Apple Notes Markdown Text Export in Minutes

I’ve heard from several labs members asking for the best way to export their Apple Notes to text. My favorite method is the Obsidian Importer plugin. Even if you intend to use something other than Obsidian, this plugin gets a reliable export of all your Apple Notes to markdown text in minutes.… This is a post for MacSparky Labs Level 3 (Early Access) and Level 2 (Backstage) Members only. Care to join? Or perhaps do you need to sign in?

Announcing the Obsidian Field Guide

I’m so pleased to announce the release of the Obsidian Field Guide. Hooray!

Want the Short Version? Sure:

  • 78 video tutorials 
  • 6 hours of content in the Standard edition
  • An additional 6 hours of content coming for the Plus Edition
  • Access to the Obsidian Field Guide Public Vault 
  • Workflows and Usage Samples 
  • Buckets of Obsidian Goodness 
  • Time-Limited Launch Discount Code gets you 10% Off.

Obsidian is a remarkable app, and the new Field Guide came out great. You can even get a 40-minute free sample at the above links. Check it out.

Want the Details? Here you go:

Obsidian brings new tools and paradigms to working with our thoughts on computers. Obsidian can be a game changer, and I’ve been using it since its early beta release. You can turn Obsidian into any sort of notes and data management tool you need: research, client work, PKM, or whatever. I use it primarily to document my own personal operating system, but there is more on that in the course. However, before you can make Obsidian truly race, you need to get some time behind the wheel and figure out how it works.

Build Your Own Mind Palace

Obsidian allows linking to and from notes throughout your Obsidian “vault”, making connections of thoughts easier and more illuminating. It’s built on a plugin-style architecture that gives the app an ever-increasing feature set with plugins built by Obsidian’s developers and the Obsidian community. It’s based on a folder full of Markdown text files, so you always own and control your data. It can be end-to-end encrypted to protect your privacy. People use Obsidian to gather their thoughts, write their dissertations, plan their projects, and even track visits to the veterinarian. The app is powerful and flexible.


The Obsidian on-ramp is steep. It takes a while to wrap your arms around exactly what you can do with this app and unlock its full potential. You need a guide. That’s me, MacSparky, your Obsidian pal. Once you master Obsidian, you’ll also need help picking plugins and figuring out exactly how far down that rabbit hole you want to go. I’ve got you covered there, too.

The Obsidian Field Guide is a 6-hour course including 78 instructional videos that will get you up and running. The course starts with the basics and goes straight through to the advanced. It is carefully paced so anyone can take advantage of Obsidian. Each tutorial includes a full transcript and closed captioning. The transcripts are even bundled into ePub and PDF documents you can download.

Your purchase will also get you access to the Obsidian Field Guide Private Vault, where you’ll get additional resources, links, and access to the samples used throughout the course.

Want More? Get the Plus Edition

In addition to the above, with the Obsidian Field Guide Plus Edition, you’ll get an additional webinar series going deeper into Obsidian with additional materials, guest speakers, questions and answers, and even more Obsidian goodness. All webinar sessions will be recorded and added to downloadable content for plus edition customers.

There’s a lot more, along with a free 40-minute sample, at the below Obsidian Field Guide links. If you’ve ever wondered why so many people love Obsidian, now’s your chance to learn.

Don’t forget, the code OBSIDIANLAUNCH gets you 10% off.

Want a 40-minute sample? Here you go.

Obsidian 1.0

Obsidian, the personal management and idea connector that we have all been losing our collective minds over, is now officially out of beta with their release of version 1.0. Congratulations to the small Obsidian development team that made a very big app.

While I don’t use Obsidian for everything, I’m in it daily and use it for many things. Here are some of my favorite things about this application:

  • The file format is nothing but a folder full of markdown files. While you add some extra syntax to get those additional features from Obsidian, it is all universal and future-proof. If Obsidian were to go away, you’d still have all your data in a usable format.
  • Despite the universal nature of the files, you can do nearly anything with this application that involves words. At this point, there are 25 core plug-ins in the 668 additional community plug-ins. You can use this app to take a few notes or build an entire system around it.
  • The Obsidian community is fantastic. The people using the app are generally enthusiastic about it and friendly to people coming into it. The folks who decided to build on the Obsidian API to develop their plug-ins are intelligent and generous.
  • The Obsidian developers get it. They are entirely transparent and constantly working on improving the application. I particularly love how they publish for their Trello board so you can see what they are working on next. 

I love this app. I’m actively producing a new Field Guide about it right now. If you’ve been waiting for Obsidian to leave beta, you’ve got no further excuses.

