Obsidian vs. Notion—an in-depth comparison

Read this Obsidian vs. Notion comparison to see how two capable apps approach note-taking. Discover an alternative worth considering over both platforms.
Obsidian and Notion go far beyond basic note-taking, letting users create comprehensive documents. While they serve the same general purpose, the two platforms couldn’t be more different in several aspects.In this Obsidian vs. Notion comparison, you’ll learn about those differences to decide which platform suits your workflow better. You’ll then discover a third option that combines some of the best features of both platforms to enhance your productivity while keeping your data safe.
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Notion vs. Obsidian—breaking down the main differences

Unlike well-known Big Tech apps like Google Keep and OneNote or Evernote and its similar solutions that resemble one another to an extent, Notion and Obsidian are vastly different, particularly in the following aspects:
  1. Design and user interface (UI)
  2. Note-taking features
  3. Collaboration
  4. Note organization
  5. Pricing
  6. Security

Design and user interface

While Obsidian and Notion are both well-designed, you’ll notice that their UIs look entirely different the moment you enter the apps.These differences mainly stem from the fact that each platform has its focal point. Notion is designed for comprehensive document creation and project management, while Obsidian is more of a single-user platform for creating elaborate notes and connecting them intuitively.Notion lets you create wikis, project roadmaps, and documents, so it’s packed with features that might take a while to master. Luckily, you get various templates that help you understand how everything works faster.
Source: NotionObsidian features a clean and minimalistic user interface, making it easy to start creating notes. The problem arises with text formatting, as the platform uses Markdown, a text-to-HTML tool that might be too technical for beginners.Still, if you’re willing to invest the time and effort necessary to figure it out, you’ll uncover many useful options for creating comprehensive notes.
Source: ObsidianWith all of the above in mind, when comparing Obsidian notes vs. Notion, the conclusion is that neither is the most beginner-friendly tool on the market. Both come with advanced features you’ll learn about throughout this guide, so facing a slight learning curve before getting used to them is normal.

Note-taking features

A common denominator of Notion and Obsidian is the ability to create notes and documents beyond plain text. Both platforms let you add various elements that make for rich, dynamic notes, such as:
  • Images
  • Lists and to-do entries
  • Code snippets
  • Website embeds
Still, Notion has a slight advantage here because adding various content types is much easier. Each page consists of blocks, which can be anything from a bullet point to a math equation. Adding the blocks is easy enough, whereas Obsidian requires understanding Markdown codes.Notion also has various features geared toward project management that let you configure notes in many ways. You can add tasks with dependencies and deadlines, which you can then assign to team members. Obsidian has no comparable features, leading us to the next major difference—team collaboration.


Unlike basic apps like OneNote, one of Notion’s primary purposes is collaboration. While you can use it independently, some of its key features are tailored to teams.You can invite team members to contribute to your notes or only allow viewing and commenting. If you assign contributors, you can collaborate in near real-time—you won’t see the changes as they happen, but you can follow a page and get notified whenever someone changes it.There’s also an option to click the profile icons of people currently viewing a doc, which takes you to the block they visited the most recently.Naturally, the platform’s collaboration features are particularly apparent on the project management side. You can track projects to see:
  • Progress bars
  • Assignees
  • Task statuses
By default, Obsidian doesn’t offer any of the above features. It’s mainly designed for individual use, particularly because your notes aren’t stored on the cloud but in your local storage (the implications of which will be covered later).The only way to unlock some collaboration features is to get the Publish add-on, which lets you post your notes to the web. In this case, other users with the add-on enabled can contribute to the note.

Note organization

While Notion and Obsidian take entirely different approaches to note organization, both are quite impressive.Notion lets you assign tags and labels to notes, though there are no folders—you can only create subpages to create a note hierarchy. Parent pages will appear in the sidebar, where you can expand them to see corresponding subpages.
Source: NotionNotion also offers several note-viewing options, most notably:
  • Board
  • Calendar
  • List
  • Gallery
You can also link between notes to connect relevant sources more easily. If several entries contain the same information, you can use the Synced Blocks feature to update it on all notes, which simplifies page management.Obsidian organizes notes into vaults, which are essentially folders on your device. You also get a sidebar with a list view of your notes and a unique organization feature that sets it apart from the competitors—Graph.The Graph feature lets you interlink your notes to visualize their connections. You get an interactive, visually appealing network you can navigate seamlessly. As you hover over a note, the branches connecting it with other entries will get highlighted to give you a clear overview of your ideas.
Source: ObsidianIt all comes down to whether you prefer traditional note organization methods offered by Notion or a more futuristic and aesthetically pleasing approach provided by Obsidian. There’s no right answer here, though Obsidian deserves points for innovation and creativity.


