Tracking Note Dates in Obsidian

A picture of a cork calendar.

In Obsidian, there are often many ways to accomplish a single task. No matter what you want to do, you can usually find a way to do it in Obsidian.

One thing that I like to do is track dates in Obsidian. When I create a note, I like each file to automatically have a “date created” field with the correct date. When I update a file, I like for it to create or update a “last updated” field.

It seems like a simple enough task, but there are many ways to accomplish it. Let’s go through a few different methods and weigh the pros and cons.


So the goal here is to have something like this added to each note:

Do you see “date” and “updated”? Those are the dates I’m talking about. I like to have this metadata available for many reasons, but in particular so I can create custom date-based dashboards for myself.

So how can we set this up?

Plugin-Free Method

The only way to add dates in Obsidian without a plugin, as far as I am aware, is to either manually add it to every note, or to use a template.

Manually adding it to every note isn’t an option for me: that would be too labor intensive, and error prone. I’m sure I would ultimately abandon the effort, or forget it.

Templates can work though. If you use the core template plugin, you can include a snippet like this to automatically add a date created property to each note:

created: {{date:YYYY-MM-DD}}T{{time:HH:mm}}

This works well. You can also create a similar template for your “updated” field. Then the process goes something like this:

  • Anytime you create a new note, trigger the “Date Created” template
  • Anytime you update a note, trigger the “Date Updated” template

This method is much easier than the manual method, especially if you set these templates up with their own keyboard shortcut. So if you want to avoid plugins, it is doable, but it’ll require a little more work from you.

On Using Plugins in Obsidian

Even though it’s possible to do this without plugins, I recommend that you use a plugin. Plugins provide you with out-of-the-box systems to make your life easier. With a plugin, you can set this system up once and then forget about it, leaving you space to focus on the more important work of creating and maintaining your notes.

This is also a very simple use-case for a plugin. It won’t add much complexity to your vault, and it won’t tie you to Obsidian, since the data still exists within your notes.

So with that said, let’s jump into the plugins!

Note: if you’re new to plugins in Obsidian, see our Guide to Community Plugins.

Update Time on Edit Plugin

Open in Obsidian

This plugin is the easiest option.

This plugin does exactly what I described above: when you create a new note, it automatically creates a “created” field and enters the correct time. When you update a note, it automatically creates or updates an “updated” field with the correct time.

This plugin is truly set-and-forget it. I used this plugin for months without even thinking about it, it does one job well.

There’s only one downside to this plugin: it can update a little too much. It updates frequently while editing files, resulting in a warning message from Obsidian. It also watches the file-system for any change, and updates files that change for any reason.

I use git to backup my vault {link}, and this plugin doesn’t work well with git. Whenever I sync my files with my other devices, this plugin senses those updates and updates the files to when I synced my files, rather than when I changed them. Not ideal.

So if you’re using this plugin and have trouble with it updating too frequently, the next plugin might be for you.

Update Frontmatter Modified Date Plugin

Open in Obsidian

This is the plugin I currently use to manage dates in Obsidian! It works well for my purposes.

Unlike the previous plugin, the “Update Frontmatter Modified Date” plugin only updates your “updated” field, it doesn’t create a “date created” field. So I personally have my “created” field in a template, and use this plugin to update my “updated” field.

This plugin is a little choosier on when it updates your files. It tries to update your data only when you actually update a file, and it seems to do a good job of that.

So if you’re moving files around, this plugin won’t trigger. If you sync your files, it won’t trigger. If you open a file and look at it without editing it, it won’t trigger. The only time it will update your file is if you update the contents of your file in Obsidian.

This is what I prefer, so this is the plugin I use. If you want your metadata to be updated liberally, use the previous plugin. If you prefer a more conservative approach, then this one might be the one for you.

Obsidian Linter

Open in Obsidian

Last but not least: you can configure Obsidian Linter to maintain dates in Obsidian for you.

If you already use Linter, this might be a great option for you. I do use Linter to manage my metadata, but I prefer a different plugin, because it doesn’t update as frequently as Linter.

Linter, like the first plugin we talked about, can be a little over zealous. But if you want to use Linter, it has many different options. Go to settings > Linter > YAML, and scroll down to the middle of the settings screen, and you can find this:

This is perhaps the most configurable option. If you aren’t too particular about when your files update, Linter is a great choice.

If you want to learn more about Linter, see Automate Your Notes with Obsidian Linter.


There are many different ways to do things in Obsidian. It’s wonderful to have so many options, but it can also be overwhelming.

Hopefully this article has given you what you need to get up and running with dates in Obsidian. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us or add them to the comments below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *