Setups of people over 40?

Sorry for the clickbait. The reason is simple, I am over 40 and if you are too we likely have had similar experience in using digital tools in the past. DOS, Win 3.1, Lotus 123 etc.

Would you share your Obsidian setup? There are many great examples here and on YouTube. Study notes, research notes etc. But as I often thought in the past that the “older people wouldn’t begin to understand the latest software I’m using now” I think I may now be on the receiving end of this comment. Appreciate if anyone could share their screenshots or workflows.

BTW I plan to use it for art history knowledge.

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I changed the title to indicate that you’re looking to see people’s setups — a clear request is more likely to get responses. (For posterity: was “Anyone over 40?”).

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61 here. I use a lot of folders. One folder per project. Each folder has an index page, with links to documents contained in the folder, and notes on the project status. I don’t use tags much. I’m also starting to use ReadWise Reader to bring in highlighted and annotated articles, which will then be indexed with DevonThink; I’m a tech journalist hoping to generate article ideas.

Folders are future-proof. As you say, I’ve used a great many document management and note-taking tools, including Evernote and DevonThink, and going back to Zoot and Info Select on Windows. I don’t want to take the risk of my documents being unusable in the future.


52 here.

I use it as my daily driver. The daily page contains a list of all of my meetings for the day, and links to separate pages for those notes. I use the following for each note file name:


The date and datetime string are generated using templater. The notes are ALL put into the Journal/Notes directory. I then make liberal use of TAGS - so this not might have a tag like Work/Industry/Automotive. For key topics I then have a table of contents page that uses a dataview query to gather up all of the notes for that topic into a list - with the topic tag displayed.

I also embed the free version of Todoist for tasks - this is just easier for me to use mobile / laptop to manage tasks - and the free version is REALLY enough and embeds nicely into Obsidian either as an iframe or with a plugin.


Following up on my earlier post about folders: I think using a lot of folders may be an over-40 thing. I think maybe younger people are more likely to embrace tags and atomic notes with links.

I started to discuss this further here but then decided the subject might be more appropriate in its own topic.


For me the context drives the setup. So I’ve got two main vaults which are very different in their setup.

My test vault, which I use when answering request here on this forum, and other related forums (like github), I’ve got plenty of folder, as I use one folder for each request to help me contains files related to that request. There I’ve also got folder related to the various plugins and themes, to help focus any notes I’ve got related to that particular subject.

In my main vault, I started it ages ago using different tools, so it has kind of evolved over the years. Today, in Obsidian, the root folder is reserved for my personal wiki (of sorts) about a very random set of stuff I’ve found interesting to document at some point in time. I’ve also got some folders for all the non-wiki stuff:

  • People – Notes on “important” people in my life. One subfolder related to my family. People can also be tagged using #P/JohnDoe, and before I’m ready to write a note on them, they exists as just tags for a while.

  • Places and Organisations – I’ve opted to gather all notes on places and organisations within a folder, to keep them out of the wiki in the root folder. I’m also using a nested tag structure, with a first level of #SO (acronym in my native language, in english this would be #PP). Similar to people, “not-so-important” stuff could live on as just tags, before something triggers the need for an actual note

  • “Journal folders” – All at the root level, but they’re still kind of a group. Within all of these, I’ve got notes prefixed with (my custom format of) dates, before a descriptive title. They also have defined fields related to each of them, to help query and organise them in various contexts.

    What all of these have in common, is that the notes are more elusive by nature, but I still wanted to capture them into a note. I’ve also opted to prefix the folders to sort them at the end. This is something originally based on my more file based approach in older tools. I just kind of stuck with it over the years.

    • w Dreams and Prophecies
    • x References
    • y Flights
    • z Journal
      -<meta> – I’ve also got a meta data folder, which holds all of my “extra” stuff like templates, javascripts (in various versions), tools/notes related to get an overview of the overall state of my vault, images/attachments, Sandbox’s, and so on. This folder is by default excluded from all of my searches and queries, so as not to disturb/pollute them.

All in all, neither of my vaults are the largest vaults there is, and I don’t see how (or when) I’ll ever get up to vaults having tens of thousands of files. Maybe it that happens I would need to rethink my root folder based setup, but until then I’ll keep it like it is, and let the links point across the entire vault, but keep the actual files somewhat organised in folders.

I think the main thing to think about, is how do you think about the notes in your vault, and then let whatever structure you decide upon reflect those thoughts. And since the links don’t really care where the note lives, you can use folders, or fields, or tags, to help you create useful queries to organise across the vault.


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