Software that helped 2022: Obsidian and Espanso

2022 was a year that felt like ten years crammed into one. It was my first wholly face-to-face year since I started at my current job (the year before was lots of on-campus and off-campus). I found two good pieces of software through Mastodon, and thought I would share them with the two people who read this (and their dogs).

Obsidian: notes with tags

Obsidian is now one of the most often used applications on my computers. I use it to take notes and also write documents that do not need to be shared with co-authors, editors or supervisors. The notes are taggable, and can be visualised in a web similar to spider diagrams. Additionally, when the header system and list system are used, parts that are not being edited right at that moment can be hidden away and brought back very easily. The files are eminently transferable between devices. I choose to not sync but purposefully move data between devices for data protection and also utility. Some devices do not need all my notes, such as my novel in progress does not need to be on my phone or my work PC. Also, getting into Obsidian Markdown has helped me with learning R Markdown considerably. I still feel that I have barely scratched the surface but it is very useful.

The graph view is not very linked on my home PC. But I am at home because I was ill. I might change this image tomorrow when I get to my work PC.


I seem to use Espanso more often than I think. The main useful interface is text documents in which one adds text short cuts. An example might be:


which may then suddenly change to:

Hello world!

It works well, is uncomplicated and allows for subject specific lists to be added. I use a mainly limited feature set but I am very impressed so far. I have a couple of very nascent additions to the Espanso base file, but feel free to use them (these are very much works in progress, and I am unlikely to update them on here). They are text documents, but you can open them and ‘Save as’ and give them a .yml extension.

A set of academic shortcuts, with very nascent shortcuts (only 2) for academic writing advice, because I mainly use Google Classroom comments.

A file that has some language and phonology shortcuts.