Treatment of Image Data

I don’t know the lingo or the complications of programing - so please overlook my inability to articulate what I’m trying express.

If possible, I would greatly appreciate if image data could be treated differently. Such that, images that are pasted into a rem don’t disappear.

I looked through the other forum pages and noted a couple other users with the same experience. I realize I’m most likely doing something that causes RemnNote to lose the file path for the image, but I can’t identify what I’m doing wrong.

Regardless, if image data could be treated differently such that having an image disappear is no longer possible, I’d be thrilled!


The first thing to understand is that your notes are only text. Images and videos are just URLs to the image file or youtube video which are loaded and embedded whenever this media content is shown.

For images there are 2 cases, depending on how you copy&pasted the image into RemNote. Which case you have depends on how you have copied the image beforehand exactly and what ended up in your clipboard:

  1. If you copy the image directly (rightclick, copy image so you have the image data itself in the clipboard), then pasting uploads the image to RemNote’s servers or in case of a local only KB it copies the image to your database folder. Then it places a link to this new image in your notes.
    • This never loses your image…
    • …but in case of the synced db you don’t have control over the image anymore.
  2. If the image is part of some text or your insert the URL (http(s):// or file:// path) directly (the clipboard just contains text and an image URL) then RemNote just uses this URL and places it to your notes.
    • This is problematic if the URL or file path is just temporary, e.g. if you copy a dynamic link from a google image search or copy the image from a word processor where the image is stored as a temp/ file or use a local file in a synced kb and try to access the image on another device (where there is no such image).
    • On the plus side this means you can edit the image and changes are reflected in RemNote (e.g. wikimedia commons images should have a stable URL (?) and are sometimes updated). Or you have it on your own cloud/server where you have total control over the image as opposed to uploading it to RemNote servers.
    • This also saves RemNote hosting costs meaning more money for bug fixes and feature development.

You can use Clipboard Inspector to check how something stored in your clipboard:

  • as image file (case 1, note image/png)
  • as a potentially temporary URL/file path (case 2, note <img src="file:///tmp/...) image

GitHub - hannesfrank/remnote-inspect: A developer plugin for RemNote to inspect a Rem. also lets you check an image URL.

About the lost images

It is not trivial how to handle lost images from 2.

The first thing to note is that RemNote would need to do some extra work to check text/html content in the clipboard content for any images and upload them to RemNote servers or download them to the local-only kb and replace the URL. This is a bit harder than just converting it to markdown and just insert it.

But I would also vote against always extracting the images since it can actually be useful. The question is how to prevent lost images for non-techy users and make RemNow always work intuitively.

One option would be to always extract and upload images except if they are pasted explicitly as markdown image links (![](image url)) to leave this backdoor open for non-techy users. And the /image dialog could have a switch to let the user decide to link or download the image.


Very interesting read

Basically all images from the sync kb are stored on the RN server. For the non tech RNs device (not really but just for visualization of non tech) For the local only images are stored on devices file manager

This is reason why when offline the sync kb loses image access since to access RN server (aka where our sync images are stored) we need WIFI. This same scenario allows us access to our images on local only since it exists on our device

This is why there are issues (from an image perspective) when exporting. The images aren’t actually part of our notes so when we export the images from our sync stay on the RN server. When we export from the local, even though they are in a file, it still does us no good as it is on our device

Curious how the desktop app works for the sync kb
Are the images stored both on RN server & your device file manager?

I also presume if using 3rd party app for images if embedding etc would not work with image occlusion at this pt?

Take away being exporting works w notes (text + RN features) but not images
If images are part of workflow & need on several devices then sync KB is the solution
To keep the images at least on the sync kb

The issue that comes up is if you need images on more than 1 device in situations where you may be offline. Although sync places images on several devices (via server) you lose access once you lose wifi

Agree with @hannesfrank, excellent explanation as well as sharing the useful inspectors!

For how to make it more friendly to non-techy users, what came up in my mind is:

If we decide to stay with the design, i.e. not extracting the image data from links and save to rn server

  1. Different UI for embedded image and link-referenced image. To me, a link-referenced image sounds a bit like portal/referenced rem.
  2. Allow to embed the referenced image would be a plus.

Meantime keep both the original url and rn url would allow rn to have a more flexible design in the future when users requested.

Just some trivial thoughts, as I believe other similar tools should have already faced the same issue and have more mature solutions.

Only those where you pasted the image data directly (case 1, image/png|jpeg), those inserted by specifying the URL (case 2) they stay where they were before and are just referenced to - even on the synced KB.

Actually there should be no issues when exporting: The export includes the image URLs and the images are/can be preserved outside the export.

  • In case of a synced KB export the images/pdfs are still stored on RemNote servers and if you restore the backup they just reference this image again.
  • In case of a local-only KB images/pdfs are stored in the files folder you specify when creating the KB. When you restore a backup you just add those files back in (or specify this folder again) and it should work.
    • (IMO this is also the savest method to share local-only KBs between your devices: Sync the files folder via cloud storage and manually transfer JSON backups.)

Images get a unique id and are not deleted, so the images on RemNote servers (for synced) or the files folder (local-only) will work with all backup snapshots you make. This massively saves storage space and backup time compared to always zipping up all files you have allowing you to make a full backup every hour for example.

I presume yes, but not all locally (I think) - only the ones you have touched are stored locally. It does not preemtively downloads all files. And the force sync all files button makes sure to upload all files that you added locally and are not uploaded yet.

No they work just fine. Image occlusion and pdf highlights are stored in text form in your knowledge base. They work with all images independed of where they are hosted.

As said syncing the files folder should work since images get a unique id.


I might have to retest exporting again once I sort through the dozens of duplications that occurred from some previous issues I was having with my account

I must be doing something wrong

When I exported the images they normally show up as a generic thumbnail except for the images that were embeds or WIFI dependent

Will try to figure out in a bit

To clarify before trying to test (again)

When exporting, the images should be able to be seen from the KB in question vs just seeing a generic thumbnail?

I shouldn’t have to search for them & manually link them up but should be able to be seen from where they were in the original KB?

Just want to confirm so I’m not chasing my tail

These are for the actual copy & paste examples vs embedding a link