Bullet list everything

It would be awesome if when writing in a bullet list, it had leading lines to a hierarchy, like in roam, or if there was a plugin called bullet list mode or something, where you can just pour your thoughts and don’t care about making it pretty.

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I kinda doubt this will happen since it will then step into the outliner market in which we already have Dynalist, the other tool built by the team behind Obsidian.

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I guess that’s true, but it would be really cool anyway :grin:

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No, I don’t agree with you. I think use the foldable title is enough. Don’t always compare with roam research. Obsidian is an app for taking notes, not a tool for writing outline.

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As the whole point is that they’re building a highly extendable note taking system I don’t think it’s reasonable to declare what is and isn’t enough for somebody and their own needs and note taking workflow. I agree with the other commenters in that I don’t think it will be a priority for the core developer team but I reckon after the plugin api is opened up to external devs it probably won’t be long until someone implements something of this nature.

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I think this is a key observation if coming to Obsidian from Roam – while there are many similar features, Obsidian has a unique approach. Instead of trying to fit Roam into it, it’s probably better figure out how to do what you want within the software’s constraints. It might take a few weeks to get into the mindset, but you’ll eventually find it!

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@ktkthakre , today I had to do a lot out outlining and had to use Dynalist and then copy-paste everything to Obsidian to continue writing article.

Definitely a must feature along with a way to reference specific paragraphs of text, not just headings (yes, guys, like in Roam). More flexibility = more power.

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I second this. I was using Notion before and had pretty fun setup involving a lot of relational tables and after trying Obsidian I’ve come to realise that I really didn’t need all of this.

One thing I miss tho are colums. I’d love to have columns (but I don’t think it’s doable with markdown)

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Please, tell me more! The Notion tables are the only thing keeping me there. Would you mind sharing more about your case?

A “must feature” for you, not necessarily for everyone else. In other words, not a “must” but a “nice-to-have” feature.

FWIW, a few years ago I used OneNote, and 1 thing I started using heavily were tables, incl. tables within tables. Man, I loved them, and I was so proud of myself to have found all sorts of uses.

Then, for a number of reasons, I decided to leave OneNote, and therefore had to take my notes with me. Portability into other apps proved to be a major headache, and transcription a major time guzzler. Using those tables so heavily is one of the decisions in my life I regretted deeply.

All I am saying to you i be careful with a heavy reliance on tables. I still love tables, and still use them in markdown, but I am careful. I know nothing about Notion, but be careful with tables.

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Notion tables are much like Excel tables with some database functionality. Have a look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9S5I3pWz94&t=685s

Doesn’t look like anything like this is gonna be possible in Obsidian in the near term.

How did you export from OneNote? I’m looking to do the same now and the best I can find is an expensive tool from OneNoteGem to export to markdown.

onenote > evernote > joplin, for markdown import from onenote to obsidian

I definitely think an option for lines to distinguish bullet level should be able to be toggled on.

I don’t quite get the pushback - Obsidian supports multiple bullet levels currently - and can even fold them.

Why avoid encouraging potential improvements to UI because Roam (or other outliners) have them? I mean Reddit and other forums even use this UI technique to assist in readability - outliners apps don’t have a monopoly over the design option.

Obsidian is about extensibility and being a personal notetaking tool to suit your needs - if it doesn’t break the values of Obsidian I don’t see the problem. Plus this is a plugin request (which might even be achievable with CSS, I dunno) so it’s not something the devs need to tackle.

Whats the actual constraint to adding this UI polish option to make a feature that currently exists better? So far I haven’t seen one actual rebuttal in the thread.

The only argument I could see is if, as a business, Obsidian want to activity discourage features & plugins that could compromise sales for Dynalist. However I get the impression that’s not a major concern.

From the FAQ:

"Plain text and Markdown means portability, but it also means that Obsidian cannot uniquely identify each block of text like outliners do.

We’ll try to approximate as many outliner features as possible though, as long as it does not conflict with our other core values."

