Is Obsidian the right choice for me?

Hey everyone,

As a student, I’m trying to move on from taking handwritten notes on my iPad with GoodNotes, since the process of transitioning my notes into flashcards is very tedious and it doesn’t synchronise well with my Windows PC. In the end, I don’t need to have perfect looking notes if there’s no way to actually learn from them. Currently I’m taking a note during class and then basically never looking at it again. When an exam rolls around I just google everything, so my notes really aren’t of any use. But typed notes are quite different because personally I can understand a topic way better if I don’t have to decipher my handwriting first and when there’s no structure.

I’ve thought about moving on to Notion, but the same issue regarding Anki integration persists, as well as no backlinking and interconnected thoughts, so I’m only using it for my personal dashboard for now.

Since then, I’ve discovered RemNote and thought it’d be almost the ideal fit: Syncs between devices and I can take notes and create flashcards at the same time :slight_smile:

However, some users pointed out that there are quite many bugs still with some cards not showing up at all for example while reviewing them, and the paywall for some features is also a bit concerning for me, as well as security issues that were also pointed out. Lastly, I feel as if the design is still a bit cluttered, but I guess that could improve with time.

But for every problem that I leave behind in switching to Obsidian, a new one appears: Namely no easy way to sync between my iPad and my PC, so I’d have to take my notes in a separate markdown application that can export to icloud in real time, (the only one I found eliminates all of the useful features of Obsidian, and ruins the notetaking process) Therefore the friction would probably be too great to ever make use of that system. I just can’t afford the 50€ to pay for the mobile beta, as well as not having a credit card, paypal or wechat. But then again Obsidian also has these really cool features like Back-linking and that knowledge graph, which I really like and with the Anki plugin creating flashcards is a breeze. Also the future-proofing through just using markdown files is really great! So I’m really liking the PC version & would love to use it in school, but I can’t seem to find an easy way.

I ideally want a future workflow that looks like this: Create simple hierarchical notes, review flashcards based upon them and be able to interconnect all my knowledge. Maybe I’m also just asking for too much, I don’t know.

In the end, I just really don’t know which application is best suited for my needs and I’d be extremely grateful for any advice! I’m currently thinking that I’ll probably have to use RemNote, but maybe any of you have some advice :slight_smile: thanks a lot in advance

These are pretty valid concerns, like all apps Obsidian still has pros and cons depending on what you want to do with it.

Could you explain a bit more why you need iCloud in your workflow?

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I don’t need it per se, it’s just the only way I’ve found to store Obsidian files and use them on my iPad. It’s the only cloud storing system I have and since I don’t have the Obsidian mobile app that’s what I came up with so far. Someone recommended that I could use the 1Writer app to take my notes on my iPad during class, but I think it might get a bit messy if I use different services for everything. But yeah, iCloud isn’t a necessity, just trying to find something that works.

Currently my vault is in my iCloud files and then I can at least look at the notes on my iPad. But since usually I would have to take and create the notes on the go it’s not that useful.

Your life might become a lot easier when you get access to the mobile app. For now, you could always take notes in Markdown, move the note to your vault, link it after.

Everyone would probably recommend you wait for the official app, but if you can’t I found a few options here:

  • How I Use iPad and Obsidian - YouTube: This uses a paid IOS app called Ulysses to sync notes from the iPad to your vault.
  • I previously used iA Writer on Android to jot down quick thoughts into my vault when it was synced to my Dropbox/ Google Drive. Both syncing options worked very well, but I can’t attest to how well it works with Apple devices and iCloud. There are some pricing options available on their site and it’s available for Apple devices, but I couldn’t get an answer about what features are in the freemium… iA Writer Features
  • I did some extra digging and saw this video. It describes a workflow that could sync a Github repo (Working Copy app) with the iPad as well as edit the files with a code editor (Textastic app).

All of these won’t have the note-linking and backlinking features, so you’re going to have to use Obsidian on PC.

I’ve heard of people trying out Craft instead (Apple only), but it won’t have the convenient flashcard plugins like in Obsidian.

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Thanks a lot! I thought about maybe using bear and then just manually exporting, but I’m not entirely sure yet. iA Writer seemed quite nice, but it’s 33€ in the AppStore and I really don’t have that money right now. Maybe I’ll also just use RemNote for now and then export it in .md for use in Obsidian until the mobile app is publicly available. Thanks for your help!

