Alternatives to Obsidian for basic PKM (Craft? Ulysses?)

This is probably not important for your use case but I discovered a weird limitation with Craft when I tried to make it my primary note and PKM application. It will only paste a limited amount of text at one time. I discovered this when I tried to copy and paste ~ 17 pages of text from one app into Craft. It only pasted a portion of the copied text and then cut everything off. I had to find the missing text, copy that text, and paste it into Craft. I don’t understand why there is a clipboard limit in Craft. When I did the same thing with Obsidian, it worked flawlessly.

Again, this probably will not affect your workflow but it is a piece of information to keep in mind.

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This is a good piece of info that doesn’t affect me, but may absolutely affect others who find this thread. Thank you for sharing!

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wow, I was not aware of this app until you brought this up. I downloaded a trial and at a first glance it looks promising. While Craft is beautify and great at sharing, I like Notebooks as all the files are local.

Will definitely look more into this app

Notebooks looks promising. I do like the way of managing different document types. One question - can you use an Apple Pencil to mingle text and handwriting - such as pasting text or a screenshot, and using the Apple Pencil to highlight or write notes on it? A free-form handwriting app.

I take notes handwritten with GoodNotes, and at times with text, and would love to be able to get everything in one place.

I haven’t tried the app but the description says you can.

Not an alternative, but I’ve run into a similar problem before with Obsidian. But, I now use omnisearch and it’s easy to search now. Might be an option worth considering

I recently switched from Obsidian to Logseq, which is fully open source and is much easier for me to use. Maybe due to a lack of features.

There are also many really good themes like panic and also some plugins, but much less than for Obsidian exist.

iOS App also exists and sync via iCloud Drive works actually better for vaults with many notes. ~2,5k.

I highly recommend playing with it for a while. For me it clicked just on the 2nd try.

Is the synching robust with Notebooks? I tried it a couple of years ago and found that I had a lot of duplicated documents. That was the only reason I stopped using it as it was great otherwise.

I like logseq philosophically, but dislike that it’s just for bullet points. I’d like my markdown files to be free from the rules of an outliner. That’s just my preference, though. Glad it works for you!

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Agree. And if I did want to format everything as an outline, I would go back to using TaskPaper formatted text files.

Just to quibble with your nitpicks :joy: : you don’t actually need to use any of the task features in Noteplan. Just use it as your daily note, and stick to bullets for lists instead of tasks (which symbol is which is configurable).

Unless you need tables. Then don’t bother even looking. :cry:

You may have had search set to include the proper case. I accidentally did this before.

Off-topic, but this sounds like a bug. Be sure to report it on the forum.

Also, be wary of indeterminacy here. Did Craft succeed because its search is better, or because you only used it a little bit and there’s a lot less noise? If so, the same problem will eventually probably occur with any tool.

(Not saying Obsi’s search facilities couldn’t be improved, of course. Full-text indexed search would be awesome and is an outstanding feature request.)

Final point: IIRC you’ve said before that you don’t want to spend the time to customize Obsidian to your wants/needs… but you seem to be spending a lot of time switching between tools. It might be worth that time after all!


True! But I like writing tasks down. I just don’t want them tracked anywhere or managed. But semantically, sometimes I need to write down a checkbox.

It’s probably user error on my part, you are correct.

As I mentioned just above ;), it is probably user error. But I wasn’t aware that full-text indexed search wasn’t a thing, and the text string I was looking for was inside the content of a very old note, and it probably just didn’t show up because it wasn’t indexed.

You are correct about the indeterminacy; that thought did cross my mind. But I will add that I actually have spent a fair amount of time customizing Obsidian. I’ve played with tons of themes, written my own styles, added custom fonts on desktop and iOS, installed and configured several plugins over the past few months, made multiple templates, and have integrated it with Keyboard Maestro. I still think that’s an awful lot of work to make a fairly “simple” note-taking app work for me.

All I’m really doing are taking notes, making a daily log, and getting that text out of the app when needed.

To be honest, the app’s visual environment just isn’t really for me. I see its value, and I appreciate and value your work on the app too. But it’s a lot of mental friction. (I have similar issues with VS Code, but VS Code has so much functionality I can’t replace in other apps that I’m stuck with it.)

I am leaning towards writing everything in Craft, exporting it to MD when I’m done with it, and saving that MD text in my Obsidian fault. Might roll with it for a few months until my Craft subscription expires and see where that leaves me.

