Remember

This manual is for Remember Mode, version 2.0

Copyright © 2001, 2004–2005, 2007–2014 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with the Front-Cover Texts being “A GNU Manual”, and with the Back-Cover Texts as in (a) below. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled “GNU Free Documentation License”.

(a) The FSF's Back-Cover Text is: “You have the freedom to copy and modify this GNU manual.”

Preface About the documentation.
Introduction What is Remember Mode?
Implementation How Remember came into existence.
Quick Start Get started using Remember.
Function Reference Interactive functions in remember.el.
Keystrokes Keystrokes bound in Remember Mode.
Backends Backends for saving notes.
GNU Free Documentation License The license for this documentation.
Concept Index Search for terms.

Detailed Node Listing

Backends
Text File Saving to a text file.
Separate Text Files Saving to separate text files.
Diary Saving to a Diary file.
Mailbox Saving to a mailbox.
Org Saving to an Org Mode file.

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1 Preface

This document describes remember.el, which was written by John Wiegley, was once maintained by Sacha Chua, and is now maintained by the Emacs developers.

This document is a work in progress, and your contribution will be greatly appreciated.

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2 Introduction

Todo lists, schedules, phone databases... everything we use databases for is really just a way to extend the power of our memory, to be able to remember what our conscious mind may not currently have access to.

There are many different databases out there—and good ones—which this mode is not trying to replace. Rather, it's how that data gets there that's the question. Most of the time, we just want to say “Remember so-and-so's phone number, or that I have to buy dinner for the cats tonight.” That's the FACT. How it's stored is really the computer's problem. But at this point in time, it's most definitely also the user's problem, and sometimes so laboriously so that people just let data slip, rather than expend the effort to record it.

“Remember” is a mode for remembering data. It uses whatever back-end is appropriate to record and correlate the data, but its main intention is to allow you to express as little structure as possible up front. If you later want to express more powerful relationships between your data, or state assumptions that were at first too implicit to be recognized, you can “study” the data later and rearrange it. But the initial “just remember this” impulse should be as close to simply throwing the data at Emacs as possible.

Have you ever noticed that having a laptop to write on doesn't actually increase the amount of quality material that you turn out, in the long run? Perhaps it's because the time we save electronically in one way, we're losing electronically in another; the tool should never dominate one's focus. As the mystic Faridu'd-Din `Attar wrote: “Be occupied as little as possible with things of the outer world but much with things of the inner world; then right action will overcome inaction.”

If Emacs could become a more intelligent data store, where brainstorming would focus on the ideas involved—rather than the structuring and format of those ideas, or having to stop your current flow of work in order to record them—it would map much more closely to how the mind (well, at least mine) works, and hence would eliminate that very manual-ness which computers from the very beginning have been championed as being able to reduce.

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3 Implementation

Hyperbole, as a data presentation tool, always struck me as being very powerful, but it seemed to require a lot of “front-end” work before that data was really available. The problem with BBDB, or keeping up a Bibl-mode file, is that you have to use different functions to record the data, and it always takes time to stop what you're doing, format the data in the manner expected by that particular data interface, and then resume your work.

With “remember”, you just hit M-x remember (you'd probably want to bind this to an easily accessible keystroke, like C-x M-r), slam in your text however you like, and then hit C-c C-c. It will file the data away for later retrieval, and possibly indexing.

Indexing is to data what “studying” is in the real world. What you do when you study (or lucubrate, for some of us) is to realize certain relationships implicit in the data, so that you can make use of those relationships. Expressing that a certain quote you remembered was a literary quote, and that you want the ability to pull up all quotes of a literary nature, is what studying does. This is a more labor intensive task than the original remembering of the data, and it's typical in real life to set aside a special period of time for doing this work.

“Remember” works in the same way. When you enter data, either by typing it into a buffer, or using the contents of the selected region, it will store that data—unindexed, uninterpreted—in a data pool. It will also try to remember as much context information as possible (any text properties that were set, where you copied it from, when, how, etc.). Later, you can walk through your accumulated set of data (both organized, and unorganized) and easily begin moving things around, and making annotations that will express the full meaning of that data, as far as you know it.

Obviously this latter stage is more user-interface intensive, and it would be nice if “remember” could do it as elegantly as possible, rather than requiring a billion keystrokes to reorganize your hierarchy. Well, as the future arrives, hopefully experience and user feedback will help to make this as intuitive a tool as possible.

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4 Quick Start

By default, remember-finalize saves the note in ~/emacs.d/notes. You can edit it now to see the remembered and timestamped note. You can edit this file however you want. New entries will always be added to the end.

To remember a region of text, use the universal prefix. C-u M-x remember displays a *Remember* buffer with the region as the initial contents.

As a simple beginning, you can start by using the Text File backend, keeping your ~/.emacs.d/notes file in outline-mode format, with a final entry called ‘* Raw data’. Remembered data will be added to the end of the file. Every so often, you can move the data that gets appended there into other files, or reorganize your document.

You can also store remembered data in other backends. See Backends.

