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

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I’ve been thinking about this a bit, and I think the desktop app should mirror what Publish does.

  • Use the filename as the note’s display title
  • In desktop app, display file name at top of note i same size and position as an h1 in the document (this would mirror Publish and remove need for people to add their own titles)
  • Allow a display title attribute in YAML frontmatter where user can indicate a different display title (this would allow special characters, different formats, etc.)
  • Add display name at top of sidebar, so it’s clear what note you’re looking at

For the time being I would suggest following hint to access your note titles:

If you access your notes primarily through search (like I do), and use top-level headings for the note title, you can enter your search query in the Obsidian search field wrapped in parentheses and prefixed by a hash symbol:

# (one OR two)

If you use YAML front matter, just replace the hash symbol with title:

title: (one OR two)

Make sure the “Collapse results” search option is deactivated. Obsidian will show you list of matching file names together with the first matched line, which will be the note title.

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@austin Related request that would help to see context when the note is scrolled down:

@saf-dmitry great workaround in search. Thanks. Here is a modification:
“#” alone matches fragment identifiers in URLs so I match only # at line beginning.
Here is regex that matches and highlights whole title line:
/^(#|title:) [^\n]*/ to be followed by search string.

The regex can be put in by text expander.

Below is AutoHotkey script that automatically writes the hotstring into search field after pressing Ctrl+Shift+F:

; AutoHotkey code to prefix title matching regexbefore search string
#IfWinActive ahk_exe Obsidian.exe
~^+f:: ; Ctrl+Shift+F ; Find in Obsidian
  Sleep, 100 ; maybe not needed 
  SendLevel, 0
  Send, {LControl up}{RControl up}{LShift up}{RShift up}
  Send, {Raw}/^(#|title:) [^\n]*/
  Send, {space}

CSS snippet that can be tweaked to make highlighted titles easier to read:

.theme-light {
  --text-highlight-bg: rgba(0, 128, 0, 1);

.theme-dark {
  --text-highlight-bg: rgba(0, 128, 0, 1);

@malecjan Thank you for your suggestions. Of course, you are generally right suggesting a regex for more accurate matching of note titles to distinguish them from URL fragments or e.g., hashtags.

In my post I just silently assumed, that all of your notes have a title, and this title always comes as the first non-blank line. In this case there is no need to clutter search query with more complex regexes.

Generally speaking, this workaround will only work, if the first matched line in a note is a title line, otherwise you will not see it in the list of search results.

Please, consider complementary simple request that will make this one much more useful in the future:

  • By putting title directly in “title” field instead of “aliases” field, we will have it ready when this request is implemented.
  • When we will see titles daily, we will want them to match in quick switcher and in link suggestions.
  • “Title” field is well defined, manageable by plugins so in case of need we would be able ourselves to fill missing titles by data extracted from markdown by some plugin to satisfy diverse opinions for how exactly this request should behave (what data to show instead of filename)
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+1 for this !
Dokuwiki has that feature, and it’s so good being able to separate file name from note title.

You can still do that - file name can be prefix-whatever, add a

alias: [This name, That name]
# Name

But it’s more typing than I like, and now ther’s an alias name and a # title name to maintain. I’d still very much like this feature…

Please include this feature, I can’t imagine having to use graph views with date-formatted filenames.

Yes, please!! As someone who prefers unique ids for filenames this feature is super necessary

+1 to abstracting a filename from the title of a note for a Zettlekasten workflow.

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Please, please, please! I’ve just been putting H1 titles on my notes so that i can see the title clearly whether im looking at a note or a hover preview modal.

With Publish, the file name is set as an H1 title, so all my manual H1 titles then result in there being two titles on each note!

So i had to use CSS to hide the default Publish titles, and now just let my custom titles show through…

It seems to me that the behavior should be as thus:

  • Note title defaults to filename
  • Title: attribute in frontmatter should override default title
  • Publish AND Desktop should have option to choose whether an H1 title is auto-generated based on filename default or frontmatter title attribute.

It would be great if Publish and Desktop handled titles in the same way…

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+1 for this request. Would be happy for a setting that allows either a title or alias field in YAML front matter to be displayed in search results.

But…what about this feature? It’s been a LONG time ago since we asked for this, in order to deploy our Zettekkasten notes.

So PLEASE, just add this little feature, to avoid forcing us to see meaningfulness titles along Obsidian (mainly within graph module)


+1, would improve Zettelkasten workflows

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Would also love to see this feature soon!

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For what its worth +1 from me.

I think this could be really powerful.

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+1 !!

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+1 from me too. It would be nice to have some sort of “detailed” file list, e.g. including first line, first H1, and possibly also tags. Here I’m thinking of how HedgeDoc lists its note history.

+1 !!!