FAQ: SuperMemo 99

This file has been compiled from questions asked by users of SuperMemo 98 and new questions about SuperMemo 99. The table of contents below includes only the most typical questions. For specific and detailed questions search the whole body of this file

Last modified:

First steps

SuperMemo is not difficult!
You can learn your own material
You can edit elements during repetitions
You can see what items will be repeated on a given day
You can easily delete an element
You can install a SuperMemo icon on your Windows desktop
With SuperMemo you can tackle any exam
You can search for substrings with Ctrl+F
You can edit the font used with your elements
You can use View to see a contents element in the element window

Learning

You can learn this item later
You can locate most difficult items
You do not have to interrupt repetitions to forget or dismiss an element
SuperMemo can be merciful after a vacation break!
Grades are not important at final drill
Completing the final drill is not critical
You can always delete the final drill
Press F5 to quickly view the statistics
There is learning material available for download
You can easily repeat sounds, display translation or phonetic transcription
You can change the sequence of learning particular elements
You can remove all information about the learning process
You can backup learning in large collections
Knowledge tree does not play a role in learning
You can see the exact history of repetitions of a given item
You can view all pending elements in a given branch
Show answer stage may be skipped
The timer should not make you hurry during repetitions
More questions about learning and memory

Interface

You can make SuperMemo remember the size of its windows
You can quickly translate the interface of SuperMemo to your language
You can install a foreign keyboard in Windows
You need Internet Explorer to view CHM files
You can customize grades
You can turn off hints or hide the status bar
You can prevent your students from editing their collections
You cannot change the font used for titles in the element window

Creating your own learning material

You can keep different font for questions and for answers
You can change the position of the question window
There is an important difference between items and topics
You can quickly change items into topics
You can learn English in your own language (e.g. Japanese)
You can center texts in text components
Pictures can serve as answers
Knowledge tree is like a family tree
You can underline important words
You can import text files as questions and answers
You can display structural formulas in chemistry
You can add mathematical formulas
You can quickly duplicate elements
You can copy components via the ClipBox
Creating a hyperlink is simple
Keep only one collection!
If you have many collections, you can merge them in one
Categories help you organize material in groups
To use a category template you need to select the category
Delete texts from a template before saving it
After choosing a category, last added element is displayed
Components are displayed in the same order they were added to an element
You can delete all occurrences of 'zzzz'
Secondary storage is used to tell SuperMemo where your CD-ROM is
You can add new phonetic transcription entries
You should delete texts before saving a template
You can see the number of the current element
More questions about formulating knowledge in SuperMemo

Advanced collection authoring

Writing collections such as Advanced English is easy!
You can determine the priority of elements

You can import sound files directly to the sound registry
You can import many GIF files at once
You can search for an image
You can swap questions with answers in the entire collection
You can transfer a template from one collection to another
You can add a sound recorder
It is possible to change the element background color in many elements at once
You and your wife can jointly expand the same collection
You can memorize chess positions with chess font
You can globally change the layout of components
Title may differ from the question text
Component order may determine how the titles are generated

Troubles and bugs

There is no millennium bug in SuperMemo!
Remember to make a backup!
Your collection can suddenly appear empty!
You can restore an empty backup

Use Copy or Move instead of File : Save as
You can backup learning in large collections
There is a chance you can recover from a virus attack!
If SuperMemo is unstable ... check your computer first
Use Merge with template to reshape elements (not Apply template)
You may have problems displaying MS Equation formulas in SuperMemo
SuperMemo can be getting slower!
Wrong A-Factor distribution

Other

SuperMemo can keep a billion items
Identical texts get stored only once
The source code of SuperMemo 99 is 76,000 lines long (Delphi 4.0)
You can quickly import SuperMemo 8 collections to SuperMemo 99
You can find here the contents of files used by SuperMemo
SuperMemo will not shed its authoring features in the future
What is the size of SuperMemo collections?


