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README.md

Obsidian Export

Obsidian Export is a CLI program and a Rust library to export an Obsidian vault to regular Markdown.

  • Recursively export Obsidian Markdown files to CommonMark.
  • Supports [[note]]-style references as well as ![[note]] file includes.
  • Support for gitignore-style exclude patterns (default: .export-ignore).
  • Automatically excludes files that are ignored by Git when the vault is located in a Git repository.
  • Runs on all major platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, BSDs.

Please note obsidian-export is not officially endorsed by the Obsidian team. It supports most but not all of Obsidian's Markdown flavor.

Installation

Pre-built binaries

Binary releases for x86-64 processors are provided for Windows, Linux and Mac operating systems on a best-effort basis. They are built with GitHub runners as part of the release workflow defined in .github/workflows/release.yml.

The resulting binaries can be downloaded from https://github.com/zoni/obsidian-export/releases

Building from source

When binary releases are unavailable for your platform, or you do not trust the pre-built binaries, then obsidian-export can be compiled from source with relatively little effort. This is done through Cargo, the official package manager for Rust, with the following steps:

  1. Install the Rust toolchain from https://www.rust-lang.org/tools/install
  2. Run: cargo install obsidian-export

It is expected that you successfully configured the PATH variable correctly while installing the Rust toolchain, as described under "Configuring the PATH environment variable" on https://www.rust-lang.org/tools/install.

Upgrading from earlier versions

If you downloaded a pre-built binary, upgrade by downloading the latest version to replace the old one.

If you built from source, upgrade by running cargo install obsidian-export again.

Basic usage

The main interface of obsidian-export is the obsidian-export CLI command. As a text interface, this must be run from a terminal or Windows PowerShell.

It is assumed that you have basic familiarity with command-line interfaces and that you set up your PATH correctly if you installed with cargo. Running obsidian-export --version should print a version number rather than giving some kind of error.

If you downloaded a pre-built binary and didn't put it a location referenced by PATH (for example, you put it in Downloads), you will need to provide the full path to the binary instead.

For example ~/Downloads/obsidian-export --version on Mac/Linux or ~\Downloads\obsidian-export --version on Windows (PowerShell).

Exporting notes

In it's most basic form, obsidian-export takes just two mandatory arguments, a source and a destination:

obsidian-export /path/to/my-obsidian-vault /path/to/exported-notes/

This will export all of the files from my-obsidian-vault to exported-notes, except for those listed in .export-ignore or .gitignore.

Note that the destination directory must exist, so you may need to create a new, empty directory first.

If you give it an existing directory, files under that directory may get overwritten.

It is also possible to export individual files:

# Export as some-note.md to /tmp/export/
obsidian-export my-obsidian-vault/some-note.md /tmp/export/
# Export as exported-note.md in /tmp/
obsidian-export my-obsidian-vault/some-note.md /tmp/exported-note.md

Note that in this mode, obsidian-export sees some-note.md as being the only file that exists in your vault so references to other notes won't be resolved. This is by design.

If you'd like to export a single note while resolving links or embeds to other areas in your vault then you should instead specify the root of your vault as the source, passing the file you'd like to export with --start-at, as described in the next section.

Exporting a partial vault

Using the --start-at argument, you can export just a subset of your vault. Given the following vault structure:

my-obsidian-vault 
├── Notes/
├── Books/
└── People/

This will export only the notes in the Books directory to exported-notes:

obsidian-export my-obsidian-vault --start-at my-obsidian-vault/Books exported-notes

In this mode, all notes under the source (the first argument) are considered part of the vault so any references to these files will remain intact, even if they're not part of the exported notes.

Character encodings

At present, UTF-8 character encoding is assumed for all note text as well as filenames. All text and file handling performs lossy conversion to Unicode strings.

Use of non-UTF8 encodings may lead to issues like incorrect text replacement and failure to find linked notes. While this may change in the future, there are no plans to change this behavior in the short term.

Advanced usage

Frontmatter

By default, frontmatter is copied over "as-is".

Some static site generators are picky about frontmatter and require it to be present. Some get tripped up when Markdown files don't have frontmatter but start with a list item or horizontal rule. In these cases, --frontmatter=always can be used to insert an empty frontmatter entry.

To completely remove any frontmatter from exported notes, use --frontmatter=never.

Ignoring files

By default, hidden files, patterns listed in .export-ignore as well as any files ignored by git (if your vault is part of a git repository) will be excluded from exports.

These options may be adjusted with --hidden, --ignore-file and --no-git if desired. (See --help for more information).

