Excalidraw & ExcaliBrain for Obsidian: Your Visual Brain

Volodymyr Pavlyshyn
3 min readOct 18, 2023

Today I have four amazing Open source products that could be used independently or glued together and accelerate each other. Obsidian for note-taking. Excalidraw for whiteboarding and visual thinking, and a super powerful ExcaliBrain That replace expensive TheBrain software and lift a visual graph and Personal Knowledge Graphs to the next level

Introduction

In the realm of note-taking and knowledge management, Obsidian has emerged as a robust tool that offers a myriad of features, including Markdown support, backlinking, and a local-first approach to data storage. On the other hand, Excalidraw excels as a sketching app that allows users to create hand-drawn-like diagrams and illustrations. But what if you could combine the strengths of both? This article aims to guide you through the process of integrating Excalidraw with Obsidian, thereby enhancing your note-taking experience with the power of visual elements.

I have something really special: Excalidraw for Obsidian It is turn the full functions of a whiteboard to your local obsidian notes and even have a few cool fueatures like obsidian note linking and obsidian note embedding

Why Integrate Excalidraw with Obsidian?

Visual Learning: Adding diagrams and sketches to your notes can significantly improve memory retention. Data Privacy: Both Obsidian and Excalidraw prioritize user data privacy, aligning well with concerns about secure data storage. Functional Flexibility: The integration allows you to leverage the best features of both platforms without having to switch between different apps.

Prerequisites

  • Obsidian installed on your system
  • Basic familiarity with Excalidraw

Step-by-Step Guide

  • Step 1: Install the Excalidraw Plugin
  • Open Obsidian.
  • Navigate to the ‘Settings’ > ‘Community plugins’.
  • Search for ‘Excalidraw’ and install it.
  • Step 2: Create a New Excalidraw File -Right-click in the Obsidian file explorer.
  • Choose ‘New Excalidraw file’.
  • Step 3: Start Sketching -Double-click the Excalidraw file.
  • Use the Excalidraw interface to create your diagram.
  • Step 4: Embed in Markdown
  • Copy the link to the Excalidraw file.
  • Paste it into your Obsidian note using Markdown syntax.

Tips and Tricks

Use keyboard shortcuts for quick sketching. Export your Excalidraw sketches as SVG for high-quality images.

Integrating Excalidraw with Obsidian not only amplifies your note-taking capabilities but also provides a seamless experience for those who value data privacy and functional flexibility. Whether you’re a visual learner or someone who appreciates the power of diagrams, this integration is a game-changer.

Further Learning

ExcaliBrain

ExcaliBrain is inspired by TheBrain and Breadcrumbs. It is an interactive, structured mind-map of your Obsidian Vault generated based on the folders and files in your Vault by interpreting the links, dataview fields, tags and YAML front matter in your markdown files.

ExcaliBrain distinguishes 5 type of relationships between your notes:

  • Children
  • Parents
  • Friends
  • Other Friends (lateral relationships on the right side)
  • Siblings

It is an ideal tool for Knowledge Management Graphs that bring metadata to relations. It is not limited to PKG. You could visualize in free visual forms.

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Volodymyr Pavlyshyn

I believe in SSI, web5 web3 and democratized open data.I make all magic happens! dream & make ideas real, read poetry, write code, cook, do mate, and love.