Using Obsidian for Task Management (MacSparky Labs)

I spent three weeks running Obsidian as my primary task manager. I learned that task management in Obsidian is a lot better than I expected, but probably still not the answer for me. In this video, I walk through plugins and workflows to manage your tasks in Obsidian…

This is a post for MacSparky Labs Level 3 (Early Access) and Level 2 (Backstage) Members only. Care to join? Or perhaps do you need to sign in?

Linking Your Thinking Conference

I am fully invested in the emerging idea of linked thinking and how it can help us use technology for our own good. When Nick Milo asked me to participate in his Linking Your Thinking Conference, it was a no-brainer. I’m doing a session this Wednesday morning at 9:00 PDT, all about how I link from Obsidian to other places. This is part of how I contextually compute. Registration is free, I hope to see you there.

Project Management with Obsidian (MacSparky Labs)

I’ve been busy evolving a project management system from inside Obsidian. This system relies upon the use of status folders (instead of tags) and the DataView plugin to auto-sort and display relevant projects. I believe this system could work for all sorts of work but it is, admittedly, still a work in progress. In this video, I walk you through how I’m using it and what I’m up to… This is a post for MacSparky Labs Early Access and Backstage Members only. Care to join? Or perhaps do you need to sign in?

Automating Idea Capture with Keyboard Maestro and Obsidian (MacSparky Labs)

This is a post for MacSparky Labs Members. Care to join?

With all of these changes lately, I’ve been exploding with new content ideas. I needed a way to capture and manage them so I built a little Keyboard Maestro script to take an idea and format it into a special note, and then save the note to my Obsidian database. Here’s how I did it …

Sensemaking Obsidian Seminar

Mike Schmitz and Nick Milo are two of my favorite people on the Internet and they’re joining forces this Thursday to do a webinar on Sensemaking with Obsidian. I know they have both been working on hard on this one and I’m looking forward to seeing what they are up to.

Why I’m Leaning Obsidian

Over the past year, I’ve spent way more time than I will ever get back looking at Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) options as they continue to evolve. Three options that have received particular attention from me are Roam Research, Obsidian, and Craft. While I could make a case for any of these three, I’m leaning toward Obsidian.

Why I’m Leaning Obsidian

I continue to be impressed with Obsidian’s feature set and release cycle. We get updates weekly, sometimes multiple times a week. Obsidian’s developers have thus far made a stable, fun-to-use Electron app (I didn’t even know that was possible) that gives you all the expected PKM tools: Wiki-style links, backlinks, and graph view. Just take a look at everything already completed on the Obsidian roadmap. Like all of these apps, Obsidian makes contextual computing so easy. I embed links to OmniFocus task lists, DEVONthink libraries, websites, and anything else I can tie to a URL with no problems. Obsidian also supports creating links to files on your file system or just embedding files right in your Obsidian library.

Moreover, they have added the ability to add third-party plugins, which has spawned a rich assortment of interesting additional features from third parties. Simultaneously, the Obsidian developers plow forward with their app. (They are now close to releasing a mobile app.) Best of all, everything is based on a collection of Markdown files, which means you control your data and can easily get it out of Obsidian if you get drawn to something else new and shiny. Of use to me, but not necessarily everyone else, they have already put together their own end-to-end encryption solution with version history. I’m able to sync my data with my own encryption key.

Why I’m Not Leaning Toward Roam

Roam Research is a web-based linked-text system that lets you link ideas between each other with ridiculous simplicity. Roam, of all the options, is the most granular. For Roam, every carriage return represents another block and linkable entity. Obsidian and (to a lesser extent) Craft are more engineered around the document model. That makes Roam perhaps the easiest solution to laser focus on linking one bit of data to another (which is good) and less useful for writing (which is bad). Along that theme, Roam also uses a weird variant of Markdown that makes writing in Roam even harder.

My biggest gripe with Roam is the data model. With Roam, all of your data goes into their cloud. They don’t have end-to-end encryption. They don’t even have two-factor authentication. If you get a user’s login email and password, you get everything.


Craft is the newest entry and, to me, more attractive than Roam. It’s the only native Mac/iOS app in play. It also has a very responsive developer that seems to be iterating fast. Craft is the clear winner if you are primarily working on iPhone and iPad. Roam is a lousy experience on mobile, and Obsidian has yet to release their mobile app. In the end, however, it was the idea of local Markdown files, end-to-end encryption, and the lightning-fast development that pulled me toward Obsidian.

These aren’t the only three apps in this space. I’m getting emails from other developers nearly weekly now that are building similar tools. The PKM gold rush is on.