Notion vs Obsidian: All Features Compared (2024)

A screenshot of a project management software showing a task titled "Motion graphics" with details such as status, assignee, due date, comments, and priority. This interface can be compared to Notion vs Obsidian for task management efficiency.

Notion and Obsidian can be used as productivity apps or knowledge management tools, but there are notable differences between the two.

Which tool has the best features for your needs? Which offers the best pricing model? And how do they compare to alternatives on the market?

We’ll explore these questions in our Notion vs Obsidian comparison, starting with a quick individual rundown and a more in-depth look into how these tools square up.

Notion vs Obsidian: Key Takeaways

  • Notion is a knowledge management tool with advanced features for complex data management and customization. It can be a bit too robust for users interested in simple note-taking but solid for combining basic project management and documentation.
  • Obsidian is a tool for managing daily notes and visualizing data. Its biggest advantage is its offline mode for storing and accessing information, but it can also be a downside, as cloud storage, collaboration, and syncing across multiple platforms are paid for separately.
  • You can consider an alternative such as Productive if you’re looking for a tool that provides a built-in Docs feature, alongside some powerful features for your agency management (such as project financials, employees, time, reporting, and more).

The Best Notion vs Obsidian Alternative for Agencies

Switch to Productive to unify collaborative documentation with in-depth agency management in a single platform.

Book a demo

Find out more about Productive below, or continue on to our review of Notion.

Notion – A Customizable Knowledge Management Software

Notion is a knowledge management base with robust customization features for handling complex data.

A screenshot of a project management software displaying a task list with details such as task names, due dates, statuses, and assignees. This view is useful for comparing Notion vs Obsidian in terms of task organization and management.

Source: notion

Notion Key Features

  • Creating pages by using various content blocks, real-time collaboration, Notion AI, and embedding images & videos
  • Centralizing in a single location with wikis and backlinking — synced blocks update information across multiple sources in real time
  • Simple task management and collaboration with multiple project views, automation, filtering and sorting
  • Notion Calendar as an alternative to Google Calendar for managing work and personal time

What Users Say

Users usually enjoy using Notion as a way to manage their information and process complex data. Since it’s a fairly complex tool, it might not the best pick for basic text editing, as you’ll simply not be getting the most out of the tool:

I strongly believe its not for those who primarily use Notion for simple note-taking or basic project management because it has many features like relational databases, complex formulas, and rollups, which will demand a lot of time and experimentation to master.

Source: Notion

On the other hand, while it does provide task management and collaboration tools, it’s not a true agency management option. It lacks core features for serious project end to end management, such as time tracking, budgeting, and resource allocation and capacity planning. Users state that:

I found it excruciating for tasks and way too limited for any serious calendar work. I use it to capture basic deadlines and that sort of thing, but any other scheduling goes into a calendar. And all my tasks go into a proper task manager.

Source: Reddit

To learn more about how Notion compares to project management tools, you can check out vs Notion and Notion vs Wrike comparisons.

Why Use Notion Over Obsidian?

  • Notion’s cloud-based mode is included in the basic price of the tool
  • Notion has better collaboration functionalities, while Obsidian relies on a paid add-on
  • Notion has an AI tool for writing and brainstorming, managing and automating data, and handling workflows (tasks, bugs, etc.)
  • Notion is overall a more versatile tool than Obsidian

Obsidian – A Popular Note-Taking App

Obsidian is a Markdown-based note-taking app that allows you to create and manage your documentation offline.

A screenshot of a project management software showing an open note titled "Writing is telepathy," with a sidebar of various notes categories, and a graph view illustrating connections between ideas. This layout highlights features for comparing Notion vs Obsidian.

source: obsidian

Obsidian Key Features

  • Local storage of documentation in so-called file vaults with offline access and maximum privacy
  • Obsidian Canvas as a core plug-in for brainstorming and visual note organization
  • Community plugins, themes, and open API for personalized workflows
  • Paid add-ons for Obsidian Publish (online pages and collaboration), as well as multi-platform syncing with Obsidian Sync

What Users Say

Users enjoy Obsidian because it balances the simplicity of note-taking tools with some extra features for visualizing connections (with the knowledge graph structure) and a blank canvas for brainstorming and ideation.

The other softwares were either too simple or too complex. Obsidian lies at the sweet spot between features and simplicity.

