From Google Docs to Obsidian

Why did I stop taking notes in Google Docs and switched to Obsidian


YouTube video

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What is Obsidian

  • It’s a note taking app, or as they call it, a “writing app” link to their website
  • Obsidian is available to download and install on
    • macOS
    • Linux
    • Windows
    • Android
    • iOS


  • Be careful when switching to obsidian because you will spend days, weeks, or like in my case even months setting it up perfectly, finding the best plugins, setting up templates to take your daily notes and in the end, after a couple of weeks, you will end up dropping everything and use it for what it is, a note taking app
  • Don’t invest a lot of time watching countless tuturials. Don’t end up in the zettelkasten rabbit hole because you’ll end up really confused and spend a lot of time, just start taking your notes in a way that works for you
    • Personally, all my notes are technical documents, so I use big files
    • I probably should switch to the zettelkasten method, but it’s not something I want to invest time right now, because i know it will take me months

Reasons to switch to Obsidian

    1. Google docs take a long time to load, if you have big files that contain a lot of images, good luck
    1. If you want to perform a general search in your main notes directory for specific words, you wont find all the results when using the “search” option in Google Drive
    1. You need to have internet access to get to your notes, in Obsidian your files are stored locally but you can still back them up, I have mine in github
      • Yes, you can use the Google Docs Offline Chrome extension extension, but not a good experience
      • In the video I show you the Git community plugin that automatically syncs my notes
    1. Files are saved as markdown files .md, so I can open and edit them in any text editor, not only obsidian, but even in my terminal with neovim, vim or even the TextEdit app (notepad)
      • Markdown is a lightweight markup language that you can use to add formatting elements to plaintext text documents
      • In google docs, files are saved with the .gdoc extension and if you double click them they will be opened in your browser, you can also download them using the Microsoft Word .docx extension
      • Do you really want to manage your notes using the cluttered unintuitive distracting and slow Microsoft Word application?
      • Even if you use open source software like “LibreOffice” you’ll encounter formatting issues
      • Some documents look good in Microsoft Office but when you open them in LibreOffice they don’t look the same, or vice versa
    1. Codeblocks support since using markdown files
    1. I can upload my images to my Imgur account or store them locally
      • Demo on the video on how images are uploaded to imgur
    1. Vim motions

Mobile app

  • There’s a free Obsidian Mobile app, but if you want to have your files synced you have to pay for Obsidian Sync
  • I’m not exactly sure, I don’t use it on my Mobile
  • But if I need to read a note, I do it on the github mobile app, because I upload my notes to a PRIVATE github repo



0:00 - What is Obsidian
0:21 - Qick Obsidian overview
0:46 - Dont go down tutorial, plugin and zettelkasten rabbit holes
1:55 - Reason 1 load times
3:03 - Reason 2 searches
4:21 - Reason 3 offline access
4:37 - Sync obsidian repo to github
5:26 - Reason 4 markdown format and directory structure
8:12 - Reason 5 codeblocks
9:28 - Reason 6 images locally or in imgur
10:47 - Reason 7 vim motions
11:04 - Mobile app and obsidian sync
12:15 - RECOMMENDATION macOS sketchybar 12:29
12:36 - RECOMMENDATION karabiner-elements 13:00
13:01 - Migrate only what you need
13:39 - Graph view
13:00 - Calendar, daily notes
14:19 - Link notes
This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.