How I made the local graph usable in Obsidian

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

As you know, I use Obsidian [<link] as one of the two components of my PKM (Personal Knowledge Management) system.

What’s the other component?

The CommonBook [<link], the digital commonplace book I created with my brother. I use it to store my quotes collection [<link].

One of the beautiful features of Obsidian is that you can see your notes as a graph.

Obsidian’s global graph view

You can see them as a graph globally (all notes) or locally (all notes connected with the selected note).

I especially like the local graph feature, but I wasn’t using it much.


I like to keep the local graph at depth 2 to see more connections.

At depth 1, you see only the notes directly connected with the selected note – level 1 notes.
At depth 2, you also see the notes directly connected with level 1 notes – level 2 notes.

The problem was, I was seeing so much noise that the local graph became unusable.

How did you solve the problem?

“I identified the most important categories of notes. For me, they fall into two categories:

  • Highest-Leverage Notes. I look at all my notes through the 80/20 filter. 20% percent are the most important, highest-leverage notes. I started tagging those notes (I use the tag #hl – highest-leverage).
  • Onlyness Notes. Onlyness means that which you and only you can do. I started tagging the notes that fall into this category (I use the tag #onlyness). Onlyness notes are inspiring and remind me of what I should focus more on.

In the local graph, I created color groups for those two tags, and I filtered the local graph to see only the notes containing those tags:

tag:#hl OR tag:#onlyness

The result is beautiful and extremely useful:

My filtered local graph

Now every time I select a note, every single node on the local graph is meaningful and powerful.

About Dani Trusca

Life-Artist, Thinker, Mover (Traceur)

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