Is Obsidian for me?

Hello! I recently got Scrivener, got disappointed by it and started looking for something else. Obsidian seems like the best option so far, but I’m still not sure if I can do this with it:

  1. Script-writing, something like Fountain or Scrivener’s Script-writing mode
  2. Moving files and folders in the File Explorer or similar independent of alphabetical order
  3. Custom metadata (tags, labels, dates, categories, multiple-choice stuff) and being able to filter documents by that metadata
  4. Color highlight documents with a specific metadata in the File Explorer (example: I tag a document as ‘To Do’, it gets highlighted yellow in the file explorer)
  5. Export .pdf, I’ve read about pandoc, I don’t mind using it, but if I can freely move files around in the File Explorer it would be useful to rename the files automatically based on that order so pandoc keeps the custom order in the final .pdf
    5.1 Proper inner link support for .pdf export, I guess this is more on pandoc than Obsidian. One of my issues with Scrivener’s pdf export is that inner-document links don’t work.
  6. Being able to use Obsidian as a quick .txt editor (alternative to notepad)
  7. Not a deal breaker, but custom icons for folders would be nice!

That’s mainly it. I do know some coding although I don’t know JS, I wouldn’t mind learning it to make plugins to make the stuff in the list possible (As long as it’s not too difficult ^^)

I basically want a multi-media note taking app that I can use for both creative writing (scripts, novels, poems, etc…) and making wiki-like technical documents such as game design docs.


3. Many use the Dataview plugin for filtering on YAML or inline metadata.

5. There is also a export to pdf option in the base app, which can be styled with
themes/css, but also no inner links(I also don’t fully understand what you mean by order)

7. There is a css snippet for that(should be this one: obsidian-css-snippets/File explorer - at master · Dmitriy-Shulha/obsidian-css-snippets · GitHub), or simply add emoji to your folder name

Thanks! By order I mean that if I have a bunch of markdown files in my project with a specific order in Obsidian’s File Explorer, I will want the exported .pdf to keep that order

1. There’s a fountain community plugin.

6. There’s a txt as md community plugin.


I had been a long-time Scrivener user (10+ years), wrote my dissertation in it, etc. Nowadays Obsidian has mostly replaced it. I’m saying “mostly” because there is still some part of the writing process where I find some of Scrivener’s features helpful – the layout, the corkboard, scrivenings, the custom arranging of files. Almost all of these can be achieved in Obsidian too, I just never spent that much time customizing the CSS and coming up with solutions for something I already had a tool for.
But in short, I would say you can do most of those in Obsidian, and it’s a really great light-weight editor.

Thanks for your input! Pretty much all the points in the list have been solved. Custom arranging of files is one of my favorite features of Scrivener, there’s this feature request.

Do you have any other way to custom arrange files? Other than manually adding a number to the file name to sort it?

Arguably you could replace the file explorer with a note that is simply a list of your files, ordered however you want. You’d have to manually add each new file to the list though.

I have a ToC file for books. If I want to rearrange scenes, I just move them in the ToC and don’t worry about the folder order.

Obsidian is already more powerful than Scrivener, and the Mac and iOS apps offer both fast syncing and, most importantly for me, full cross-platform functionality. With Scrivener, the iOS app is severely limited.

Obsidian also has the advantage of using plain text / MD, making the files easily accessible and editable in other apps, unlike Scrivener’s hidden RTF-based projects.

It is easy to import files from Obsidian to Scrivener, but the need to do that is diminishing as Obsidian leaps ahead in terms of features and the speed of progress.

And Obsidian lets writers develop works along multiple paths and in multiple directions at the same time. Scrivener has a more linear approach. I didn’t know an app could change how I think and then write until I used Obsidian. Liberating.

And Obsidian has more than one (Mac / iOS) developer and a whole community of secondary developers creating plug-ins. It’s in another realm.

I have used and loved Scrivener since the Mac beta, but Obsidian is just so much more powerful these days.



I use Scrivener for my fiction writing, but I don’t think I’d use Obsidian for that. As far as screenwriting, from my friends that write screenplays, they use Final Draft for that purpose and use Scrivener for their novels.

I don’t think one should use Obsidian for everything. It should be one of the tools in your tool box. Not everything is a hammer, not everything is a screw driver.


I have/am using Scrivener, Obsidian, and Ulysses for writing. Unless one wants to mess with CSS I’m not sure Obsidian is the best choice for scripts and book writing. For long from writing I find Scrivener’s scrivenings feature, or Ulysses’s glue feature, to be indispensable to temporarily combine multiple documents/sheets to get a better sense of the flow and transitions of the text. I may be missing it but I have not found a plug-in that replicates the scrivenings or glue features.

That said, I’m not an expert yet with Obsidian but here is where I’ve landed:

  • Obsidian for all research notes
  • Ulysses for writing

I would love to do all research and writing in Obsidian so if anyone can correct my understanding and point me to a plug-in that can replicate the scrivenings or glue features I’d be grateful! :slight_smile:

PS, I found this post on this forum related to this. Document Spanning

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When it comes to writing fiction Obsidian works great for world building. As i make things up, for instance a fantasy world, i can reference things that i will later flesh out and the interactive graph becomes a wonderful tool visualize my world. I can describe a kingdom and have that description link to files about the government which in turn link to important characters in that government, etc. Other links may shoot off to files about the nature, landscape, cities or people.

Since i am a visual learner, the graph has been an amazing tool to really “see” my world. This is equally useful in my hobby interests and my professional dayjob.

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Hi all

im also super interested in solutions to point 3 and 4.

(even posted on it yesterday before i found this thread :smiley: ):

thx so much !


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For (3), you can put any metadata you want in the yaml field or as inline dataview data, and then parse it with the Dataview plugin.
E.g., for my literature note I have a metadata field “Author”, and then a file where I parse my notes by author.

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