Notes linking to ignored notes will be unlinked (they'll only include the link text). Embeds of ignored notes will be skipped entirely.

Ignorefile syntax

The syntax for .export-ignore files is identical to that of gitignore files. Here's an example:

# Ignore the directory private that is located at the top of the export tree
/private
# Ignore any file or directory called `test`
test
# Ignore any PDF file
*.pdf
# ..but include special.pdf
!special.pdf

For more comprehensive documentation and examples, see the gitignore manpage.

Recursive embeds

It's possible to end up with "recursive embeds" when two notes embed each other. This happens for example when a Note A.md contains ![[Note B]] but Note B.md also contains ![[Note A]].

By default, this will trigger an error and display the chain of notes which caused the recursion.

This behavior may be changed by specifying --no-recursive-embeds. Using this mode, if a note is encountered for a second time while processing the original note, instead of embedding it again a link to the note is inserted instead to break the cycle.

The Hugo static site generator does not support relative links to files. Instead, it expects you to link to other pages using the [ref and relref shortcodes].

As a result of this, notes that have been exported from Obsidian using obsidian-export do not work out of the box because Hugo doesn't resolve these links correctly.

Markdown Render Hooks (only supported using the default goldmark renderer) allow you to work around this issue however, making exported notes work with Hugo after a bit of one-time setup work.

Create the file layouts/_default/_markup/render-link.html with the following contents:

{{- $url := urls.Parse .Destination -}}
{{- $scheme := $url.Scheme -}}

<a href="
  {{- if eq $scheme "" -}}
    {{- if strings.HasSuffix $url.Path ".md" -}}
      {{- relref .Page .Destination | safeURL -}}
    {{- else -}}
      {{- .Destination | safeURL -}}
    {{- end -}}
  {{- else -}}
    {{- .Destination | safeURL -}}
  {{- end -}}"
  {{- with .Title }} title="{{ . | safeHTML }}"{{- end -}}>
  {{- .Text | safeHTML -}}
</a>

{{- /* whitespace stripped here to avoid trailing newline in rendered result caused by file EOL */ -}}

And layouts/_default/_markup/render-image.html for images:

{{- $url := urls.Parse .Destination -}}
{{- $scheme := $url.Scheme -}}

<img src="
  {{- if eq $scheme "" -}}
    {{- if strings.HasSuffix $url.Path ".md" -}}
      {{- relref .Page .Destination | safeURL -}}
    {{- else -}}
      {{- printf "/%s%s" .Page.File.Dir .Destination | safeURL -}}
    {{- end -}}
  {{- else -}}
    {{- .Destination | safeURL -}}
  {{- end -}}"
  {{- with .Title }} title="{{ . | safeHTML }}"{{- end -}}
  {{- with .Text }} alt="{{ . | safeHTML }}"
  {{- end -}}
/>

{{- /* whitespace stripped here to avoid trailing newline in rendered result caused by file EOL */ -}}

With these hooks in place, links to both notes as well as file attachments should now work correctly.

Note: If you're using a theme which comes with it's own render hooks, you might need to do a little extra work, or customize the snippets above, to avoid conflicts with the hooks from your theme.

Library usage

All of the functionality exposed by the obsidian-export CLI command is also accessible as a Rust library, exposed through the obsidian_export crate.

To get started, visit the library documentation on obsidian_export and obsidian_export::Exporter.

License

Obsidian-export is dual-licensed under the Apache 2.0 and the MIT licenses.

Unless you explicitly state otherwise, any contribution intentionally submitted for inclusion in this project by you, as defined in the Apache-2.0 license, shall be dual licensed as above, without any additional terms or conditions.

Changelog

v22.1.0 (2022-01-02)

Happy new year! On this second day of 2022 comes a fresh release with one notable new feature.

New

  • Support Obsidian's "Strict line breaks" setting. [Nick Groenen]

    This change introduces a new --hard-linebreaks CLI argument. When used, this converts soft line breaks to hard line breaks, mimicking Obsidian's "Strict line breaks" setting.

    Implementation detail: I considered naming this flag --strict-line-breaks to be consistent with Obsidian itself, however I feel the name is somewhat misleading and ill-chosen.

Other

  • Give release binaries file extensions. [Nick Groenen]

    This may make it more clear to users that these are precompiled, binary files. This is especially relevant on Windows, where the convention is that executable files have a .exe extension, as seen in #49.