Question:
How many lines of code are there in different versions of SuperMemo? What language was it written in?
Answer:


(Peter Rasmussen, Denmark, May 20, 1999)
Question:
I created a couple of collections and would like to put them all into one. How can I do it?
Answer:
In each collection go to the root node in the contents window and select Tools : Transfer node from the pop-up menu (right-click). Always select the same collection as the target of the transfer. Please note that unregistered objects do not get transferred (e.g. script images, global background image, global default font, etc.). You will have to set those manually and resolve possible conflicts (e.g. you can use only one global background image but you can set images individually for all elements if necessary)


(David Mckenzie, New Zealand, Apr 8, 1998)
Question:
How to make a hyperlink?
Answer:

Choose Link : Hyperlink on the component pop-up menu and click the element that is to be hyperlinked in the contents window


(David Seagull, USA, Jul 10, 1998)
Question:
How can I define French keyboard for use with SuperMemo in Windows?
Answer:
In Control Panel use Keyboard and add French on the Language tab (e.g. French - Canadian). Set French as default


(Joe Fosnot, USA, Nov 23, 1998)
Question:
How can I quickly increase the size of the font used in questions and answers?
Answer:
The simplest way is to choose Tools : Options : SuperMemo : Default font and select the most appropriate font.
If you want to define a different font for the question and a different font for the answer, use Text : New font after right-clicking on the question or answer (or Text : Edit font). If you want to make sure these fonts are later reused, press Ctrl+Alt+s to define the default template for adding new elements (it is recommended that you delete all texts before pressing Ctrl+Alt+s; otherwise the text will be reused each time you add new elements)


(Jim Ivy, USA, June 4, 1997)
Question:
What is the difference between a topic and an item?
Answer:
Topics are used to present knowledge (like chapters in a book), while items are used to test knowledge by means of repetitions (e.g. they have the question-and-answer structure). The main difference is that topics do not take part in repetitions but are only presented before learning a sequence of items. This helps to approach the subject as a whole before repetitions begin. See also: Topics vs. items


(Bonnie Smithson, USA, Feb 24, 1998)
Question:
How do I put pictures into the answer part?
Answer:

After adding an image component to your item, check Answer on the image component pop-up menu


(Charles Maggio, USA, July 7, 1997)
Question:
I use ChemDraw to create structured formulas of organic substances. How can I paste them to an image component?
Answer:
You can use your ChemDraw formulas and formulas generated with other applications as long as they support OLE 2.0. Do not use the image component here, use the OLE component. This will make it easier to edit your formulas once you decide to change them


(Vidar Garlie, Norway, Mar 18, 1999)
Question:
When I go to the contents window, select a category branch and click Ctrl+A, the template of this category is not used! Can you help?
Answer:
To select a category, you have to choose it in the category combo box on the main toolbar. Selecting branches in the contents window does not affect the current category selection


(Ryszard Kosowicz, Krakow, Poland, May 16, 1997)
Question:
How can I quickly copy the text of an item to another item without using clipboard twice (for question and for answer)?
Answer:
Use Duplicate on the element pop-up menu (or press Ctrl+Alt+U on the copied element)


(Eryk Horloza, Poland, June 3, 1997)
Question:
How can I keep different fonts for the question and the answer component in SuperMemo?
Answer:
The fastest way is:

  1. Add a new item with Ctrl+A
  2. On the pop-up menu of the question component choose Text : New font (or Links : Font if you have already defined the font)
  3. Select the appropriate question font
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the answer components
  5. On the element pop-up menu choose Template : Save as default template (or simple press Ctrl+Alt+s)
  6. Choose Ctrl+A again to see if your new template has been applied correctly

Now your new template with new fonts will be used each time you add a new item


Question:
How can I change the position of the question window on the screen?
Answer:
Alt-click the window twice. It will become draggable. Alternatively, you can choose Dragging mode on the question's pop-up menu or on the element pop-up menu (in the latter case, all components will become draggable). If you want to change this position permanently, you should use templates. See: Using templates


(Crizeldo  G.  Cariaso, MD, Philippines, Dec 17, 1997)


Question:
Your software looks very time consuming ... is the learning curve very steep?
Answer:
Your opinion is not unusual. However, SuperMemo is much simpler than it looks. Try this:
  1. choose Add new (Ctrl+A) and type in question and answer in the editing fields
  2. choose Learn (Ctrl+L) to learn the collected material

You do not really need much more to make good use of SuperMemo!!! After some time you will yet need to know how to make a back up copy with File : Organize : Copy. For more see: ABC of SuperMemo


Question:
Can I learn my own material with SuperMemo or do I have to buy it from SuperMemo World?
Answer:
You can learn your own material. It is very easy to add your own questions and answers with Ctrl+A. You can also build more complex elements, e.g. with pictures or with sound


(Deron Isaac, USA, May 21, 1997)
Question:
How can I edit texts of items during repetitions without backing out of the test mode?
Answer:
Choose Q to edit the question, A to edit the answer, E to edit all text components or Ctrl+E to switch all components to the editing mode. You can also edit all properties of all components by using pop-up menus available with right button click on a component in question


(Matt Cassidy, New Zealand, Aug 18, 1997)
Question:
How to review items to be repeated on a given day?
Answer:
Use Tools : Workload and double-click the day of interest.


