A Serendipitous Insight--Obsidian and MindNode

While showering after my daily run a thought serendipitously entered my mind. “Since I’m using Obsidian for my book project and since Obsidian has URL links, why not create a corresponding mind map in MindNode and embed the links for each chapter in the map?”

As I thought about this I realized this will help me overcome one of the frustrations with using Obsidian for long form writing–the friction of reordering chapters and sections. I find that my initial outline is never the final version because I’m modifying and changing chapter titles, deleting chapters and adding chapters. In Obsidian, this requires renumbering each chapter to keep things in order.

With the mind map, I can rearrange the order of sections and chapters and later number the corresponding sections and chapters in Obsidian. I don’t have to worry about the order (except for chapter transitions) while writing. With the URL for each chapter in MindNode a simple click on the link takes me to the corresponding chapter in Obsidian.

I’m passing this along with the thought that this patently obvious “insight” may be helpful to others using or contemplating using Obsidian for long form writing.


There’s also the mind map plugin that lets you view a note as a mind map. Headings become branches, list items become end nodes. Links work, etc.

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@JohnAtl that is a great idea. If one moves a branch/node on the map, does the corresponding note also move in the Explorer?

This is why I my book project is in Scrivener.

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No, this doesn’t work at the level of the vault’s file explorer, but is just a representation of the items in a note.
Things moved on the note update the map, but the map cannot be edited itself.

This might be a helpful layer of abstraction.
You have a note:


- [[Why you should care]]
- [[Introduction]]
- [[Background]]
- [[Assertion]]
- [[Another assertion]]
- [[Why you care more]]

Where each of these items are [[links]] to files in your vault. You can rearrange them at will. If you want them resorted in the File Explorer, just add numbering at the beginning. But using the note as a TOC, you wouldn’t really need to concern yourself with where the files lie until you’re ready to create a PDF using Pandoc.

Edit: I thought changing links would rename the files. I suppose not. Anyway, this would make reordering the files something that can wait until the changing are finished.


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I’ve used Scrivener and it is a good program but I don’t want to sync via Dropbox and I don’t trust the long term development of the program. Just a preference on my part. :slightly_smiling_face:

Hey @JohnAtl , there’s this enhancing-mindmap plugin that will allow for editing in the mind map pane.

Obviously less fluid than MindNode experience, but integrated all the way into Obsidian.

On a side note, the same dev has made yet another plugin that mashes this Minimal feature with a PDF reader (something that ressembles MarginNote, only way more clunkier to the point I don’t bother using it instead of MarginNote).

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Thanks for posting this. I wasn’t aware of it.

Not a mindmap but in the outliner core plugin you can rearrange headings/sections with drag and drop

Yes but my ideal is to move the documents/files. The limitation is the Finder. :slightly_smiling_face:

This is helpful to me as I write my presentations in Markdown (and make .pptx via my mdpre/md2pptx open source tools).

Recently I worked on turning a MindNode mind map into the kind of Markdown I need - via Shortcuts and also Keyboard Maestro.

This idea could be part of my tool chain - stripping off the URLs as I go.

(I’m also - in “day job” code - automatically creating CSV in the format MindNode requires - which is different from what iThoughts requires. Which extends the chain further.)

When you say “rename files” are you expecting changing text within a link to change the file name in an equivalent way? Just making sure I understand.

(I guess you could automate both parts of the job - editing the link and renaming the file - from, say, a Keyboard Maestro macro or shortcut.)

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That was my thinking.
Not something I need personally though.

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Thanks for this. What you describe is precisely the friction point in Obsidian for long-form writing, e.g., a book. I’ve overcome other friction points, e.g., citations, footnotes, illustrations, etc. Given the limitations of the MacOS file structure the only solution is to number files as you noted. The obvious problem is that when you have a lot of chapters, sections, and documents, one change has a cascading affect which creates extra work. This is why I’ve decided to create update the book outline in MindNode as I go. With links in each node I can reorder at a high level and jump into the corresponding Obsidian file at will. I’ll reorder the Obsidian vault files once I’m confident the order is finalized.

Thanks again John, you are always a source of great information!

Just as a side note. PD Workman, who writes a lot of YA fiction, has written 13 novels using Obsidian, after moving away from Scrivener and, later, from Notebooks.

Workman describes the writing process with Obsidian here – the files are numbered later in the process when the sequence becomes clear to the writer.


Thanks, this looks great! I look forward to reading it.

right click on the link and you get the option to rename the underlying file


That’s very helpful. Thanks!

@JohnAtl check out the longform obsidian plugin!
It is a work in progress, but might be your scrivener inside if obsidian.