Obsidian Bookmarks

Written by 
Nick Milo


Nick Milo

Nick Milo has spent the last 15 years harnessing the power of digital notes to achieve remarkable feats. He's used digital notes as a tool to calm his thoughts and gain a clearer understanding of the world around him.

Are bookmarks really a thing to get excited about?

First of all, you know what starred notes are right? It's where you say "this" note is more important than all the other notes, so you click buttons to give it a star. Stars are important for Mario, and stars are important for us too.

But here's the problem, starred notes are great for about the first 5 or 10 stars, or if you're the Marvel Cinematic Universe—the first 22 movies—but it quickly just becomes: too many stars. You can't keep track of them all, so each star loses the thing that made it special in the first place: the fact that there weren't too many of them!

That's why I wasn't excited by Obsidian's new feature "Bookmarks", which at first, seemed just like starred notes...until I realized that it isn't about starring notes, it's about making it easy to work more effectively.

I'll show exactly what I mean. In this video, I'll show what Bookmarks do, how I'm using them right now, and one trap to avoid. Okay? Let's go!

As a reminder I'm Nick Milo, and I'm here to help you improve how you go about thinking—and if you can think better, almost every single downstream, just got a little bit easier.

Part 1 - What do Bookmarks do?

Here is the description straight from Obsidian:

Obsidian's Release Notes 1.2.2

The Starred core plugin is going away. Introducing: Bookmarks.

Bookmark just about anything in Obsidian: files, folders, graphs, searches, headings, blocks. Organize your bookmarks in the much more robust Bookmark view. Reorder bookmarks with drag-and-drop. Create Bookmark Groups to organize your bookmarks into collapsible sections.

If you want the actual walkthrough, it's best by video:

Part 2 - How I'm using Bookmarks

Forget what you know about bookmarks. They are far more than the rectangular things we use while reading a book to mark our place. But keep the idea of "marking our place". That's important. That's what Obsidian Bookmarks does. Now the question becomes, what are all the different and helpful ways in which we might want to mark our place? Here's an incomplete list.

  • Mapmarks
  • Timemarks
  • Graphmarks
  • Searchmarks
  • Progress Points
  • Vergence Points
  • Hemingway Points

If you want the actual walkthrough, it's best by video:

Nota bene. This is a first take. The Bookmarks plugin is very new. My examples are just to get you thinking. I'm sure what I just showed you will change and evolve over time, as our collective actions help us identify best practices.

Part 3 - The Fault In Our Stars

The trap is this: Using bookmarks to temporarily star notes. While this is helpful in theory, it suffers from a pollution effect: the more you add, the less shiny each one becomes, until you can't even remember why they were starred in the first place.

The trap of too many stars—the Marvel Phase 4 problem—is that it dilutes the importance of each. If that's true in the Marvel cinematic universe, it's also true in our ideaverse.

So sure, you can bookmark notes as a sort of a temporary sticky note, but... just be careful not to overdo it. You'll know if you have too many bookmarks the same way you know if your desk has too many sticky notes on it—it starts to become hard to find the thing you said was important.


What's cool about Bookmarks is that both beginners and more advanced users can use it right away.

  • Beginners, you can use it as a way to simple star a few notes (not too many!).
  • Advanced users, you can use it IN THE WAYS SHOWN ABOVE, and probably more.

Obsidian's Bookmarks are not about starring notes, they are about making it easy to work more effectively.

Learn more by reading Zen-like Focus with Obsidian Bookmarks.

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