Here is one way to map the remember functions in your init file (see The Emacs Initialization File) to very accessible keystrokes facilities using the mode:

     (define-key global-map (kbd "<f9> r") 'remember)
     (define-key global-map (kbd "<f9> R") 'remember-region)

By default, remember uses the first annotation returned by remember-annotation-functions. To include all of the annotations, set remember-run-all-annotation-functions-flag to a non-nil value.

— User Option: remember-run-all-annotation-functions-flag

Non-nil means use all annotations returned by remember-annotation-functions.

You can write custom functions that use a different set of remember-annotation-functions. For example:

     (defun my/remember-with-filename ()
      "Always use the filename."
      (interactive)
      (let ((remember-annotation-functions '(buffer-file-name)))
       (call-interactively 'remember)))

The remember-notes command creates a notes buffer that visits the file specified by the option remember-data-file. The option remember-notes-buffer-name specifies the name of the buffer. The buffer uses remember-notes-initial-major-mode and remember-notes-mode minor mode. Use C-c C-c to save and bury the buffer. The command save-some-buffers saves this buffer without asking. This function is a suitable setting for initial-buffer-choice.

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5 Function Reference

remember.el defines the following interactive functions:

— Function: remember &optional initial

Remember an arbitrary piece of data. With a prefix, it will use the region as initial.

— Function: remember-other-frame &optional initial

Like remember, but uses a new frame.

— Function: remember-region &optional beg end

If called from within the remember buffer, beg and end are ignored, and the entire buffer will be remembered. If called from any other buffer, that region, plus any context information specific to that region, will be remembered.

— Function: remember-clipboard

Remember the contents of the current clipboard. This is most useful for remembering things from Netscape or other X Windows applications.

— Function: remember-finalize

Remember the contents of the current buffer.

— Function: remember-destroy

Destroy the current remember buffer.

— Function: remember-mode

This enters the major mode (see Major Modes) for output from remember. This buffer is used to collect data that you want remember. Just hit C-c C-c when you're done entering, and it will go ahead and file the data for latter retrieval, and possible indexing.

— Function: remember-notes &optional switch-to

This returns the notes buffer, creating it if needed, and switches to it if called interactively (or if switch-to is non-nil). The notes buffer visits remember-data-file, and is named remember-notes-buffer-name. It uses remember-notes-initial-major-mode and remember-notes-mode minor mode.

— Function: remember-notes-mode &optional arg

This is a minor mode for the notes buffer. It sets buffer-save-without-query so that save-some-buffers will save the notes buffer without asking. Use C-c C-c to run the command remember-notes-save-and-bury-buffer.

— Function: remember-notes-save-and-bury-buffer

Save (if it is modified) and bury the current buffer.

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6 Keystroke Reference

remember.el defines the following keybindings by default:

C-c C-c
C-x C-s
Remember the contents of the current buffer (`remember-finalize').
C-c C-k
Destroy the current *Remember* buffer (`remember-destroy').

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7 Backends

You can save remembered notes to a variety of backends.

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7.1 Saving to a Text File

Insinuation

     (setq remember-handler-functions '(remember-append-to-file))

Options

— User Option: remember-data-file

The file in which to store unprocessed data.

— User Option: remember-leader-text

The text used to begin each remember item.

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7.2 Saving to Separate Text Files

Insinuation

     (setq remember-handler-functions '(remember-store-in-files))

Options

— User Option: remember-data-directory

The directory in which to store remember data as files.

— User Option: remember-directory-file-name-format

A format string to use for naming files in the remember directory. File names are formed by calling format-time-string at the time of saving, using this format string.

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7.3 Saving to a Diary file

Insinuation

     (add-to-list 'remember-handler-functions 'remember-diary-extract-entries)

Options

— User Option: remember-diary-file

File for extracted diary entries. If this is nil, then diary-file will be used instead.

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7.4 Saving to a Mailbox

Insinuation

     (add-to-list 'remember-handler-functions 'remember-store-in-mailbox)

Options

— User Option: remember-mailbox

The file in which to store remember data as mail.

— User Option: remember-default-priority

The default priority for remembered mail messages.

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7.5 Saving to an Org Mode file

For instructions on how to integrate Remember with Org Mode, consult Capture.

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Appendix A GNU Free Documentation License

Version 1.3, 3 November 2008
     Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2008 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
     http://fsf.org/
     
     Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies
     of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.
  1. PREAMBLE

    The purpose of this License is to make a manual, textbook, or other functional and useful document free in the sense of freedom: to assure everyone the effective freedom to copy and redistribute it, with or without modifying it, either commercially or noncommercially. Secondarily, this License preserves for the author and publisher a way to get credit for their work, while not being considered responsible for modifications made by others.

    This License is a kind of “copyleft”, which means that derivative works of the document must themselves be free in the same sense. It complements the GNU General Public License, which is a copyleft license designed for free software.

    We have designed this License in order to use it for manuals for free software, because free software needs free documentation: a free program should come with manuals providing the same freedoms that the software does. But this License is not limited to software manuals; it can be used for any textual work, regardless of subject matter or whether it is published as a printed book. We recommend this License principally for works whose purpose is instruction or reference.

