Using tab to align text in lists?

Use case or problem

How can I align the descriptions so they are easier and faster to read? I don’t want to use a table inside a callout, as the table has a different appearance.

In Word I would use tab and it would align the start of the words nicely. How to do this in Obsidian?

I just have a few points to make:

  • I cannot see lists in your screenshot (lists in markdown are made with dashes);
  • you can define tabs to be 2 spaces or 4 in settings but they are to do with said lists;
  • in markdown any number of spaces are reduced to one space when rendered;
  • solution:
    • you can use lists like so (I put in two spaces then a dash here);
    • or you can use CSS snippets to format your text (some themes have elaborate Style Settings as well).

Probably a table is the easiest option (tho if you work in source mode you’ll still need to add spaces to align).

If you only need the alignment in edit mode, you could use spaces as suggested above.

Also as mentioned above, it looks like your text isn’t formatted as a list (tho maybe you’re using a theme or snippet that hides list markers).

Yes, it actually isn’t a list. I should have been more accurate in my description. I could make it to a list, but in this case I do not really want or need bullet points before them.

I suppose the issue is the same regardless if a list or not, as I need to align vertically the descriptions. But if changing to a list will make it easier I’d be willing to.

Another solution we used in Word was to make table without borders.

Thank you. But that just sounds too complicated and time consuming. I’ll probably just do without and focus on content. But it’s a pity that such frequently used text editing feature is not possible in obsidian without going to extreme lengths.

I could use a table, but in that case it would be preferable to have table without any borders or headings? Is that possible? Basically to be there just to control spacing.

You can use a CSS snippet to remove the borders.

The header row is required but I think you can leave it empty and probably hide it with a snippet. Someone has probably posted working options for both either here or on Discord.

Will the CSS snippet remove the border only for tables that are used for that purpose? Or will it affect all tables, including tables I need to have borders? Thanks.

I’m not an expert, but the only way I know that you might be able to target any table anywhere is by putting the table in a callout and targeting that combination. (You’ll of course want a custom callout that is styled to be invisible like the table.) I don’t know if tables work in callouts. If not, the nearest thing I know of is the cssclass property, which would let you target all tables in specific notes.

I came from Word and am doing longform writing (scientific stuff like yourself) and had to resign myself to markdown limitations.
Obsidian with its myriad plugins is good for a lot of things but for formatting the documents one needs to go back to Word again – especially if the institute wants Word documents.
So one can get one part of the job done in Obsidian as at a preliminary stage and format/style the documents for Word.
Otherwise one must learn ways within markdown and Obsidian to get what one wants. Then hopefully with PanDoc and other plugins one can make them look good in Word again, should one want to go there.
I am far from finalizing my work but the text I had migrated from Word have the same issues: indentations were converted to lists with VBA macros and they did not look natural or good.
So I am re-writing my documents… Or…writing on the forum instead… :slight_smile:


Thanks for the info. I am actually not writing for institute or journal, but just my personal knowledge base. It’s definitely an adjustment for me as I was taking long notes from lectures in Word, where I would have 80 pages for a module structured in headings. But I found that other modules sometimes overlapped with information and I wasn’t using my notes (in separate Word files) efficiently.

Moreover, I found it awkward addinng additional new information on the topics I found researching. As I decided to continue to build and use my notes even after college.

That’s why I switched to Obsidian. I found that I need to adjust to shorter notes as they work much better with graph view.

I find that if I link to a concept (tRNA) covered in a heading broader note (ex Drug Engineering), the graph will show the note (drug engineering). So my linked concepts via blocks or headings do not show. So instead now, my tRNA or other concepts will exist as a note. I can then link them to broader concepts like RNA.

So for PKM, I am definitely learning and adjusting.

For writing articles or journals, I would not even know where to begin :grinning:


This is why I cannot make use of the graph view: I’ve got many huge notes with many many backlinks. I am not building a knowledge base for myself. I am letting myself drowned by all that leads back to One and have no fear because One guides me. The graph of the Absolute is a fractal one: the whole is part of the part and vice versa. I’m not letting myself fooled. :slight_smile:

I wouldn’t worry too much about the graph — its usefulness is limited (many people don’t even use it, at least not for anything practical). Tho some people find it (or the local graph) useful, so if it’s helping, or if you’ve found other reasons to like shorter notes, then go with it.

Thanks. Yes, I want to see if I find local graph useful. Still feeling my way around.

This topic was automatically closed 90 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.