(Grzegorz Malewski, Poland, Dec 10, 1997)
Question:
Do grades at final drill affect the learning process?
Answer:
No. They are only used to eliminate items from the final drill queue.


Question:
How can I postpone memorizing an element when I am learning new material?
Answer:
Choose Forget on the element pop-up menu (Ctrl+R). This will put the item at the end of the pending queue. You will learn only after you memorize the entire pending queue (unless you sort the pending queue before that happens)


(Roger Dykes, USA, May 20, 1998)
Question:
What collections are available for SuperMemo 99?
Answer:
See SuperMemo Library.
Note that all collections for SuperMemo 8 or SuperMemo 98 can be upgraded to SuperMemo 99 format by simply opening them (with File : Open)


(Josef Holubik, Czech Republic, Sep 13, 1998)
Question:
When I make repetitions, I would sometimes like to use Forget or Remember but I only have grade buttons available. Do I have to stop the repetition cycle?
Answer:
No. You can use Ctrl+R for Forget and Ctrl+M for Remember. In both cases, you will continue with the next item in the repetition schedule as soon as resetting or recommitting an item is completed


Question:
How do I delete an element in SuperMemo?
Answer:
Choose one of the following:


(Ryszard Siwczyk, Poland, Nov 4, 1997)
Question:
Does the response time at repetitions influence the next interval?
Answer:
No


(Gabor Schmera, USA, Dec 13, 1997)


Question:
How do I add a recorder component to my items (as it is done in Advanced English 97)?
Answer:
Add a sound component and check Sound : Panel : Recorder on this pop-up menu.

Question:
I left for vacation, and my learning process is in mess. What should I do?
Answer:
Use Tools : Mercy


(Gabor Schmera, USA, Dec 13, 1997)
Question:
I would like to add mathematical formulas to my items. What is the best way? I have equations ready with MS Word 97.
Answer:
Use OLE component to display files generated with other applications (if they support OLE 2.0)


Question:
My computer was hit by a virus and SuperMemo reports integrity problems. What shall I do?
Answer:
Try File : Repair collection


(Peter Cool, The Netherlands, Nov 9, 1998)
Question:
I have installed the help for SuperMemo but it wouldn't work. After installing the help file and hhupd.exe I see after calling help the hourglass-icon (for a short time). After that nothing happens.
Answer:

You need to install the HTML viewer (hhupd.exe) over Internet Explorer 3.0. CHM format has been developed by Microsoft and it requires Internet Explorer to be installed on your computer. Unfortunately, Microsoft does not allow of subset installation (as for November 1998)


(Marcin Piekarniak, Poland, Dec 2, 1997)
Question:
How can I easily back up Advanced English 97? In Advanced English 94 the entire system could be compressed to a 1.4 MB file!
Answer:
It is possible to back up the learning process without backing up the contents of Advanced English (the contents is backed up on your original Advanced English CD-ROM). This way only the data pertaining to items in the learning process will be stored (not items themselves). Use File : Tools : Export : Learning process to export the data. Later, upon reinstalling Advanced English 97, you can restore the learning process with File : Tools : Import : Learning process


(Mariusz Szepietowski, Poland, Dec 7, 1997)
Question:
How can I remove information about the learning process from a collection? I would like to start learning all over again from scratch?
Answer:
Use File : Tools : Reset collection. At the end of this process choose sorting the pending queue either by hierarchy or by ordinals (e.g. in Advanced English 97)


(Boris Milikic, Slovenia, Nov 27, 1999)
Question:
Is there a quick guide to build collections such as Advanced English? I have the hierarchy and contents on paper
Answer:

See: User's Guide. The most important things to learn in the beginning are:

  1. How to build a knowledge hierarchy in the contents window. You will need to understand operations such as Add, Insert, Sibling, etc. and how to modifiy the hierarchy with drag&drop operations in various modes (e.g. Add as last child, Replace target, etc.). See: Building knowledge tree
  2. How to fill out elements with components, and how to modify component attributes with component pop-up menu and element attributes with element pop-up menu
  3. It would also be very useful if you learned how to use templates 

Question:
I keep material of different learning priority in my collection. Can SuperMemo help me pay more attention to high priority material?
Answer:

