TL;DR: Use Obsidian instead of Notion or Roam Research if you want a Vim-like experience as much as possible.


Obsidian, Notion and Roam Research are the three big players in Personal Knowledge Management system (PKM). I won’t bore you with the introduction because you can find plenty online. I’ve used Obsidian and Notion extensively, and finally settled down on Obsidian.

Why Obsidian?

I’m a (neo)vim die-hard user. With Obsidian it’s possible to emulate vim experience as much as possible with:

Here’s an except of my .obsidian.vimrc:

imap jk <Esc>

" navigate visual lines rather than logical ones
nmap j gj
nmap k gk
vmap j gj
vmap k gk

nmap <C-d> 7gj
nmap <C-u> 7gk

nmap J 5gj
nmap K 5gk

" yank till end of line
nmap Y y$

vmap J 5gj
vmap K 5gk

nmap <C-l> :noh<cr>

" <Space> can be bound to make chords, such as <Space>fs
unmap <Space>

exmap joinLines obcommand obsidian-editor-shortcuts:joinLines
nmap <Space>j :joinLines

" Find Text
exmap globalSearch obcommand global-search:open
" g for grep
nmap <Space>fg :globalSearch
" search and replace
exmap searchReplace obcommand editor:open-search-replace
nmap <Space>fr :searchReplace

" Go previous note
exmap back obcommand app:go-back
nmap <C-o> :back
" Go forward note
exmap forward obcommand app:go-forward
nmap <C-i> :forward

exmap jumpToAnywhereLightspeed obcommand mrj-jump-to-link:activate-lightspeed-jump
nmap s :jumpToAnywhereLightspeed

exmap followLink obcommand editor:follow-link
nmap gf :followLink
exmap openLinkInNewLeaf obcommand editor:open-link-in-new-leaf
nmap gF :openLinkInNewLeaf

exmap focusRight obcommand editor:focus-right
nmap <A-l> :focusRight

exmap focusLeft obcommand editor:focus-left
nmap <A-h> :focusLeft

exmap focusTop obcommand editor:focus-top
nmap <A-k> :focusTop

exmap focusBottom obcommand editor:focus-bottom
nmap <A-j> :focusBottom

I don’t normally have to use the mouse when writing notes.

Getting Started

  1. pacman -Syu obsidian
  2. run obsidian


Given Obsidian is free you can just try it to see if you like it!