Obsidian is a well-known note-taking application that provides a space for a little more than just note-taking. Obsidian uses AI, linked notes, and many more features that make this a really good app for writing, storing, organising and remembering notes.
What is Obsidian?
Locally stored tool for managing notes, ideas and thoughts - a fan favourite.
Obsidian is a note-taking application that stores your notes on your device. It uses military-grade encryption to always ensure your thoughts and ideas can never be read by anyone else. Not even the app itself.
You can use Obsidian for multiple use cases such as journaling, project and task management, and knowledge base creation. With the use of plugins and themes, you can create a workflow to suit the way your mind thinks and creates notes.
Use the Graph feature to see how tour ideas interconnect with each other, and to see how your notes build up your very own knowledge base. Lots of people use Obsidian as a second brain application for this reason. It's great for storing and organising notes you want to remember and retrieve.
Obsidian is way more complex than your average note-taking application, meaning it takes a little while to get used to how this space works. However just think of it as a place to dump and organise your thoughts to begin with, then over time you can learn how to better organise your workspace to work with you.
Key Features of Obsidian for Note-Taking
Now let's dive into the key features of Obsidian and what makes this app a great linked note-taking application.
Obsidian uses something called bi-directional linking. This means your notes can be linked to each other to create a graph of notes to support connecting thoughts and ideas.
Now, there are tons of shortcuts and little extra bits about Obsidian you will need to learn, especially when it comes to connecting notes with headers, words, links and so on.
For an example of linking a note to another note, you will need to use a double bracket like this - [[ *insert note* ]]. This helps create something called a backlink. Connecting notes backwards and forwards together. You want to link notes together to help build your knowledge base, so in the future when you search for something, all linked notes will appear, sparking ideas or furthering your learning.
Take a look at this article for how to use links inside Obsidian.
The Graph feature inside Obsidian is pretty cool. This shows you how your notes have been linked together to create thought patterns.
Not only does this look quite amazing, seeing all your thoughts and ideas connected together in this kind of graph, but it also helps you see how your notes link together and further helps you make sense of how you think, why you think this way and how you can improve your learning.
This graph shows different colours for different types of notes and organisation. Everyone's graph will be unique to them, which is also really interesting to see. Over time your graph will look better and better, kind of motivating you to use the application too.
Check out this timeline of someone creating their Obsidian graph through linked notes.
The Canvas space inside Obsidian provides an unlimited workspace for brainstorming ideas including images, websites, media and more.
Visually organise your notes inside the unlimited canvas space in Obsidian. This allows you to add things like web pages, images, videos, links and more to work on a project, to study or just to create anything you like.
Canvas views can be embedded with notes, you can add existing notes to your canvas too from your vault of saved and linked notes. Essentially Canvas provides a flexible space for adding plugins and uses API so you can really create a workspace that works for you. You can take a look here to read more about the Canvas feature in Obsidian and how it works.
Obsidian uses open API so you can really create an application that works for the way your mind works when it comes to taking notes, writing down your thoughts, and connecting ideas.
An example plugin is a calendar. You may want to include a calendar to help with daily planning and task management. Of course, there are so many more plugins you can choose from to create an application to suit your own individual needs.
The final feature we will mention in this guide is the ability to publish your notes online as a wiki or public knowledge base.
Many people publish their Obsidian notes online to help others with learning, studying topics and how to use the application itself.
With Publish you can create your own Obsidian for around $8 per month, this helps your readers explore your ideas and way of thinking, good for those who enjoy expanding on ideas and teaching others with their learnt knowledge. The method of publishing is almost seamless once you figure it out, and you can also collaborate with your team on published posts.
3 Alternatives to Obsidian for Note-Taking
If you like the sound of Obsidian but would like to explore more options, there are a few Obsidisan alternatives you could take a look at.
Alternative #1: Logseq
Advanced PKM note-takers
Type of Tool
Logseq is a knowledge management tool that combines the features of a personal wiki and a note-taking application.
It allows users to create and organise their thoughts, ideas, and information in a hierarchical structure with bidirectional linking, making it easy to connect and navigate between related concepts.
Alternative #2: Reflect Notes
Easy-to-use, well-designed networked thought tool growing in popularity.
Reflect Notes is another good note-taking application that allows you to capture and organise your thoughts, ideas and tasks in one place.
It provides a simple-to-use interface, making it a manageable space for your notes. You can organise notes using tags, search and review notes using the search function and set reminders for tasks.
Alternative #3: Roam Research
Built for networked thought for connecting ideas, taking notes and thoughts.
Advanced PKM Note-Takers
Type of Tool
Roam Research is a note-taking and knowledge management tool designed to support the process of interconnected thinking.
It offers a unique approach called "Roam's graph," which allows users to create and link notes in a non-linear manner. This bidirectional linking enables users to make connections between related ideas, creating a web-like structure of knowledge.
- What is Obsidian?
- Key Features of Obsidian for Note-Taking
- 3 Alternatives to Obsidian for Note-Taking
- Alternative #1: Logseq
- Alternative #2: Reflect Notes
- Alternative #3: Roam Research
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