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Yes, that’s one of the “solutions” I’m looking at right now with the only problem being that I couldn’t revise my notes if there were any changes I’d have to do after they were created already. (Because if I exported that, I’d always have to look for the old file and delete that, so it just seems a bit tedious.) But I goes I’ll see as I try everything out :slight_smile:

You could still sync through iCloud and edit using a Markdown editor (you just wouldn’t be able to use all of Obsidian’s features). You might find this forum post helpful if you’re looking for some app recommendations:

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Hi, i also have the same issue but I wanted to know (and this might sound dumb) can i use the OneDrive cloud to save my texts in 1Writer and load them into my PC because i also use the iPad and Windows PC combo.

So I just made the leap and bought 1Writer, and to me it seems like you can. I saw many cloud services, and since yours is quite a popular one I’d imagine they’d have it. They had iCloud as well

Thanks a lot, I just bought the 1 Writer and I think that’ll solve my problems for now :smiley:

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The Git repository for the vault is an excellent workaround for syncing - if I didn’t already have a DT3 sync, I would go that route. If you were going to spend money on another app, I am not sure why you just didn’t sign up for obsidian syncing and be done with it. I don’t use the PC version of Obsidian, so maybe I am missing the context - is the windows version missing functionality we have on mac?

Because Obsidian sync can’t sync with mobile if I don’t have a mobile app. Syncing wasn’t really the problem to begin with because I just saved my vault to my iCloud files, but opening and editing and writing them on the go was my goal

As someone who went through the whole notes thing in university, honestly I often did much better NOT taking notes in most of my classes (admittedly, for some of them it was essential, though much fewer than I originally thought). Instead, record the lecture (if you dare). What this allows you to do is forget about taking notes and feel comfortable LISTENING to the lecture while it’s happening and CONNECT and MAKE SENSE of the information live on the spot. Ask questions to people around, get clarifications from the prof. Then, look at specifically exactly what will be on the exam, and literally extract as much information about this from the prof, then go through and find that information in the readings, in the slides, and listen to the lecture on 2x speed while skipping the unnecessary parts. You will get high 90s. If you really need notes, print out the slides with the lines on the side and write whatever extra info goes there. In some classes there will be nothing to write, in most classes you will be taking note of what specifics that the prof expects you to learn so you can go back and learn that specific instance.

As for whether Obsidian is fit for notetaking, I would say sure, in many cases, since note taking for classes does not have to be complicated at all, unless you’re doing math and other complex things. But I completely switched back to handwritten notes because of how much more freedom there is to draw and organize information. Computer text doesn’t allow you to just jot random stuff down in the corner in a split second, you’ll have to format that and it completely distracts you from the lecture.

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to consider dropping notetaking for the above strategies I mentioned, at least in some classes, and paying close attention. This will not work if you’re not interested, though. But overall, if you’re in a field you’re interested in, most classes should be interesting enough to do this. I’d say I did this for more than half the courses of my psychology BSc and graduated top of my class.

As for flashcards, I never once used them in my entire time in university. I found them, like you, to be a massive time drain, and in the time it took to figure out how to word a question, or decide what should be on the card, I could just remember that bit and five others by heart and connect it to my own knowledge and understanding of things. Honestly, when someone brought up flash cards in a group study session and wanted me to contribute a stack for the group, I realized what an outrageous waste of time it was. I couldn’t believe people were studying like that. It’s honestly shocking to me how people atomize information like that. I often really struggled putting any one fact on a card because to me everything was connected, and it just seemed absurd to split it up like that.


Would really do that but sadly it’s not allowed to record the teachers here. So I need some form of notes, which are usually just now my thoughts which I interconnect through obsidian. But since I have my iPad with me I’m relatively versatile so I can type something up in my English course for example and then draw up a diagram in the next second, which comes in quite handy :slight_smile:

“it’s not allowed to record the teachers here.” Just because they say that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. If you keep it for personal use, there is no problem. If you choose to abide by some arbitrary rule that inserts a giant obstacle into your university career then be my guest, but let’s be clear here, it’s a victimless crime.

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