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Dive Into PKM With Obsidian

Photo by Mostafa Ashraf Mostafa on Unsplash

Personal knowledge management (PKM) software is a type of software that helps you capture, organize, and retrieve information. This can include tools for taking notes, creating outlines, storing documents or web pages, and overall, searching and retrieving information. The goal of PKM software is to help you effectively manage the information.

If you’re looking for a powerful note-taking and knowledge-management tool, Obsidian is an excellent choice. It’s a powerful Markdown editor that allows you to create and store notes, and link them together. In this article, we’ll get through the installation and the basic setup of Obsidian on your computer.


You can download the Obsidian installer from the Obsidian website : The installer is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Once you’ve downloaded it, double-click it to begin the process.

The installer will guide you through the installation steps. You’ll be asked to accept the license agreement and then choose where you want to install Obsidian. Once you’ve made your choices, click “Install” to begin the installation.

Once the installation is complete, let’s open the app!

Create a new local vault

To create a new vault in Obsidian, follow these steps:

  1. Open Obsidian and click on the “File” menu.
  2. Select “New Vault” from the menu.
  3. Choose a location on your computer where you want to store the new vault.
  4. Click “Create” to create the new vault.

Once the new vault is created, you can start adding notes and organizing your information.

Create a new synced vault using Obsidian sync (optional)

Disclaimer: This process is totally optional and is interesting if you want to sync your vault with Obsidian for iPad for example. This is not required to use Obsidian on your computer.

To use Obsidian sync and create a synced vault, you will have to buy the option and create an Obsidian account on the Obsidian website : Obsidian Sync.

When your account is created and the sync option acquired, log into your account in Obsidian:

  1. Open the settings/About.
  2. Click Log in the the Account/Your Account section
  3. Enter your email and password, then click on the Login button

Once this is done, open the settings and activate Obsidian sync:

  1. Open the settings
  2. Go to Core plugins
  3. Enable the Sync with the on/off button

And create a remote synced vault:

  1. Open the settings
  2. Select Sync in the sidebar
  3. Click on “choose” next to Remote vault and click create a new vault
  4. Enter the name of the vault
  5. Choose a password for your vault to create end-to-end encryption for your vault and click create
  6. Now click on the connect button next to your created vault and enter the encryption password when prompted
  7. Click on Start syncing

You’re now ready to go.

Define your system

Creating your own note system in Obsidian is a process that must be tailored to your specific needs and preferences.

This is the core key that defines your system.

Here are some general steps you can follow to get started:

  1. Identify what kind of information you want to manage: documents, notes, research, websites, podcast notes, highlights, tweets …
  2. Decide what you want to produce with this information: do you want to write documents? Do you want to keep track of books or articles you read?
  3. Choose the tools you will need and use to collect and organize the information, such as a hierarchy, third-party apps like Readwise or Instapaper, and document management systems like Zotero or Devonthink, …
  4. Decide how you will categorize and tag the information, to get it easy to find later

Remember that creating a knowledge system in Obsidian is a personal process and it might take time to perfect, but with time you’ll find the system that works best for you.

The most important is to feel comfortable with your system. So don’t hesitate to upgrade it, it’s a living thing that must evolve with you.

To set up my personal documents hierarchy, I had a look at the PARA method created by Tiago Forte : The PARA Method: A Universal System for Organizing Digital Information – Forte Labs

This helped me a lot to create my main folder structure but there are other systems that could inspire you.

I also use:

  • Readwise to collect articles highlights
  • Readwise Reader as read later tool
  • Snipd to create highlights in podcasts

Write your notes with Markdown

Markdown is a lightweight markup language used to format plain text documents. It uses a simple syntax to format text as headings, lists, links, emphasis, and more.

To structure a document using markdown, you can use the following syntax:

  • Headings: start a line with one to six “#” characters to denote different levels of headings. E.g. “# Heading 1”, “## Heading 2”, “### Heading 3”, …
  • Lists: use asterisks (*) or hyphens (-) to create bullet points
  • Emphasis: use double asterisks (**) or underscores (_) to denote bold or italic text. E.g. “**bold text**“, “_italic text_”
  • Code: use backticks to denote inline code or triple backticks to denote code blocks. E.g. “code“, “code block

This is just a brief overview of Markdown syntax. There are many variations and extensions available, so it’s always a good idea to refer to a reference guide: i.e. Markdown Guide


In Obsidian, you can create links between notes by using the following syntax:

[[note name]]

Replace note name with the title of the note you want to link to. If the note you’re linking to doesn’t exist yet, Obsidian will automatically create a new note with that title when you click the link.

You can also create links to external websites by using the following syntax:

[display text](URL)

Replace display text with the text you want to show as the link and URL with the website address you want to link to.

For example, the following link would display “Google” and link to the Google website:



Journaling in Obsidian using daily notes is a great way to keep track of your thoughts, experiences, and ideas. Obsidian offers a native core plugin to handle daily journaling. Here are the steps you can follow to set it up:

  1. Create a new folder in your vault to store your daily journal entries. You can name it something like “Journal” or “Daily Notes”
  2. Open the settings
  3. In the Core plugin section, look for Daily notes and turn it on
  4. In the plugin options, choose a date format and select the folder you created in the daily note

You can start each day with a blank note but I would recommend using a template to get your daily notes up and running quickly and keep them consistent.

Remember that journaling is a personal process and it’s important to find a system that works for you. With time, you’ll see the benefits of journaling, such as gaining self-awareness and a sense of accomplishment.


Templates are an important part of any personal knowledge management (PKM) system. They allow users to quickly and easily organize their thoughts and ideas into a structured format. To illustrate, here are some template examples that I use on a daily basis.

The first lines of the document are the frontmatter.

I placed frontmatter properties on each template to use the Dataview plugin to create requests to display my notes. They are listed between the ---

Frontmatter must be the first information in the file to be handled properly.

I also use automated date insertion and formatting to populate this information when the template is applied to a file.

All other lines are the skeleton of the document that will be replicated when it will be created.

Daily notes template

date: {{date:D MMMM YYYY}}
tags: [journal]

# [[{{date-1d:YYYY-MM-DD dddd}}|«]] {{date:ddd D MMMM YYYY}} [[{{date+1d:YYYY-MM-DD dddd}}|»]]

## Daily Log

## Notes

## ToDo

## Brain dump

Note template: to create a note file

In this template, I added several tags. When creating the document, I will remove unused tags.

date: {{date:D MMMM YYYY}}
tags: [note, document, article, video, podcast, livre, siteweb, définition, app]

# {{title}}


## Notes

Meeting notes

date: {{date:D MMMM YYYY}}
tags: [réunion]

# {{title}}

## Meta
- Project :
- Participants :

>[!example] Subject

>[!info] Key points

## Notes

## Next steps
- Step1
	- Who:
	- When:
	- What:

>[!danger] References

Experiment and improve your system

Now it’s time to create your first note and to start to experiment. If you decide to change the organization of your file, modify your templates, or improve anything else, it’s totally fine.

As already said, it will take time to perfect, and the most important is that you feel comfortable when working with it.

Try to be consistent in the usage of your PKM, create links and keep going forward.

Let me know how it is going on with your new PKM in the comments!

What can you do to help me?

Please don’t hesitate to:

  • Like the article
  • Follow me
  • Leave a comment and express your opinion
  • Follow me on mastodon:

Happy journaling!


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I'm a french guy who likes technology, Apple, apps, gadgets and cats. I like to write about these passions, no-code and web development.
2 February 2023