Super FR: Visual/Spatial Note Taking - Whiteboard - Mind Map - Concept Map

legendapp, xtiles, and wallingapp all have a kind of card based thing going on, and I could see Obsidian having a canvas view where you could work with notes like this.

1 Like

I personally would use that canvas as a post-it, kanban, timeline, topic organization view. In addition of placing and connecting notes on it i really hope we can do simple things like draw lines/areas in the background to also have some visual partition. It can then replace a lot of plugins.


Has nobody tried to use Excalidraw as a corkboard for notes?

I have tried it and found it not to be totally satisfactory. Maybe if Excalidraw is optimised to serve this function then the outcome will be better.

I have found it helps if you follow the atomic notes principle religiously. Then the size of the embedded notes is post it size and you can see the complete note in a glance. Add to this all the other functionality that Excalidraw provides - commenting, drawing relationship lines etc.

The disappointing part is that Excalidraw does not allow easy wiki linking of notes. Also, the links are not styled by the Supercharged links plugin.

I wonder if I set the background color of a note will it be reflected in the embedded note within an Excalidraw drawing?


Yeah, there’s a busy trend in this mind mapping, cork board, visualization space right now as it relates to PKM.

I mentioned Scrivener above, but have to qualify its use there; it shreds an existing hierarchical outline (the table of contents of a book). That is a use case for cork board functionality in Obsidian although I’m not sure how we’d create the toc that would bind it. It is the single biggest factor that keeps me crafting longform in Scrivener and I have no problem with that. I craft a missive in Scrivener but research and ponder it in Obsidian. Separation is good, for me; the former is focus, the latter is free range.

Where I see this useful for me in Obsidian is the use case when I’m in pondering mode with notes, making connections and enriching with my own thoughts. I would like the ability to toss these notes (some of them may not be linked) onto a surface. Maybe show a sidebar that shows links (incoming and outgoing), tags, maybe folders & mentions. We can do that now with panes, tabs, and windows, but being able to persist a cork board and use it as a workspace for a given domain under scrutiny, showing relationships, and being able to interact with the contained notes is something I fantasize about.

Excitement builds …


Yes, I'm getting close to ready :)

— Dharam Kapila (@DharamKapila) September 21, 2022

I thought the longform plugin was going to solve the “longform” problem, which is basically manuscript management. Scrivener like. It hasn’t fully developed that way.

The local graph view can be helpful if you use links to organize a work, but the graph has a mind of it’s own. If it was possible to pin nodes in place it could be more functional as a cork board.

I mentioned the Xtiles card view thing, because more than anything Obsidian needs to maintain the plain text file simplicity. So each card would be a note tossed on the surface. Not a surface view of a note’s content like the kanban plugin. Probably would need some view options, like file name only, first 200 characters, whole note, folded up headings. Something to help keep the board cleaner, more manageable, and make room.

Also if it can function as an infinite canvas as heptabase seems to do than that leads to the ability to “fold the map”.

Map folding meaning you don’t have to see the whole thing at once, just what is relevant to your local area and open it up as you get to the edges, because when you are on the ground you can’t see your final destination, you can only see reference points in your field of vision. So you pick a real physical reference point, mark it on the map and get moving, then repeat. I don’t suppose people do orienteering anymore but that was a thing. Anyway, the map folding metaphor clicked with me the first time I heard it. It’s a way of managing information overload, concentration/distraction, direction, decision making.

It doesn’t get in the way of pondering because at any time you can unfold the map entirely, big picture, and rethink.


Now there is what it seems to be the official name with a description of the plugin!


I just discovered a free alternative to anyone who wants to or who uses Scrivner. It is called Wavemaker:

and some YouTube videos:


Muse App Team launched a really nice website that shows infinite canvas apps and their history.

Really excited for this, infinite canvas based on md files… Rendering awesome community plugins… Hope to see Obsidian on the list soon.


That is an extraordinary list of very nice tools that do many great things. The visualization space around PKM is getting confusing and fuzzy. Am sorta glad that hibernation time is upon me…

Heptabase just announced an integration to Readwise. On the surface that is great - I have a lot of unlinked highlights in Readwise and the idea of tossing them on a whiteboard in Heptabase is cool…

However, all my linked highlights, thoughts, and personal time reside in Obsidian. The thought of creating links in another environment(s) is a wasteful duplicity. And I see that Reader has a new undeveloped command called “Links”. Sigh…

The race in the PKM space means alot of churn. I grow weary of chasing new stuff and moving data to and fro; the chase reduces creative time.

