I’m a big fan of the Obsidian app, as you may know. It’s endlessly customizable and free for basic use. For the last three years it’s been an app I use every single day.
Recently a student asked about my favorite Obsidian plugins for writing.
Obsidian plugins: turn the app into your writing “home”
(Feeling lost? For more info, visit the official Help site.)
The app has two types of plugins, Core—these are part of Obsidian—and Community, which are created by community members.
Click the Settings gear wheel on the bottom of the left icon bar, then choose any Core plugins you want to enable.
You can see those I’ve enabled in the image below.
To enable Community plugins, turn off Restricted Mode, then hit the Browse button: now you can add any community-created plugins you wish.
You can test any plugins you like, then uninstall them if they don’t work for you. Please be aware that a plugin may not work with your Obsidian theme, so if you’re having problems, revert to the default theme.
Here are my current favorite plugins for writing.
Canvas mind maps: view information at a glance
I’m a HUGE fan of mind maps:
When things go wrong and you’re feeling stressed, spend five minutes and create a mind map. It will help you to gain perspective, and see solutions to challenges more easily.
A canvas in Obsidian is just a type of file; you can create as many as you please. A writer friend uses this plugin extensively in her fiction writing. I prefer Trello to plan fiction.
My favorite community plugins for writing: outliners and more
You can install any of the following plugins via Settings/ Community Plugins/ Browse.
- I’ve installed two outlining plugins, Outliner, and Quiet Outline. I’m trying to force myself to choose one (who needs two outliners?), but I like them both.
- Highlightr, for… highlighting. I like to use lots of colors.
- Zoom. It’s a focus mode for headings and lists and is very useful for eliminating distractions.
- Word Sprint: allows you to set the length of a writing sprint; provides little notices when you stop writing (turn these off in the settings, if they irritate you); plus daily goals and overall goals for a project.
- Typewriter Scroll. You can turn it on or off globally, and it has various other settings such as a Zen mode.
- File Info Panel: an excellent plugin, with character and word counts, as well as word frequency, and lots of other statistics.
- Recent files. I create lots of files; this helps me to see what I’ve written each day or over a week or two.
You can turn any plugin on or off, or uninstall it.
Make Obsidian yours, to create the perfect writing app
Are you a new user of Obsidian? A tip: go slowly. Use it in ways that make sense to you. There aren’t any “best practices” that work for everyone.
Don’t be surprised if you alter how you use the app over weeks and months; I do that frequently. I used it as a task manager for a while, but I found it annoying, so I’ve gone back to using a dedicated task manager.
When you need help, check out the Help documentation, or visit the forum to post a question.
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.