Email Notes to Obsidian
Obsidian is a powerful knowledge base on top of a local folder of plain text Markdown files.
I have been using obsidian for several months as a personal knowledge base, research, and writing tool.
The key benefits that I have found to date are,
- Automatic internal linking (wiki-links)
- Powerful search
- Plugin support
- Storage using plain text files
One of the really useful features of competing solutions like EverNote is the ability to create notes via email.
In this post, I describe how I have added the ability to create notes in Obsidian through email.
My Obsidian vault is stored in a Microsoft OneDrive folder. OneDrive is a file hosting service that synchronizes defined folders on a local Windows machine, cloud storage, and any number of other hosts.
Storing my Obsidian vault in OneDrive enables me to,
- Use Obsidian on multiple computers
- Enable external applications (including IFTTT) to interact with files in the vault
The IFTTT service will be used to,
- receive email messages from a nominated email address
- extract information from the email message and create a .md (markdown) file
- save the markdown file in a nominated folder in the Obsidian vault
IFTTT (If This Then That) is an online service that enables user-defined integration of web services.
The following simple workflow is crated in IFTTT,
The ‘Create Text File’ step is configured to,
- Connect to my OneDrive account
- Create a file named as per the email subject line
- Save the file into the ‘emailed-notes’ folder in my Obsidian vault
- Include the email body and a link to any attachment in the note text
Send an email to ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’, the subject line will be the name of the note.
After some time (up to 10 seconds), the .md file will appear in the Obsidian vault.
If Obsidian is open it will not automatically recognise the new file. To force a refresh, reload the app (use Ctrl + P to open the command menu).
Obsidian will now show the new file,
Opening the new file, we see that the email content has been transferred to Obsidian,
The method described here enables new notes to be added to Obsidian, I find this useful to enable ideas to be quickly captured when the Obsidian app is not available.
Planned future improvements to the workflow include,
- Setting up a Gmail forwarding rule to enable me to send notes to Obsidian from my work email address (i.e. work email -> personal email -> Gmail rule -> IFTTT -> OneDrive -> Obsidian)
- Create an Obsidian plugin to automatically download linked attachments
- Create an Obsidian plugin to allow the use of templates
Let me know in the comments if you would like to see a future article on any of the above items.
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed this article.
My other writing related to Obsidian includes,
- Embed YouTube Video in Obsidian
- Using Obsidian to Track Writing Projects
- Obsidian Markdown to Medium Converter
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