Using Blocks in Obsidian as a Roam Refugee

Hello! I’m new around here, though I’ve used Obsidian for a few weeks and bought a Catalyst license. Great app, loving the progress that’s being made, but could use a little help. Below I’ve got some context, and then the actual question.

High level context:

I’m a Roam refugee; Roam’s workflow fit me super well (but I hated using it). Here’s how I use it:

  • Roam opens a daily note, and just start there. Frictionless, but for the crappy browser integration. I’m good here on Obsidian.
  • I start taking notes, using brackets to organize. So, each of my clients/projects gets a page, with their name surrounded by brackets.
  • If I need to pull notes from a previous day, it’s easy to embed them in that daily note using Roam’s embed method. I love the fact that I write in that embedded block and have that be updated everywhere it appears.
  • When I’m on a call or meeting, I go to the page of the project/client, where all of my notes appear.

The question:

I know I can’t recreate that flow 100% in Obsidian, at least not yet, and that’s ok, but one thing I think I just don’t understand is embedding.

I set up a quick example. I’ve got some quick example content here: Dropbox - Screen Shot 2021-05-16 at 9.13.58 AM.png - Simplify your life.

And then my example daily note: Dropbox - Screen Shot 2021-05-16 at 9.13.28 AM.png - Simplify your life.

In that daily note, I’ve embeded the DeLorean header, but why doesn’t the DeLorean content from the Example Content note come with it?

I’m also confused about the Farm reference; the bullets are definitely content that falls under that header, but I don’t understand why the bullets don’t come with when I embed.

Am I just not understanding how blocks in Obsidian work, or missing some sort of obvious command? I’ve searched a number of times and read through various help docs.

Maybe I just need to be told this isn’t how it works in Obsidian? If so, any suggestions for workarounds would be appreciated.

Than you in advance for the help!

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I was curious about this as well and have done a bit of research. Basically, “A “block” can be a paragraph, a blockquote, a list item, etc. In general, anything that has empty lines before and after is a block.”

This means, you were creating a “block” that was only a heading. In fact, it seems to me you don’t need Obsidian’s block references at all, you just need to use the “heading” reference, as described by Ryan here, because this type of reference grabs the heading and all of the content under it until the next heading

If you’d like to try and create multi-paragraph blocks without headings, here’s another approach.

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Derek, I admit I don’t totally know what I was doing incorrectly, but following the example you linked to there got me headed in the right direction. Thank you so much.

The one that is still not quite working for me is noted in the screenshot here: Dropbox - Screen Shot 2021-05-16 at 3.36.22 PM.png - Simplify your life.

I see that Obsidian is placing the reference to the block after the first line; to help troubleshoot, here’s a screenshot of what I’m doing when referencing after deleting and starting over: Dropbox - Screen Shot 2021-05-16 at 3.39.50 PM.png - Simplify your life.

Any insight is appreciated, though I seem to be cooking with gas now. Thank you!

I think you need to manually put the block reference on a blank line after the entire list. You can just cut/paste it, or make a new one–they’re just random strings so if you want to reference it you could make one more memorable. I’m not sure how this works with the block selector helper menu: check out this thread for some discussion on that

Thanks again, Derek. I’ll dig into that thread; hopefully, manually adding references isn’t the long term solution. In any case, I’m headed in the right direction now, so thank you very much!

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