Have More Fun with Obsidian Themes

Theme Manager in Obsidian

The Limitations of Themes

Before describing what BRAT can do to help you with themes, we need to understand some weaknesses in managing themes in Obsidian. Here is a list of theme shortcomings:

  • Themes do not auto-update: To update a theme, you need to go into the Settings screen, click on Appearance, then click on the Themes button, then find the theme you want to update, and click Update. Four clicks and a lifetime later, you have updated your theme (even if there was no update).
  • Testing themes in development is cumbersome: If you want to test a theme currently being developed by a themes author, you have to download it and copy it into your .obsidian/themes folder in your vault. Granted, this is not difficult, but you can spend a lot of time doing monkey work just to test a theme. Since themes are not auto-updating, every time the developer releases an update on GitHub, you must repeat the whole download and copy the file into the themes folder process. Basically, you get tired of having to update themes manually.
  • Switching from one theme to another is a pain: To change the active theme, even if you have multiple themes installed, requires the “multiple clicks of death.” First, go into settings, click appearance, themes button, yadda yadda yadda.

Theme Superpowers

Obsidian42 BRAT adds five theme superpowers to Obsidian:

  • Install a theme from the community theme list or a GitHub repository
  • Switch the active theme (without having to go into settings)
  • Open GitHub to the development repository of the theme
  • Update themes installed with BRAT
  • Auto-update themes at startup

Install a Theme from the Community Theme List

BRAT offers you two ways to install a theme. The first way is by quickly installing a theme from the community list. To do so:

  1. Open the Obsidian command palette and type in grab
  2. Select the “Obsidian42 — BRAT: Themes: Grab a community theme”

Install a Theme from a GitHub Repository

Numerous themes are currently under development that are not in the Themes Manager. BRAT lets you install a theme directly from its GitHub repository without waiting for it to be released to the community. To install a theme from a GitHub repository:

  1. Open the Obsidian Command Palette and type in grab
  2. type in grab
  3. Select the “Obsidian42 — BRAT: Themes: Grab a beta theme for testing from a Github repository.”

Switch the Active Theme

BRAT also makes it easy to switch between themes you have in your vault. To do this:

  1. In command palette, find the Switch Active Theme option and select it
  2. BRAT presents you with a list of all downloaded themes. Select the theme you want to switch too
Obsidian42 — BRAT Settings

Open GitHub Theme Repositories

Every theme developed by the community is kept in a GitHub repository. It can be advantageous to go and visit the repository of your favorite themes.

Update Themes Installed with BRAT

One of the beauties of BRAT is the ability for any theme you installed with BRAT to be updated by BRAT. So instead of having to click, click, click through Obsidian to update a single theme, you can use the following command palette action:

Auto-update Themes at Startup

We can take updating one step further by having BRAT auto-update themes when Obsidian starts. To use this feature, enable it in the settings for BRAT:

Auto-update for Themes

Love Your Themes!

Customizing Obsidian to your personal preferences is fun but lets you tailor your environment to your specific preferences, which can significantly increase your joy of using Obsidian.

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