How to Use Zettelkasten with Obsidian: A Comprehensive Guide

In my opinion, Zettelkasten is a fantastic note-taking system that uses a graph-based structure to organize your notes. Developed by German sociologist Niklas Luhmann in the 1950s, the basic idea of Zettelkasten is to create a system of interconnected notes. Each note represents a single idea or concept and is linked to other related notes. This allows you to easily search and access your knowledge base of notes.

Personally, I think the benefits of using Zettelkasten are numerous. Firstly, it allows you to easily organize your notes and ideas. Secondly, it makes it easy to find information that you have previously written. And thirdly, it enables you to create new ideas and concepts by linking together existing notes. I highly recommend giving Zettelkasten a try with Obsidian.

Starting with Obsidian

As an avid note-taker, I have found Obsidian to be an incredibly useful app for organizing my notes using Zettelkasten. Its graph-based structure provides an intuitive way of organizing my notes, and its features make it easy to use Zettelkasten effectively.

To start using Obsidian, you first need to create an account and download the app. After installing it, you can begin creating your Zettelkasten.

Setting Up Obsidian for Zettelkasten

To set up Obsidian for Zettelkasten, you need to create a new vault, which is essentially a folder that contains all of your notes. Once you have created a new vault, you can start creating your notes.

When creating a note, you should give it a title and a body, which can be plain text or Markdown. You can also add links to other notes in your vault.

After creating a note, you can start linking it to other notes using the backlink feature. To create a backlink, select the note you want to link to and click on the "Backlink" button. This feature is especially useful in connecting related notes.

Another handy feature in Obsidian is the ability to create templates for your notes. With templates, you can easily create notes with specific formats or information. To create a template, click on the "Templates" button and then select "New Template."

I think Obsidian is a great note-taking app, particularly for those who use Zettelkasten. Its features make it easy to create and organize your notes, while its graph-based structure helps you see connections between them. I personally prefer using Obsidian over other note-taking apps because of its intuitive and efficient design.

How to Use Zettelkasten with Obsidian

As I have set up Obsidian for Zettelkasten, it's time to start taking notes. In my opinion, the key to taking effective notes is to make them as specific and concise as possible. Additionally, it's crucial to link related notes together to create a well-connected web of information.

By doing so, I believe that Obsidian can become a powerful tool for learning and research, providing me with an organized and interconnected Zettelkasten.

Using Zettelkasten in Obsidian

Your first note: Start writing!

If you are new to Obsidian, creating your first note is as easy as clicking on the "New Note" button and giving it a title. Once you have done that, you can start writing down your thoughts and ideas. As you write, you can use Markdown syntax to format your text and add headings, bullet points, and more. Don't worry too much about organizing your note at this stage, just focus on getting your ideas down.

Linking notes: Connect your thoughts

One of the key features of Zettelkasten is the ability to link your notes together to create a network of related ideas. To do this in Obsidian, simply select the text in one note that you want to link to another note, and then click on the "Link to Note" button. You can then select the note you want to link to, and the text will be highlighted in the second note. By linking your notes together, you can start to see how different ideas connect and build on each other.

Tagging and categorizing notes: Find what you need

As you accumulate more notes, you may find it helpful to use tags and categories to organize them. Tags can be used to identify the topics of your notes, while categories can be used to group related notes together. To add a tag, simply select the text in your note that you want to tag and click on the "Add Tag" button. You can then enter your tag and click "Add." To add a category, select your note and click on the "Add Category" button. From there, you can enter your category and click "Add." By tagging and categorizing your notes, you can quickly find what you need and explore related ideas.

Advanced techniques: Get more out of Obsidian

Obsidian has a range of advanced features that you can use to take your Zettelkasten to the next level. For example, you can use the backlinks feature to see all the notes that link to a particular note, allowing you to explore related ideas more deeply. You can also use the graph view to visualize your notes and their relationships, giving you a bird's-eye view of your Zettelkasten. Experiment with these features to see how they can help you explore your thoughts and ideas in new ways.

Tips for maximizing Zettelkasten and Obsidian

Organize your notes with tags and categories

To make the most out of your notes, I think it's essential to organize them systematically. Tags and categories are an excellent way to do that. By assigning tags to each note, you can quickly filter through them based on specific topics, ideas, or themes.

Use backlinks to uncover relationships between notes

One of the unique features of Zettelkasten is the ability to see how your notes are related to each other. With backlinks, you can see which notes are linked to the current note you're viewing. This makes it easier to find connections and patterns that you might have missed otherwise.

Visualize your notes with graph view

If you're a visual learner, using the graph view feature in Obsidian can help you see the connections between your notes in a more intuitive way. This feature creates a visual representation of your notes and their relationships, giving you a bird's eye view of your Zettelkasten.

