Need help with dividing large Joplin note

Hi, I’ve got a very large note in Joplin that is a research repository of information captured from many sources – web, journals etc. The note is structured as a numbered list.

I’m excited to discover Obsidian and would like to import this repo into it but when I export the note as a .md file it shows up as a single note in Obsidian.

Is there any smart (ie other than manual) way to decompose the Joplin list into individual markdown notes so that I can import into Obsidian?

I’d like to create visual graph of all the information in the note via Obsidian vs the current Joplin list which is becoming unwieldy and has poor search – if that is a resonable objective with the app?


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How is the Joplin note structured exactly? Are there any unique combinations of characters at the cusp of each potential Obsidian note you can use in a find and replace action to split them via an automation?

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Hi @ryanjamurphy, thanks for your reply.

It’s just a numbered list with hundred of items – each a sentence/paragraph captured from an external source and with a url/doi referencing the source.

Experimenting on a smaller note in my archive, also a list, I found that I can change the list to a bulleted list which generates the unique ‘•’ character before each item. Could that be useful?

Sure, that could be helpful. What OS are you on? The next step is identifying an automation utility that can recognize those characters and use it to split the file.

Cool. I’ve got macOS and Win10.

We can definitely figure out something on macOS, but do you have an iPhone or iPad with Shortcuts, by any chance?

I made this quickly this AM:

It reads a text file of your choice and splits it into new files at each -. Replace that with the character of your choosing.

Thanks so much for creating the script, but I’ve only got macOS and Win10.

@dm5n Would you consider this resolved?

I would ask recommend renaming the title to something like “Need help with dividing large note” so that it’s more descriptive.

@Silver thankyou, updated.

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Here’s an AppleScript that splits a text file with a given character delimiter into separate .md files:

The resulting files will be named “Note 1”, “Note 2”, etc., but it should be trivial for you to edit that to insert a different phrase than “Note" if desired.

You’ll have to open it yourself and insert the appropriate delimiter on line three (e.g., at the end of set theItems to my splitText(theText, "- “)).

Awesome, many thanks, will test and report back.

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I should have mentioned that the list also contains a number of images. I’m guessing that the script is for text files, because it doesn’t accept .md or docx files.

My steps so far are to

  1. Export the Joplin note as an .md file with associated resources folder containing images
  2. Use Pandoc to convert to docx and replace the numbered list with a bulleted list using a special character

The challenge is that the docx is >400 pages. If I import the docx back into md, the bullets are replaced by ‘–’.

Is there an automated solution to split the docx or .md file into multiple notes that Obsidian can import?


Hm. I fixed a couple of possible bugs in the script:

It should have worked on .md files before, though. I just ran it on this text saved as .md:

- Something

Test text

- Another thing

- Note three

something 3

The output was four files: the first was blank (as the script separates what’s before a - from what’s afterward) and the other four were:


Test text

Another thing

Note three

something 3

They were saved to Desktop/Text files under the names Note 1, Note 2, etc.

Note that in the new edition you can edit the separator text to whatever you’d like by editing the property on the fourth line.

Thanks very much @ryanjamurphy.

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Getting this error on running the script on an .md file on the desktop:

error “Finder got an error: Can’t make file (alias “”) into type file.” number -1700 from file (alias “”) to file

Hm. Did you download the update? It should be the same link as above, but it’s a different file!

Yep, just redownloaded it, opened in Script Editor on macOS and hit Run.

I changed the property separator value to "– " (actually 3 spaces but the forum editor isn’t showing it)

Still getting the same error.

Odd. The file you’re running the script on is on the desktop? It is an .md file (or similar plain text format), yes?

To make sure we’re using the exact same process:

  • open the script file in script editor
  • edit nothing except the separator property
  • hit Run
  • choose a plain text file

This may be beyond my scripting abilities, sadly. It works just fine for me (just tested it again on a .md on the desktop).

@ryanjmurphy Thanks for all the assist, much appreciated.

Still not working after those steps.

I’ve resorted to manually transferring my ex-Joplin notes, in any case I would have had to go through them all and setup backlinks and import images.

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Too bad. Sorry for wasting your time!

At least manual sifting gets you to reacquaint yourself with the notes. I went through something similar recently in converting my previous system to Obsidian and cleaned up a lot of kipple.

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