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Installing the BRAT Plugin in Obsidian: A Step by Step Guide

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Introduction

If you are familiar with the world of Obsidian, you would probably be aware that there are a number of plugins not published in the official community. There are various reasons, but without doubt, one is that they are still in beta testing. The Obsidian community is a very active in creating plugins that play a pivotal role in enhancing user experience. The BRAT plugin stands at the forefront of this innovation by providing a gateway to trial plugins and themes not yet officially released. This article and accompanying video tutorial, will walk you through the installation of the BRAT plugin, a tool that epitomises the spirit of exploration within the Obsidian community.

A Cautionary Note

Beta plugins are just that. They are not necessarily ready for public release and Obsidian has not approved them for addition to the Community Plugins list. It would be remiss of me not to advise you to backup your vault before installing such plugins. That said, I have never experienced a problem to date.

Understanding the BRAT Plugin

The BRAT plugin, abbreviated from “BETA Reviewers’ Auto Update Tool,” is the brainchild of TfT Hacker, a regular contributor within the Obsidian community. This tool streamlines the process of integrating and updating experimental plugins and themes directly from their GitHub repositories, offering a glimpse into the future of Obsidian’s capabilities.

Step-by-Step Guide to Installing the BRAT Plugin

Navigating to Obsidian’s Settings
  • Launch Obsidian: Initialize the Obsidian application to begin the setup.
  • Access Settings: Locate and click on the settings icon at the lower left corner of your Obsidian vault to bring up the settings menu.
    Open Obsidian Settings
    Open Obsidian Settings
Installing the BRAT Plugin
  • Find Community Plugins: Within the settings, click on the “Community Plugins” tab.

Locate BRAT: Click on Browse and then use the search function to find the “BRAT” plugin.

Browse Community Plugins
Browse Community Plugins
  • Install and Enable: Select “Install” next to the BRAT plugin entry. Once installed, activate the plugin by switching it to the “On” position.
 

Configuring BRAT for Use

Review Plugin Options: Take a moment to explore the settings of the BRAT plugin. While default settings are sufficient for most users, familiarizing yourself with its features is beneficial.

Adding Trial Plugins Through BRAT

  • Open the Options area for the BRAT plugin and click on the option to install a beta plugin. The image below is showing the BRAT plugin after the Augmented Canvas plugin has been installed. You will need to go through the next step to get to that stage.
Installing beta Plugin
Installing Beta Plugin
  • GitHub Repository Link: For trial plugin installations, such as the Augmented Canvas plugin, go to the GitHub page, click the “Code” button, and copy the repository URL.
    BRAT Plugin Code Link
    BRAT Plugin Code Link
  • Paste and Install: Back in Obsidian, under BRAT’s settings, paste the GitHub URL, ensuring you remove any file extensions.
  • Click “Add the Plugin” to proceed with the installation, which is enabled by default.
  • Your screen should now look like the image above with the beta extension installed.
  • The plugin will also display in the left hand column of Community Plugins and in Options/Community Plugins under Settings.
  • You can now configure the beta plugin you have installed and review its ability to serve your needs.

Conclusion

The BRAT plugin is a testament to the innovative spirit of the Obsidian community. It facilitates the early adoption of cutting-edge plugins and themes, and plays a critical role for users eager to push the boundaries of their knowledge management systems. With the guidance provided in this article, you’re now equipped to expand your Obsidian toolkit with the latest community-driven enhancements.

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