Trying to share a folder between two different vaults using Google Drive; it works and then it stops


Here’s what I’m trying to do. I have an obsidian vault on my personal Macbook, and a separate Obsidian vault on my work Macbook. So far I’ve been keeping them totally separate: on one hand to keep company proprietary info on the company machine only, and on the other hand to keep private personal stuff on the personal machine only.

But there’s a subset of stuff that’s neither overtly private, nor company proprietary, which I want to have in both vaults. So my goal is to have a folder that’s present within both vaults and is synced between the two vaults.


I’ve actually been able to get this working with Google Drive on both machines and folder sharing. But when I refresh the vault on the machine that receives the shared folder, the folder disappears from Obsidian File Explorer.

Detailed recreation steps:

  1. On MachineAlpha (my personal Macbook), within my local Google Drive folder (which gets synced to the cloud for my personal Google account GoogleAccountAlpha), I create VaultAlpha
  2. On MachineBeta (my work Macbook), within my local Google Drive folder (which gets synced to the cloud and is associated with my work Google account GoogleAccountBeta), I create VaultBeta
  3. In Obsidian, VaultAlpha on MachineAlpha, I create SharedFolder
  4. At for GoogleAccountAlpha, I see SharedFolder and I edit its sharing settings, so that the folder is shared with GoogleAccountBeta
  5. At for GoogleAcountBeta, I go to the list of “Shared with me”. I find SharedFolder. I drag it into My Drive → VaultBeta

So far so good. Now each machine has a unique Vault, which is synced to a unique Google Drive account. And those vaults contain a shared folder, SharedFolder, which is synced across the two Google Drive accounts. I can see this reflected both in the directory system at for both Google accounts, and in Finder on both Macbooks. (On MachineAlpha, the SharedFolder is Kind: Folder; on MachineBeta, SharedFolder is Kind: Alias.)

Next, I go into Obsidian.

  1. On MachineBeta, bring Obsidian app opened to VaultBeta from background to foreground.
  2. In the Obsidian File Explorer pane, do I see a folder within this vault called SharedFolder? Yes! It magically appeared!
  3. I create and edit notes within SharedFolder from MachineBeta. Do those notes and their edits appear in SharedFolder on MachineAlpha? Yes! It syncs beautifully!
  4. I do it the other way – creating notes in SharedFolder on MachineAlpha. Do they show up on MachineBeta? Yes! It syncs beautifully in both directions!

So everything is great. This is exactly what I want. I’m done. Don’t change a thing.


  1. While looking at VaultBeta in Obsidian on MachineBeta, I hit command R to refresh the vault.
  2. Suddenly the SharedFolder disappears from the Obsidian File Explorer list (still talking about VaultBeta on MachineBeta), along with all the notes it contains. What happened?
  3. If I go to Finder (still on MachineBeta), and look within VaultBeta folder, do I see SharedFolder? Yes! Does it contain all the notes it should? Yes! (What kind of folder? It’s still Kind: Alias.)

So it’s there in Finder and nothing appears to have changed. But in Obsidian, the folder is gone and I can’t get it to come back.

I’ve repeated these steps a number of times and each time the SharedFolder disappears from the File Explorer list when I refresh the vault.

Anyone know what could be happening and how to get around it?

It’s possible that this whole machinery that you setup is implemented with some underliing Symbolic Links in the file system which we don’t support.

(Aside from cache incoherence and the wikilink name clashs/unsync you are exposing yourself to)

Also welcome & appreciated:

  1. Other ideas on how to achieve the goal of sharing subsets of the graph between two vaults, and
  2. pointers to related discussions. (Eg, Obsidian Chat
    “I do think there’re incredible opportunities for collaborative knowledge bases and that plugins that enhance the “social” aspects of this will be essential in making them a reality!” -@ryanjamurphy)