Is there "getting started" tutorial?

I’m new to the concept of knowledge management; I’ve used other note taking apps but felt the need to level up to create a more permanent personal knowledge base.

I see words like Zettelkasten and daily note ids, and the suggestion to use tags not categories.

Is there a prescriptive “howto” on getting started with Obsidian?



There is a help Vault. I assume you’ve seen that already? That will teach you the basics of how Obsidian works. From there, the best thing to do is actually just create a test vault. Treat it like a temporary sandbox, and just play around! Try out all the features, and see how they feel to you.

As for Knowledge Management, this is an in depth topic, and I don’t believe there is one definitive or correct way to approach it. There is definitely no prescriptive way to approach taking notes. It depends completely on your own style and your goals.

  • Read the threads in the Knowledge Management category on this forum. Sort by “Top” to see the most popular threads.
  • If you want to go deep, you can’t match the quality of “How to Take Smart Notes” by Sönke Ahrens. This amazing book will explain the principles of powerful note taking, and explain Zettlekasten fully. But again, they are principles, not rules.

The suggestion “use tags not categories” is a bit like saying “use a plate, not a bowl”. It really depends on your own preferences, and whether or not you feel like soup tonight.

Can you say more about what you are taking notes for? Did you have any favourite note-taking apps in the past? What aspects did you like best? What brought you to Obsidian?


See the Obsidian Help Vault. It has everything you need to know. To access it, press the question mark at the bottom left of your screen, and it’ll take you there. It should be able to help you understand the basics.

However, I don’t seem to know any good guides for knowledge management.


Thank you both for your help.

I will read through the help (I hadn’t found that yet), and I’ve started making notes.

I’m really looking for a once-and-for-all solution for note keeping. I found Obsidian via a post on HackerNews last week. Previously I’ve used Ulysses, Standard Notes, Simple Note, Apple Notes, and text files in a git repo. Ulysses was the best of all.

I make notes for work, and for my hobbies, and basically just to give myself a crutch to keep organised (my natural thinking preferences are more creative / analytical rather than organised).

I also came across this vault about workflows which looks very helpful.

I will soak all this in.



Have you ever heard of the book “Accidental Genius”? It’s about doing freewriting and blasting open your creative associative thinking.

I’m not very experienced with Zettlekasten yet, but I think it can be quite rigorous and methodical. I think it is often used more for academic writing and research. And it would be perfectly valid to ignore it, or only use aspects of it, if it doesn’t suit your thinking style. Freely collecting notes and using Obsidian links might give you 90% of what you need from a Zettlekasten.

One thing I love to do is use the Random Notes plugin. I wrote about my workflow here. It feels like playing, rather than structuring and organizing. Fun with Random Notes