Obsidian Alternative

This article gives a side-by-side comparison with pros and cons of Scrintal and Obsidian. If you're looking for a new note-taking tool, this article may help you decide whether Scrintal or Obsidian is the best choice for you. If you are just getting started with visual mapping I recommend Scrintal and if you are advanced and have used a variety of other tools then you might find features in Obsidian that you will really like.

Many people are actively looking for simpler more visual alternatives to Obsidian as current users of the tool or they’ve identified whilst researching that their use case doesn’t fit perfectly but they like the idea of connected notes. Scrintal has a unique feature set for users who want to organize and visualize their personal knowledge management system.

Free Obsidian Alternative: Scrintal’s Best Features 

Scrintal covers all stages of Personal Knowledge Management

Personal knowledge management is a set of tools and processes that helps you track and organize your information. Personal knowledge management includes multiple steps. A knowledge flow starts from ideation, then structuring the knowledge and finally sharing this knowledge. Scrintal covers this whole process. With Scrintal you can go from mind mapping to sharing your knowledge.

The current approaches to personal knowledge management, including Obsidian, are focused on a single stage of the complete flow. Obsidian is great for writing down ideas and structuring them. However, brainstorming stages of the knowledge flow, collaboration, and finally being able to have a holistic view of the information all at one glance are missing parts in Obsidian. 

Additionally, there is a lack of visual tools for sharing information and this is why Scrintal, as a tool, bridges the gap between structured data and visual representations of that data.

Easily Connect your thoughts: Connected Note Taking

One of the keys to a good personal knowledge management system is making it easy to connect notes. You want your brain to be able to make connections and build on existing connections as you review your notes.

Obsidian can do this, but Scrintal has an edge. That edge is visuality. Scrintal gives you a visual representation of your notes. This makes connecting notes so much easier. 

It’s infinitely easier to make connections when you can see them laid out in front of you like this than when they are just links in text files or in the sidebar on the left of the screen.

Screenshot of Obsidian average connected files.
Screenshot of average connected note cards in Scrintal, Obsidian spatial alternative.

You can simply bring the notes with the same tag than the one on the desk and have an overview of the options to be linked with one another. Scrintal provides a versatile, highly customizable interface to access your notes. You can choose which tags you want to be displayed, how they should be sorted, how much space they should take on the screen and more...

Scrintal uses the power of tags to keep your notes neatly organized. You can add as many tags as you want for each note, it's up to you. You can easily access a single note or all notes with a specific tag from any place in Scrintal by clicking on that tag.

Flexible Multimedia Detailed Notes 

Obsidian is a place to write MarkDown notes. You can write anything in markdown format. Obsidian is not a place to store everything you need to construct your knowledge in one place.

Scrintal is an alternative to Obsidian which allows you to have everything organized in one place, from your text notes, to your images, videos, pdfs, spreadsheets and more.

With Scrintal,

  • You can embed any image from in your notes.
  • You can upload any PDF and read it without leaving the app.
  • You can embed any Youtube video in your note.
  • You can extract any embedded media from the note and open them anywhere on your desk (this feature is not present in Obsidian).
  • You have one workspace to read all of your notes and watch videos or pdfs without leaving the app (this feature is not present in Obsidian).

All your media are embedded by default so that you can explore them directly from your workspace.In Scrintal, you end up having an overview of your knowledge in one place. Accessing every single bit of information without leaving the app allows you to stay focused on your tasks longer. 

Get started in Scrintal in minutes, Easier to Learn

Screenshot of Scrintal whiteboard that shows its simple UI and its visual desk that allows it to organize ideas intuitively in contrast to Obsidian.

Scrintal is a simple visual knowledge management system for anyone who wants to organize their notes. It has a simple set of features and simple UI, making it easy to focus on what's important: writing and organizing your ideas.

Scrintal is the perfect tool for anyone who needs to organize their thoughts, but don't want to learn complicated interfaces and features. Scrintal’s visual desk allows you to organize your ideas in the most intuitive way

On the other hand, Obsidian has a steep learning curve due to its complexity. Getting started can become cumbersome with its 25 core plugins, 526 community plugins, and 121 themes, plus custom styling, which you can use to tweak Obsidian to work and look exactly how you want it. 

Obsidian Note-Taking Alternative: The Pros and Cons Comparison 

This section provides a comparison between Scrintal and Obsidian. 

