Most users have spent hours highly customizing Obsidian to meet our needs and preferences via settings, themes, CSS snippets, plugins, etc. But whenever we add a new vault—or want to temporarily designate a folder as a vault to use Obsidian on the files inside it—that’s all left behind, as if we’re opening Obsidian for the very first time. The only workaround (see below) is cumbersome.
Add the option to store the .obsidian configuration folder as an Obsidian application folder rather than in a vault
Enable the designation of a “primary vault” and add the option to automatically use the contents of its .obsidian folder to configure other vaults
Continue to keep separate .obsidian configuration folders in every vault, but add an option to keep their contents in sync
Copy the hidden .obsidian configuration folder into any new vaults.
When any new configuration modifications are made, they either need to be manually duplicated in every other vault, or else the .obsidian folders in all the other other vaults need to be periodically replaced with the newly modified .obsidian folder.
A common pattern that is used is to have a common place to have the settings at the application level. Then each vault is allowed to override the individual setup. Gets a little tricky with plugin interactions but would be a place to start.
My 2 cents: I like the idea of a Vault being self-contained, as most other Obsidian users (I guess). It makes them truly portable.
But indeed, creating a Vault starting from an existing .obsidian folder (current or, maybe, user-selected) makes for a much better user experience. Moreover, being able to synchronize from a “source” .obsidian to a “destination” .obsidian would be even better (in case one further customizes one’s settings and would like to propagate the changes to other Vaults).
I realize the synching might not be easy to implement as a diff might have many corner cases, but maybe a simple solution, like “delete-current-destination-.obsidian-and-copy-source-.obsidian,” would be a good start. On the good side, creating a Vault starting from an existing .obsidian and later synch can be abstracted to the exact thing/implementation.
Separating my single vault into multiple distinct ones has really shown me the benefit of discrete working spaces.
But I’m feeling the pain at the snippet and plugin level.
I feel like I have three different Obsidian configurations to manage. I really don’t need different sets of these things in each.
Just wish I could harmonise it.
Solutions I’ve looked at tend to lead to git, which is not particularly user-friendly.
Also consider that people will be working across multiple devices - eg iMac but also iPad.
The “Obsidian” folder in “iCloud Drive” seems eminently capable of housing a single configuration folder that would span vaults at user discretion, as the poster said.
What if there was something similar to the sandbox vault, as a type of template, that accepted default settings and could be used as a default scaffolding when setting up a new vault.?
What if one could set a vault as a Master vault and new vaults could adopt it’s custom settings?
What if one could setup a vault as a Master vault and it’s custom settings, sans plugins or optional, would sync with all other vaults or selected vaults on demand or schedule?
This matter is of interest to me, as I have dozens of vaults. Thus far, I use Obsidian URIs, Keyboard Maestro, and various bash script to manage a few workflows that are inter-vault. I have also put together a PoC for using templater to move/copy settings to other vaults. It’s fairly straight-forward, when only working with the basic default configs, but could get very complex if other plugins add settings, etc. Which has led me to start exploring using a local server e.g. http://localhost:8080 as a type of “mediator” or “bridge” between vaults. I am very comfortable programming in PHP and I can setup a light weight framework, like CodeIgniter or Laravel. To support this idea, I’ve also created a plugin that executes PHP from a locally run PHP instance. This is as far as I’ve got. I had decided to back off, as I see this need coming up more and more with other Obsidian users. And I am hoping that something “official” would be in the works to bridge the gap before I can build something bespoke for my particular use cases.
Just started working with Obsidian and this issue was a major annoyance. I put together a quick shell script that syncs my theme, hotkeys and appearance settings between all my vaults. I supposed it can be adapted to sync plugins too, haven’t tried yet. It works just fine for me, but I’m no developer so use it at your own risk.
When I create new vault, I’ve to manually go and make all the setting changes again. It will be save a lot of time if the new vault created copies all the settings from current vault rather then defaulting.
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Yeah that should work. You would also just need to make sure you have all the same folders and templates that you specify in any settings. Like a template folder, or a daily notes folder.
Some things I can think that could go wrong:
If you use Obsidian Sync or the Git plugin or Readwise, or anything that does any syncing automatically, you might also want to delete any settings related to those plugins, so they don’t automatically try to sync your vault to the old vault. (I don’t know if they would do that. I’m just brainstorming.)
One use case:
I’d like to have my hotkeys across vaults, but not necessarily keep the same theme per vault. I’m the same user, using the same app, it is just that the content has been changed. Now I have to manually move my config file and I realize that the moment my muscle memory fires, but there is no response from the app.
Also having some plug-ins on and off for certain vaults would be useful.
So, to elaborate—some parts of the settings should be per vault, others should be “per user”.
I would also like to see Global Settings. Now that v0.76 has separate config and workspace files, could the workspace one be made into a centralized/global/default settings that applies to all vaults, or at the very least applies to new vaults?
+1 - I got bit by this in my first walk-through - I was going through the Obsidian Help vault and playing with things, and I added some keyboard shortcuts and tweaked a few settings. Then I went to my own vault and it was all gone; took me a bit to find where the Help vault was stored in my file system, so I could just grab the config file from there!