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How to style backlinks

Table of contents
  1. Motivation and assumptions
  2. Default backlink style
  3. Built-in options
  4. Using CSS to de-emphasize the backlinks
  5. Using CSS to replace the backlinks with icons

Motivation and assumptions

In Tasks results, by default each task is displayed with its filename, and the name of the previous heading, for example (ACME > Steps to world domination). This is called a backlink.

If you don’t like how backlinks look, this guide shows how you can modify their appearance.

We assume that you know how to use CSS snippets in Obsidian.

Here is an example task block that does not hide any components of the output: sometimes you want to see all the information in each task.

not done
description includes trash

This screenshot shows what this might look like, with some sample data:

Tasks with vanilla backlink styles

Notice that the backlinks (the blue file and heading names) can quite dominate the results, visually.

Built-in options

We could use hide backlink, but then we would lose the ability to navigate to the source file.

We could also use short mode, which would replace the backlink text with an icon, but this would hide all the other properties of the task, such as due date and recurrence.

We can de-emphasize the text in the backlinks, with this CSS snippet:

/* By David Phillips (autonia)
.tasks-backlink {
    font-size: 0.7em;
    opacity: 0.6;
    filter: grayscale(60%);

Which gives us this result:

Tasks with small grey backlinks

Or we can replace the backlink text with an icon, with this CSS snippet:

/* By Anna Kornfeld Simpson (@AnnaKornfeldSimpson)

   Then converted to embed the icon inside this .css file, to remove the need
   for an internet connection, as follows:
   1. Link icon downloaded from
      licensed under the CC-BY 4.0
   2. SVG encoded for embedding here with
li.plugin-tasks-list-item > span.tasks-backlink > a {
    content: url("data:image/svg+xml,%3Csvg xmlns='' viewBox='0 0 36 36'%3E%3Cpath fill='%238899A6' d='M15 9l6-6s6-6 12 0 0 12 0 12l-8 8s-6 6-12 0c-1.125-1.125-1.822-2.62-1.822-2.62l3.353-3.348S14.396 18.396 16 20c0 0 3 3 6 0l8-8s3-3 0-6-6 0-6 0l-3.729 3.729s-1.854-1.521-5.646-.354L15 9z'/%3E%3Cpath fill='%238899A6' d='M20.845 27l-6 6s-6 6-12 0 0-12 0-12l8-8s6-6 12 0c1.125 1.125 1.822 2.62 1.822 2.62l-3.354 3.349s.135-1.365-1.469-2.969c0 0-3-3-6 0l-8 8s-3 3 0 6 6 0 6 0l3.729-3.729s1.854 1.521 5.646.354l-.374.375z'/%3E%3C/svg%3E");
    height: .9em;

Which gives us this result:

Tasks with icons for backlink