Noobie: How Can I Elegantly Consolidate Notes to a Single Page

What I’m trying to do

I’m in an advanced music class, taking notes on weekly videos, which I’m manually annotating using a Chrome plugin called Fleeting Notes. There’s an Obsidian plugin that brings in the notes to a designated folder. All well and good but…
Each weekly video has content relevant to multiple topics, for example practice ideas about the Bach Sonata and practice ideas about the Mendelssohn Concerto. I type them into separate paragraphs. Ultimately I’ll have 10 weekly notes covering both topics.

I’d like to see all the Bach practice ideas consolidated into a single note to which I can easily refer while beginning my daily practice. Same for the Mendelssohn.

So do I use some type of link or tag to create this? I saw a video about “transclusion;” is that the way to go?

Things I have tried

I’ve tried manually selecting and right clicking to >extract current selection and then moving the paragraph to the relevant consolidated note, but I’m wondering if there’s a more automated and more elegant way to do this. Thanks for any ideas!


This is good question. You can use search to target sections. You then get links to these sections which is very close to what you want. Automatic document creation based on your query is also possible via QuickAdd scripts for example. Usually making such scripts is waste of time since you can use search to navigate through list of relevant items.

There is also a DataView way, but that is for querying (and grouping) only. Which means the notes will remain scattered.

Thank you for the ideas here. Since I’m a novice, implementation will require some research on my part. It seems as if what I want to do isn’t a typical use of Obsidian.

It is. People use it like you.

I don’t, because I imported my work from another platform and I do long form, not fleeting or daily notes.
Automation needs skills, but we all started with more manual work, which is what you can do with those transclusions. And maybe look into Note Composer and the like.

Trying to figure out Dataview, but so far no love. Below are screenshots of my query and the error message as well as a document from the vault which should have the relevant tag and tasks. I’m not seeing the tasks, only the error message.

I think an automated approach won’t scale well — you’ll probably have to mark the text in some way anyway — and that “extract current selection” (or similar) is the way.

“Transclusion” are called “embeds” in Obsidian, and I think they’re also a reasonable approach. Embedding files - Obsidian Help

Personally I copy the info out into the relevant notes where I can adjust them if needed while still having a record of my initial notes in the work.

There is a multitude of way to handle such a request. My take is to actually use tasks to mark these ideas as that makes it easy for extraction later on.

Given a theme like minimal, I could imagine the following task lines scattered across my vault, with the query in your training note:

- [I] (theme:: Bach Sonata) Train on arpeggios
- [I] (theme:: Mendelsohn Concerto) Train stamina doing ...
- [I] (theme::  Bach Sonata)  Go back and repeat again and again
- [I] (theme::  Mendelsohn Concerto) Listen carefully to the second section

## Ideas on Bach Sonata
WHERE theme = "Bach Sonata"

This displays as the following:

(Sorry for the whimsical ideas, I really don’t know what would be good examples for you, but you get the idea)

Here I use [I] which is a decorated task for ideas. If you’re so inclined you could also use any character of your own to state that this a practice idea, and style it using CSS. But to get you started, I’m going it with [I] for idea, and an inline field to denote the theme of the idea.

One advantage of this particular setup, is that if you want to you can click on the text of task, and it links back to the definition of that task. In other words, you could explain the practice ideas in detail in the origin note, and use the task as headline. When you then look in your training note, and wonder what do that particular idea mean, you could just click on the task and see your full notes on the idea.

Using task queries like this would also allow for grouping and sorting to your liking. In the following query I also use some more advanced regex to remove the theme inline field as I transform the text of the task into a visual representation of the task. Note that the link quality is still preserved. And then I group on the various themes.

WHERE theme
FLATTEN regexreplace(text, "\(theme:: [^\)]*\)", "") as visual
SORT text
GROUP BY theme

Which displays with my limited ideas as:


Hope this helps, and have fun!

1 Like

This is very similar idea to using section:() search operator to restrict your search to certain headings. As @holroy said, with Dataview you can get more control to your search results in a form of grouping and sorting which may not be available otherwise with the core search functionality. As I recommended, usually such extra control is not needed.

To search headings in your vault that has words my heading (both):

section:(my heading)

To search headings in your vault that has words my heading (at least one of the words):

section:(my OR heading)

To search heading that contains exactly my heading (by default not case sensitive):

section:("my heading")

To search heading that contains exactly my heading and a tag #myTag below the heading:

section:("my heading") "#myTag"

Note that above is equivalent to

section:("my heading" "#myTag")

since section: doesn’t treat headings and their content separately. This is very strange behavior since it means you should use unique headings that are not present in other base text to query effectively these headings. Usually that is impossible so you should use tasks to specify and include textual inline metadata. That way when searching using task: you are restricting your search specifically to the parts where you want to document something about the part. This is similar to adding comments, however comments serve the purpose of hiding content from the reading view + having different formatting. In a sense comments are great extra tool to add visual formatting to tasks in case you want to query that meta text later. Structurally and query-wise it doesn’t matter if you use comments or not, they are not indexed like tasks.

If you don’t use tasks, then you don’t have ability to add textual metadata that is indexed separately for you. Without task-specific search you are searching your whole vault. I think most elegant way would be to use short tags with tasks. If you just use tags, then you don’t have ability to describe something in detail. To some extent you can use the language of nested tags, but obviously you have to do very repetitive things to such language being useful and effective. The opposite is true as well, meaning that tags can help you to do something consistently.

Relevant feature request: Note Combination


@holroy Thank you, this appears to be a perfect solution. I will research the “theme” function, as it is new to me. I am curious about the verbs “train,” “go,” etc. Why are they bold? Is that part of Obsidian syntax?

As far as the text string “- [I] (theme::”, does Obsidian have a way to automate that, instead of having to type it each time? Or do I do that at the system level?

Again, thank you for nailing my use case, and the detailed/illustrated explanation. ~Bill A.

You can use Templates core plugin to manage and input templates. To add/remove/edit templates you just make or open a note to/from corresponding folder, typically in myVault/templates.

By default you get this command: Templates: Insert template which you can then assign to any keyboard shortcut like cmd/ctrl + s / d / 1 or Left-Alt + s / d / 1. Usually accessing this pop-up-menu is enough to input your template, but you should use QuickAdd community plugin to get automatic note generation from template with automatic naming. The process of automatic note creation is by nature very customizable thing so it’s almost unexpected that we ever see any official features tackling this. Unfortunately QuickAdd doesn’t offer ribbon icon but you can access the Templates core plugin from the ribbon if you prefer to use the above keyboard shortcuts for something more useful.

theme is just a randomly chosen field name, it could be (almost) whatever you want to use.

For typing it in I usually do it manually, but various plugins can help/aid you in that. Like the QuickAdd plugin.

In not sure why those words are bold in your case…

About using key-value-fields to describe inline-metadata: usually this is not needed because you can achieve great accuracy with using multiple tags and nested tags. If you need best possible accuracy to describe inline-metadata, then you can use this 3-level organization method:

  1. original source note that contains link to 2
  2. your separate note that you use to describe things in 1, this note can utilize properties as usual
  3. your note in 2 can have outgoing and ingoing links to “level 3” notes which makes it very powerful organization tool

@holroy preliminary tests show that your code works well, though I’m stumped by a mystery.
I added the string - [I] (theme:: Bach Sonata) to several notes. Then I went back to the display document and the display was fine. But when I went back to the the source notes a second time the string had disappeared, for no apparent reason. This happened more than once, so I’m wondering what could be going on. Close but no cigar!!

That sounds just strange, and I’ve never experienced anything like that. Do you have more details?

This topic was automatically closed 7 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.