Source: Capterra

Obsidian’s biggest benefit by far is the fact that it stores your information offline, so if you want to handle notes without internet access or safeguard your data, it’s the ideal pick. However, the cloud server option and syncing are additionally paid, which some users are not too fond of:

For me personally, the lack of good, free, cross-platform, official syncing on Obsidian was the deal breaker for me. The 8$/mo Obsidian Sync is absolutely apsurd for a feature which should be free and built-in. They should at least provide an official way to sync with 3rd party file syncing platforms.

Source: Obsidian vs Notion review on Reddit

Additionally, consider that Obsidian is Markdown-based, meaning that there’s a specific syntax you’ll need to learn to use the tool effectively — though users report that it’s not too challenging to pick up.

Why Use Obsidian Over Notion?

  • Your data is available regardless of where you are, which means it won’t be affected by internet connection
  • Information is also more secure and preserved over the long-term, making Obsidian suitable for managing sensitive data
  • Obsidian offers a blank canvas format for visualizing your notes and a unique knowledge graph feature for links
  • Obsidian is simpler, making it a potentially better fit for basic note-taking

Obsidian vs Notion: Head-to-Head Comparison

Let’s review the benefits and downsides of Notion or Obsidian category by category, including pricing, documentation, interlinking, collaboration, and user-friendliness or UI/UX design.


Both Notion and Obsidian offer a free version of their platform, but there are some differences.

Obsidian’s free version offers all platform features, but the app is paid-only for commercial use, defined by Obsidian as “work-related activities that generate revenue in an organization with two or more people”.

However, some key features are offered only as add-ons, including:

  • Obsidian Sync for versioning and multi-platform linking between notes
  • Obsidian Publish for collaborative notes and online view

Notion, on the other hand, limits its free tier when it comes to guests, page history, blocks, and file uploads. There are three more paid plans offering different types of advanced features.

Since it’s a cloud-based collaboration and task management tool, online access and team collaboration are included in all of the plans. Offline access is not available. Notion AI is paid for separately per user.
Both tools can be used as mobile apps.

To summarize, Obsidian’s basic version is the most affordable pick if you don’t need online access or extensive collaboration features, but for anything else, Notion is likely the better option.


Community reviews differ when it comes to which platform is better designed or provides a more seamless experience.

On the one hand, Obsidian’s Markdown system, while overall not too difficult to learn, can feel unnatural to people not used to writing notes in a plain text format. The graph functionality, while an interesting feature, is also a hit-or-miss according to some users.

It’s too unfinished to be practical. I have a feature request list 10 pages long before I’d consider the global graph useful on a daily basis.

Source: Obsidian review on Reddit

Notion’s complexity can create some friction, especially with users looking for a simple note-taking tool.

Obsidian is just Markdown plain text, there is no stupid nonsense between what you’re trying to write and what Notion is trying to figure out you want to write… is just text.

Source: Reddit

There can be a bit of a learning curve there, and Notion users report falling into the pitfalls of overcustomizing their spaces and making them less efficient. However, there’s no denying that Notion can do a lot for your data and knowledge management in the right hands.

Documenting & Brainstorming

For generalized documentation, it’s worth reiterating that Obsidian uses a Markdown system for text editing, which is a specific syntax that can take some getting used to. Files will be stored as Markdown files (.md).

There are different themes that users can choose from to customize how their files look (though most are fairly streamlined, so don’t expect a visual explosion), or developed a personalized one in CSS.

A screenshot of a project management software showing a note titled "Minimal Theme Readme" with details on installing and customizing the theme, alongside a sidebar with note categories and a graph view of note connections. This illustrates the features for comparing Notion vs Obsidian.


Where Obsidian truly shines is the Obsidian Canvas feature, a whiteboard-like space where users can format their thoughts like sticky notes. It offers the ability to embed multimedia files, such as PDFs, videos, audios, and entire web pages, including materials from your vaults (which you can edit within the Canvas view).

These files are stored in the open JSON Canvas file format, which is made to play nicely with other tools.

A screenshot of a project management software displaying a research board titled "Chocolate chip cookie research" with sections comparing crispy and cakey cookies, featuring recipe details, ingredient lists, and images. This interface is useful for evaluating Notion vs Obsidian for organizing culinary projects.


