Forum feedback: Backlinks and Info Column

First, will this panel be persistent? By that, I mean, does it disappear every time I click on it or outside of it? I’d prefer if it stayed on screen until it was dismissed. I’d prefer it to toggle on and off rather than be a modal popover that disappears every time it is used or when focus is switched to another panel.

Second, I’d really like to have the option to have the three options visible all at once. I can think of many situations where I’d need to see the TOC and the backlinks at the same time. They could be stacked on top of each other. To declutter the screen, each section could collapse to stay out of the way while the panel is open.

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Love this thoughtful implementation!

Sweet update! Some feedback:

Having a TOC to the right of my content feels… weird. Why not give that it’s own CMD+nr shortcut and be right to the left of our note?

For the expanded in-window version, hiding the other two in a drop-down kind of header title feels obtuse to me. I realize tabs are not… optimal, but please consider them over this. Come to think of this, backlinks actually “belong” more to the “other notes” too. If “the big list” is on the left and the deepest specificity “the note” is on the right, perhaps the back links should…. ALSO get their own nr shortcut? :sweat_smile:

I don’t know. I really like hierarchy reflected in the layout direction.

Just my 2ct,
Looking forward to the release! :wave:t2:

Very awesome!!!
Hopefully will be easy to navigate on iPhone as well.

I would prefer that too. And it even would look more pleasing

I agree with this, I would be curious how a panel impacts the real estate on a smaller device like an ipad. The ipad is where I primarily take notes and am highly interested in beta testing on the device when that time comes.

This is such an improvement!

Purely on visuals – since you said you don’t want visual clutter – I would say that the background of the panel does add a lot of weight. Why not use a vertical line separator like the one used on the left side?

For me, it would make sense that the right column houses both the info pane AND the formatting options, especially because both buttons are on the right side. I like having my formatting options open usually, and I find it odd that I click something on the top right and it pops up at the bottom middle.

i am not sure if i should like the background colour but a vertical line would produce the visual clutter in the sense that the info column doesn’t appear anymore as content of the editor but as an ui-element beside the editor. The basic idea is very good. I just would use a lighter background color to take out a little bit of the weight you talked about

I want to add my vote for more context in backlinks. Otherwise, we will have to open many notes many times.

I’d rather have backlinks in the document, but I’m very glad that you have implemented unlinked mentions :slight_smile: Thank you!

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There are a lot of people here requesting more context in the backlinks popover/panel. I’m wondering how much context? What if the paragraph containing the linked or unlinked mention is short? Do you need to expand it to multiple paragraphs? At what point, do you just decide to open and read the other note?

As a point of reference, here are the backlinks popover (left) and quick mockup of search results (right).

Currently, the search results have more context. If you’re going to show more context, then it seems that you’ll have to show more context than what’s already available in the notes list via search. If so, will the context expansion require another UI element? In addition to more context around the mentions displaying fewer backlinks, how will this affect the overall utility of the feature? In addition to the current stats bar, toolbars, panels, etc. will the disclosure triangles and any added expansion elements unnecessarily complicate the UI?

As a side note, you are likely not hearing from many users here who don’t primarily navigate their notes using backlinks (i.e., most users). As you decide how much UI real estate to give the backlinks feature, please keep in mind this r/pkms survey. Although it’s only a few hundred users, it was cross-posted in several other subreddits, including Roam, Logseq, and Obsidian, where backlinks have been available for a while.


Generally spoken, a whole paragraph, and if not a whole paragraph because it is too long (by definition, f.e. if it exceeds - let’s say - 4 or 5 lines) at least a whole sentence. Truncated sentences can hide the contextual connection in worst case.

No problem, if it is short. Often enough you have wikilinks with the function of references and one short sentence is able to describe the reason for referencing. For sure you could also write lonely wikilinks if you like but i would not recommend it

I would say after i have recognised what to expect. I know it is difficult to say how much is needed to show you enough context. But i definitely can say that on the other side two short lines with just a few words in most cases are not ideal

Why should it require an other ui element apart from a scrollbar if content exceeds height of the main window?

Originally backlinks are a tool from bullet list orientated pkm tools where even tags are nothing else than notes. The backlinks and the previewed backlinks are or can be the main point and purpose of these notes. It even can be that you have notes just for the reason of the collected backlinks. Depending of the substantive reasons what you have written a wiki link it can happen that both makes sense: a whole paragraph around the wiki link or just the name of the note.

While i do not like apps like roam research or logseq because i am not able to write with them, nevertheless i like using bullet lists when it comes more to the pkm related aspects of writing. And how logseq handles content of backlinks is just excellent and well thought, I posted a video in one of your threads:

Looks wonderful,

  • I agree with others that backlinks needs some more words, possibly make the panel slightly wider so it is not vertically long too much.

  • Sticking with last opened pane will be good.

  • Also prefer tabs since drop down needs two clicks vs one with tabs

  • Also agree with lightening up the background

  • Think we should still need ability to have pop-up/ resizing of pop-up window

  • I wonder how aliases work?


Both hit the spot for me!!

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I have no problem with vertically long columns. If place is needed to show all of the backlands in a meaningful way why should we bother about a scrollbar or the lost of white space? To make the column wider makes sense for two reasons nevertheless: 1. you create more space for more context and 2. you makes the content readable. A new line after just a few words makes it difficult to read

I already stated my opinion above, but as I see more and more posts on context length above, I want to express my disagreement with them: The brevity of context as seen in the pictures above is, imho, good as is! One more line at most would still be good, any more is too many.


as this was posted in the Reddit-community, here my 2 cents:

• I agree w/ sentiment here that it is a huge improvement!

• I agree w/ sentiment here that backlinks are not salient enough in terms of context

• I agree w/ sentiment here that the color of new pane risks giving it too much weight (though I´d need to see it 1st hand to be sure, as it´s all about subtle shades of grey…)

• another idea: as there is the extended functionality of the infopane: why not include a tab for all the tags under which a note is filed? Seems good for overview (as tags can be scattered around a note body)

overall: very good to see this!
– I am btw still wondering how the search in the primary section (tags / folders) will actually work (or what kind of functionality it really has). so, very curious to see the real thing!

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I believe backlinks should be in document to better accommodate more context. The ideal context is at least one block/paragraph (see Craft implementation). But, please, see as Obsidian gives us the option to expand for even more context

To avoid annoying users that don’t want backlinks, they could be disabled by default.

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I’m going to agree with brevity of context sufficing for my needs. I work intentionally to build the context I need into my titles so more context is unnecessary with my style of working. I’ll just add that your model fits well with your overall minimalist design philosophy. I’m good with what you’ve presented for trial (and the trial is where we’ll move from speculating to application to see how it works),


I’m SOOO excited with backlinks – thanks for the preview.

I was trialling Craft app before Bear Beta and really like the way they show backlinks for these reasons:

  • Backlinks are contextual to the page tag/title
  • It is right at the bottom of the page
  • I can choose to show/hide (expand/collapse) backlinks

Here is a screen capture of how backlinks look like for me in Craft app:

I think the backlinks on the side column in your design looks pretty neat (i.e. I don’t have to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to find backlinks or related content). My only wish is to be able to toggle show/hide or expanded/collapsed the RHS column even if I am on a widescreen.

Love your work team Bear, thanks so much for making the app awesome for us! :heart:


I like both implementations. Backlinks are a really valuable addition but I’m not one of those who requires more context. It’s a good design in keeping with the clutter-free ethos. I don’t care for an info column, so as long as I can keep it out of the way, with the info button, this solution looks pretty good. Thank you.