  • Upgrade dependencies. [Nick Groenen]

    This commit upgrades all dependencies to their current latest versions. Most notably, this includes upgrades to the following most critical libraries:

    pulldown-cmark v0.8.0 -> v0.9.0
    pulldown-cmark-to-cmark v7.1.1 -> v9.0.0
    

    In total, these dependencies were upgraded:

    bstr v0.2.16 -> v0.2.17
    ignore v0.4.17 -> v0.4.18
    libc v0.2.101 -> v0.2.112
    memoffset v0.6.4 -> v0.6.5
    num_cpus v1.13.0 -> v1.13.1
    once_cell v1.8.0 -> v1.9.0
    ppv-lite86 v0.2.10 -> v0.2.16
    proc-macro2 v1.0.29 -> v1.0.36
    pulldown-cmark v0.8.0 -> v0.9.0
    pulldown-cmark-to-cmark v7.1.1 -> v9.0.0
    quote v1.0.9 -> v1.0.14
    rayon v1.5.0 -> v1.5.1
    regex v1.5.3 -> v1.5.4
    serde v1.0.130 -> v1.0.132
    syn v1.0.75 -> v1.0.84
    unicode-width v0.1.8 -> v0.1.9
    version_check v0.9.3 -> v0.9.4
    
  • Bump serde_yaml from 0.8.21 to 0.8.23 (#52) [dependabot[bot]]

    Bumps serde_yaml from 0.8.21 to 0.8.23.


    updated-dependencies:

    • dependency-name: serde_yaml dependency-type: direct:production update-type: version-update:semver-patch ...
  • Bump pulldown-cmark-to-cmark from 7.1.0 to 7.1.1 (#51) [dependabot[bot]]

    Bumps pulldown-cmark-to-cmark from 7.1.0 to 7.1.1.


    updated-dependencies:

    • dependency-name: pulldown-cmark-to-cmark dependency-type: direct:production update-type: version-update:semver-patch ...
  • Bump pulldown-cmark-to-cmark from 7.0.0 to 7.1.0 (#48) [dependabot[bot]]

    Bumps pulldown-cmark-to-cmark from 7.0.0 to 7.1.0.


    updated-dependencies:

    • dependency-name: pulldown-cmark-to-cmark dependency-type: direct:production update-type: version-update:semver-minor ...
  • Bump pulldown-cmark-to-cmark from 6.0.4 to 7.0.0 (#47) [dependabot[bot]]

    Bumps pulldown-cmark-to-cmark from 6.0.4 to 7.0.0.


    updated-dependencies:

    • dependency-name: pulldown-cmark-to-cmark dependency-type: direct:production update-type: version-update:semver-major ...
  • Bump pathdiff from 0.2.0 to 0.2.1 (#46) [dependabot[bot]]

    Bumps pathdiff from 0.2.0 to 0.2.1.


    updated-dependencies:

    • dependency-name: pathdiff dependency-type: direct:production update-type: version-update:semver-patch ...
  • Bump pulldown-cmark-to-cmark from 6.0.3 to 6.0.4 (#44) [dependabot[bot]]

    Bumps pulldown-cmark-to-cmark from 6.0.3 to 6.0.4.


    updated-dependencies:

    • dependency-name: pulldown-cmark-to-cmark dependency-type: direct:production update-type: version-update:semver-patch ...
  • Bump pretty_assertions from 0.7.2 to 1.0.0 (#45) [dependabot[bot]]

    Bumps pretty_assertions from 0.7.2 to 1.0.0.


    updated-dependencies:

    • dependency-name: pretty_assertions dependency-type: direct:production update-type: version-update:semver-major ...

v21.9.1 (2021-09-24)

Changes

  • Treat SVG files as embeddable images. [Narayan Sainaney]

    This will ensure SVG files are included as an image when using ![[foo.svg]] syntax, as opposed to only being linked to.

Other

  • Bump pulldown-cmark-to-cmark from 6.0.2 to 6.0.3. [dependabot[bot]]

    Bumps pulldown-cmark-to-cmark from 6.0.2 to 6.0.3.


    updated-dependencies:

    • dependency-name: pulldown-cmark-to-cmark dependency-type: direct:production update-type: version-update:semver-patch ...
  • Bump serde_yaml from 0.8.20 to 0.8.21. [dependabot[bot]]

    Bumps serde_yaml from 0.8.20 to 0.8.21.


    updated-dependencies:

    • dependency-name: serde_yaml dependency-type: direct:production update-type: version-update:semver-patch ...

v21.9.0 (2021-09-12)

This release switches to a calendar versioning scheme. Details on this decision can be read in switching obsidian-export to CalVer.

New

  • Support postprocessors running on embedded notes. [Nick Groenen]

    This introduces support for postprocessors that are run on the result of a note that is being embedded into another note. This differs from the existing postprocessors (which remain unchanged) that run once all embeds have been processed and merged with the final note.

