User since October - Out of the Loop on note-taking and features

Hello everyone! I wanted to ask on features I’m missing out on, specifically ones like how to use the graph system, canvas, the new card arrangement, etc. I realize the former is an older feature, but would rather address it on this topic rather than on duplicates.

The majority of this topic deals with how to handle Logistics first (since I know next to no one to advise me on it), then inquiring about which of the available features that can improve my note-taking and how each does so.

Things I have tried

Graph Logic Processing Issue

I have sorted my vault in the following order. This is mockup of what it is, with altered names for the sake of privacy.

So far I don’t see any reason to change this from what it is. It’s accessible and easy to digest, perfect for me. However, I believe the graph view is powerful enough to grant further optimized accessibility if handled well

As can be seen here, the connections are quite weak, and I intended to strengthen them somehow.

Black Vault

I’ve been looking forward to making a sort of vault that’s private and hard to access from strangers. I’ve looked into a thread about this and the solutions were to typically encrypt the files/folders through a third party software, which seemed too tedious to look for.
What I’ve tried to is put the vault in a different flash drive I’ve added a bitlocker to, but I’m apprehensive to allow access to Obsidian in case it compromises OPsec somehow. I’d like to hear suggestions on this and assurance if I’m being needlessly paranoid or not.

File Organization (Lower Priority)

Multimedia are an essential part of my note-taking. I also find myself using a large amount on whim to better format my note for future use. This is how I’ve been organizing my media so far (redactions in place over personally sensitive filenames).

The issue I have with this is if I’m looking for a specific file quickly without having to look for it in several notes, especially if the notes in question are private and would rather not let people see it first-hand.

As the picture shows above, I’ve simply put them on a file dump folder as to not clutter the vault. Two simple solutions come to mind: as far as I’m aware, you can simply name each filename to categorize them alphabetically, such as workouts - db shrugs.png, for instance; the other is to make a dedicated file dump folder for each main folder, so for workouts it would have all gifs and such for it, art stuff in a dedicated folder, etc.
Both methods I’d rather not use, for how tedious it becomes which then makes me refrain from organizing, making it progressively harder to engage with the program altogether. If it’s too late to request an easier solutions, then I’ll have to put up with it just fine. Again, as file explorer suggests, I’d rather not put up with the chore.

What I’m trying to do

Graph Logic Proccesing Issue

I didn’t quite understand the workflow of it, so I’ve only used it for 3-4 times in the span of months, last time just happened to be two days ago but was quite apprehensive about it. It’s not a technical problem, but I personally request a simple explanation on how to specifically use it. In other words, I’ve failed to properly learn this feature…

Black Vault

I’d like to hear your suggestions for programs I can quickly apply encryption on folders/files on, and lock/unlock my “Black” vault when I need to. I’d like to hear suggestions on this and assurance if I’m being needlessly paranoid or not.

File Organization

As stated above, I simply would like to hear the available options for file organizations so I’d be better informed on how to manage them as I please.


I’m trying to open my way into using more of Obsidian’s features to my advantage, but I don’t know where best to start integrating them after having used the program for months and built my note-taking on current methods - ones I don’t find optimal any longer.

Hopefully I’ve formatted the topic in a readable, non-intrusive manner. I tend to shy away from major social medias like reddit and such, and I find forums to be a powerful tool for cohesive communities is why I chose to join and discuss this topic. I’m not sure if help topic is appropriate as well, so please inform me to change it or feel free to change it appropriately if you’re a moderator.

Thank you in advance.

I’ve been wanting to answer this for a little while, but it’s a little hard to answer, since it’s so broad, and maybe I’m the “wrong” kind of user. Especially since I don’t use the canvas, as I’ve not seen any reason why related to how I use Obsidian.

Regarding graphs, it’s also somewhat of a mystery how to use it efficiently, and for what purpose. I’m just having a rather small vault, (or two small vaults, one personal and one for forum questions and tests). But even with only a few hundred notes and my current form of marking articles with folders, field and tags, the graph view is so cluttered that I don’t really use it that much. Cards, I’m gettting ready to use since I’m venturing into doing more reviews and references of books and videos.

