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Getting Started with Obsidian

Andrew Mason

Andrew Mason

Published Jan 13th, 2022

Quick Start

TL;DR I built a template vault based on the settings and instructions in this post.

Create your own vault from the template and then follow the instructions on the README to get started. Continue reading for the breakdown of what I think is a good default setup in Obsidian without any third-party plugins.


Obsidian can be installed on mobile for iOS and Android and on desktop by visiting their downloads page.

Alternatively, if you are on macOS you can use Homebrew:

brew install --cask obsidian


Once installed, opening Obsidian for the first time will land you on the vault creator where you can create a new vault, open a folder in Obsidian as a vault, or open the help vault where you can find the documentation.

Obsidian Splash Screen

Create a new vault and then enter in the name and choose a location. Obsidian Create New Vault

When your vault opens for the first time, you may be prompted to turn on Live Preview which I suggest doing.

Live Preview Modal

Your new vault should now be ready for notes to be added.

Simple Obsidian Vault


The first thing I do after creating a new Obsidian vault is to create the following folder structure:

├── _assets
│   ├── attachments
│   └── templates
└── daily



Setting Value
Show frontmatter Enabled
Fold heading Enabled
Fold indent Enabled
Use tabs Enabled
Tab size 2
Setting Value
Confirm file deletion Disabled
Automatically update internal links Enabled
Detect all file extensions Enabled
Default location for new attachments In the folder specified below
Attachment folder path _assets/attachments


Setting Value
Translucent window Enabled
Font size 15


I have modified some of the important hotkeys to better match VS Code’s defaults since that is the text editor that I am most familiar with. Click the Restore default icon if you’d like to revert a specific hotkey to Obsidian’s default hotkeys.

Description Shortcut
Command palette: Open command palette ⌘⇧P
Delete current file ⌘⇧Backspace
Delete paragraph ⌘⇧D
Edit file title ⌘⌥T
Focus on editor ⌘1
Quick switcher: Open quick switcher ⌘P
Split horizontally ⌘\
Split vertically ⌘⇧\
Swap line down ⇧⌥↓
Swap line up ⇧⌥↑

Core plugins

Plugin Value
Outgoing Links Enabled
Tag pane Enabled
Daily notes Enabled
Templates Enabled
Slash commands Enabled
Starred Enabled
Markdown format importer Disabled
Outline Enabled
Audio recorder Enabled
Workspaces Enabled

Community Plugins

Setting Value
Safe mode Disabled

Core Plugin Options


Setting Value
Template folder location _assets/templates

Daily notes

Daily Note Template

Create a new template titled t_daily under _assets/templates. Refer to the Templates documentation for more information about variables.

# {{date}}

## Notes




Setting Value
New file location daily
Template file location _assets/templates/t_daily
Open daily note on startup Enabled


Description Shortcut
Templates: Insert template ⌘⌥I

Important Documentation

I would suggest starting with these documentation pages:

Wrap Up

This post is still growing so expect some changes. Also, don’t forget to check out the GitHub repo for the template!

Thanks for reading! You can discuss this post using one of the links below. Additionally, it would mean a lot if you shared this post with others!

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