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My problem is that I need to use a PC at work, so obsidian is only on my iPad while I’m there. Craft on the other hand has a web app.

Some of you may find this article of interest. It is a follow up from an article that had been a year earlier by this author.

Update, I also read this article, which many may find helpful. It included the graph I’ve uploaded below.


Just as a completely off topic item, I followed the link, and will read the article but dropped by the About Me page of Mr Breen. We are similar ages and I enjoyed his personal story. Bookmarked for an enjoyable read!

And now back to the PKM show! :wink:


I’m zeroing in on this because in the few times I’ve had to use search in Obsidian my only complaint is that it finds EVERYTHING. What didn’t it find when you search for the person? Or did it find so mamny htings that you couldn’t zero in on te one you wanted? I have changed the sort order in search so that I see the morst recently modified items onn top which usually gets me to what I need in the first one or 2 items found.

However, and this is a huge caveat, if I have to resort to search I already know something is wrong. as I try to avoid search in all apps as much as possible. Search in everything is way to iffy for me to depend on it s a way to navigate my stuff.

This is exactly what happened. There were so many meeting notes with this person’s name in it, the one I wanted was from March, etc. I also completely lack confidence in my ability to visually parse Obsidian’s UI.

I design websites and software for a living, so I over-value design in my own tools. But allow me to share my feedback (@ryanjamurphy if you can bring any of this to your team and improve it, I’d be thrilled).

Here is my sidebar. Already, I see a few things that irk me: I don’t like the expanded folder with a list of notes. I have hundreds of daily notes now. This is too much! It would be better if I could drill into a folder to see all the files.

Also, Search and the File Explorer are at the top, not on the left with the other buttons. No idea why, but this destroys me every time. I cannot find my way around these two basic functions, ever.

This search UI works for some, I’m sure, but it doesn’t fit my model of how search should work at all. I think what I want to see is a quick list of files. What I get back is all the references to that word. That’s useful, but maybe not what I want to see. I know I can collapse results, but the only reason I know that is because I just took time now to explore this UI. By the time I’m resorting to search, I’m usually in a panic, and in that fugue state, I am apparently unable to scan a screen.

Search is really hard to do. iA Writer fails at it, too — at least in making it easy to parse the results I’m looking for.

Now, look at this screenshot of search results from Craft. This is a whole different UI for search that returns a thumbnail of the document you’re looking for, a brief snippet of the query in context, and a bit of the file location. Somehow, this is extremely easy for me to parse. There are enough visual cues in here that I can quickly find what I’m looking for.

I’m not saying this is the best search I’ve ever seen, but it works for me in ways that Obsidian doesn’t.

And this is the other problem. I completely agree with every word of this. With Obsidian, I rely on search a lot. I think that’s because convention PKM wisdom is to use a lot of top-level folders and avoid nesting. I think that’s good advice, but I work with literally dozens of clients, and have anywhere from 4-7 meetings each week with individual clients. Putting all those meeting notes in one top-level folder makes it difficult to know where something is. I know meeting notes all live in that folder, but they accumulate quickly.

I like Ulysses’ approach to this, with smart groups that let you create “subfolders” on reference text with tags from another folder. So one could create a folder called Client A, and a smart group of notes from the Meeting Notes folder tagged with Client A. Then all the meeting notes files are still in “Meeting Notes,” but also available where I would naturally go to find them.

I think there’s a lot to be said for wiki links in personal notes, honestly, but I think there are other problem areas in this space — like search, saved filters, etc — that an app like Obsidian would benefit from solving.

Sorry for the long post.


So why do it that way? Just because a single top level folder works for some folks doesn’t mean it’s correct for you.

Personally I amd expanding my folders as I figure out what really works.

I so use a lot of TOC or MOC type notes, where they are just lists of links.

I Think you can do that in some form with dataview. I do that for my sheep sales lists. I have a bunch of notes all that have info on people wanting to buy sheep , how many what state etc. but one dataview note that collates and presents those notes in one table no matter where the note is actually located. And because I use the tag from #dataview/sheepsales I can use the nested tag structure to find everything I need.

In your case I’d probably do it with a tag that is is by client and a single “field” in the resulting table that is the link to the file and perhaps a date last modified. You can even sort by client.

For me the advantages of the links make me look for ways around any issues because of the benefits I get from the links