Yes. You should reduce the value of the forgetting index for high-priority material (forgetting index is a proportion of items not remembered during repetitions). In the contents window select the item or node that you want to have higher priority and choose Process branch : Forgetting index : Set forgetting index on the pop-up menu. Forgetting index is 10% by default and can be set to 3-5% for high-priority material or only to 20% for least important branches of the knowledge tree. You can also set the forgetting index in a subset of elements with Process browser : Forgetting index : Set forgetting index on browser's pop-up menu. Read: Using forgetting index


Question:
What is the purpose of the category registry (Search : Categories)?
Answer:
SuperMemo introduces the concept of a category to help you keep items related to different subjects in different branches of the knowledge tree (contents window). It also makes it possible to give different item groups different appearance (e.g. size of text components, screen layout, font, color, and many more). Read more: Using categories


(Manfred Kremer, Germany, Sep 7, 1998)
Question:
I noticed that frequently I get Optimum Interval in Element Data window shorter than the last interval displayed as Interval. Is it a bug in SuperMemo?
Answer:
No. If your forgetting index is very low, e.g. 3%, SuperMemo will often conclude that you will stand 97% chance of remembering a given element only if your next interval is shorter than the presently used one. In such cases, it will not accept the new value and the new interval will be at least 5% longer than the previous interval. Please note that the forgetting index equal 3% should only be used for selected high-priority items. Keeping the forgetting index at this level throughout the collection will make repetitions annoying frequent and ineffective


(David Mckenzie, New Zealand, Apr 8, 1998)
Question:
Is there any point in keeping collections separate?
Answer:

No. Once you master contents categories and templates, there is no point. You gain global search, global registries, global repetitions, global optimization, etc. This would not be advisable back in SuperMemo 7 as item difficulty measure (E-factor) was dependent on the average difficulty of items in the collection. Presently, the item difficulty measure (A-Factor, or absolute difficulty factor) is absolute and does not depend on the context in which an item is placed (see: Algorithm SM-8). Only the length of the first interval will significantly be affected by the average difficulty of items in the collection. However, this shall not bear dramatically on the speed of learning. Especially that variable forgetting index for individual items makes it possible to set different first intervals for whole contents categories or branches of the knowledge tree


(Volker Goretzki, Germany, May 6, 1997)
Question:
I would like to remove all occurrences of a string 'zzzz' from a collection. What is the simplest way?
Answer:
(1) Choose Search : Text, (2) choose Find and replace on the menu, e.g. by pressing Ctrl+R, (3) type in 'zzzz' in Find what field, (4) leave Replace with empty, and (5) choose Replace All


(Doug Edmunds, USA, Nov 4, 1997)
Question:
What is the fastest way of checking the number of the currently displayed element?
Answer:
press Ctrl+G


(Noel Clary, USA, Sep 18, 1998)
Question:
When I double click an element without children, I get to view it in the element window. However, when it has children, its branch opens or closes. How can I easily view contents elements with children in the element window?
Answer:
Click View at the bottom of the contents window


(Brian Canova, USA, Aug 28, 1998)
Question:
Me and my wife use Medical Biology collection. How can we both add new elements and synchronize our efforts so that we both get the elements introduced by one another?
Answer:
SuperMemo does not have any nice mechanisms for real-time sharing data between students. However, there is a rather complex algorithm you might use. Please try this out only if you are an advanced user of SuperMemo:

  1. Keep four separate collections:
    1. BRIAN - your original Medical Biology collection
    2. WIFE - copy of Medical Biology for your wife (e.g. created with File : Copy collection or Ctrl+Shift+C)
    3. BRIAN-NEW - new collection for you to add new learning material (created with File : New collection or Ctrl+N)
    4. WIFE-NEW - new collection for your wife to add new learning material
  2. Make repetitions only in BRIAN and WIFE
  3. Periodically transfer newly created elements from BRIAN-NEW to BRIAN and to WIFE, as well as from WIFE-NEW to BRIAN and to WIFE

You can transfer whole collections or individual branches with Tools : Transfer branch on the contents pop-up menu in the contents window


(Piotr Wysocki, Poland, May 14, 1997)
Question:
How can I change an item to a topic and vice versa without using branch operations in the contents window?
Answer:
Check Type : Item or Type : Topic on the element pop-up menu (available with right-click over empty element area). See also: Topics vs. items


(Judy Citron, UK, May 26, 1998)
Question:
Your programme has been highly recommended to me so I've downloaded SuperMemo from the web. But when I execute it I seem to get thrown into the deep end - I don't have an overview of what it does or how I work with it. Have I lost a phase somewhere? Do I get a nice icon on my desktop?
Answer:
It is one of the most difficult tasks ahead of our company to make sure that people like you can sit down to SuperMemo and grasp it in 5 minutes. It has already been four years that we constantly experiment with various approaches. Perhaps SuperMemo 99 with four difficulty levels will make some difference. SuperMemo has some new values to offer and those have to be understood before you can make a good use of it. Hence the difficulty. The two key operations you have to learn are:

The rest is optional!

