Obsidian is a wonderful application all on its own, but you’re missing out if you haven’t at least tried some of the wonderful (and free!) community plugins that are available.
Community Plugins are powerhouses that allow you to do all sorts of things. For example:
- You can automatically collect related notes with Dataview
- You can manage tasks with due dates and priorities with Tasks (you can even set up a fully functional GTD system)
- You can add a calendar to view your daily notes
- You can add automatically generated charts
- You can set up a spaced repetition system for memorization
Most of these things are either not feasible or much more difficult with basic Obsidian, so if you haven’t tried community plugins yet, I suggest you give them a shot.
Installing your first community plugin
Obsidian makes it pretty easy to access and install plugins. First of all, in Obsidian, press
cmd+p on Macs) to open your Command Palette. Type “sett” and you should see an option that says “Open settings”. That will look something like this:
Click on that option or press return, and say hello to Obsidian’s settings page.
Look on the left side and you should see a link called “Community Plugins”. Select that.
Now you’ll see a warning about plugin security, and a feature called “Restricted Mode”. Restricted Mode is a safety feature in Obsidian, when turned on it ensures that no community plugins can run. Thus if you want to use community plugins, you need to turn off Restricted Mode. To do that, click on the button that says “Turn on community plugins”.
Once you turn that on, the world is your oyster. Underneath Restricted Mode you will see a button that says “Browse”, click that button and you will see all of the currently approved Community Plugins available.
Select one of those plugins and press “Install”. Once installed, you’ll have to enable it from the settings screen, and then you’re officially running a community plugin!
The Best Obsidian Community Plugins
You can see the most popular community plugins on vercel.app. The top plugins are currently:
These are all extremely useful and high quality plugins. If any of them sound interesting to you, I would recommend trying them out.
Additionally, if you want to manage tasks in Obsidian, I would recommend Tasks. If you want to do some more advanced automation, I would recommend Dataview. If you want to make your vault prettier, the Style Settings and Banner plugins are a good place to start.
There is no best plugin for everyone, much depends on the kind of vault you want to create. I recommend trying out whatever looks best to you, and if it doesn’t fit your workflow, remove it.
Are Obsidian Community Plugins safe?
There are a few additional risks to Community Plugins, which is why they are disabled by default. There are two main risks: a poorly made plugin could corrupt your data, and a maliciously made plugin could steal your data.
The first issue can be resolved by keeping good backups. As long as you back up your vaults fairly often, the risk of data corruption is fairly low. If you discover a plugin is breaking things, get rid of it. (I have yet to see this problem though, and I use a lot of plugins)
As for theft: the Obsidian team suggests inspecting the code of any plugin you install if you’re worried about theft. My advice is to use two vaults: one vault for sensitive data, with no community plugins installed. Everything that isn’t sensitive goes into your other unrestricted vault. I think in general you can also trust any of the top twenty Community Plugins: lots of people contribute and use those plugins, so it’s a safe bet that nothing fishy is going on there. I would mostly be concerned about installing niche plugins that few people use or contribute to.
You can view a running list of all approved plugins on the Obsidian website. Additionally you can see all kinds of plugin information on this third-party Obsidian Plugin Stats website (this is particularly handy for keeping track of updates).