Keep your notes focused and concise

It's easy to get carried away with writing detailed notes, but I prefer to keep my notes short and to the point. This helps me focus on the essential ideas and concepts without getting bogged down by unnecessary details.

Link to other notes when possible

Linking to other notes is a great way to create a web of interconnected ideas and concepts in your Zettelkasten. When you come across a note that relates to something you've written before, linking to it can help you see the connections between those ideas more clearly.

Use the search function to find notes quickly

With hundreds or even thousands of notes in your Zettelkasten, finding what you need quickly can be a challenge. Fortunately, Obsidian has a powerful search function that can help you find notes based on keywords, tags, or even specific phrases.

Regularly back up your notes

Lastly, it's essential to back up your notes regularly. Losing all of your notes would be devastating, so I personally use a cloud-based storage solution like Google Drive or Dropbox to ensure that my notes are always safe and accessible.

Personalized Best Practices for using Zettelkasten and Obsidian Together

As someone who frequently uses Zettelkasten and Obsidian, I have found a few practices that work best for me. Here are my recommendations:

Use Obsidian for Note-taking and Zettelkasten Creation

I prefer using Obsidian for taking notes and creating my Zettelkasten. The interface is clean and easy to use, and I appreciate how notes can be linked together using double brackets. I find this linking feature very useful for building connections between my notes.

Utilize Zettelkasten for Thought Organization

While Obsidian is great for creating notes, I prefer to use Zettelkasten for organizing my thoughts and ideas. I find that the Zettelkasten system allows me to quickly navigate through my notes and find the connections between them. I also like how I can easily create new notes and link them to existing ones.

Access Your Zettelkasten with Obsidian

One of the benefits of using Zettelkasten with Obsidian is that it allows for easy access to your Zettelkasten. The search function is robust and can quickly find the notes I need. Additionally, Obsidian's graph view provides a helpful visualization of my Zettelkasten.

Create a Knowledge Graph with Zettelkasten

Zettelkasten is a powerful tool for creating a knowledge graph. By linking notes together, you can create a web of information that is easy to navigate and understand. I personally use Zettelkasten to create a knowledge graph of the topics I'm studying and find it to be a great way to see how everything fits together.

Visualize Your Zettelkasten with Obsidian

Lastly, I use Obsidian to visualize my Zettelkasten. The graph view is especially helpful for seeing the connections between notes and identifying areas that need further exploration. I find this feature to be essential for getting a bird's eye view of my notes and ideas.

Avoiding Common Mistakes When Using Zettelkasten and Obsidian

In my experience, there are a few common mistakes that people make when using Zettelkasten and Obsidian. Here are some of them, along with some tips on how to avoid them:

Not Utilizing Tags and Categories Effectively

One mistake that people often make when using Zettelkasten and Obsidian is not utilizing tags and categories to organize their notes. Without tags and categories, your notes can quickly become disorganized and difficult to navigate. By assigning appropriate tags and categories to your notes, you can easily find related notes and group them together.

Ignoring the Power of Backlinks

Another mistake that people make is ignoring the power of backlinks. Backlinks allow you to see how your notes are related to each other and can help you to make connections between them. By utilizing backlinks, you can create a web of interconnected notes that can help you to better understand complex topics.

Neglecting Graph View

Graph view is a powerful feature in Obsidian that allows you to visualize your notes and their relationships. By neglecting this feature, you're missing out on a powerful tool for gaining insights into your notes and their connections. Take advantage of graph view to explore your notes in a new way and discover connections that you may have missed.

Writing Lengthy and Unfocused Notes

When taking notes in Zettelkasten and Obsidian, it's important to keep them short and focused. Lengthy and unfocused notes can make it difficult to find what you need when you need it. Try to keep your notes concise and to the point, focusing on a single idea or concept per note.

Not Linking to Other Notes

Another mistake to avoid is not linking to other notes when possible. By linking to related notes, you can create a network of interconnected ideas that can help you to better understand complex topics. Make a habit of linking to related notes whenever you create a new one.

Not Utilizing the Search Function

The search function in Obsidian is a powerful tool for finding notes quickly and easily. Neglecting to use this feature can make it difficult to find the information you need when you need it. Take advantage of the search function to quickly locate notes on specific topics.

Failing to Back Up Your Notes

Finally, it's important to back up your notes regularly. Failure to do so can result in the loss of valuable information. Make a habit of backing up your notes to an external hard drive or cloud storage service to ensure that your data is safe and secure.


In conclusion, using the Zettelkasten method with Obsidian can greatly improve your note-taking and knowledge management. By implementing this system, you can easily organize and connect your thoughts and ideas, leading to deeper understanding and more creative thinking.

We highly recommend giving Zettelkasten and Obsidian a try. Start by creating your first notes and see how this method can transform the way you think and learn. And don’t forget to share your experience with us in the comments below and share this post with others who might benefit from it!