All in one tool for reading, thinking and writing

Hey friends,

I find myself using many different tools for different tasks, but I would love to have one program that integrates all necessary tool for reading, thinking and writing. Is it far off to hope for Obsidian integrate all tools into Obsidian?

This is what I imagine:

For Reading:
pdf storage and annotation something like MarginNote, RemNote or DEVONthink with Reference manager like Zotero.

For Thinking:
a mapping and outlining tool like Cmap, Scapple or tinderbox 8

For Writing:
Apparently Zettlr is compatible to Obsidian (haven’t tried using it together yet)

What do people think about it?


i think i’d rather have three tools which each perform a single task very well rather than a single tool that doesn’t. each of those applications you listed is good because of their limited scope, not in spite of it.


True, it’s better to have separate stable tools, than a crap comprehensive tool. Nevertheless, maybe it is possible in the future to have a tool that implement’s the most basic, but best features of the other tools into one tool.
The other tools are very good, but they have too many features and are still so limited for developing an effective workflow.

For reading: Chrome with some free plugin
KamiPDF for reading pdf and annotation (sync with Google Drive). LuminPDF is good too. They are same thing, only different in brand name. If you just reading and highlight, annotation, and you have no need digital signing, OCR, … stuff, free is good. for web annotation (highlight, annotated any web page, completely free)

For Thinking: Traditional pen and physical paper. You will typing your conclusion into paper writing tool anyway.

For writing: I use before move to Obsidian. (similar to install latex, to publish PDF, free tier is good for solo writer. )

All my tool is either free, or free for personal use, or free tier have all useful feature.


There’s a great free OCR tool, better (in most cases) than ABBYY: tesseract. Lots of options, lots of languages. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but I’m no programer and I could learn it :).
Briss (also free) is great for editing pdfs – like cropping, splitting pages (convert duplex scans to single-page), etc.

I use the free Skim (or sometimes the paid Highlights) for pdf reading. You can export your highlights into markdown from both.

Bibdesk for citation management is also free.
I mostly write in latex with Atom, which is also free.

I would prefer obsidian to remain a great note-taking tool, rather than be a mediocre “everything”.


I get the mindset of building software for a specific job, but what gets left out is the human workflow. In this case we have three (actually four) jobs that lead into each other. One well designed piece of software could do the job better than four.


For publishing I’d say we need a pandoc plugin. There is also an interesting app called Publii that acts like a flat file cms desktop app. It seems to me these type of apps are/will be merging more and more and there will be an all in one solution. Markdown is the common element that makes it work.