How to put multiple non-nested folders (on my hard drive) into the same vault

Things I have tried

  • Searched this forum, for ‘multiple folders’
  • Asked on ChatGPT
  • Started setting up a vault in the Yosemite folder but realized this would be unwieldy and interrupted the process (so it now isn’t letting me do this again)
  • Considered moving both the dropbox and Github folders to a ‘dropbox and github’ folder, but realized moving these would cause a big hassle for other integrations

What I’m trying to do

I’ve been taking notes in various flavors of markdown for years, including with Gitbook and R/Quarto/Rmd. On my computer and cloud these are spread across my Dropbox folder and my ‘Githubs’ folder, where I sync various Github repos.

I want these all to be in the same Obsidian vault. But they are in non-nested folders, and the folder containing both (Yosemite) contains lots of stuff I don’t want Obsidian to have to filter through.

I also cannot ‘move these into a just-Obsidian’ folder, because these markdown files (and .Rmd, and .Qmd) are serving other purpose where they are.

Is there a way to do this? Is that ‘Obsidian cloud’ thing my best solution here? (That’s what chatGPT suggested but it’s expensive.)

If by “Obsidian cloud” you mean Obsidian Sync, that won’t fully solve the problem because Obsidian will still index all of the files locally. There’s Settings > Files & Links > “Excluded files”, but I think Obsidian still indexes those files.

I don’t like to suggest symlinks, but if you’re on Mac or Linux they might be the only way to accomplish what you want. If you’re on Windows I think there’s an equivalent, maybe even using the same name, but I don’t know much about it. Either way, search the forum for details and the web for more info.

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Thank you! I’m on Mac fwiw.

Do you have a good reference to suggest for using Simlinks in Obsidian? Do you envision something like:

  • write a script to make simlinks to all .md files in either drive folder, putting those simlinks in a drive folder dedicated to Obsidian?
    • And maybe a script to scan for new files in those folders for new ones?
  • Will Obsidian be able to play with these just like if they were 'real files?
  • Then when these are updated in the other folders their content will also ‘be updated in Obsidian’? Won’t this cause problems?

Some of these ideas sound like they could be problematic. Especially using “Yosemite” as a vault. I assume that is your user folder, or top file system.

Please make sure you’re keeping good backups before you try any of these things (symlinks, etc.) I’m assuming you know this, but I had to say it.

If you’re just learning Obsidian, I suggest using it like a regular tool for a while before you start trying to patch together things like this… or trusting A.I. for advice.

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No, but I’ve seen discussion about it in the forum and/or Discord. You’ll need to spell it “symlink” for your search to work (the “sym” is short for “symbolic”).

I think the idea is to make a symlink to each folder that you want to include in the vault.

Thanks. I don’t trust AI for advice, but sometimes it’s a good start.

Actually, the relevant folders are on dropbox or in Github repos, so already backed up/version controlled.

You may be right that I should use Obsidian a bit before doing something this ambitious. On the other hand I’ve been taking notes in markdown for a long time, always with the idea that I’d find some tool like Obsidian to connect them. So my ‘next step’ was to bring these all into a vault and try to start finding ways to connect them.

Updates … the following seems to work, involving simlinks:

$ pwd
$ ln -si $PWD/Dropbox/seminar_notes_and_notes_on_econ_papers $PWD/ObsidianRepo
$ ln -si $PWD/githubs/ $PWD/ObsidianRepo

Then add ObsidianRepo as a vault.

I’m keeping ‘detect all file extensions’ off because that would overwhelm things. But I just installed qmd as md by Daniel Borek, which seems to work great for Quarto!