The Obsidian Vault Rebuild — Geeking Out on Folder Structures and the First Plugin — Excalidraw

Kara Monroe
10 min readOct 17, 2022
Photo by Garmin B on Unsplash

One of the brilliant things about Obsidian is that you can use a combination of files and folders. Folders in most applications are limiting to you. However, in Obsidian, they are simply organizers. You can search across your entire vault using attributes and tags (which we’ll talk about in future posts) and build powerful database-esque functionality right into your vault of what are simply plain text markdown files.

If you let all your files just exist as individual pages in your vault and don’t use any folders, you may find that your vault becomes very difficult to navigate through (unless you are EXPERT LEVEL at both linking and searching). Today, I’m going to share four approaches to file folders (at a very high level) and then walk through how I set up my vault using one of those four systems.

File System Method Option 1 — Organic

If you’ve never given much thought to your file system organization then you probably use an organic structure. I used an organic structure for far more years than I have used the methods I’ll talk about in the next few sections.

In an organic arrangement you might start with a folder for Work and a folder for Personal. Inside of each of those you might have folders for things like Work/Meetings, Work/Project A, Work/Committee B, etc. and in personal you might have folders for things like Personal/Spouse, Personal/Home, Personal/Medical, etc.

When you aren’t organizing many files and folders, this system works really well. However, the system can become challenging when life happens — say you change jobs and have a bunch of additional responsibilities or you are dealing with a chronic medical condition and have lots of different doctors to go to (do I make a folder by doctor or leave it all in medical?), etc. It can also become really unwieldy because you don’t necessarily want to have a folder by each and every topic in your life so then you have to group things. The challenge when you start to group things is that something might fit into more than one group.

Let’s use a common example to illustrate this.
You work on Project X. You create a folder called Project X.
You attend a…

Kara Monroe

I am a world traveler, part-time road warrior, and home body all wrapped up in one gadget-loving package. Writer, photographer, chef, and aspiring artist.