Importance of note titles and getting an overview of your ideas

I’ve been thinking about how I want my knowledge vault to develop and how one could use Obsidian to replicate some of the advantages of being able to spread your note cards out on a table and easily move them around. Obviously one can do that in an outline, but I was wondering - how do you tend to quickly go through lots of notes and get an overview? Do you scroll through using the file explorer? Or use the graph view? Or have you sufficiently linked your notes that you know where to go straight away for a given topic? I have been thinking recently that the graph view would be particularly useful in replicating that ‘notes on a table/mind map’ type system, provided you have note titles that are sufficiently atomic and straightforward. I’ve often thought it would be useful to be able to both preview a note from the graph view and to add links from there as well, but I don’t think one can at the moment.

Keen anyway to hear how others keep track (I’m aware that many see the graph view instead as just a neat extra)

I have made many changes the longer I work with the system. When I first started, titles were quite simple. As the system, as well as myself kept growing and expanding, I changed the workflow process pertaining to titles. I still give each note a unique identifier, but now find it benificial, similar to your mentioning, to make the title itself closely related to the actual atomic note. Yes, it is a bit shorter than the note, but very easily recognized by context.

Partiially answering your question pertaining to how I view my notes together, I have Index notes, or MOC’s. By doing the above mentioned, I get a wonderful overview. Everything is then all laid out easily showing the context of each note. At that point, if need be, I can open the note of interest to dig a bit further. Creating the indexes takes extra time, but also a great benefit. You purposely have to review…and that is a good thing!

The graph vlew for me, is kind of a mess. That is if viewed as a whole. The reason for this in my circumstance. I have way too many files and links. This happens because of my area of interest, Bible passages with notes pertaining the said passage.

I am still in the learning stage for the best way to handle a Personal Knowledge System and not unlike others mentions, evolving, growing, adapting as the growth happens.

Best of luck with your journey.


I honestly don’t have to do that very often. My use of my vault is highly targeted. I’m focused on one task at a time.

As far as how I manage my vault, I use a two-dimensional approach.

The first dimension is PARA and I maintain MOC notes at the top of the PARA nodes as well as within any complex nodes underneath them. This makes my graph view and my general ability to hone in on a topic very straightforward.

The second dimension I use is time. I keep a daily journal using the daily notes feature which allows me to link to items in my PARA system as I engage with them. This provides me with a couple nice features. First, I can use the calendar plugin to quickly reference recent notes. Second, it gives me essentially a timeline of engagement with my notes via the backlinks to the daily notes. This is very helpful in project reviews.


Thanks, yes I think you are right about the importance of a good index. I can see with my vault that I will be going back to, and adding, notes and information to quite different areas constantly. To get an overview, to think through a particular subject, (and just to see if the note/idea has already been made) having everything properly linked will be essential (and even an index/structure imposes a certain hierarchy that is a bit less apparent in the graph view)

I follow Andy Matuschak’s advice:

Here is an example excerpt from an outline note I have, simply titled List of Note Taking Principles:


Yep, all sensible, especially on phrases to sharpen claims. My problem is slightly more about this scaling - I’ll have thousands of notes for my academic work and not everything will be put an outline. But that is where linking to themes or topics will be useful. And, on that front, to get an overview (or bird’s eye view, rather) the graph might prove quite essential (akin again to that throw note cards on a table for a given topic and then sorting out a hierarchy from there and being able to link them). On that front I think being able to link between notes from that overview (essentially mind mapping in Obsidian) would be quite a cool feature. For all that, current users are clearly getting by very well indeed without it so will be a case of trial and error on my part I suspect.

Or - to refine what I said above - one must surely have to use either file explorer at the side, or the graph view, to explore different areas of your vault and make connections (i.e. to be more creative and move beyond each note just going in one outline and staying there)