    These "embed postprocessors" may be set through the new Exporter::add_embed_postprocessor method.

  • Add start_at option to export a partial vault. [Nick Groenen]

    This introduces a new --start-at CLI argument and corresponding start_at() method on the Exporter type that allows exporting of only a given subdirectory within a vault.

    See the updated README file for more details on when and how this may be used.

Other

  • Don't build docs for the bin target. [Nick Groenen]

    The library contains documentation covering both CLI and library usage, there's no separate documentation for just the binary target.

  • Move postprocessor tests into their own file for clarity. [Nick Groenen]

  • Update indirect dependencies. [Nick Groenen]

  • Bump serde_yaml from 0.8.19 to 0.8.20. [dependabot[bot]]

    Bumps serde_yaml from 0.8.19 to 0.8.20.


    updated-dependencies:

    • dependency-name: serde_yaml dependency-type: direct:production update-type: version-update:semver-patch ...
  • Don't borrow references that are immediately dereferenced. [Nick Groenen]

    This was caught by a recently introduced clippy rule

  • Bump serde_yaml from 0.8.17 to 0.8.19. [dependabot[bot]]

    Bumps serde_yaml from 0.8.17 to 0.8.19.


    updated-dependencies:

    • dependency-name: serde_yaml dependency-type: direct:production update-type: version-update:semver-patch ...
  • Update dependencies. [Nick Groenen]

  • Fix 4 new clippy lints. [Nick Groenen]

  • Bump regex from 1.4.6 to 1.5.3. [dependabot[bot]]

    Bumps regex from 1.4.6 to 1.5.3.

  • Bump pretty_assertions from 0.7.1 to 0.7.2. [dependabot[bot]]

    Bumps pretty_assertions from 0.7.1 to 0.7.2.

  • Bump regex from 1.4.5 to 1.4.6. [dependabot[bot]]

    Bumps regex from 1.4.5 to 1.4.6.

v0.7.0 (2021-04-11)

New

  • Postprocessing support. [Nick Groenen]

    Add support for postprocessing of Markdown prior to writing converted notes to disk.

    Postprocessors may be used when making use of Obsidian export as a Rust library to do the following:

    1. Modify a note's Context, for example to change the destination filename or update its Frontmatter.
    2. Change a note's contents by altering MarkdownEvents.
    3. Prevent later postprocessors from running or cause a note to be skipped entirely. Future releases of Obsidian export may come with built-in postprocessors for users of the command-line tool to use, if general use-cases can be identified.

    For example, a future release might include functionality to make notes more suitable for the Hugo static site generator. This functionality would be implemented as a postprocessor that could be enabled through command-line flags.

Fixes

  • Also percent-encode ? in filenames. [Nick Groenen]

    A recent Obsidian update expanded the list of allowed characters in filenames, which now includes ? as well. This needs to be percent-encoded for proper links in static site generators like Hugo.

Other

v0.6.0 (2021-02-15)

New

  • Add --version flag. [Nick Groenen]

Changes

  • Don't Box FilterFn in WalkOptions. [Nick Groenen]

    Previously, filter_fn on the WalkOptions struct looked like:

    pub filter_fn: Option<Box<&'static FilterFn>>,
    

    This boxing was unneccesary and has been changed to:

    pub filter_fn: Option<&'static FilterFn>,
    

    This will only affect people who use obsidian-export as a library in other Rust programs, not users of the CLI.

    For those library users, they no longer need to supply FilterFn wrapped in a Box.

Fixes

  • Recognize notes beginning with underscores. [Nick Groenen]

    Notes with an underscore would fail to be recognized within Obsidian [[_WikiLinks]] due to the assumption that the underlying Markdown parser (pulldown_cmark) would emit the text between [[ and ]] as a single event.

    The note parser has now been rewritten to use a more reliable state machine which correctly recognizes this corner-case (and likely some others).

  • Support self-references. [Joshua Coles]

    This ensures links to headings within the same note ([[#Heading]]) resolve correctly.

Other

  • Avoid redundant "Release" in GitHub release titles. [Nick Groenen]

  • Add failing testcase for files with underscores. [Nick Groenen]

  • Add unit tests for display of ObsidianNoteReference. [Nick Groenen]

  • Add some unit tests for ObsidianNoteReference::from_str. [Nick Groenen]

  • Also run tests on pull requests. [Nick Groenen]

  • Apply clippy suggestions following rust 1.50.0. [Nick Groenen]

  • Fix infinite recursion bug with references to current file. [Joshua Coles]

  • Add tests for self-references. [Joshua Coles]

    Note as there is no support for block references at the moment, the generated link goes nowhere, however it is to a reasonable ID

  • Bump tempfile from 3.1.0 to 3.2.0. [dependabot[bot]]

    Bumps tempfile from 3.1.0 to 3.2.0.

