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Actions for Obsidian › General FAQs

Where can I find the actions?

The actions can be found in the Shortcuts app.

On iOS

  1. Create a new shortcut (tap the ”+” in the top right corner)
  2. In the window that opens (the Shortcuts editor), tap the “Add Action” button.
  3. In the sheet that opens, select the “Apps” tab.
  4. In the list of apps, select Actions for Obsidian.

On macOS

  1. Create a new shortcut (File menu → New Shortcut, or ⌘N)
  2. In the window that opens (the Shortcuts editor), select the “Action Library” in the right sidebar, then the “Apps” tab.
  3. In the list of apps, select Actions for Obsidian.
Screenshot of a Shortcuts editor window, with the sidebar open and Actions for Obsidian selected

I’ve installed the app but don’t see any new workflow in Shortcuts

Actions for Obsidian doesn’t install new Shortcuts workflows, only Shortcuts actions, i.e. the building blocks for new workflows.

I’ve installed the app but don’t see the actions in Shortcuts

Short answer: restart/reboot the device. If you still don’t see them, uninstall and reinstall the app.

Longer answer: When an app containing Shortcuts actions is installed, the operating system should automatically register them with Shortcuts, but sometimes it just doesn’t. I’m certain that’s a bug in iOS/macOS.

Unfortunately, apps can’t explicitly instruct the system to add actions to Shortcuts. But since it’s impossible to force the OS to look again, the first option is restarting the device.

If that doesn’t do the trick, please uninstall the app and reinstall it again. So far, in most reported cases this solved the problem, and the actions appeared in Shortcuts.

The AFO Shortcuts actions are reported as “unknown” after upgrading macOS

When upgrading macOS, Shortcuts may forget about Actions For Obsidian’s actions. And while your workflows will all be there, Shortcuts may report the individual actions as “unknown”:

Screenshot of a missing action in the Shortcuts editor. The action reads "Unknown Action: This action could not be found in this version of Shortcuts."

First and foremost: no worries, your workflows are fine! 😉

Fix it by following these steps:

  1. Quit the Shortcuts app
  2. Uninstall/ trash the Actions for (If you trash it, make sure to empty the trash!)
  3. Reinstall it from the Mac App Store

This will re-register the AFO actions with Shortcuts.

How can I check if Obsidian is already running?

In some cases, the question might come up when a Shortcuts workflow “cold-starts” Obsidian. Depending on the size of your vault and the list of enabled plugins, Obsidian might need a second or more to get into a fully responsive state. Which might cause a problem when Actions For Obsidian runs a Shortcuts action, expecting Obsidian to be fully up, and that isn’t the case — because the actions call might be handled before the vault is completely initialized, plugins and all.

This is more of an iOS problem than a macOS one due to processing power and Obsidian’s base code on each platform.

On macOS, you can check if Obsidian is in the list returned by the “Get Running Apps” action (c/o Actions app by Sindre Sorhus) but usually that is unnecessary.

On iOS, it’s impossible to check whether Obsidian is running, since iOS doesn’t allow Shortcuts to query which apps are running. (If that statement is somehow incorrect, please let me know!)

A workaround here is to open Obsidian once at the beginning of the workflow and give it a moment before running any AFO actions. If the workflow you’re building is supposed to run on both macOS and iOS, it’s a good idea to check for the OS first:

  1. Add a built-in “If” action.
    1. Select “Device Details” as the input.
    2. Click “Device Details” and pick its “OS” attribute from the list to make the check about the type of operating system.
    3. Select “is” as comparator and “iOS” as the condition.
  2. Inside the “If” bracket, add a built-in “Open app” action, select “Obsidian”.
  3. Inside the “If” bracket, add a built-in “Wait” action, set the delay to whatever is necessary for your vault.
A screenshot of the described procedure: An "If" action containing a "Open app" action and a "Wait" action before the "End If".

If the workflow is iOS only, ignore the “If” block and just add the latter two actions.

Thanks to Kenny M. for the suggestion! ✌🏼

How can I use Templater’s cursor expansion in a workflow?

What is the problem?

Let’ consider the template below. Normally, when Templater runs, it will replace <% tp.file.title %> with the note title, and remove <% tp.file.cursor() %> and set the editing cursor in its place:

<% tp.file.title %>
<% tp.file.cursor() %>

When going through Shortcuts, the second step often fails. As far as I can tell, Templater’s cursor placeholder expansion only works when the note is both focussed and in edit mode, and during automation runs, this might not always be the case.

The fix

Run the Obsidian command “Templater: Jump to next cursor location” using the Trigger Command action. This will bring Obsidian to the front and execute Templater’s command, which will set the cursor:

An AFO "Trigger Command" action in the Shortcuts editor

The note needs to be in edit mode for that, mind.

How do I set a “default” vault for an entire workflow?

Shortcuts doesn’t allow us to set a default for all actions in a workflow. The next best thing is creating a reference or variable pointing to a vault, and using this ✨ “Magic Variables” in every action asking for a vault.

Here’s how to do that.

At the start of the workflow, insert a “Get Vault Reference” action and configure it to point to a vault.

Down the line, in any other AFO action, right-click (or long-tap) the Vault parameter, and select “Vault Reference” from the list of options. This means that the action will use the result from the “Get Vault Reference” action above.

Setup as described: "Get Vault Reference" action, followed by a "Trigger Command" action using the reference.

That’s it! Now when your vault name changes, you only have to adjust one parameter in your workflow, not several.

How do I update the Obsidian companion plugin, Actions URI?

From time to time, Actions for Obsidian’s companion plugin, Actions URI, needs to be updated. While it’s generally a good idea to check for updates regularly, AfO will alert you if the plugin you’re using is out of date. (This can happen after an app update). The alert will look like this in the Shortcuts editor:

Screenshot of the Shortcuts editor, showing an AfO action headlined by the alert message

​You can do so by going into your Obsidian Settings and finding the “Community plugins” section. There, click the “Check for updates” button — this will bring up an “Update” button for the Actions URI plugin. See the steps to take in this screenshot:

Screenshot of the Obsidian settings as described in the previous paragraph.

​​Clicking the “Update” button will fetch and install the update. Done! Your workflows should run fine again.

You’ll have to do that once for every vault you’re using with Actions for Obsidian.

What exactly is a “File Path”?

Each Obsidian note is just a file in the file system. When Actions for Obsidian asks for a “File Path”, it expects the full file path starting at the root of the vault (i.e., its root folder).

A few examples:

  • A note named “This is fine!” in a folder “No really”: its full file path would be /No really/This is fine!.md.
  • A note named “The best, surely” placed in the root folder: its full file path would be /The best,

Fortunately, the Shortcuts actions normalize your input and will do their best to make sure it is well-formed, so you can omit both the leading / and the trailing file extension .md if you like. In the examples above, this would mean that you could enter No really/This is fine! and The best, surely, respectively.

Is Actions For Obsidian available on Apple Watch?

No, AFO doesn’t work on the Apple Watch.

The type of API that Obsidian offers requires both AFO and Obsidian to be available on the same device. Until Obsidian is coming out on watchOS, AFO on watchOS couldn’t possibly work. 🤷🏻‍♂️