Tinderbox Forum

Importing Obsidian Zettelkasten Folder

Hey all,

I’m trying to see if I can use Tinderbox more full-time in order to take advantage of the combination of outliner + map nature of the application. I’ve been building up a nice little collection of notes in markdown thanks to my use of Obsidian. For better or for worse, my Obsidian “vault” is a multi-layered set of folders, though the only file-type is markdown.

I have tried (1) dragging and dropping the whole folder into Tinderbox, (2) “watching” the Finder folder, and (3) copying and pasting the folder into TBX. It all sort of works. I say sort of because, at least with the drag/drop and copy-paste, the note names include a .md extension, which of course totally breaks the Ziplink import feature from 8.8.

Without doing a ton of manual work, does anyone have any suggestions for a better way? The Watch Finder Folder did the trick, but can I then start moving them around and editing them? It’s okay that there’s no sync back to the Finder, I’m mostly just looking for the best full import method here.


You might be able to remove .md suffix after import using $Name = $Name.replace(thing-to-replace, ""), possibly applied via a stamp. I am not fluent in regex to tell you what goes in thing-to-replace.
$Name = $Name.replace("\.md$","")

I actually tried that right away after the initial drag 'n drop import. It worked, BUT it didn’t fix the Ziplinks. The main issue is not having to redo those manually.

That’s going to take a little work on our end, but I think we can do that in short order.

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Let me know if you need any more information from me!

Let me rephrase the “sort of works” part of my post. Here is a snapshot of my Obsidian vault:

The trouble is that many of those folders are then a few folders deep as well, but the links will go across folders. For example, the “Client Hub” note contains links to files in the Clients subfolder. When Tinderbox tries to Watch the root folder, it generates new notes based on the Ziplinks in the notes, but because it isn’t digging into the subfolders, it doesn’t know the notes already exist. There’s gotta be a way without destroying my vault structure and that’s what I’m looking for.

When I “Watch” a folder, the .md file names are not imported, which is great, but it doesn’t recognize the folders as groups. When I drag 'n drop the same folder, it DOES successfully import all the folders and subfolders, but it also includes the .md for each note, which then breaks the Ziplinks.

So close…yet so far away too!

Different problem. Wrong answer removed.

I think we’ll get a fix for this into the next backstage release.


Any changes of note here? Of course, this may be a fool’s errand in the first place, I’m not actually sure this is a useful way to use TBX!

Should be in the next backstage release.

I tested against the latest backstage release and couldn’t see a difference. What exactly was changed? Thanks!

Watched files with the .md extension should import with titles omitting the extension.

Gotcha, but this doesn’t affect whether a Watched folder’s subfolders can be parsed, correct?

It should.

File >> Watch >> Folder from Finder >> selects a folder with a few MD notes but also a bunch of nested folders full of MD notes

Result is…interesting. More notes come through than exist in the top level folder, so it’s finding SOME nested notes. In fact, it appears to be going only one layer deep and then it stops. The problem is that it will not create containers properly, so all the notes are singletons, though some linkage appears intact.

any progress on this issue in the meantime?

Could you send (here or email) a sample export folder?

are you asking @Jake_Bernstein or me for a sample folder, @eastgate? Because: I don’t have any

Anyone! I figure anyone one interested in Obsidian import is likely to have, or be able to contrive, a small sample of Obsidian export more easily than I can. I do my best, but there are only 12-14 working hours in the day…

I personally don’t see the need for exporting notes from Obsydian to TBX (in some cases for the other way around - from TBX to Obsydian), but FWIW I found Obsydian notes’ formatting rules that can be of some use to you.