Capture workflows?

Hello Obsidian friends,

So I’m still trying to optimise quick capture within obsidian (through desktop or mobile) and still have some gaps that need some help. For the bulk of it, I’m using Readwise:

  • Tweets, Highlights from articles, Kindle highlights, Shortform highlights… → Readwise → Automatically synced into Obsidian.

What I have some friction with are two:

  • Youtube capture

  • PDF capture

I’d like to be able to highlight and capture them very quickly without too much fumbling around with copying and pasting.

Currently for youtube, I use QuickAdd, but that involves me pasting the link, typing the video title, and so forth - too much friction, not enough speed.

For PDFs, I’ve been using external PDF apps, highlighting them, exporting via markdown, such as using Polar, or even native PDF apps. On mobile, I use Moon+ Reader which syncs to Readwise, so that’s fine - but for desktop work, this is pretty hard.

Anyone can share their PDF and Youtube workflows? Hopefully for youtube it also involves some kind of timestamp annotation or some kind of way to store comments or transcriptions too.

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I feel your pain… I’ve stopped consuming PDFs, just knowing Readwise’s Reader will let me annotate and import from PDFs… any day now…

For your YouTube capture, there’s an Auto Link Title plugin that will take the URL and grab the title for you… Might save a step if no one else has a better workflow.



Youtube notes: I really like working with Yinotes (I use the Chrome Plugin). It opens a pane with an editor. As soon as you start typing, the video stopps and a timestamp is added to the editor. The notes can be exported as Markdown.

Youtube transcripts: I don’t need transcripts very often. But there is a 3 point menu unter the video ..., with the option “open Transcript”. Every few words, the transcript contains timestamps. If you want to copy the transcript without the timestamps in beween, in the ... menu you can hide them. Hope this helps.


I capture PDFs in Zotero, and read with my regular PDF viewer. Highlights and notes get captured by a Zotero plugin and transferred into my Obsidian notes.

I would also like some insight for people’s Capture workflows.

To me, capture has to be frictionless. It has to be as simple and fast as writing on a post it note. And the best tool for quick capture is a smart phone or a smart watch. This is something that Evernote excelled at. It was so easy to capture on Evernote.

I think this is one of Obsidian’s weaknesses. Every time I open the mobile app I wait at least 30 seconds for iCloud to sync my Obsidian configuration files. That absolutely kills capture. By the time it finishes syncing the inspiration is gone.

Perhaps I could capture in Drafts and somehow use Drafts to import into Obsidian.

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The iCloud sync issue isn’t obsidian’s weakness. It’s an iCloud/iOS weakness. Use Obsidian Sync or another sync method (github) if you want to avoid it.

A lot of iOS users don’t use iCloud. iOS gives minimal control over when/what files are uploaded to iCloud. When you’re not using Obsidian Sync, Obsidian has no way to sync the config files without using iCloud, since it’s intentionally designed to be a local app and doesn’t force you to sign up for an account like most note-taking apps. Obsidian Sync removes those issues and you can capture instantly just like any other app.

What kind of capture workflows are you wanting to know about?


Continuing the discussion from Capture workflows?:

Hey, I don’t know if you ever found a workaround, but I just randomly saw this post on reddit and remembered reading your question.

Apparently, someone had the same problem as you and ended up making a quick notes app that syncs with Obsidian. I thought you or someone else reading this may be interested.

For youtube or any webpage use a bookmarklet script(there few of them on the forum if you search for it). So you have your note already made in the browser. Now just use bookmarklet to put it to clipboard and use QuickAdd or obsidian URI to send it to your vault. I think I have reduced the friction by this method to an acceptable amount