Obsidian “properties” to help sort your stuff

Mickey Mellen
3 min readSep 9, 2023

I’ve talked about Obsidian (the note-taking app) a few times on here, such as when I moved my notes into it last summer, and when I made the choice to stick with it earlier this year.

Many of my reasons for going with Obsidian were features that they had, but part of my reasoning was the hope for features in the future. Their enhanced properties were one thing I was waiting for, and the new feature that supports them is excellent.

Properties?

In Obsidian, properties are sort of a way to tag your notes but with more power than just “tags”. They’ve supported this feature for a few years, but it was using something called “YAML front matter”, which is essentially a small mess of code you needed to write. With “properties”, it’s much easier to understand and implement.

It’s still technically YAML behind the scenes, so it’s easy to export your notes to another tool in the future if you want, but the smooth overlay of “properties” makes them much easier to use.

Here is a video that shows a bit more about how they work:

Why use properties?

There are a lot of reasons you might want to use properties to help sort your notes, and here are a few ways I use them.

People

When I add a person to Obsidian, whether it’s someone I know personally, someone famous, or even someone from history, they all get the same set of properties added to them:

  • Tagged as “person”, so I can pull up all people on a page.
  • A “known” dropdown, to record how I know them (from business, they’re an author, they play golf, etc)
  • A “reachout” date to remind me to check in with them, as I explained here.
  • Their email and phone number, though I may not keep that around.

Books

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Mickey Mellen

I’m a cofounder of @GreenMellen, and I’m into WordPress, blogging and seo. Love my two girls, gadgets, Google Earth, and I try to run when I can.