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Why Obsidian for notes?

  • macOS and iOS clients
  • markdown files are portable and parsable
  • can edit files from any folder on your file system (unlike apps like Bear that store notes in an inaccessible database)
  • I found I actually end up writing and publishing much more with a simple flat list of text files than with a complicated Notion database setup that led to lots of resource collecting and linking but little creative thinking and writing
  • live markdown preview in edit window reduces clutter caused by having to either view raw markdown (so it can be edited) or view a read only preview
  • apps are clean and uncluttered and highly customizable
  • notes can be stored in a git repo and easily published to any destination from there
  • vim mode allows a fully keyboard-based workflow not possible with Notion (even when using Notion in the browser with Vimium)
  • Notion vs Obsidian // Databases vs Dataview • Nicole van der Hoeven 📺
    • Basically, with Obsidian your entire vault is a “database” of sorts you can query anytime later as you think of new ways you want to combine and aggregate your notes
    • The mechanism she presents to do that is the Dataview plugin, but the same concept applies (even better) to embedded queries, which run much more quickly
    • In contrast, with Notion you decide up front how to structure your note hierarchy and database columns and changing them later (or combining data from across multiple notes or databases) is difficult to get right or do easily
    • After years of using Notion, I’ve certainly noticed that I do a LOT more actual writing when using a simpler tool (like Obsidian)

Syncing an Obsidian Vault with Git


  • create new vault that points to existing local content repo folder
  • install Obsidian Git community plugin
  • update plugin settings to…
    • automatically pull changes when obsidian opens and every X minutes after that
    • automatically commit and push X minutes after any file has stopped being edited
  • .gitignore:
    • ignore .obsidian folder contents except for the obsidian git plugin settings


  • in obsidian, create a new vault
  • in working copy, clone repo and link it to the obsidian vault folder you just created
  • in obsidian, disable the Obsidian Git plugin (don’t uninstall it if committing that plugin’s settings to the repo)
  • sync via working copy and shortcuts pull/push automations when I open/close obsidian

Using Vim Motions in Obsidian

Using Obsidian with Alfred on macOS

  • alfred: oe = search all external links in my vault - great for finding previous solutions and specific docs pages quickly!
  • shimmering: Alfred Gallery • Workflows • Shimmering Obsidian - so many shortcodes to try out! e.g. “o” to get alfred to select a note, then shift-enter to browse that note’s links (e.g. to check if I already saved a link)
  • favourite features:
    • scratchpad
    • append to note (I changed the default shortcut)
    • external link search
  • (list other notable features)

Moving content to a different note in Obsidian

  • Reason: inbox/scratchpad note for quick capture when I can’t pause to think about the best topic to place a thought in
  • Method: core plugin: Note composer - Obsidian Help
    • I use it to quickly move selected lines to the bottom of another note (where I always have an “Inbox” section)
    • since I almost always want to move something to the bottom of a note, appending via this plugin is a faster workflow than always having to choose which line to move to using the Text Transporter community plugin
    • Include an “Inbox” heading (or similar) at the bottom of every note so the note will stay organized while you append to it (without looking at the file as you do)
  • Alfred Gallery • Workflows • Shimmering Obsidian • an Alfred workflow that lets you use Alfred shortcuts (e.g. “o”, “oo) to search and append to your notes (docs here)

Keyboard workflow