Dendron-style notes in Obsidian

@robertandrews has mentioned the idea of using the Dendron approach to PKM in Obsidian. This idea fascinates me—it suggests the possibility of a much better way to do something I’ve been halfheartedly trying to do for a long time.

Has anyone gotten a system like this working in Obsidian? How did you implement it? Is not using folders really better? Why? The article mentions “journaling, task management, creative writing, keeping track of interactions”…how would you do these? Are there resources about these things (my quick look didn’t turn up much)?

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I think Dendron’s main point is to use a filename system that works like an outliner, like


The main difference is that with a file structure something is either a folder or a note, whereas in Dendron everything is a note which can then have subnotes.

There’s nothing stopping you from using the Dendron naming convention in Obsidian (something similar was actually quote popular in the very basic Notational Velocity days). You’d miss some of the fancy Dendron stuff like folding the resulting outline or the ‘graph view’ that shows the outline relations rather than the links, but the basics will work fine. You could even point Dendron and Obsidian to the same folder if you want the benefits of both.

Alternatively, there is a ‘folder note’ plugin that allows you to link a note as the content of a folder in Obsidian (and then hide the note from the files). It has a very similar effect, except, at least when I tried it a while ago, you cannot really link to/from folders in this way.


If the only advantage to the naming convention system is the sense of hierarchy, I don’t think folders are better, but I do think you can get a similar sort of organization by using index or table of contents sheets.

Try making a document for each topic you want to place at the top of a hierarchy, and then get in the habit of giving every document a link to the most appropriate index sheet, or to one of its descendants. You can then view the backlinks on your index to get a list of child documents, or use the graph to get a good picture of all the links.

I like this approach because it allows the same document to be filed under multiple parents.


I do this. Folders are an anti-pattern in my perspective. And anti-ADHD. Hides notes where you forget them, adds more steps to find them, forces extra steps each time hierarchy changes, requires one extra step per specificity of hierarchy - all of which groups notes together more than they need to be.

GitHub - dobrovolsky/obsidain-structure intends to bring some of Dendron to Obsidian, but I’ve mostly done Dendron things (refactoring, etc) in VSCodium and the rest in Obsidian. I can highly recommend it :slight_smile:


Of course we can implement Dendron-style filenames in Obsidian any time, but it would be great if Obsidian also had features like Dendron’s that support this file-naming scheme. For instance, Dendron’s tree view represents the flat directory as nested “folders”. As another example, Dendron’s “schemas” help enforce uniformity in naming as well as automatically applying the desired note template at every level of the hierarchy.

Manually implementing Dendron-style filenames has benefits, of course, first of which is a wonderful sense of tranquillity that results from having put things in their proper place. But a plugin supplying the supporting features would provide the best of Dendron without having to leave Obsidian.

I can use breadcrumbs plugin to navigate within a vault which contains Dendron’s dot-style hierarchical filenames. And use breadcrumbs codeblocks to visualize the tree view of all files located in this specific vault.

Check this Feature Request (FR: support dendron style flexible hierarchies · Issue #194 · SkepticMystic/breadcrumbs · GitHub) for further details


thx @codeluggage !

im looking to do the same and restructure my file system to a dendron like system. any chance you can expand on how you did it in VScode?



I can see a use case for this. Namely, when one’s note is 1000-2000 lines long (because I had created the text in MS Word and migrated my stuff), one could chop it up using this dot-style naming convention (where each dot corresponds to a Heading or a code block that merits more attention) and have the various parts embedded.
One downside is, you cannot search for embedded text in the newly-made main/trunk note.

Another of the nice features in Dendron is the ability / practice of setting schemas (and that “folders” are notes)

  • create new file will prompt names if current file is part of schema
  • context of templating handled by schema
  • the edits to schema happen with refactors like renaming and moving

@codeluggage Do you have thoughts on how to apply some of the features of a schema, perhaps with Templater or some other solution you rolled?