"Copy settings from existing vault" option

Use case or problem

I’ve noticed that users are often confused when creating a new vault that their settings aren’t transferred over from their existing vault. I think a simple fix could be to add an option to the Create Vault modal for copying settings from an existing vault.

Proposed solution

On this screen, add 2 radio buttons:

  • Create from scratch (no settings will be transferred over)
  • Copy settings from existing vault
    • Selecting this will enable a dropdown for selecting from a list of vaults.

This not only has the benefit of copying the settings, it clarifies that by default, the vault won’t have their config and sets expectations for what will be in a new vault.

Current workaround (optional)

Currently, users are recommended to copy the .obsidian folder from their filesystem which could be daunting for less savvy users. Especially because this folder could be hidden.

Related feature requests (optional)


Could be helpful for all.

And maybe an option to make hotkeys the same automatically without enabling any plugins by default, but still being able to match the non hotkey settings from sampled vault at a later date if you choose.


Great suggestion!

It honestly confuses me why Hotkey settings are a per-vault setting… does anyone really want to try to remember different keys for each vault? It makes no sense to me that there aren’t some “global” options…


@liam: I agree with your FR, it’s a good one because people should not have to dig into the .obsidian folder.

I just want to make a small “refinement”. You stated:

Currently, users are recommended to copy the .obsidian folder

If it is purely for settings they can just copy over the config file from that folder. If they want to have everything in the new vault, i.e. settings, workspace, themes and snippets, then they can copy the entire folder.

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I found workspace could be restored if you use the core plugin “workspace” to save the work space before moving it.

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I faced the same issue of having my plugins’ settings not automatically brought over from one MacBook to another and found this thread. Found this thread which helped me discover the solution with the .obsidian hidden (local) folder which @liam mentioned in the original post.

Here’s how to make it work, in case you’re not familiar with hidden folders (instructions for macOS / Linux):

  1. Launch Obsidian app on desktop
  2. Open a random note. Use command palette (⌘ + p) and execute the command “Show in system explorer” command:

  1. You should now be seeing the note in Finder or equivalent system explorer.

  2. From here, navigate up the folders until you get to your vault’s folder.

  3. Launch Terminal (this is a built-in program that ships with macOS and Linux computers).

  4. You’re going to type a command now to navigate to your obsidian vault folder. Type cd (with space), and then drag-and-drop the obsidian folder from Finder into Terminal. It should result in something like this: cd /Users/nickang/Library/Mobile\ Documents/iCloud~md~obsidian/Documents/nickang-obsidian

  5. Hit enter. Now you’re viewing your vault folder in Terminal.

  6. Finally, issue the last command to open the hidden .obsidian folder by typing and hitting enter: open ./.obsidian. You should now see the contents of the hidden folder.

  7. Now it’s a matter of copy-pasting this into the .obsidian folder in the vault folder in your new computer.

Hope this helps!

Oh, just realised you can reveal hidden files and folders in Finder (mac) by using ⌘ + Shift + .. That might be faster since you can then just use your Finder and skip Terminal entirely.