Nested vaults - usage and risks

Ah, yes, that’s exactly it! Thank you for clarifying.

I agree with you and @santi in that it can be broken by future updates, especially with the rate of development.

I really hope the devs see these threads and consider turning this into a feature, so we can have peace of mind.

Thank you for this.

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Yeah, @Daedren it’s good to see it’s already a few of us really making use of it. I honestly think a lot of user could really benefit from it. Unfortunatly the term “nested vault” is a bit tricky to discover for beginners, but the concept is pretty simple to understand and extremly practical

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One thing I’ve learned.
If anything might become a project and you will add attachments than make it a folder and then make it a vault. And set up an attachments folder for the vault.

It’s a nuisance to have to do later once you have already added attachments - though it’s easy enough.
And if it doesn’t really need to be its own vault, you can just leave it as a folder.

One advantage of a self-contained vault comes should you ever want to share the vault, as you would then have it all as a package with attachments included.

I’ve done this a couple of times now when something started to get bigger than I had anticipated.


Realizing this possibility was a bit of a lightbulb moment for me. It feels like a natural evolution of the UX established by collaborative notetaking tools like Notion, which have workspaces with their own siloed private notes. This Obsidian trick takes that concept to the next level, allowing for a unified “private notes” that can link to all of the “workspaces” that a user is part of. This also makes it frictionless for new shared workspaces to emerge from a user’s private notes; they just create a sub-folder, move their notes into it ready for sharing, and point a new vault to it.

I’m considering adopting this with a parent vault for all my personal planning and note taking, then sub-vaults that double as Git repos for collaborative projects, and which could each have their own distinct Publish instance.

But I want to be sure of the risks and best practices, so I wonder if I might be able to learn from your experiences…

I keep version control of my vaults with git

I took this quote from the other nested vaults thread. @santi do you have any nested git repos? Is this even possible? I had assumed not, so I was planning to just have my parent vault be an iCloud Drive folder for syncing, then the nested vaults be git repos.

Is Shortest Path the best link format for nested vaults?

Presumably block referencing is not viable even one-way from parent→nested, because block referencing creates a ^blockid that would be visible (but broken) in the nested vault? This kind of mess might be okay if the nested vault is only being used by you, but feels wasteful if the nested vault is being shared, especially if every collaborator used block references in this way. Does anyone have any ideas how we might reconcile this? I love the idea of being able to block reference/embed nested content from my private parent vault, but don’t want to create an endless trail of meaningless ^blockids.

Does anything break if I move a note from the parent vault into the nested vault by clicking and dragging in the file explorer sidebar in Obsidian? Imagine a workflow where something might be drafted up privately then moved into the nested vault for sharing.


hey @jacklaing. apologies for late reply. Regarding what you said about nested dit repo’s, in my case I keep my parent repo as a git private repo.

I played around with repo’s within rep’s and from what I remember I think it’s possible.

you might have to play arround with a git function galled submodules

regarding referenging blocks, I personally don’t make heavy use of them, but I don’t see a problem with using them accross nested vaults

I would have to play around with these ideas to know for sure, but you got me interested. Let us know what you find from using this kind of set up



My main issue with them being used across nested vaults is in the case that the nested vaults are being shared with collaborators who don’t have access to the parent vault. I don’t like the idea of creating a lot of mess in a shared vault by leaving stray ^blockIDs everywhere; it feels selfish.

The only way I can think of to reconcile this would be to have custom CSS that hides the blockIDs, but this would need to be adopted by every collaborator. This could also be used in a publish.css file to hide broken blockIDs on a nested Publish site. Would be curious if anyone can think of any downsides to that approach.


got you that’s an interesting approach. I havn’t yet used obsidian for colloboration, but I do see how having a lot of blocklinks that lead nowhere can cause clutter.

Hi, this thread is probably a bit too advanced for my basic beginner’s question, but there’s something I don’t understand, so I’m calling for help!
I’m currently in the process of setting up my folder structure.
If a vault “consists of a folder, and any sub-folders within it” (says the help), I deduce that it is not recommended to create a sub-folder structure within a vault?
Because when I look at the only vault I’ve created so far, it’s just a folder in my finder, located where I decided to put it…

@gsf: you can safely create subfolders in a vault because those subfolders are not vaults.

@Klaas : Thank you, but just to be sure: with no limit, or just one-level ?
(then a vault isn’t just "a folder, and any sub-folders within it”, and has other specificities and characteristics, then, I guess)

@gsf: I don’t think there is a limit on levels. I have not tried nested vaults, but I think a vault is a folder with a CSS file in it.

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ahh yeah no worries @gsf you can have infinite amounts of sub folders inside your vault.

Nested vaults are something different in concept. they just mean that one choses to go to the “choose a vault menu” and choose a sub-folder and treat it as a vault.

that is completly optional and not needed for most users

folders vs vaults are confusing

by default think about everything as a sub-folder in Obsidian, create as many sub-sub-sub folders as you want.

you will know you created a new vault only when you go to the vault menu and deliberatly create a new vault out of a folder in your computer.

Let me know if that helps, and if you have any questions just let me know, happy to help


@gsf: your clicked on the reply button to me, but replied to Santi :wink:

@santi Thank you I think i get the difference now! Ok, but I will try not to have more than three sub-folders levels!
I’ve really immersed myself in using Obsidian because I’ve been wanting to centralize my notes for years, and this is the time (and the tool). I find it so good that I paid to support the development of the application.
Now I need to explore the potential of linked notes.

So I’m taking advantage of your proposal, I have another question that’s still as basic: I created my first vault a little bit quickly as a test, but in the end it’s getting more and more structured and I’m really using it, but I chose a name a little bit quickly, can I rename it as simply as you rename a folder in the finder? Thanks in advance.

@Klaas Fixed! :wink:


ahh cool I was just about to show you how, there are no problems renaming vaults, they just have to be selected again from the “vault selecting” main menu (for anyone else who might read this)

And yeah I do believe Obsidian is a perfect tool for putting together all notes, the fact that it’s markdown plain text files makes a huge difference for future proofing.

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About the vaults, I thought of something:
Let’s say I have a vault with all my research work.
And inside, a folder with a set of notes that I use most often. So I can’t just open in Obsidian this set only (because that would be equivalent to a vault within a vault, I suppose)?
That would have been convenient, so as not to force Obsidian to open the whole (and the heaviness!) of the whole set.

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yeah that would work and it’s a good idea of you want to have a small vault to deal with.

However I wouldn’t worry about number of notes, if that’s a worry for you I use my vault with over 1000 notes and I have 0 issues with it.

But if you ever feel Obsidian going slow with larger vaults, what you proposed it’s a great idea

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@santi …but, that would be like making a vault inside a vault, which is not recommended, if I understood correctly?

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it’s not recommended mostly for the fact that it might not be compatible in future versions. So far there are no issues (that I’m aware of)

A Vault within a vault is only a way to open a subfolder inside another vault, and open that subfolder as it’s own vault (from the opening vaults menu)

I also wrote another post on this if you want to see more disccusion on it.

Nested Vaults (vault within a vault)

I would say, if you don’t see an obvious need for using nested vaults in your system, then perhaps you don’t need them. it’s not a bad idea to avoid them, since we don’t know if future version of obsidian will support them