Oh well, lets still carry on and try to answer some of your other questions:

Music list

I’m heavily enjoying lists and queries lifting information from other places. As such, I’m all about dynamic lists, and not static lists, which it seems like your music wish list, and potentially all of the lists within the starred contexts are. Here I would kind of consider making lists with more information within the list item, allowing for different queries to be executed.

Imagine a music item looking like this:

- (artist:: ABBA) - (title:: ABBA Gold, greatest hits) ((year:: 1992)), [stars:: 3.5]

Which out of the box would look like:


But this markup would still allow for dynamic queries looking for a given artist, from given years, for items above or at a given star rating and so on. A plethora of options arises, they could also be made into music libraries (using card(?) ).

Graph view

The main use I’ve had for the graph view is to help me localise non-existing nodes and orphans. I made some special CSS to enhance those, so that they would stand out a little more. Other than that, I’m not the guy to endorse the graph view… My notes are way to interconnected, so that it’s mostly a big blob of nothing really useful.

Black vault

From whom do you want to make it private? Family? Co-workers? Random strangers stealing your computer? Yourself?

Someone asked a question related to how to secure Obsidian on a phone, and I answered that I’ve left it at the level of the security that my phone provides. If I want I can leave my phone open, and it would leave access to Obsidian open. If I want I could have fingerprints and/or passcodes and what-not, and the vault would only be accessible by those penetrating those outer fences.

The same applies to a desktop vault. If your desktop is readily available for a lot of people, then your vault is that as well. To secure it I would rather limit the access to my desktop instead of internal Obsidian security. Remember that Obsidian by default just stores and handles files, so if they’ve got access to your desktop, they’ve also got access to your files.

Yes, something like bitlocker or encryption could theoretically work, but in combination with an auto-save system like Obsidian, it feels a little strange and prone to computational issues related to your desktop more or less continuously encrypting/decrypting stuff. So I’d say related to others, I would rather secure the desktop in general.

You also mention “compromise OPsec”, and whether Obsidian in itself would do that. Yes, it’s possible that a plugin could misbehave and potentially do that, I guess, but I don’t see as very likely. But that’s me. There are some measurements before a plugin is made available to the public, but I don’t think (please correct me if I’m wrong) that security concerns are the main focus of those processes.

One lowkey aspect related to having a black vault is to use the ignored files and folders. I use this to “hide” my meta data related to the vault, stuff like templates, scripts, notes describing the vault from a meta data point of view. This means that all of the pre-mentioned stuff doesn’t pop up when I do general searches and queries.

To me, that’s about the extent I’ve done of “hiding” access to parts of my vault. Is it very secure? No. Is it good enough for me? Yes, since my main focus is to get the focus on the “real” content of my vault.

File Organization (Lower Priority)

The latter point of previous section partly covers some organisational aspect as well, since it allows for images or private notes to hidden away in private folders.

I’m not heavily relying upon imagery in my vault, so for me I’ve opted to have all of them stored somewhat on the side of the vault, so that it doesn’t clutter up the file explorer. I kind of like having just the notes seen in my file explorer.

Another option, to achieve some of the same, would be to have dedicated attachments folders either within each folder, or potentially within each main group of folders. Then you would need to go into that folder to see them, and otherwise you’ll see the image when you link to them.

Images (and attachments) are easily linked from wherever, anyhow. With the slight exception of those hidden in excludes files and folders, which only show up for more specific searches (or when nothing else matches).

Another neat feature of Obsidian, is that if you use the file explorer to tidy up your attachments, then it’ll also tidy up (most of) your references to those attachments. So you don’t need to do it all today, or in one go. You could make the structure be organised as you see a need for it. Maybe you one day discover that this one event deserves its own folder, and then you make that a folder.

In summary, for me it comes down to allowing Obsidian to be a tool for how to you think and want to process stuff, and not becoming an organisational chore or forcing you into habits/workflows which as you state it would be making it progressively harder to engage with the program altogether.

Allow yourself some slack, see where the need for either more (or less) structure is needed, and work towards that in your time and speed. Don’t use a feature of Obsidian just because it exists. Use it because you’ve got a need for that feature, and it would simplify or better your experience with Obsidian in general.


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