  2. APPLICABILITY AND DEFINITIONS

    This License applies to any manual or other work, in any medium, that contains a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it can be distributed under the terms of this License. Such a notice grants a world-wide, royalty-free license, unlimited in duration, to use that work under the conditions stated herein. The “Document”, below, refers to any such manual or work. Any member of the public is a licensee, and is addressed as “you”. You accept the license if you copy, modify or distribute the work in a way requiring permission under copyright law.

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    It is requested, but not required, that you contact the authors of the Document well before redistributing any large number of copies, to give them a chance to provide you with an updated version of the Document.

  5. MODIFICATIONS

    You may copy and distribute a Modified Version of the Document under the conditions of sections 2 and 3 above, provided that you release the Modified Version under precisely this License, with the Modified Version filling the role of the Document, thus licensing distribution and modification of the Modified Version to whoever possesses a copy of it. In addition, you must do these things in the Modified Version:

    1. Use in the Title Page (and on the covers, if any) a title distinct from that of the Document, and from those of previous versions (which should, if there were any, be listed in the History section of the Document). You may use the same title as a previous version if the original publisher of that version gives permission.
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    3. State on the Title page the name of the publisher of the Modified Version, as the publisher.
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    5. Add an appropriate copyright notice for your modifications adjacent to the other copyright notices.
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    8. Include an unaltered copy of this License.
    9. Preserve the section Entitled “History”, Preserve its Title, and add to it an item stating at least the title, year, new authors, and publisher of the Modified Version as given on the Title Page. If there is no section Entitled “History” in the Document, create one stating the title, year, authors, and publisher of the Document as given on its Title Page, then add an item describing the Modified Version as stated in the previous sentence.
    10. Preserve the network location, if any, given in the Document for public access to a Transparent copy of the Document, and likewise the network locations given in the Document for previous versions it was based on. These may be placed in the “History” section. You may omit a network location for a work that was published at least four years before the Document itself, or if the original publisher of the version it refers to gives permission.
    11. For any section Entitled “Acknowledgements” or “Dedications”, Preserve the Title of the section, and preserve in the section all the substance and tone of each of the contributor acknowledgements and/or dedications given therein.
    12. Preserve all the Invariant Sections of the Document, unaltered in their text and in their titles. Section numbers or the equivalent are not considered part of the section titles.
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    If the Modified Version includes new front-matter sections or appendices that qualify as Secondary Sections and contain no material copied from the Document, you may at your option designate some or all of these sections as invariant. To do this, add their titles to the list of Invariant Sections in the Modified Version's license notice. These titles must be distinct from any other section titles.

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  6. COMBINING DOCUMENTS

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    In the combination, you must combine any sections Entitled “History” in the various original documents, forming one section Entitled “History”; likewise combine any sections Entitled “Acknowledgements”, and any sections Entitled “Dedications”. You must delete all sections Entitled “Endorsements.”

  7. COLLECTIONS OF DOCUMENTS

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    You may extract a single document from such a collection, and distribute it individually under this License, provided you insert a copy of this License into the extracted document, and follow this License in all other respects regarding verbatim copying of that document.

  8. AGGREGATION WITH INDEPENDENT WORKS

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    If the Cover Text requirement of section 3 is applicable to these copies of the Document, then if the Document is less than one half of the entire aggregate, the Document's Cover Texts may be placed on covers that bracket the Document within the aggregate, or the electronic equivalent of covers if the Document is in electronic form. Otherwise they must appear on printed covers that bracket the whole aggregate.

  9. TRANSLATION

    Translation is considered a kind of modification, so you may distribute translations of the Document under the terms of section 4. Replacing Invariant Sections with translations requires special permission from their copyright holders, but you may include translations of some or all Invariant Sections in addition to the original versions of these Invariant Sections. You may include a translation of this License, and all the license notices in the Document, and any Warranty Disclaimers, provided that you also include the original English version of this License and the original versions of those notices and disclaimers. In case of a disagreement between the translation and the original version of this License or a notice or disclaimer, the original version will prevail.

    If a section in the Document is Entitled “Acknowledgements”, “Dedications”, or “History”, the requirement (section 4) to Preserve its Title (section 1) will typically require changing the actual title.

  10. TERMINATION

    You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Document except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute it is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License.

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    Termination of your rights under this section does not terminate the licenses of parties who have received copies or rights from you under this License. If your rights have been terminated and not permanently reinstated, receipt of a copy of some or all of the same material does not give you any rights to use it.

  11. FUTURE REVISIONS OF THIS LICENSE

    The Free Software Foundation may publish new, revised versions of the GNU Free Documentation License from time to time. Such new versions will be similar in spirit to the present version, but may differ in detail to address new problems or concerns. See http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/.

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    The operator of an MMC Site may republish an MMC contained in the site under CC-BY-SA on the same site at any time before August 1, 2009, provided the MMC is eligible for relicensing.

ADDENDUM: How to use this License for your documents

To use this License in a document you have written, include a copy of the License in the document and put the following copyright and license notices just after the title page:

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Index