Outliners vs Writers for notes

In this video, there is a section about outliners vs writers that starts at 4:12. The main points of the author of the video are:

  • Outliners are great to take notes (during a lecture, while watching a video, etc) and have their use case
  • But in the end, people want to write; outlined notes would disappear in favor of notes written in prose

I was taking notes (of content I consume but also the thoughts I produce) using full sentences for a little while, until I switched to outlining my notes and ideas. Based on my personal experience, outlined notes are faster to take and easier to review. Faster to take because you don’t need to think how you phrase content, and easier to review because only the important points should be present and there should not be much noise.

The only reason I can think of why one would want to write in prose in Obsidian is if you publish content directly from Obsidian. Publishing outlines does not make much sense to me. At least compared with full sentences.

I am curious in what others think about all this. Do you also prefer outlines? If you take notes using full-sentences, what advantages do you see over using outlines? Did I miss something in the above?

Open discussions, I’m looking forward to reading from you all :slightly_smiling_face:


I outline mostly in phrases. When I review and flesh the outline out, I use more complete thoughts, often in sentences. This lends my reviewed and “processed” notes to be in more of a prose format.

The prose format provides more context and clearer thoughts and concepts than my bullet-pointed notes.

Most definitely driven by what I’m taking notes on, the kind of information I’m noting, and what I want to get out of it.


I tend to write in full sentences if what I’m doing will eventually be shared with someone else or otherwise needs some context, like strategy docs, tutorials, and postmortems.

I write outlines for notes that are just for my reference or that I might need to expand on later. For example:

  • Personal development goals: Context needed after consideration/review.
  • Wish lists from my nephews: No context needed.
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Outliners help if you want to do block linking as each level has a hierarchy and can carry attributes from the higher level. Of course for long for writing, writers will always score higher. Outliners provide greater opportunities for deep linking. Therefore writing in Roam and Obsidian are very different experiences.