📒 How to abandon built-in file explorer, and switch to system, where navigation happens only by following links on other notes (like dashboards)

What do I want?

  • System, where you don’t touch file explorer, and move between notes by following links on other notes
  • New note creation happens via creating a link, and following it (note is created automatically)
  • I’d appreciate all your advices and ideas on the topic

Why abandoning built-in file explorer?

  • File-tree view hard to comprehend (compared to graph like note-link-note)
  • Gets cluttered very quickly
  • Hard to attach meta-info (With a note, that aggregates links to other notes, I can add paragraph, or comment, or anything else)
  • I don’t mind following links back and fourth, but I hate folding and unfolding directories

What are the problems with “my” system?

  • when you create new note by creating a link and opening it, though it’s placement is configurable, it’s placed somewhere, where it’s easily lost
  • risk of “loosing” notes, in case you delete a link to them (note would still be in your file-system, but it’d be almost impossible to find among hundreds or thousands of other notes)
  • you file system would get littered by semi-empty notes, that you’ve created, written something insignificant into, and then deleted a link to them. Cleaning them up would be a problem
  • those problems are fixable via script, that would traverse your vault, finding “orphaned” notes

Visual examples

  • cluttered file tree on the right
  • prototype of superior dashboard on the left


make.md plugin does something similar to what you want. https://www.make.md

Personally I simply ignore file explorer and use Starred instead. It’s not organized but it gives me the similar experience with Roam Research :slightly_smiling_face:

How do you use starred to replace the file explorer? Set a star for every important note, even if that means starring dozens of notes?

Yes, when there is an option for folder I instinctively tries to organise too much and ended up being a chore. So I keep all my notes in a single directory since you can have up to 65k files in a single directory before performance gets affected :slight_smile:

This is my current setup, there is a “TEST CANVAS” file where I experiment with the canvas feature and likely get deleted afterwards but this approach works well for me personally


You might be interested in this thread I started to discuss this idea!

I agree that the file explorer quickly becomes overwhelming. My solution was to install the
recent files plugin (GitHub - tgrosinger/recent-files-obsidian: Display a list of most recently opened files ). I find it convenient to be able to browse between my 3-4 most recent notes, and I don’t need to see my huge list of files at the top level anymore.


I’m only a newbie myself, but I’ve gone full MOC with only the bare nessecary folders.
All new notes are set up to go to an Inbox for sorting when I’ve got time.

I started with a home MOC and basically started writing a story to myself breaking down the areas in my life I wanted to segregate at a high level, like personal, professional work, etc. All of these became MOC’s.
Then I repeated this process of division and explanation, in full self conversation literally writing down what and why I needed to break them up.
I wrote blank notes on the fly in my MOC knowing I had at least though about it enough to know it was something that needed to be captured and I can fill in later.

For me this was the most organic way I could start my second brain.

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I use both systems honestly.

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