Use H1 or front-matter title instead of or in addition to filename as display name

I’m interested in a setting that would use a note’s H1 or front-matter title instead of or in addition to the filename as the display name everywhere: links, backlinks, graph view, search, etc.

How would this be useful:

  • For users who use IDs as filenames or who generally want more concise filenames
  • Use illegal filename characters and emojis in note titles
  • More readable graph, search, backlinks, etc.

Other assumptions/thoughts/questions:

  • Is this global or feature-specific? By feature-specific, I mean toggling note title display type separately in the file explorer, graph, backlinks, etc.
  • If a note doesn’t have H1 or title, then the display title would fall back to the filename and/or first line of text.
  • For link auto-complete, to enforce unique names, this setting would force displaying a combination of filename + H1/title.
  • This is a feature request, not a plugin because of its global nature.
  • This is partially dependent on WYSIWYG.

Related request, but specific to graph view:

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This would be really useful! I’ve a few hundred notes in a Zettelkasten waiting to get imported into Obsidian, all with filenames like YYMMDDHHMMSS And the title of the note. What you suggest would help keep things nice and readable while still retaining the file system benefits of that name convention.,


Yup. I would love this too.

Another thing you may possible have is if you don’t have H1, you set default to the first line of text in the file


@Fovea Good idea, I added that my original post.


certainly useful - preferably as toggle switch


Another thing you may possible have is if you don’t have H1, you set default to the first line of text in the file

But this should be kind of heuristic if there is no good candidate the filename should stay

There was at least two topics for aliases for notes, I think this could be more general discussion how notes could be referenced

1 Like

+1 to this. I would really like to be able to use a title of some sort (slight preference for front-matter) wherever filename is currently displayed throughout the Obsidian UI.


This FR looks very important to me, especially when there is an enormous list of illegal characters currently in Obsidian, which can not be used in notes file names.


I wrote about a use case that I miss from Notion here, which could be solved by this feature request:

tl;dr I could add emojis to h1 tags that would allow me to quickly assess what I will get a result before I actually open a note.

I’d like to see the note title in the file list. The reason why is that this is not informative:


What are those files about? I don’t know. I’ll have to open each to find out. :disappointed:

Zettlr does it much better:


Here I can see the title that each note has as well as their identifier.

This makes it super easy to quickly look up the identifier for a file I want to link, without having to search or open several files.

Thanks for listening. :slight_smile:


@sam.baron: slightly off topic, but still about front-matter (I think) in the sense of Yaml:

At the bottom of each zettel I have a cordoned-off (with a line) section containing metadata, such as:
Book title, page no.
Zettel creation date
Zettel transcluded in

This info is normal text, therefore searchable.

Is there a compelling reason to put this info in a Yaml box at the top of the zettel?

If this question does not belong here, I’ll open a new topic.

@Klaas Good question, but yes, this is a different topic. We don’t know yet how Obsidian is going to handle metadata.

OK, sorry to have polluted your thread.

Zettlr makes a distinction between filename and note title because of the way it tracks UIDs.
Obsidian does it differently, as do other programs.
Zettlr may be rethinking what they do.

Yes please!!!
Let me use a question mark? in my note title!!!


Another vote for this please! :slight_smile:

1 Like

I’d also find this really helpful :+1:

I’ve been trying to make my mind up about the common question of IDs vs titles as filenames. I currently use the naming convention and am considering removing the text portion of this to avoid having to change the filename each time I want to change the title of the note. If link auto-complete worked by typing a title as an alternative to filename, this would allow me to connect concepts much more easily.

Having said that, because Obsidian makes it really easy to change links when renaming files, I’ve been trying out using descriptive filenames, which has made the writing experience much smoother because I can just link any [[concept]] as I go, and auto-complete makes this pretty seamless. (This post seems to describe a similar experience.) The problem I keep coming across is that I prefer not to have spaces in filenames (which makes scripting easier) but if I use [[hyphenated-links]], the unlinked mentions feature won’t work :see_no_evil: I think this is probably a separate issue (any thoughts welcome), but being able to search by H1 or title for link autocomplete would get me close to this kind of workflow.

I currently use my notes across mac, windows, iOS and Android :roll_eyes: so would rather avoid using Obsidian-specific or less widely accepted formatting like the [[this-is-a-link|pipe]] for link display. I’ve considered moving to [standard markdown links]( but they don’t really serve the same function when it comes to this kind of workflow and they tend to break my train of thought and having to switch to the preview pane to click them is annoying.

(First post, so do let me know if this is a helpful contribution or better taken elsewhere.)


If Obsidian caters Zettelkasten, then I see no reason why this has not been implemented yet.


To use Zettelkasten I need this option too.