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Daily Notes in Obsidian

Obsidian is a note-taking software and knowledge base software, where the notes/files are written in Markdown. For quite a while I'm using it in my daily work.

One of the cool features it has is named "Daily Notes". As the name implies, there is a new note generated for every day. For me, this is used for writing down notes which do not deserve their own note. But also this is rather heavily used to share all kind of content from my mobile devides into the daily note in the first place. Content doesn't have to stay there, in fact most of it is either handled one way or another, or is moved to a different place. But it is a very nice collection point in the first place.

By default they are created in the main folder of the Obsidian vault - over time, these are hundreds of files, and no real structure. Which deserves to organize the Daily Notes in a better way.


Where to store the Daily Notes

Obsidian can specify where to store Daily Notes. This can include a directory structure. To change this, go to Settings, and click on "Daily Notes" in the left menu.

I'm using the following Date Format: YYYY/MM-MMMM/YYYY-MM-DD-dddd

This builds the following structure:

<folder with current year, 4 digits>/<folder with current month number, 2 digits>-<folder with current month name>/<file with year, month and day in digits, plus weekday name>

Today's "Daily Note" file is therefore:


Using the month number before the month name sorts the months in numeric, not in alphabetical order.

The second setting is the folder where the Daily Notes are stored. I created a separate folder and named it "DailyNotes".

The Markdown filename in my vault for today's note is therefore:


The third setting is the template which is used for my Daily Notes. In my case this is "Templates/Daily Note Template", but more about this in the next chapter.

How to template the Daily Notes

Templates are another crucial feature to make Obidian more useful. One of the templates I use is for Daily Notes. All my templates are in a folder named "Templates" in the main directory of the vault.

Here's the entire template source code, and I'll explain the details after the break:

created: <% tp.file.creation_date() %>
filename: <% tp.config.target_file.path %>
tag: DailyNotes
tags:: [[+Daily Notes]]

# <% moment(tp.file.title,'YYYY-MM-DD').format("dddd, DD MMMM YYYY") %>

## Tasks due today

not done
due before tomorrow
sort by due

## 📝 General Notes


### Tasks/Notes Private

### Tasks/Notes PostgreSQL

### Tasks Notes Work

### Notes created today
> [!info]- List of notes created today
> ```dataview
List FROM "" WHERE file.cday = date("<"YYYY-MM-DD")%>") SORT file.ctime asc

### Notes last touched today
> [!info]- List of notes modified today
> ```dataview
List FROM "" WHERE file.mday = date("<"YYYY-MM-DD")%>") SORT file.mtime asc

## News Postings (posted/answered)

## Attached content

The part between the first two lines with three dashes is called "Front Matter". This part defines metadata for the file. The code between <% and %> is Templater code, a plugin which one can activate in Obsidian.

The metadata for the Daily Note is populated with the current date and time, and the file path (local to the Obsidian vault). This data is written into the Markdown file and not changed afterwards. Metadata is not visible in Obsidian when in viewing mode, only in editing mode.

The next part, starting with a single hashtag, creates the headline for this document. This is Templater code again, and it creates today's date in the form of:

# Thursday, 25 May 2023

The three dashes create a separator line in Markdown, which can be styled in themes, or with custom CSS.

The next part is a so called Dataview. This is a community plugin which allows to dynamically query the vault. Here I create a list of open tasks which are due today - or earlier. Basically everything which needs attention. Several other of my templates automatically create tasks, which then appear here.

## Tasks due today

0 tasks

No open work for today. Cool!

The next 4 parts are just space for me to add notes, separated into general notes, private notes, notes related to PostgreSQL, and notes related to work. They each start an empty list where I just need to start adding content. This part is where I add content which usually stays in the document.

The next two parts are Dataviews again. Here I list all pages in the vault which have been created today, and modified today. This is super useful for me, as I often want to go back to the same notes and update something - and I can reach them with one click from the Daily Note. The two Dataviews are hidden in Markdown Callouts. Depending on the style of your theme, this will show a box or an arrow which you can use to open the view and show the content. By default the views are both closed to save screen space. This is realized by ending the callout definition with a "-" sign:

> [!info]- List of notes created today

A "+" sign would initially open the callout.

Finally the last two parts:

In "News Postings (posted/answered)" I store information about anything social media related, as example posts I made on that day. By default the space is empty, but I can fill in something.

And "Attached content" is the last part of the file: whenever I share something into Obsidian's Daily Note, this gets attached to the end of the file - the area which I named "Attached content" for myself. At some point I go over this content, read a document which I saved for later, move this to another file in the vault, do a social media post, and so on. The goal for me is to clean this space out as much as possible.

I also use SyncThing to sync the vault between multiple devices, and a script is running on one host which does some cleanup work in this area. Certain notes are automatically moved to other places, content is extracted, shortlinks are expanded. Tasks I otherwise have to do manually are solved automatically by this script for me. It's all about automation the work.


This is my version of Daily Notes, explained. This format evolved over time, and I experimented with different features available in Obsidian. I did not keep all of them, and I modified others over time. As example, the Dataviews for notes created/modified I have for a long time in my Daily Notes, because I often use the list to quickly navigate vault content. But only recently I moved this Dataview into a Callout to hide it by default, and allow me to scroll faster to the end of the file where all the shared and attached content is, which I also need quite often.


Photo by Suzy Hazelwood


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