Smart Group: Markdown files with incomplete todo's

Good afternoon,

I’ve been trying to create a smart group which will find all markdown files with incomplete todo’s in them. I use Obsidian for daily notes as well as general knowledge management but I find I miss todo’s from previous days too often.

I tried creating a Smart Group which indexes the Obsidian vault with the following search and it never returns any results:
All - Content contains “- [ ]”

When I try the following search it works but this is the opposite of what I want (Completed todo’s):
All - Content contains “- [x]”

How can I force the search to look for a space between two square brackets?


Non-alphanumeric characters, except a very small handful of exceptions, are not indexed so you can’t search for [].

Hmm - thanks. I appreciate the quick response - at least I wasn’t imagining things.

Kind of sad given how prevalent markdown is these days.I guess I’ll have to try my hand a writing an Obsidian plugin.

You could use one of the additionally indexed characters inside your “undone” tasks, then search for e.g.

"- [¥]"

Here are all additionally indexed characters:


Thanks - I’ll see how Obsidian treats these characters - this could be a good solution.

I was able to try this solution in Obsidian today with no luck. Seems like Obsidian loses the ability to ‘check’ the checkbox if unknown characters are between the brackets - I think the todo syntax is pretty standard for markdown documents so not too surprised.

Thanks for the idea though,

There is no standard as there is more than one flavor of Markdown and some apps implement their own version.

Neither Gruber’s original spec nor MultiMarkdown (which we use) supports a todo syntax.

Thanks, I was a bit confused by

as I haven’t seen rendered checkboxes in a long time (only use MultiMarkdown).

No problem.

Fair enough about it not being in the original Markdown standard - I guess I should have been more specific regarding what I was looking at (Extended Syntax from markdownguide). I guess we’ll just agree that DEVONThink won’t be the solution to my problem - I’ll figure it out within Obsidian.