Obsidian Pros

Local Storage 

Obsidian as an application sits on top of local files stored on your computer. The files themselves are not imported into Obsidian, they are simply opened and viewed there. That means that if you ever decide to stop using Obsidian, what you are left with is a folder full of plain text files and images. While some features in Obsidian may use special formatting, the foundation of your notes documents is standard Markdown that can be opened and edited in any other plain text editor.

Offline mode

Obsidian works completely offline, internet or service issues will never be your problem.

Markdown writing 

You can also add helpful plug-ins and run them on Obsidian. These plug-ins include features like page preview, viewing backlinks, a tag panel, note bookmarking, and a command palette that allows users to use Obsidian without a mouse and solely through their keyboard.

Scrintal Pros

Empowering your first brain with visuality 

Scrintal has an infinite canvas which helps to keep the creative flow. This visual way of working in a networked note taking tool makes notes and ideas more surfacable, memorable and recognizable. 

Scrintal has a daily visual desk where you can create mid-size cards with a double-click. These cards are very flexible, you can make them full screen size to focus on what you are writing or even fold them if you want to make them look like post-its or a mind map. 

There is a full-fledged text editor in these cards where you can add video and images and extract them from the cards if you’d like to open them separately and take notes at the same time.

Non-hierarchical structure

Scrintal is made to be flexible. The things you are working on may not be related and they may not fit into a strict hierarchy. Feel free to drop ideas wherever. Scrintal is made so you can click on an idea and then drag it around the canvas as you wish.

Scrintal is a free-form platform. There are no project folders and ideas can be dropped freely. But Scrintal offers you the option to create your own organization by tagging your notes.

You can then see all your notes grouped by tag. The advantage of this system is that you can add multiple tags to a note, so you could have one section in which you group all your notes by their topic and another with the same notes but grouped by their priority.

Publicly shareable boards

Scrintal is a place where you can create boards that are composed of notes, and share them publicly with a secret URL. 

In Scrintal, the focus is on shareability of your knowledge. In terms of being able to share anything you create in Scrintal, you can publicly share your whole desk, or single notes within them. This way anyone, without creating a Scrintal account, can interact with your board, go deeper into each note and see the total overview at the same time. 

Can you share your whole board within seconds?

Yes. With Scrintal, you can share the entire Scrintal board in seconds, or any single note within the board too.

What are the benefits of sharing a whole board?

When you’re working on a project, it takes time to get everything set up and organized. By sharing your work in Scrintal, you can show others how it all fits together without having to explain much. With a shared link, anyone can see your whole board and see how it all fits together in one place.

Can others edit my boards and notes?

No, anyone with a link can only view the boards that you share with them. That way you can trust that no one will accidentally change your boards for example if you are showing them during a meeting.

Cloud Storage and Collaboration 

Scrintal is a powerful, simple, and collaborative note-taking platform. We want to help your team capture, organize, and share ideas more effectively.

We designed Scrintal to be distraction free and easy to use so that you can get back to thinking.

Scrintal is not your average static note-taking app. Instead of saving notes locally on your desktop and emailing them around the office when you want to collaborate, Scrintal allows you to bring everyone into one shared space where you can work together in real time.

Scrintal allows you to focus on big picture topics instead of pinning all of your notes to the same board. You have the freedom to create boards for each project. 

Obsidian Cons

One of the major drawbacks of using Obsidian is that you can only access it through desktop. There is no mobile app or web app version, so you cannot edit or view your notes on the go. Obsidian still lacks some features that are offered by other apps with a similar constriction. However, because it is a relatively new application, we can expect to see many helpful updates and additions in due time.

The learning curve of Obsidian is a bit steep because of its complexity. If you have never used any note-taking apps before, you might be overwhelmed at first by all the functions and options of this app. Even if you are familiar with similar applications, it might take some time to get used to Obsidian's way of working and using shortcuts.

The overview graph needs improvement to be usable for real-life use cases. This feature still needs quite a lot of work done to make it truly useful for different file types and linking mechanisms.

It would also be nice if you could easily create new notes directly from the graph view or automatically add linked notes to the graph while writing markdown files. These two things would be a killer feature for those who prefer visualizing their notes network over just reading them in plain text form.

Scrintal Cons

Scrintal is a young product that has potential to become a major knowledge management and project management tool.