A unique feature in Notion is Notion Calendar, which can be connected to your pages to streamline workflows. For example, you can associate an event with a page to streamline note-taking during meetings or manage events from your Notion database in a calendar or timeline view.

A screenshot of a project management software displaying a calendar view for January 2024, with various events and tasks color-coded and scheduled throughout the week. This visual is helpful for comparing the calendar and scheduling features in Notion vs Obsidian.


Internal Links

With Obsidian, you can create a knowledge network by linking to notes, attachments, and other files. You can also visualize these connections with the graph view (either connections across your entire vault, or your graph network for an active note with the local graph feature). Circles represent different information, while lines depict how this data is linked between different nodes.


While Notion doesn’t have a comparable knowledge graph feature, Notion also provides a way to link various pages together.

You can also link to specific paragraphs within a page in order to simplify knowledge sharing even more. Notion will create backlinks automatically on pages that have been linked elsewhere to help you navigate your workspace. This backlinks section can be customized and even turned off.


Collaboration Features

Notion has built-in collaboration features. You can work side-by-side with your team members on pages, mention them, and leave feedback. There’s also basic project management, so teams can view their tasks in a timeline, table, or calendar view, create different labels, create custom automations to streamline workstreams, and filter and sort information.

Overall, it’s a very basic productivity tool, but it can be handy for teams that want to add a bit of project management to their documentation.


On the other hand, Obsidian is less suitable for collaborative work, and doesn’t offer any project or task management features that are comparable to Notion. You can work together with other people, but only if you invest in a paid add-on, Obsidian Publish (paid per site).

You can then post your website online, work with your team, optimize your site, and even get optional analytics (by embedding Google Analytics or other similar tools).

For collaborative notes and any sort of management, Notion is the better pick, though there are alternatives that can do this even better, such as:

Productive – The Best Notion vs Obsidian Alternative for Project Management

Productive is the top pick for task-oriented features combined with document management. If you like the collaboration and task management features offered in Notion, Productive has all of this in store, and more.

The main challenge for us was consolidating everything we needed into one tool, we were using six different tools at the time, and Productive really delivered on that note.

Alex Streltsov,
General Manager at Prolex Media

Starting with Docs, they’re the perfect way to store agency and project information in one place.

The feature doesn’t offer as many bells and whistles as dedicated note-taking tools, but all you need is there: adding multimedia, real-time collaboration, commenting, and versioning. Documents can be exported as PDF files.


The best part of Docs is how they integrate with the rest of the platform: you can associate docs to specific projects, link to tasks, and mention team members in pages to provide more context.


For project and task management, there are various features that make your life easier. First, there are the multiple project views. We’ll underline just two out of seven potential views you can utilize:

  • Gantt chart: Get a high-level overview of your project and customize your chart according to your preferences.
  • Workload view: Go granular and get insights on how tasks are distributed across team members and projects.


For task management, you can easily manage your project hierarchy with subtasks, to-dos, and milestones. Manage deadlines, priority, assignees, and estimated time, or add custom fields to your tasks for additional parameters. There are also platform-wide notifications that can be customized for frequency or where you want to receive them (email, platform, or both).

You can invite clients to your boards free of charge; they can view, create, and comment on tasks to speed up your feedback loops.


Another great feature is the integrated time tracking — you can track time directly from tasks, which will automatically create entries with links to tasks.

Additional features include:

  • A responsive resourcing plan with time off management for handling availability and utilization
  • In-depth project budgeting, invoicing, and financial forecasting for improved decision-making
  • An automations builder for speeding up repetitive tasks and custom permissions set
  • Business analytics capabilities that pull data from all of your project activities

The Best Notion vs Obsidian Alternative for Agencies

Switch to Productive to unify collaborative documentation with in-depth agency management in a single platform.

Book a demo

Productive offers a 14-day free trial (learn more about pricing and plans).

Wrapping Up: Which Tool to Choose?

Obsidian and Notion can both be game changers for your knowledge management.

With Obsidian, you can get a straightforward text editor with a canvas for brainstorming and secure offline storage for your data.

With Notion, you’re getting a powerful tool for managing all kinds of data and collaborating with team members.

But with a third alternative like Productive, you can get documentation combined with robust agency management capabilities, from financial management to resourcing.

Book a demo with Productive today to learn what an all-in-one tool can do for your agency operations.

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Lucija Bakić

Content Specialist

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