3 minute read

When I was a kid: WOW! MS word is great.
When I was young: Evernote is awesome.
When I started my Ph.D.: Notion is great.
When I am 2nd years in Ph.D.: Nothing is better than Obsidian.
When I am tittle experienced: Nothing can beat Markdown and plain text.

There are many note-taking apps in the personal knowledge management domain, e.g. Obsidian, Notion, Roam Research, Logseq, etc. You know, one thing is common in all of these note-taking apps. That is all these apps natively support Markdown. You might be wondering, if that is so useful why didn’t you hear it before?

That’s a legit question. But I do not have an answer for it. Markdown is a simple way of writing formatted text. Think about a situation when you want to write in MS word, you need to click a particular button to make a heading. It takes time. right? But in markdown you will write # and then space and your heading name, it will turn into heading automatically in these apps. That is so useful when you want to take notes fast. You do not need to hold your mouse for that. In this way, markdown makes writing formatted text. In knowledge gathering, the only thing matter is the knowledge instead of thinking about the format. Thinking about formatting is the job of old people who like MS word.

To get started with Obsidian you need to know a few markdown syntaxes.

  1. How to write a heading
  2. How to write bullet
  3. How to add a link

How to write a heading

There is a space between the hash and heading. So type # and then space. Then heading will be rendered automatically.

  • # Heading1
  • ## Heading2
  • ### Heading3

How to write bulleted list

First press dash, then press space, and the dash turns into a bullet point. You have to do this for the first bullet. Pressing enter/return will create the next bullet.

  • Bullet x (- Bullet x)
  • Bullet y (- Bullet y)

How to write numbered list

Enter a number, then a dot and space will create the number list. You need to do this for the first list. Pressing enter/return will create the next list.

  1. List1 (1. List1)
  2. List2 (<return key> List2)

How to connect knowledge

You can learn better by connecting new knowledge with previous knowledge. The connection is important for learning. Our brain does that continuously. The idea here is, that if you put an external connection in a note-taking app, you are putting less pressure on your brain. The more connection you create, the more you remember things. Obsidian/Notion is very good at connecting knowledge.

Consider, that you have two notes, One is Herd Immunity and another one is Vaccine. Suppose your want to connect the Vaccine note to the Herd Immunity note.

  • The simplest way to do this is to use double brackets on both sides of the note you want to connect. That is called a wiki-style link.
  • So you have to write [[Vaccine]] inside the Herd Immunity Note to connect both notes.

This should be the start of your markdown. If you explore more you will learn more. But I believe to start with a thing simple way. These are the basic things you need to use in day-to-day life. In the next tutorial, I will bring up a more advanced topic. Subscribe to my newsletter to get the latest update. Also, I am making a video series on YouTube on how to do knowledge management and research smartly. You can subscribe to my channel for the upcoming course.

Shuvangkar Das, Potsdam, New York
Connect with me:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/shuvangkar_das
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ShuvangkarDas/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/ShuvangkarDas

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