How to Use Obsidian Community Plugins

A photo of an electrical cord for plugging into an outlet.

Note: This article was originally published in July 2022. It has since been updated.

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 core Obsidian, so if you haven’t tried community plugins yet, you might want to 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 ctrl+p (or 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:

A screenshot of the Obsidian command palette.
You can also use the keyboard shortcut “ctrl + ,” as you can see on the right side of this menu.

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.

Obsidian settings page, with community plugins highlighted.

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, you’re ready to go! 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.

List of community plugins in Obsidian.

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 The top plugins are, at the time of writing:

These are all extremely useful and high quality plugins. If any of them sound interesting to you, I would recommend trying them out.

To learn about my favorite plugins, see Super Powers for Obsidian: Nine of the Best Obsidian Plugins.

My favorite plugin of ALL TIME is called Dataview, and you can learn how to get started with Dataview here.

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. Many 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.

Next Steps

To see some of our favorite community plugins, check out Super Powers for Obsidian: Nine of the Best Obsidian Plugins.

Additionally, you can view a running list of all approved plugins on the Obsidian website, and 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).

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