Global Settings / Same settings, themes, and plugins across multiple vaults

It’s a little bit disappointing, that global settings is not a thing. I’m just started out with Obsidian and like it a lot so far, but I use several vaults and redoing all settings is really troublesome.

For example, I’m using customized community plugins and need to change the same settings over and over again (and redownload them first). Also, I want to see i.e. line numbers in every vault and need to activate them again and again.

I’d highly appreciate some sort of global settings to streamline my working flow and my preffered app behaviour. Even a possibility to import settings from an existing vault would be fine to me, that’d ease the trouble of ticking the same boxes for every vault already a lot.


As a workaround, how about using either Resilio Sync or SyncThing to keep the .obsidian folders in sync. That would probably work.

Data point to consider: I’ve tried syncing the .obsidian folder in the past using DropBox, and – for me at least – it seems to cause more problems than it solves. It does keep the plugins and settings synced, but it also syncs the workspace and cache, which in my opinion should be instance-specific. Worst of all, because .obsidian is a high-traffic folder, DropBox would often create conflicted copies of files, creating hard-to-find bugs in behavior and data.

Would excluding everything but the plugins and settings work?
For Dropbox, I guess that would mean using Selective Sync?

Yes, though I think Selective Sync only works at the folder level. I don’t think you can tell DropBox to, say, sync your .obsidian/plugins folder but not the .obsidian/workspace file. Still, it’s probably worth a shot to see if it works well for you.

:fire: But make a backup first! :fire:

I personally copy the hidden obsidian folder with my required settings to any new vault or copy back.


Ah that’s too bad about Dropbox.

SyncThing, which is free and open-source, does support file or folder exclusions. And plus doesn’t even need the cloud since it can just sync two folders on your local machine and run in the background at all times.

Please please please don’t pollute the home directory. Following an open-source standard and using the XDG Base Directory structure to store user-level files. Every OS has this idea as a way of avoiding home directory pollution. If Obsidian were an open source project I would expect these types of options available:

Path Description
XDG_CONFIG_HOME/obsidian User-level configuration options found in the current vault-level files appearance.json, app.json, community-plugins.json, core-plugins.json, graph.json, hotkeys.json.
XDG_DATA_HOME/obsidian This directory should hold the downloaded data for all plugins and themes. The path vault/.obsidian/plugins/... seems an inappropriate place for this data.
vault/.obsidian Vault-level overrides and extensions to those at the user level.

Optionally, having flags to override these values when calling the Obsidian binary would be helpful in creating one-off vault configurations. Something like:

$ /usr/bin/obsidian --config-dir ~/custom/obsidian/configs/ --data-dir ~/custom/obsidian/data

global HotKeys, please
even just a save to / load from global hotkeys woudl be enough to manage multiple vaults

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I’ve read a lot of these topics to understand the developer’s rationale and I’m still confused. Per-vault settings are inane. Do we really have to write out use cases and justifications for something so obviously needed?

No, because there are hundreds of high-demand requests that many find obvious. They just need to expand their team.

I see this is still not implemented. Just created 4 new vaults and I wanted the settings from the first one copied across with plugins etc. However when i copy the .obsidian directory the new new vaults have the notes listed from the first vault which is NOT what i wanted. Which of the many files in the .obsidian directory lists the notes so i leave that one out from the copy?

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They came from the recent files plugin! if i don’t copy that its fine.


Also don’t copy the workspace.json file!


I use a File/Folder Comparison/Sync app (DeltaWalker because I happen to have a license, but it’s not very intuitive) between my main vault and other vaults.

These are the things I include:

  • The .obsidian folder
  • My templates folder which I call _templates

These are the things I exclude:

  • workspace, workspace.json, workspaces.json, starred.json, graph.json, backlink.json, cache
  • In appearance.json, I copy everything except the line cssTheme because I want to have different themes so I can quickly distinguish the vaults. (You could just keep the accentColor different instead)
  • Some plugins’ data:

Instead of using a sync-app, why not using symlinks like @mano suggested?

I am still not sure which folders/files I can link without might going into any issues.

With other words: which files/folder under .obsidian are vault-independent? and can be changed from any current vault I am in?

Symlinks are very risky, especially for obsidian settings: How Obsidian stores data - Obsidian Help

Before I sync, I make sure to close Obsidian


getting back here. since i have a few new vaults, and i forgot to copy all Hotkeys … but i don’t remember which vault was the original source one … so i have 12 vaults each with different hotkeys :slight_smile:

Haha, that’s a good example, have you already located the config which you need to sync between vaults?

So as the help says

  • Symlinking things under the .obsidian/ directory in order to share them between vaults has a high chance of corrupting your settings, unless you really really know what you’re doing. If you decide to go this way, at least have backups.

I just need someone who really really knows the configs! :smiley:
Done anyone know such guy? :sweat_smile:

A list of all things/configs (inside .obsidian) that are safe to symlink between vaults would be much appreciated.