I hold optimism that Obsidian will persist… I might not dwell on this topic until I awake in the spring and the visualization dust settles.


I assume that the plugins in development will address these needs, at least to some extent.
Heptabase will do it, but then doesn’t seem to be set up for an interactive relationship with the Obsidian vault(s).
Neither Heptabase nor Scrintal will export groups of notes, but I’m sure that will come with both.
Apart from that, Scrintal seems well set up to work with Obsidian format notes. And compatible syntax is the key to any interaction. I can take Scrintal exports and work with them with no tidying up - use of wikilinks won’t suit everyone, of course.

This would be enough for me to use Scrintal at points where I’d otherwise want to use a mindmap.

Wow this overview is gold! Loving it. I mentioned it somewhere before but I am convinced we will experience a new way of spatial thinking once our devices go 3D that was unthinkable before, but we will be asking ourselves how we could do without it. And here we are, experiencing the very early stages.

1 Like

Not exactly an infinite canvas but…

After the release of V1 the creation and movement of panes has been smooth and awesome. I’ve create a few multi-pane workspaces for planning, research, and writing on several projects. I’ve tried a plugin called drag-and-drop for block’s to easily move blocks between panes, but it’s not working the last few days.

I don’t know how the canvas feature will be implemented, but if we had integrated smooth drag and drop of blocks between notes, and more robust workspace management we would have a workflow akin to xtiles or walling, just without the panes being in a card view. What is nice about multi-pane in Obsidian is the option to have multiple tabs as well.

This is the sandbox vault, but I’m showing the layout I ended up with for a 7 pane research workspace.

Edited post to add my inspiration to thinking panes might work better than a whiteboard for me was this video of xtiles vs whiteboard.


One thing that’s attractive about Miro is its aesthetics, it is very well designed. Although Microsoft Canvas is a free tool for Windows users, I still can’t move on from Miro.

Thanks for sharing this. At first sight, this looks brilliant.

The idea behind is just brilliant.

  1. Create plain txt notes
  2. Drag drop them into the whiteboard
  3. Move and connect these however you see fit
  4. Save the file as HTML
  5. When you have more related info drag the HTML file into the whiteboard and add the related info either directly in the app or by drag dropping txt files.
  6. Save again as HTML
  7. Reiterate

Sure there are many rough edges but this seems like a brilliant model to emulate and build on top of it.


The closest thing to my vision for ultimate infinite board/concept map is heptabase and software ideas modeler(
There’s also some neat note taking/concept map app from Russia called knowflow KnowFlow. Unfortunately all of their servers are in Russia and they have not made any update since 2020, so using it probably will be risky.
Trilium notes also have mapping/diagram system which imo is better than native obsidian, but it’s not that good compared to heptabase.

For infinite boards for textbook annotation, I think noone could beat marginnotes, although I never used it I could tell how useful it is.

Long-long ago there also exists a topic maps movement(The TAO of Topic Maps) that promotes the implementation of topic maps for knowledge management. But I guess the movement is already dead, or at least have gone through research winter. Until now I haven’t found a single topic maps software that could be easily used by common people.

Infranodus( has many intriguing ideas for text visualizations, but unfortunately it fell short when faced with pictures/irregular texts.

Freeplane is surprisingly quite good for concept mapping/infinite board, but it’s weird node cloning features makes it not an attractive option for me.

You could use fibery for infinite board, but imo it would be overkill and not worth the effort to learn how to use it.

xmind/mindmeister/Ioctopus/mindmaple/mindomo/mindnode/mindmanager/…almost all of existing mindmapping software: Super meh, sometimes I wonder how could someone looked at existing market for mindmap software and thought it would be a good idea to release the same c**p.

Thinkcomposer: Have some interesting ideas, but its dev quitted long time ago, and the software is outdated and buggy.

Visual Understanding Environment(VUE): No need to concern yourself with this, obsidian + excalidraw is better.

Compendium(Compendium Institute): Could’ve been something special if more people interested in maintaining/developing it.

Tiddlymap: Not recommended for non-tiddlywiki users

Flying logic: Too complicated

Southbeach Modeller: Too complicated


In my opinion, good digital whiteboard should’ve at least four features:

  1. Decent annotations: Good annotation for pdf is a must.
  2. Separation of views. Good digital whiteboard should allow conflicting new arrangement of thought, without destroying the existing arrangements.
  3. Ability to embed/transclude and interact with a whiteboard from another whiteboard.
  4. Ability to draw hypergraph

This is implemented in v1.1. If you have any further suggestions regarding Canvas, please search/open a separate FR and follow the FR template.


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