Allow specifying the .obsidian folder location

Use case or problem

I want to have my configurations/plugins/themes all standardized between my vaults, making it machine-wide.

Proposed solution

Let us put the .obsidian folder outside of the vault (preferably in the Obsidian installation folder) and point our vaults to it allow us to have a machine-wide configuration.

Current workaround (optional)

Using symbolic links. It’s not user friendly or safe.

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My other workaround is to have a script that copies the folders periodically across vaults.

Also not user friendly, but a little safer than managing a symlink.

Having a hidden .obsidian folder per vault (much like git) has pros and cons, like everything. I was originally against having to set up everything again for every vault, but eventually found out that the pros outweigh the cons, at least for me:

  • Turned out I’m not using as many vaults as I originally thought. I actually put my personal, professional, and writing “digital life” into just one, eventually. It’s so much easier to handle, and fast enough.
  • I mainly use 3 devices for the same vault: A Linux desktop, a Linux laptop, and my Android phone (no Obsidian here, just Markor to handle the inbox and to-dos).
  • So having “everything in one box (folder)” is a great plus for syncing between devices (I use Syncthing): I have to sync just one folder and don’t have to mess trying to sync system folders, or parts of them.
  • Having to backup just one set of folders is also a plus (I use (g)rsync). You’re always sure to have it all.
  • Yes, I do use a (very) few symlinked files and folders outside the Obsidian vault, but since these are in identical locations on all three devices (below the “Documents” folder), I can simply sync/backup those as symlinks.

So in my case practical use has shown that I’m actually quite happy with the developers’ original decision of “one set of settings per vault”.

I still see your use case, and I wonder how easy or compatible it might be to maybe have a “main vault” and just symlink all other vaults’ .obsidian folders into that. Don’t know if that would break anything (assuming that all plugins use relative paths, that is). Also, I’m a little unsure about how robust symlinking on Windows might be.

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