As for the icon: choose File : Registration : Install icons


Question:
How can I quickly see how many memorized items I have in my collection?

Answer:
Press F5 and see Memorized


Question:
How can I search for a given string of characters in the collection?

Answer:
Press Ctrl+F and type in the string


(David Mckenzie, New Zealand, Sep 3, 1998)
Question:
What should you do if you don't complete the final drill for the day? Thoughts are: 1. Delete it, 2. Complete it first thing next day, 3. Complete it the next day, but with other final drill items. (I usually do 3.)
Answer:
It would be best to go through the final drill every day. Second best would probably be to delete final drill (Learn : Cut drills). This comes from the fact that all repetitions made on dates different from the original schedule interfere with computations made by SuperMemo. You can simply fool SuperMemo into believing that you know an element better than it is indicated by the history of repetitions. Finally, it would be worst to go through final drill before repetitions on the next day (for the same reason as above). The picture gets more complicated when your first interval for forgotten items is relatively long (e.g. over 5 days). In these circumstances doing the final drill on the next day might be more profitable than not doing it at all


(Anatolyi Lipatov, Ukraine, Aug 28, 1998)
Question:
When I add new elements in the contents window, it happens that the repetition cycle skips showing the answer even if the answer component is marked as Answer. Is it a bug?
Answer:
No. This is a standard behavior for topics. You must uncheck Type : Topic on the element pop-up menu (check Type : Item instead). Topics are considered a synthetic overview of knowledge and do not respect the Answer attribute on the component pop-up menu. They are just shown as they are and expect you to click Next repetition (i.e. skip Show answer and grading) (see also: Topics vs. items)


(Matt Cassidy, New Zealand, Oct 2, 1997)
Question:
Is there a limit to the number of elements that a collection can have?
Answer:
SuperMemo 99 has been designed to be able to theoretically accommodate over 1 billion elements; however, for various reasons (e.g. speed) it probably does not make sense to go beyond 100,000. The largest system tested at SuperMemo World by September 1999: 70,000 items (users reported systems of around 120,000 elements). You can greatly increase the speed of the program with a large number of long texts by unchecking Tools : Options : Data access : Compile lexicon on-the-fly


(Shaun Hoffland, UK, Jul 15, 1997)
Question:
If I add an identical text component to each item in a given branch in the contents window, does the text get duplicated and increase the size of the collection?
Answer:
No. All texts are stored in the registry only once. Each item references the same entry without increasing the size of the collection


(Jake White, USA, May 14, 1997)
Question:
I learn Romanian vocabulary. How can I center the word in the question component?
Answer:
Check Text : Center text on the question component pop-up menu (available with right-click).


(Zoran Maximovic, Yugoslavia, May 29, 1997)
Question:
How can I independently turn off hints and hide the status bar?
Answer:
To turn off hints uncheck the Hints checkbox on the toolbar. For the same purpose (also at the beginner and basic levels), you can double-click the hints area on the status bar. To hide the status bar, uncheck Window : Status bar on the main menu


(Lloyd M. Uhler Jr, Jun 12, 1998)
Question:
I have fonts for Chess and might want to use SuperMemo to remember Chess Positions. Can I import material created in MS Word?
Answer:
Try using the OLE component


(Ryszard Kosowicz, Krakow, Poland, May 16, 1997)
Question:
Why does not SuperMemo automatically change the title when I edit the question part of the item?
Answer:
It does it only if both texts are identical. Sometimes the author of the collection might wish to keep the too different. To update the title press Alt+T and Enter (this will select Title window, generate a new title from the first text component and store the new title in the collection)


(Doug Edmunds, USA, Nov 4, 1997)
Question:
How can I globally change the layout of question, answer, font, background color, etc.
Answer:
Do as follows:

  1. Create a new template with your new layout (make sure the number and the order of components are the same as in the original template).
  2. Save the template with Template : Save as template (on the element pop-up menu)
  3. In the contents window, choose the branch that should be changed
  4. On the contents pop-up menu choose Process branch : Template : Merge template and select the new template
  5. Only text, images, sound files, etc. will be retain in the merging operation. All the rest will be taken from the new template

