near future, but that will only make my problem worse. It would be much more convenient if I could have a single Obsidian icon, launching the application with the vault selector every time.

Proposed solution

Currently, the Obsidian protocol allows us to create shortcuts to specific vaults using the open action:


If the vault parameter is omitted (or has a wrong value and no vault with that name/id can be located), Obsidian displays an error message Vault not found. Unable to find a vault for the URL obsidian://open(...). After closing the error message, the default last-opened vault is loaded.

I propose two possible solutions:

  1. Add a new action (select ?), which would cause Obsidian to open a new instance starting with the vault selector, regardless of whether there is an instance already open or not.
  2. Modify the open action to allow for usage with empty parameters (obsidian://open?vault=, obsidian://open?vault) or without any parameters (obsidian://open). When no vault parameter is specified, or if its value is null, the vault selector should be displayed.

I second this. I understand that obsidian devs expect us to put most things in 1 vault. But making it easier to open vault selection will go a long way to help us multi-vault users.

Any dev response to this? It’s been over a year since @htuy first proposed his idea. I know everybody is busy, but some information on whether the feature was accepted, rejected, or even considered would be appreciated.