Home (user) directory as Vault

I would like to use my home directory as my vault. In that case I can use my existing file structure and integrate the notes into it.
Unfortunately, Obsidian doesn’t load the content.
Is this a Mac System issue or an Obsidian specific issue?
Does anybody know a workaround?

Steps to reproduce

  • Create a new vault by selecting “Open folder as vault”
  • Select your home directory

Expected result

Loading of all folders and files from user directory

Actual result

blank Screen without any message


  • Operating system: MacOS 10.15.15
  • Obsidian version: 0.7.3

Using your home directory probably just isn’t a good idea in itself. It contains looooots of files that are system and applications related, and who knows what happens.

On a quick check, I have over a million (!) files and folders in my home directory:

Bildschirmfoto 2020-06-20 um 17.07.31

If you want to go “full in” with your documents, it would probably make sense to just use your Documents directory.

Still, I’d recommend to start with a dedicated vault.

I second @BENWF. Anyway, can you check if there is some error in the console (cmd-shift-i)?

@BENWF: You’re right, importing all files from the user directory is insane. But it’s the only solution to keep my current folder and file structure.
@WhiteNoise: I can’t find any error messages in the console.

Does anyone know of a workaround to select certain folders?

When you launch Obsidian first time or use the Vault switching plugin you could select any vault/folder you want.

I agree, either copy all home folder Markdown folders to a top-level folder or use a separate folder. Home directory on most platforms is a very busy directory with lots of files that should not be parsed resulting in slow performance.

I am new here but would that not exactly be the point in creating your second brain. To add all you before gathered knowledge and information to it.

The rendering/parsing can be limited to .md files I would guess. But I also invested in the structure of my Documents folder so I want to use that.

Seems silly to also store them in obsidian by drag and drop as the files are already there!

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In violation of the suggestion in this thread to keep extraneous files out, I’m also attempting to run Obsidian in my Dropbox root folder. However, unlike the tests here of vaults with lots of notes, my situation is that my number of markdown files is not so large (between 400 and 2000 at the moment, depending on whether I remove some checked out source trees), but there are very many “attachments” (11,000 PDFs, 130,000 PNGs, and, generally, half a million files of any kind).

Since [[ auto-complete includes attachments, it is slow and includes uselessly many results. Also, startup takes a few minutes, but is bearable. However, I don’t have problems browsing the file tree, and following links is instant.

In fact, it’s actually very close to being usable in this folder, and, if @johw’s suggestion of restricting search to markdown files was used (likely in a few key hot spots), it would probably be solved.