Notion offers a free plan, which is feature-rich enough to give personal users a taste of its capabilities. You get access to all the basic features you need to take robust notes, plus a few extras like a seven-day page history and integration with Slack, GitHub, and other platforms.Still, the plan comes with some limitations—you can only invite up to 10 guests to collaborate on your docs, and the file upload limit is 5 MB. To overcome these restrictions and access additional features, you can choose between Notion’s three plans:
Plus$10/user/month ($8/month with annual billing)
Business$18/user/month ($15/month with annual billing)
Notion charges separately for one of its best features—Notion AI. The feature helps you write, translate, and summarize text quickly, which can significantly improve your productivity. Regardless of your plan, you must pay $10/month ($8/month with annual billing) to access the AI assistant.Obsidian is entirely free for personal use, so you only need to pay if you want a commercial use license, which comes at $50/user/year. Still, you can access useful features with paid add-ons priced as follows:
Add-onWhat it doesCost
SyncLets you sync notes across multiple devices, which is otherwise impossible due to local storing$10/month ($8/month with annual billing)
PublishLets you upload your notes to the web and set up a custom domain$10/month ($8/month with annual billing)

Notion vs. Obsidian—security

Your note-taking platform’s security features should be deal-breakers when you’re making the final decision. While Notion and Obsidian share some protective measures—such as password protection of your notes—the two platforms significantly differ when it comes to the most critical security measure—data encryption.Notion encrypts your notes using:
  1. Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol, which protects data in transit
  2. AES-256 encryption algorithm, which safeguards data resting on servers
These encryption measures are common among most Big Tech providers (Evernote, Google Keep, OneNote, etc.), but they’re not secure enough to ensure privacy and security.Besides numerous vulnerabilities a cybercriminal can exploit, Notion owns your decryption keys, which means they can read your notes’ contents.Obsidian is far more secure because it doesn’t store files in the cloud. If you get the Sync add-on to access notes on multiple devices, they’ll be end-to-end encrypted before syncing.End-to-end encryption (E2EE) is far ahead of standard security measures like TLS and AES because all data is encrypted using a key created and stored on your device. Nobody can read your notes without a decryption key, which is also stored on your device instead of the provider’s server.While Obsidian’s security measures are impressive, there have been concerns regarding a few notable vulnerabilities. The estimated exploitation probability for all of them is low, but they might still make security-conscious users uneasy.If you want a fully end-to-end encrypted platform that doesn’t charge for security or useful features, Skiff Pages can be a better option than Notion and Obsidian.
Prioritize security in note-taking with Skiff PagesAccess built-in end-to-end encryption and safely create and organize notes, share documents, and collaborate in real-time
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Skiff Pages—an E2EE note-taking powerhouse

Skiff Pages is a comprehensive note-taking and document-creation platform that uses end-to-end encryption to give you full control of your data.Each note is encrypted using a symmetric session key shared between collaborators. All participants have an asymmetric key pair consisting of two keys:
  • Public key—Encrypts the symmetric key, giving each user a unique copy
  • Private key—Decrypts documents and is stored on the user’s device
Your private decryption key is inaccessible to everyone—including Skiff. Only those you share the note with can see its contents and key metadata (file name, date created, change timestamps, etc.).For further anonymity, zero-knowledge login allows you to create a Skiff account without leaving any personal information, ensuring complete privacy.If you want to learn more about Skiff’s security measures, you can check out this whitepaper.

Comprehensive features at no cost

Skiff Pages combines Notion’s advanced note-taking features with Obsidian’s security while addressing the main drawbacks of both platforms.You get 10 GB of end-to-end encrypted storage for your notes, so you can avoid the limitations of local storage and seamlessly sync your files between devices.Collaboration is straightforward and happens in real time. You can invite users to contribute to your documents and unshare notes when you want to remove someone’s access. You can also set expiry dates for better access control. Your team communicates end-to-end encrypted document changes through Web Sockets, protecting your privacy.While creating your notes, you can leverage Skiff Pages’ numerous customization features and embed files of all types. The platform also offers extensive formatting options that allow you to add code blocks, tables, dividers, and many other elements to your notes.Notes are organized similarly to Notion’s pages—you can create subpages and have a clear overview of the relationships between notes, as the parent page will display links to all associated pages.Other useful features of Skiff Pages include the following:
  • Password protection of notes
  • File imports from Google Docs, Word, and other processors
  • Version history
  • Various export formats (.docx, .pdf, and .md)
  • Watermarks
  • Email invitations

One account, 4 platforms

A significant advantage of Skiff Pages is that your account gives you access to three additional end-to-end encrypted platforms:
  1. Skiff Mail—Lets you send secure emails and files in an end-to-end encrypted environment, set up custom domains, and avoid various cyber security risks
  2. Skiff Drive—Offers up to 2 TB of end-to-end encrypted storage for files of all types, as well as optional InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) integration
  3. Skiff Calendar—Helps you stay on top of your tasks and enables easier communication through a built-in video conferencing tool
The entire Skiff suite is free and available on Android, iOS, and macOS. You can also access it on Windows through most browsers.

Keep your notes safe with Skiff Pages

If you want to create secure wikis, documents, knowledge bases, and numerous other files, you can sign up for Skiff Pages in three steps:
  1. Visit the signup page
  2. Choose your username and password
  3. Explore Skiff Pages and other E2EE products
The rich free plan is suitable for personal users, but if you want to bring your whole team to Skiff’s secure online workspace and unlock additional features, you can upgrade to one of three affordable paid tiers:
EssentialFrom $3 per month
ProFrom $8 per month
BusinessFrom $12 per month

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