Canvas is a tool for visual note-taking. Lay out notes and other resources on an infinite canvas and connect them with lines. Visual note-taking allows you to use visual aspects, such as size and position, to make sense of your notes. Connect notes with lines and group related notes together to better understand the relationship between them. > [!info] Only for Obsidian desktop > Canvas is only available in Obsidian for desktop. ## Create a new canvas To start using Canvas, you first need to create a file to hold your canvas. You can create a new canvas using the following methods. **Ribbon:** - In the ribbon on the left, select **Create new canvas** (four rectangles icon) to create a canvas in the same folder as the active file. **Command palette:** 1. Open the [[Command palette]]. 2. Select **Canvas: Create new canvas** to create a canvas in the same folder as the active file. **File explorer:** - In the [[File explorer]], right-click the folder you want to create the canvas in. - Select **New canvas**. > [!note] The .canvas file extension > Obsidian stores the configuration for each canvas in a custom JSON format in a file with the `.canvas` extension. ## Adding cards You can drag files into your canvas from Obsidian or from other applications. For example, Markdown files, images, audio, PDFs, or even unrecognized file types. ### Add text cards You can add text-only cards that don't reference a file. You can use Markdown, links, and code blocks just like in a note. To add a new text card to your canvas: - Select or drag the blank file icon at the bottom of the canvas. You can also add text cards by double-clicking on the canvas. To convert a text card to a file: 1. Right-click the text card and then select **Convert to file...**. 2. Enter the note name and then select **Save**. > [!note] > Text-only cards don't appear in [[Backlinks]]. To make them appear, you need to convert them to a file. ### Add cards from notes To add a note from your vault to your canvas: 1. Select or drag the document icon at the bottom of the canvas. 2. Select the note you want to add. You can also add notes from the canvas context menu: 1. Right-click the canvas and then select **Add note from vault**. 2. Select the note you want to add. Or, you can add them to the canvas by dragging the file from the [[File explorer]]. ### Add cards from media To add media from your vault to your canvas: 1. Select or drag the image file icon at the bottom of the canvas. 2. Select the media file you want to add. You can also add media from the canvas context menu: 1. Right-click the canvas and then select **Add media from vault**. 2. Select the media file you want to add. Or, you can add them to the canvas by dragging the file from the [[File explorer]]. ### Add cards from web pages To embed a web page in your canvas: 1. Right-click the canvas and then select **Add web page**. 2. Enter the URL to the web page and then select **Save**. You can also select a URL in your browser and then drag it into the canvas to embed it in a card. To open the web page in your browser, press `Ctrl` (or `Cmd` on macOS) and select the card label. Or, right-click the card and select **Open in browser**. ### Add cards from folders Drag a folder from the file explorer to add all files in that folder to the canvas. ### Edit a card Double-click on a text or note card to start editing it. Click outside the card to stop editing it. You can also press `Escape` to stop editing a card. You can also edit a card by right-clicking it and selecting **Edit**. ### Delete a card Remove selected cards by right-clicking any of them, and then selecting **Delete**. Or, press `Backspace` (or `Delete` or macOS). You can also select **Remove** (trash icon) in the selection controls above your selection. ### Swap cards You can swap a note or media card for another card of the same type. To swap a note card: 1. Right-click the card you want to replace. 2. Select **Swap file**. 3. Select the note you want to replace with. ## Selecting cards Select cards in the canvas by clicking on them. You can select multiple cards by dragging a selection around them. You can also add and remove cards from an existing selection by pressing `Shift` and selecting them. Press `Ctrl+a` (or `Cmd+a` on macOS) to select all cards in the canvas. To scroll the content of a card, you first need to select it. ### Arrange cards Drag a selected card to move it. Press `Alt` (or `Option` on macOS) and drag to duplicate the selection. You can press `Shift` while dragging to only move in one direction. Press `Space` while moving a selection to disable snapping. Selecting a card moves it to the front. ### Resize a card Drag any of a card's edges to resize it. You can press `Space` while resizing to disable snapping. To maintain the aspect ratio while resizing, press `Shift` while resizing. ## Connecting cards Draw lines between cards to create relationships between them. Use colors and labels to describe how they relate to each other. ### Connect two cards To connect two cards with a directed line: 1. Hover the cursor over one of the edges of a card until you see a filled circle. 2. Drag the circle to the edge of a different card to connect them. > [!tip] > If you drag the line without connecting it to another card, you can then add the card you want to connect it to. ### Disconnect two cards To remove the connection between two cards: 1. Hover the cursor over a connection line until two small circles appear on the line. 2. Drag one of the circles from the card without connecting it to another. You can also disconnect two cards by right-clicking the line between them, and then selecting **Remove**. Or, by selecting the line and then pressing `Backspace` (or `Delete` on macOS). ### Connect a card to a different card To move one of the ends of a connection line: 1. Hover the cursor over a connection line until two small circles appear on the line. 2. Drag the circle over the end you want to reconnect, to another card. ### Navigate a connection If two connected cards are far apart, you can navigate to the source or the target of the connection by right-clicking the line and then select **Go to target** or **Go to source**. ### Add a label to a connection You can add a label to a line to describe the relationship between two cards. To label a connection: 1. Double-click the line. 2. Enter the label and then press `Escape` or click anywhere on the canvas. You can also label a connection by selecting it and then selecting **Edit label** from the selection controls. To edit a connection label, double-click on the line, or right-click the line and then select **Edit label**. ### Change the color of a card or connection 1. Select the cards or connections you want to color. 2. In the selection controls, select **Set color** (palette icon). 3. Select a color. ## Grouping cards ### Group selected cards To create an empty group: - Right-click the canvas and then select **Create group**. To group related cards: 1. Select the cards. 2. Right-click any of the selected cards and then select **Create group**. **Rename group:** Double-click the name of the group to edit it, and then press `Enter` to save. ## Navigating the canvas As you start adding more cards to your canvas, you want to understand how you can navigate the canvas to look at a part of it. Learn how to pan and zoom to move across the canvas with ease. ### Pan the canvas To move the canvas vertically and horizontally, also known as _panning_, you can use any of the following approaches: - Press `Space` and drag the canvas. - Drag the canvas using the middle-mouse button. - Scroll the mouse to pan vertically, and press `Shift` while scrolling to pan horizontally. ### Zoom the canvas To zoom the canvas, press `Space` or `Ctrl` (or `Cmd` on macOS) and scroll using the mouse wheel. Or, select **Zoom in** (plus sign) and **Zoom out** (minus sign) from the zoom controls in the upper-right corner. #### Zoom to fit To zoom the canvas so that every item is visible, select **Zoom to fit** (dashed square icon). Or, use the keyboard shortcut, `Shift+1`. #### Zoom to selection To zoom the canvas so that all selected items are visible, right-click a selected card and then select **Zoom to selection**. Or, use a keyboard shortcut by pressing `Shift+2`. #### Reset zoom To change the zoom level back to the default, select **Reset zoom** in the zoom controls in the upper-right corner.