Ability to index / add external folders from across computer

Use case or problem

I’ve setup my Mac file system using Tiago Forte’s PARA system, so my main folders are Projects, Areas, Resources and Archive, and within these are subfolders relating to individual projects, areas etc.

Because of this, sometimes I want a vault to contain folders that live in different locations on my hard drive (i.e. that aren’t all grouped under one main folder). Also, sometimes I don’t want to see all subfolders that exist within a main folder (i.e. I want to see two out of three of my projects in Obsidian).

Proposed solution

Devonthink and Ulysses allow me to index / reference external folders from across my hard drive. I think it would be great if the Obsidian vault could also contain a selection of certain folders too.

Current workaround (optional)

My current workaround is to open an Obsidian vault for each project separately, but that means I can’t have e.g. Project material and Resources material in the same vault (since these materials live in different locations on my hard drive).

Well, you can always symlink folders into your vault.

:exploding_head: That is incredible! I never even knew symlinks existed. Thank you so much, Moonbase59!

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while we’re on this topic, will macOS aliases work just. as well as symlinks?

Aliases didn’t work for me (they didn’t show up in Obsidian). I ended up using symlinks and they’re working well.

I followed this article (https://www.howtogeek.com/297721/how-to-create-and-use-symbolic-links-aka-symlinks-on-a-mac/) and am using the program it recommends now (Releases · nickzman/symboliclinker · GitHub). Just in case anyone else out there wants to use this method!

Good question @bobkitz! Also a helpful link @apjk, thanks. Here’s the answer:

Not being a crack with MacOS, I know there is a difference between Finder aliases and real symbolic links. With Obsidian (and probably for other compatible purposes too), one should use real symlinks, made in a terminal using


Unsure if that limitation still exists, but @Licat warned us against crossing filesystem boundaries using symlinks, since the internal file routines in Obsidian might not be able to handle such.

I show a practical example here: MarkDownload - Markdown Web Clipper - #121 by Moonbase59