  • Bump eyre from 0.6.3 to 0.6.5. [dependabot[bot]]

    Bumps eyre from 0.6.3 to 0.6.5.

  • Bump regex from 1.4.2 to 1.4.3. [dependabot[bot]]

    Bumps regex from 1.4.2 to 1.4.3.

v0.5.1 (2021-01-10)

Fixes

  • Find uppercased notes when referenced with lowercase. [Nick Groenen]

    This commit fixes a bug where, if a note contained uppercase characters (for example Note.md) but was referred to using lowercase ([[note]]), that note would not be found.

v0.5.0 (2021-01-05)

New

  • Add --no-recursive-embeds to break infinite recursion cycles. [Nick Groenen]

    It's possible to end up with "recursive embeds" when two notes embed each other. This happens for example when a Note A.md contains ![[Note B]] but Note B.md also contains ![[Note A]].

    By default, this will trigger an error and display the chain of notes which caused the recursion.

    Using the new --no-recursive-embeds, if a note is encountered for a second time while processing the original note, rather than embedding it again a link to the note is inserted instead to break the cycle.

    See also: https://github.com/zoni/obsidian-export/issues/1

  • Make walk options configurable on CLI. [Nick Groenen]

    By default hidden files, patterns listed in .export-ignore as well as any files ignored by git are excluded from exports. This behavior has been made configurable on the CLI using the new flags --hidden, --ignore-file and --no-git.

  • Support links referencing headings. [Nick Groenen]

    Previously, links referencing a heading ([[note#heading]]) would just link to the file name without including an anchor in the link target. Now, such references will include an appropriate #anchor attribute.

    Note that neither the original Markdown specification, nor the more recent CommonMark standard, specify how anchors should be constructed for a given heading.

    There are also some differences between the various Markdown rendering implementations.

    Obsidian-export uses the slug crate to generate anchors which should be compatible with most implementations, however your mileage may vary.

    (For example, GitHub may leave a trailing - on anchors when headings end with a smiley. The slug library, and thus obsidian-export, will avoid such dangling dashes).

  • Support embeds referencing headings. [Nick Groenen]

    Previously, partial embeds (![[note#heading]]) would always include the entire file into the source note. Now, such embeds will only include the contents of the referenced heading (and any subheadings).

    Links and embeds of arbitrary blocks remains unsupported at this time.

Changes

  • Print warnings to stderr rather than stdout. [Nick Groenen]

    Warning messages emitted when encountering broken links/references will now be printed to stderr as opposed to stdout.

Other

  • Include filter_fn field in WalkOptions debug display. [Nick Groenen]

v0.4.0 (2020-12-23)

Fixes

  • Correct relative links within embedded notes. [Nick Groenen]

    Links within an embedded note would point to other local resources relative to the filesystem location of the note being embedded.

    When a note inside a different directory would embed such a note, these links would point to invalid locations.

    Now these links are calculated relative to the top note, which ensures these links will point to the right path.

Other

  • Add brief library documentation to all public types and functions. [Nick Groenen]

v0.3.0 (2020-12-21)

New

  • Report file tree when RecursionLimitExceeded is hit. [Nick Groenen]

    This refactors the Context to maintain a list of all the files which have been processed so far in a chain of embeds. This information is then used to print a more helpful error message to users of the CLI when RecursionLimitExceeded is returned.

Changes

  • Add extra whitespace around multi-line warnings. [Nick Groenen]

    This makes errors a bit easier to distinguish after a number of warnings has been printed.

Other

  • Setup gitchangelog. [Nick Groenen]

    This adds a changelog (CHANGES.md) which is automatically generated with gitchangelog.

v0.2.0 (2020-12-13)

  • Allow custom filter function to be passed with WalkOptions. [Nick Groenen]

  • Re-export vault_contents and WalkOptions as pub from crate root. [Nick Groenen]

  • Run mdbook hook against README.md too. [Nick Groenen]

  • Update installation instructions. [Nick Groenen]

    Installation no longer requires a git repository URL now that a crate is published.

  • Add MdBook generation script and precommit hook. [Nick Groenen]

  • Add more reliable non-ASCII tetscase. [Nick Groenen]

  • Create FUNDING.yml. [Nick Groenen]

v0.1.0 (2020-11-28)

  • Public release. [Nick Groenen]