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Adding Metadata to your Pages

Dataview cannot query all content of your vault. In order to be able to search, filter and display content, this content needs to be indexed. Some content is indexed automatically, like bullet points or task lists - so called Implicit fields, more on that below - and other data needs to be saved in a metadata field to be accessible through dataview.

What is a "field"?

A metadata field is a pair of a key and a value. The value of a field has a data type (more on that here) that determines how this field will behave when querying it.

You can add any number of fields to a note, a list item or a task.

How do I add fields?

You can add fields to a note in three different ways. How a field look like depends on the way you add it.

On tasks or list items, you will have YAML Frontmatter information available, but won't be able to add them to a specific list item. If you want to add metadata to one list item or task only, use Inline Fields.


Frontmatter is a common Markdown extension which allows for YAML metadata to be added to the top of a page. It is natively supported by Obsidian and explained in its official documentation. All YAML Frontmatter fields will be automatically available as Dataview fields.

    alias: "document"
    last-reviewed: 2021-08-17
      rating: 8
      reviewable: false

With this your note has metadata fields named alias, last-reviewed, and thoughts. Each of these have different data types:

  • alias is a text, because its wrapped in ""
  • last-reviewed is a date, because it follows the ISO date format
  • thoughts is a object field, because it uses the YAML Frontmatter object syntax

You could query for this note with the following query:

WHERE thoughts.rating = 8

Inline Fields

For those wanting a more natural-looking annotation, Dataview supports "inline" fields via a Key:: Value syntax that you can use everywhere in your file. This allows you to write your queryable data right where you need it - for example in the middle of a sentence.

If your inline field has an own line, without any content beforehand, you can write it like this:

# Markdown Page

Basic Field:: Some random Value
**Bold Field**:: Nice!

All content after the :: is the value of the field until the next line break.

Mind the ::

Note that you need to use a double colon :: between key and value when using inline fields, contrary to YAML Frontmatter fields where one colon is enough.

If you want to embed metadata inside sentences, or multiple fields on the same line, you can use the bracket syntax and wrap your field in square brackets:

I would rate this a [rating:: 9]! It was [mood:: acceptable].

Fields on list items and tasks

When you want to annotate a list item, e.g. a task, with metadata, you always need to use the bracket syntax (because the field is not the only information in this line)

- [ ] Send an mail to David about the deadline [due:: 2022-04-05].
Bracketed inline fields are the only way to explicitly add fields to specific list items, YAML frontmatter always applies to the whole page (but is also available in context of list items.)

There is also the alternative parenthesis syntax, which hides the key when rendered in Reader mode:

This will not show the (longKeyIDontNeedWhenReading:: key).

will render to:

This will not show the key.

You can use YAML Frontmatter and Inline fields with all syntax variants together in one file. You do not need to decide for one and can mix them to fit your workflow.

Field names

Imagine you used all the examples for Inline fields you see above in one note, then following metadata would be available to you:

Metadata Key Sanitized Metadata key Value Data Type of Value
Basic Field basic-field Some random Value Text
Bold Field bold-field Nice! Text
rating - 9 Number
mood - acceptable Text
due - Date Object for 2022-04-05 Date
longKeyIDontNeedWhenReading longkeyidontneedwhenreading key Text

Like you can see in the table, if you are using spaces or capitalized letters in your metadata key name, dataview will provide you with a sanitized version of the key.

Keys with spaces cannot be used in a query as-is. You have two possibilities here: Either use the sanitized name, that is always all lowercase and with dashes instead of spaces or use the row variable syntax. Find out more in the FAQ.

Keys with capitalized letters can be used as-is, if you wish. The sanitized version allows you to query for a key independent of its capitalization and makes it easier to use: You can query the same field that's, for example, in one file named someMetadata and in another someMetaData when using the sanitized key somemetadata.

In addition, the bold field key is missing its formatting tokens. Even though the ** used to make it appear bold are part of the key name in the file, they are left out when indexing your note. The same goes for all other built-in formatting, like strike through or italic. This means formatted keys can only be queried without their formatting. This allows you to format the key in context of the note without worrying that you might create different keys for the same type of information.

Usage of emojis and non-latin characters

You are not limited to latin characters when naming your metadata fields. You can use all characters available in UTF-8:

Noël:: Un jeu de console
クリスマス:: 家庭用ゲーム機
[🎅:: a console game]
[xmas🎄:: a console game]

Using emojis as metadata keys is possible, but it comes with some limitations. When using emojis in field names, you need to put them into square brackets so that dataview recognize them correctly. Also, please be aware when switching the OS (i.e. from Windows to Android), the same emoji could use another character code and you might not find your metadata when querying it.

Task Field Shorthands

An exception to this are the shorthand syntax in Tasks. You can use shorthands without bracketing. Please mind though that this only counts for listed shorthands - every other field (if with emojis or not) need to use the [key:: value] syntax.

Implicit fields

Even if you do not add any metadata explicitly to your note, dataview provides you with a big amount of indexed data out of the box. Some examples for implicit fields are:

  • day the file was created (file.cday)
  • links in the file (file.outlinks)
  • tags in the file (file.etags)
  • all list items in the file (file.lists and file.tasks)

and many more. Available implicit fields differ depending if you look at a page or a list item. Find the full list of available implicit fields on Metadata on pages and Metadata on Tasks and Lists.