After a year of using Obsidian, I have a better grasp of how I want my notes and folders to be structured.
I am trying to reorganize my hundreds of notes. Some of them are
Non-specific notes / random stuff
It used to be all in one folder, but it is time to do some house-keeping.
So I thought there should be a straight-forward way to move files around in bulk. For example, all of the notes with a specific hashtag #journal, could be moved to my journal folder.
The uncategorized and random stuff could go to an “unprocessed” folder.
My pristine atomic notes should go into an Atomic folder.
Alas, I see no way to do file management in bulk.
My question would be two-fold:
What would be the best way to select and move files in bulk in Obsidian? Or any workaround / different approach?
How do expert Obsidian users go about modifying their vaults structure as their understanding of their knowledge management system grows and evolves? It seems to me like either you start from scratch with a very clear idea of the structure to implement, or one is locked into one mode of working with the vault, with no options for it to evolve, since files cannot be moved around.
Things I have tried
Tried looking for file management plugins. No luck there. Found one that can export notes in bulk based on hashtag, but it merely copies the notes, it does not move them.
Tried doing a search by tag, but I cannot select multiple files and drag them to other folders
You can use Shift or Ctrl/Cmd click to select multiple files in the file browser and then right click and use the move command. It would be nice if we could use search to make a list of files to move; i think there’s a feature request for that (maybe there’s a plugin?).
For moving notes with a certain tag there is the Auto Note Mover plugin, but it only operates on the active note.
The File Chucker plugin doesn’t operate in bulk but aims to make processing files faster. (I haven’t used it.)
Otherwise, you can use external tools like your system file manager. This will break links that include paths ([[Like/this]]) but that’s not a problem for you because you haven’t been using folders.
I know this isn’t directly answering the question, but maybe not reorganize the folders and file locations? Start your new organization and link to the “old organization” as needed. As an “old IT dude”, I have to keep reminding myself I don’t need serious file structures/hierarchies to figure out where my information is – what I need is a flexible, effective index/recall framework. It’s in the relationships of the bits and pieces that make it more “knowledge”, not where the bits are stored.
Hey @CawlinTeffid , thanks for taking the time and for your ideas!
I am quite surprised at this rudimentary way Obsidian has to deal with organization.
System file manager is not an option. First, I have no way to select only the notes with a certain file. And second, my notes do have links to attachments, and to other folders I had been toying around with.
I think Auto Note Mover is the closest I can get to my aim, even though it is far from an ideal solution.
You are probably right and it is a mental frame of mind issue. Alas, if one is OCD enough to create an effective index/recall framework for hundreds of notes, it makes sense to future-proof it in the good-old, tried and tested way of folders.
Anyhow, it is good to know that I have no way forward but to keep my structures somehow fluid and imperfect, which is a strange take on an otherwise “organizational software”.
If by “notes with a certain file” you mean “notes with a certain tag”, and you’re using hashtags, this should be doable in the system file manager (tags in properties, maybe not). Searching “#example” and limiting the search to .md files in your vault folder should give you a list of notes with that tag. Then you can select all of them and drag them from the search into a folder. At least that works in Finder on Mac, but I imagine it should also work in Windows Explorer (Linux file managers, I don’t know).
If you want to put all of your attachments in a folder you can (in your system file browser) search or sort by file type and then drag them. If you want to do something fancier it may be hard. I think there might be a plugin to move them with the file that links them, or file them in subfolders, but I’m not sure.