Splitting and using tags in two sets, ESSENTIAL & ADDITIONAL: good, bad, how?


thanks for helping me to understand if the following way to solve a problem I have is the right one, or not, and how to actually implement it.

Details: I have a folder of ~2K “source notes” that collectively have over 1000 tags.

In my work, I need Obsidian also to see, group, filter, compare, merge, search those source notes… only on ~5/6% of those tags (the ESSENTIAL ones, stuff like “digitalDivide”, “Education”…)

All the other tags are ADDITIONAL information that is actually needed maybe once per trimester (e.g. “france” to know WHERE something happened), but clutter too much the graph view and everything else.

So I badly need to take the additional tags out of sight, but keep the possibility to also see/filter on them.

Now, I know how to separate the two sets in all notes automatically with Perl, that is rewriting all the frontmatters with a new property, from

tags: [digitalDivide, france, OTHER TAGS]


tags:[digitalDivide, OTHER ESSENTIAL TAGS]
additional: [france, OTHER ADDITIONAL TAGS]

my real problem/question is, I am not sure this IS the way to get what I need. Is it, or are there better ways, e.g. moving all the ESSENTIAL tags from frontmatter to internal links like [[digitalDIVIDE] at the end of each post, or something else entirely? Thoughts? Similar experiences?

I would also welcome pointers/tips on how to work after reformatting the notes, that is how to see, filter, etc. both on the “tags” and on the “additional” properties, but that is a separate issue.


Obsidian has a tag hierarchy feature, so maybe you could hide the non essential ones in folders, for instance #location/France. You could keep the important ones at the root.

Hi David,

if I understand your suggestion, in my case it would be enough to dump ALL the additional tags under just ONE top category called e.g “extra”, that is change all the frontmatters from this, where the essential tags are uppercase just for clarity:

tags: [DIGITALDIVIDE, EDUCATION, france, othertag, anothertag]

to this

tags:[DIGITALDIVIDE, EDUCATION, extra/france, extra/othertag, extra/anothertag]

because I don’t need a “location” tag per-se, only some trick to hide additional tags by default. Did I understand you correctly? Also:

  1. wouldn’t the “extra” top tag still appears in graphs, cluttering them? How would I filter it out by default in all graph views?
  2. would this approach have advantages/disadvantages wrt automatically appending the [[DIGITALDIVIDE] links to each note, or other approaches (which ones?)

Point 2 above is the real issue. I started talking of tags because the information I need to reorganize, see, hide… is all in tags RIGHT NOW. But maybe it does not have to stay that way.

In a sense, my problem here is not how to actually implement a strategy (i.e. automatically edit notes, reconfigure Obsidian…), as much as having little or no idea of what the right kind of strategy would be, to work as I need to work…

If these are tags to be searched, for example with dataviw or the search engine, you can use hidden pseudo tags for those secondary tags, for example, there are many notes that do not have a “#” tag but have a category in properties that is easy to track by dataviw or the search engine such as “type:”

That way I can search for notes with tag…

You can even add hidden fields in annotations:


which is usually easy to track and does not appear on labels either.