Someone explain obsidian to me pls

this gonna make me seem really stupid, but this is a writing app right? can someone explain why you have to use codes? also i saw someone use the graph thing to connect their plot twists and such together to make their book more solidified? i don’t know how to describe it. can someone explain pls?

Hi @stardreamer welcome to the forum, I’ll have a go, this is what it means to me:

Yes, but it’s a lot more than just a writing app. I use it to pretty much document my entire life :crazy_face:

It has a Daily Journal, where I jot down everything I want to remember about that day. Those journal pages are accessible via the Calendar, by clicking on that date.

Then, I study various subjects, learning stuff. Everything I learn, all my notes, go in Obsidian. I do a lot of screenshots from website articles, they all go in Obsidian. There’s this concept called 2nd Brain, which is Obsidian, and Personal Knowledge Management, which is Obsidian again (because it stores all your files/notes in an interconnected way, like how your brain works).

So you can see it’s a massively flexible way of documenting lots of stuff in your life.

I sometimes use it instead of a word processor when I need to write something out, when I want to make other notes about the topic.

Each page, whether a Daily Journal or an individual note, are stored as a text file, but not a .txt file but as an .md file, although it looks the same. In other software such as Evernote, you store your various topics in Subject folders. However I never liked that because often a note might involve more than one subject. So tags are used, which I find much more flexible and useful, and all files go into one folder (except Daily journal page files which live in their own separate folder though).

There are various (theories) on how to store your files. I am very happy with them all in one folder.

Depending on your needs, it will grow. As I work on a subject, I’m mindful of how the current note might relate to other notes. In Obsidian it is easy to link two notes together, so they are ‘connected’.

Well I don’t use codes at all, assuming you mean coding. There are some advanced possibilities, but I don’t code. If you mean the Zettelkasten way of identifying each note, which is sort of a code, that’s an advanced technique. You don’t have to use any codes.

Honestly, I don’t really get the usefulness of the graph, so don’t use it. There are plenty of advanced users who benefit from it.

There are a lot of rather sophisticated note-taking apps, of which Obsidian is one. I guess they all speak to different needs. Obsidian is hugely flexible and can do so much it’s crazy. But if you don’t need all that stuff then you can ignore it.

Depending on what your needs are, if you study stuff and want to kind of create a huge organic ball of connected knowledge, kind of like how our brains work, then Obsidian might be for you. If you just need a simple note-taking app, it might be more than you need.

@stardreamer so does this make sense to you? What brought you to Obsidian in the first place, what kind of things would you use it for? :grin:


Smithy assumed you meant coding. I assume you mean some of the Markdown symbols you see.

Obsidian stores all of its data in plain text. And so to add formatting like bold, italics, quote blocks, programming code blocks, bullet lists, and other things, you use “Markdown”

This forum also uses Markdown. So if you surround text with **word** then you get word in bold. If you put a - something at the start you get a bullet list:

  • something

Like Smithy said, there is more “code” you can use that can do special things like create automatic lists and tables, or do a collection of repetitive steps all at once. But you don’t have to use any of that — especially not at first! :slight_smile:


This was probably Canvas:

The graph view is sort of similar but less practically useful:

You may be interested in PD Workman’s article about writing their novels in Markdown using Obsidian:

(There are of course other ways to use Obsidian to write, but they explain their way at length.)


Thanks Cawlin, that’s really useful for me :+1:

Regarding your question, “why do you have to use code”, Rigmarole answered your question in terms of the technical reason behind the code, and how it works. However, they didn’t answer the question, “why is it this way rather than some other way?”

I think the reason is that some people (not me) simply prefer to write and format their text this way, strange as it may seem at first. Why would anyone prefer this? Ultimately, I think some people are just used to it. But I think there’s also a sort of future-proofing philosophical reason, a kind of self-reliance ethos, like building your own log cabin. If you don’t format your text using code, then you’re relying on the software to do it for you behind the scenes. But then you become reliant on the software. It might make mistakes, or it might adopt its own idiosyncratic formatting scheme, and when you try to use your files in a different software, they won’t display correctly.

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