Each bullet you make in RemNote is a Rem; Concept and Descriptor are ways of distinguishing between types of Rem based on their connection to each other and their role in the knowledge you acquire.
Concept Rem (in bold) are the key points you need to retain and understand, many of which can and will have sub-component Concepts of their own. Each one is thus a different named idea within your notes.
Descriptor Rem (in italics) is used to understand, distinguish, and analyze those concepts. Each one should be a child Rem of a Concept, so it is clear which idea it describes. You can use the same Descriptor across many Concepts, though its position in the Hierarchy can distinguish each.
For example, in notes on diseases, each disease could be a Concept, with Descriptors for vectors, symptoms, and so forth. But a list of symptoms might also include references to Concepts explained elsewhere in your notes.
The Concept/Descriptor formatting is an in-built way to structure your thinking, with noticeable formatting differences to help visually distinguish information. The shortcuts :: and ;; help make following that formatting easy.
How to apply the Concept and Descriptor Card Shortcuts
While writing your notes and organizing your ideas, you can easily follow the Concept Descriptor Framework by using special Flashcard creation shortcuts :: and ;; respectively.
Creating a Concept with the :: Command
To make a Concept Card, write the concept, then :: , followed by a brief explanation of it. RemNote will automatically bold the Concept for easy identification.
In addition, RemNote will give it special Concept status for searches (they will show up as a separate group in the search and also have distinguishing lightbulb icons).
Finally, the flashcard created will automatically be bi-directional. This means you will be tested both on your ability to explain the concept and your ability to identify the concept based on the explanation you write in your notes.
Creating a Descriptor with the ;; Command
To make a Descriptor Card, start by making a child Rem for a Concept Rem (hit Enter, then Tab). Write out the descriptor for this concept, then ;; , followed by the description. The Descriptor is automatically italicized.
In addition, it will have special descriptor status. When you search descriptors will be identified with their icon (an upward curving arrow) and labeled with the concept they are describing.
When testing yourself on a Descriptor Flashcard, you will be shown the concept to which it applies. Furthermore, if you test yourself on it in reverse, rather than being prompted to answer with the Descriptor, you will be prompted with the Descriptor and description and asked to answer with the concept it applies to.
Creating or Transforming Concept and Descriptor Cards using / command
In addition to the ;; and :: commands, you can create Concept and Descriptor cards with / commands.
You can create a Concept Card by typing /ico (or Create Concept Card). You can create a Descriptor Card by typing /id (make sure to select Descriptor Card).
Alternatively, you can transform one type of card into another by working through the Flashcard Menu. Click on the arrow of the flashcard and select your preference from the drop-down menu on the lower left.
Working With the Concept Descriptor Framework
Card Free Concepts and Descriptors
Adding and using Concepts and Descriptors in your notes is possible without flashcards.
You can label any Rem as a Concept by typing / to open the Omnibar command, searching for Turn Into a Concept, or typing the shortcut tc. Select “Turn Into a Concept”, and the Rem will be bolded and labelled as a Concept.
You can label any Rem as a Descriptor in the same way but with /Turn Into a Descriptor or /td.
Referencing Concepts and Descriptors
When you reference Concepts and Descriptors, their status within the framework will be automatically considered.
A Concept will be the same as any other Rem when Referenced since it is the core idea you want to link to.
On the other hand, when using a Descriptor as a Rem Reference, the Concept it is attached to will be included (in grey). This makes it easier to distinguish, for example, between the symptoms of a heart attack vs those of another ailment when referencing one or both.
Disabling the Concept and Descriptor Framework
Some users may not wish to use this particular framework or find as they edit their notes, they need to remove the status of a Rem as a Concept or Descriptor.
When working on a Flashcard, you can transform it back into a basic card by clicking the card and then selecting a basic card from the drop-down menu in the bottom left.
You can also use the Remove Concept / Descriptor Formatting command by typing / then tb. This removes all formatting indicators of Concepts and Descriptors, and RemNote will treat them like any other Rem.
Alternatively, you can keep the framework but disable the card by typing - after the card arrow or using the command /fp (Stop practising this Rem). Either option turns the flashcard arrow into a straight line and removes it from practice without removing the Concept Descriptor Framework.
Finally, you can create a new Descriptor Rem using the == command; this makes a new descriptor card that starts automatically disabled. Perfect for adding details that you won’t be testing yourself on.
Templates and Universal Descriptors
You may use the same descriptors repeatedly as your notes take on systematic patterns, and the way you structure your ideas crystalise. We call any descriptor Rem which comes up on most concepts Universal Descriptors,
You can create templates to save time and effort by retyping the same descriptors or searching for them. Using Templates, you can add any number of descriptors to a new note in no time.
Advantages of Using the Concept Descriptor Framework
As we have seen, the Concept Descriptor Framework provides several built-in advantages, like formatting, search response, and flashcard learning. But there are plenty of other benefits to be unlocked by taking advantage of the tool.
Organization. Following a systematic approach, such as the Concept Descriptor Framework, is essential to taking strong notes that you can easily use and learn from.
Efficiency. Finding the information you need quickly, and knowing how and where to add new information, will improve your note-taking efficiency and effectiveness.
Learning. Breaking down knowledge into key ideas (Concepts) and systematically understanding them (Descriptors) will lead to better retention and deeper understanding.