The values being:

  1. notes in plain text markdown, local, control
  2. connections between ideas
  3. robust plugin system to “support people’s drastically different note-taking and knowledge management workflows.”

Those are the constraints to explore the idea. That’s it. (maybe add the techstack). From what I see, this suggestion doesn’t have a obvious conflicts or limitations. But I’m all ears & accept there could be, I just haven’t seen any argued yet.

I lay this out because I see this as a fairly minor suggestion, yet it seems like people get caught up with other thoughts that influence from honest discourse on the actual limitation & constraints of what can or should be done, simply because Roam or Obsidian’s outliner was mentioned and loose sight on what values/constraints that the devs have laid out for us to explore ideas.

This is a beta after all, and the community has a lot of great minds & ideas which can really get into the meat of an idea. But getting distracted with what appears to be irrelevant or weak points bogs down the novel, relevant insights to the actual concept/question.

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I never used anything from OneGem.

I did the export manually: to a .docx file, and then manually copy/paste from there to newly created notes in Obs.

Thanks for sharing about Joplin - I had been starting to use Notion, just because I have it. But in order to get 2000 notes onto Evernote web, I’d need a premium account (and the time to upload). Also, I find that the attached/embedded files and links are better formatted with Joplin - the only thing I did was to batch replace " -" (4 spaces) with “-” in for all of the files Notepad++. Without that, I get a lot of red text where there are bullets.

I recommend you to just give obsidian a try. This is what I did. I decided to work inside obsidian for ONE DAY to see what it would be like. That day was a month ago and I’m still working in Obsidian and love it more each day. Just give it a go.

Regarding the tables, I believe that the most appealing thing about tables is that you can create dynamic views. I had a lot of tables, like “Areas of responsibility”, “Projects”, “Tasks” and few others.

I was very happy with my setup, but then I realized that “Tasks” are better handled by dedicated apps like Nozbe or MS To Do because working with them in Notion was kind of awkward for me. I lost the ability to list and filter tasks for given project or for given area, because I moved them out of notion.
Then areas and projects - they might as well be just markdown pages. I didn’t really benefit form tables and relations.

I had URL list that was also a table. It turned out that having a BIG store for all the urls is a poor idea in the first place. URLs make sense in some context. Random links are worth nothing. In Obsidian I have different pages related to my projects or areas of responsibility. I put my interesting URLs there, where they have context (or in the zettelkasten).

What frustrated me the most is that the tables in Notion are somewhat limited. I wanted to create an advanced view with “chained relations”. I mean I had tables A, B and C with relations between A<->B and B<->C. I wanted to show C based on some predicate on A. Turned out it was not possible. Now I think that I didn’t really needed it. I was doing it just because there were tables :wink:

I happily traded that for lightning fast page switching in obsidian. And in the end I’m even happier because I stopped fiddling with my “setup”. I just get sh*t done, without bells and whistles.

The added benefit is that when I have my markdown files on my disk I wrote a tool that for example when the day starts create my daily note from the templates (which are also markdown files in obsidian so I can modify them easily).
I also made myself basic web clipper extension for chrome/edge that appends the link in my “Inbox.md” note.

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Just for the record. I’m month into working in Obsidian and don’t miss columns anymore :wink:

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Interesting what you say about tables.

A few years ago I was using OneNote, and went berserk on tables. I like organisation, and tables allowed to have everything nicely organised on a page, square and straight.

And then, for various reasons, I decided to abandon OneNote and wanted to take my zettelkasten notes with me. Oh boy, what a discovery. The only sensible format I could export them to was .docx. But there too my notes were still in tables.

Today, I am still manually transcribing (=copy/pasting) my notes into Obsidian.

Lesson learned: tables are great for a special purpose, but not to write notes, or append images, and that sort of thing.

If I want a table in a zettelkasten note I’ll make a markdown table for that particular purpose, and that’s it.