However, it has certain drawbacks. First, Scrintal is an early stage product. Compared to Obsidian, there is understandably a lot of room for development. 

Second con is the low customizability Scrintal offers. Due to its simplicity, Scrintal can be used by many for diverse use cases. However, if you look for a customizable product, Scrintal is not there yet.

Third, Scrintal lacks integrations with other tools that many knowledge workers and teams use on a daily basis. This is not surprising given the early stage of the product development but this is an area we can expect Scrintal to get better at as they progress.

Last but not least, there are no iOS or Android apps available yet. This is definitely an area Scrintal team will work on to provide a seamless user experience on the go.

Obsidian Alternative Use Cases

Knowledge workers

Scrintal’s visual desk is a great tool for improving your personal productivity. You can create different boards for different purposes, such as project management, writing and note taking. 

GIF of Scrintal as an Obsidian alternative for Knowledge workers that shows graph view and networked notes with media.

For example, managers can use visual desks to plan their projects by creating cards for tasks; each card can have its own attachments to provide more information about the task. In addition, managers can add text notes to the cards so that they can get a quick overview of their tasks without having to open them. They can also drag and drop these cards to change their priority in the project. 

If they want more details on a particular task, they can easily expand it. Moreover, they can leave comments and ask questions on the tasks’ cards and collaborate with others on these tasks. You can link your files in Google Drive or Dropbox to Scrintal and then open them into your Scrintal desk. This way people will not have to exit Scrintal and move to other tools whenever they need to manage their files.

Students/ Researchers

Scrintal is a great tool for researchers, as well as students. Scrintal allows you to create outlines and mind maps, which are great ways to organize your thoughts and information. These tools are particularly helpful when you are writing a research paper, conducting literature reviews, creating a bibliography, or simply taking notes on what you read. Scrintal's outlines can help you organize your dissertation or thesis by chapter or section.

Scrintal as a free spatial alternative to Obsidian for students and researchers writing a research paper, conducting literature reviews, creating a bibliography, or simply taking notes.

You can also use Scrintal's mind maps to brainstorm ideas before starting a project. These mind maps can be in the form of a simple list of ideas or topics that you would like to discuss in your research paper. You could also use it to organize your thoughts into categories and sub-categories. For example, if you are writing about the effect of global warming on coral reefs, you could start brainstorming with one main idea and branch out from there into sub-topics such as: causes of global warming, effects of global warming on coral reefs and solutions to global warming.

Another great thing about mind maps is that they allow you to see how everything relates to each other so it becomes clearer what your main points are going to be in your research paper or thesis statement.

What qualifies Scrintal as a better alternative to Notion in this case is its ability to visualize so much more information in your knowledge base and study the material on the same platform.

Educators

Educators can use Scrintal to craft their lesson plans, prepare presentations and make their lessons more didactic.

Screenshot of Scrintal digital whiteboard that presents the tool information spread out visually across an infinite canvas that shows the connections between elements to get an overview of one’s project or process.

Scrintal allows teachers to develop a comprehensive outline of the material that they must cover in each lesson. Teachers can even assign tasks on Scrintal so that their students will be able to complete the tasks assigned to them without any issues. Teachers can also use Scrintal as a means of organizing the student's homework assignments and making sure that all of their students are up to date with their work.

Obsidian Alternative: The Final Verdict

Scrintal is the best Obsidian alternative

After reading this guide, you can choose the software that suits best your needs and tastes. As a visual thinker myself, Scrintal is a great alternative to Obsidian. 

As I detailed above, Obsidian is a markdown note-taking app. It uses a familiar folder and file structure to organize your notes. You can create links between your files, tag them, search them, and it has a neat graph view that even though it requires improvement, it's still usable.

But if you are not a person who thinks in text or that learns by reading, then you may find Obsidian rather difficult to use. 

If you, like me, are not a big fan of the folder and file structure, or if you don’t like having to write everything in markdown, Scrintal is a great alternative to Obsidian (maybe the best in my opinion for visual learners).

Scrintal is non-hierarchical, simple and visual. Scrintal has a visual, card-based view of your notes. Each note is represented by a simple colored card with text on it.

It turns out that these two differing views also largely define how each tool works and how you can use them.

If you’re a visual learner as I am, then give Scrintal a try and see how you like it!

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