Warning! Make a back-up copy of your collection beforehand. If you miss a component in the new template, it will be removed from all elements in the branch! There is no undo operation here


(Doug Edmunds, USA, Nov 4, 1997)
Question:
How do I paste the contents of a Component ClipBox on a new element?
Answer:
Drag it


(Keith Gibson, USA, Sep 3, 1997)
Question:
How can I introduce a sound file directly into the sound registry?
Answer:
Choose Import files on sound registry pop-up menu


(Richard Hardstein, USA, June 5, 1997)
Question:
From an American-centric point of view, I’d like to be able to label the quality of the response (i.e. bright, good, pass…) buttons A, B, C, D & F to match the universal (American) grading system. Is it possible in SuperMemo?
Answer:
You can change the names of grades by choosing Tools : Options : Language : Localization table. Just replace Bright with A, Good with B, etc. After choosing OK, SuperMemo will start using the new naming


(Christian Roessel, Germany, July 21, 1998)
Question:
In my collection I have a template that consists of two image components. And I have a large number of GIFs, numbered 1.gif, 2.gif, 3.gif, etc. Is it possible to import 1.gif to the first image component, 2.gif two the second, 3.gif to the first of the next item on and so on?
Answer:
Not exactly. You will have to rename your images to a1.gif, b1.gif, a2.gif, b2.gif. Then go to the first item to which you want to add those files and choose File : Tools : Import : Multimedia files. All elements that do not have corresponding images will be ignored and relevant files will be skipped


(John Gibney, Australia, Sep 1, 1998)
Question:
What is the difference between children and descendants in the knowledge tree?
Answer:
Children of a given element are those elements that are shown when you click the plus sign to the left of the element. They are all connected with the parent element and are shifted one level to the right. The descendants of a given element are all children of all children of all children, etc. If you take an analogy with a family, the descendants of an individual include children, grand children, grand grand children and so on. For more see: Creating the knowledge tree


(Tomasz Chudy, Poland, Oct 17, 1998)
Question:
How can I globally change the color of element background in the whole collection?
Answer:
You could accomplish that by defining a one-color background image (Tools : Options : SuperMemo : Default background image).

If you use question-and-answer templates throughout your collection or if you use other uniform templates, you can also try the following algorithm (note that you can make your collection useless if your templates are not uniform!):

  1. Create a new element (e.g. with Ctrl+A)
  2. Change the color of element background with Color (available from the element pop-up menu in the element window)
  3. Save the newly created element as a template with Template : Save as template (available on the element pop-up menu in the element window)
  4. Merge all elements in the collection with the new template by means of Process branch : Template : Merge with template (available on the contents pop-up menu in the contents window)

Important: create a backup copy before you proceed. Merge with template is irreversible!


(Peter J. Cool, The Netherlands, Oct 7, 1998)
Question:
I would like to interchange all question and answer pairs of my collection. How can I do it?
Answer:
You should do the following (only if you use question-and-answer templates throughout your collection or a given branch):

  1. Create a new element (e.g. with Ctrl+A)
  2. Change the order of the element components with Components : Component order (available from the element pop-up menu in the element window)
  3. Save the newly created element as a template with Template : Save as template (available from the element pop-up menu in the element window)
  4. Merge all elements in the collection with the new template by means of Process branch : Template : Merge with template (available from the contents pop-up menu in the contents window)

Important: create a backup copy before you proceed. Merge with template is irreversible!


(Marcin Piekarniak, Poland, Dec 2, 1997)
Question:
Why after choosing a contents category the last item in the category is displayed; not first?
Answer:
When you add new items you want to know which one was added last. You can easily navigate to the root by using the parent button on the navigation toolbar (or press Ctrl+Alt+Up)


(David Mckenzie, New Zealand, Apr 8, 1998)
Question:
How to search for an element that contains no text (only an image)?
Answer:
Use Search : Image. With Ctrl+F or Ctrl+S you can search for the image name or you can simply scroll to the image in question. Then press Ctrl+B to list all elements using the selected image


(Noel Clary, USA, Aug 17, 1998)
Question:
I have created my own database on plumbing and air conditioning. My forgetting index is quite high. Are there any tools in SuperMemo which could help me remedy this situation?
Answer:

You might want to use View : Leeches and locate the elements that cause most problems in learning. You must then go into your own mind to answer the question why these elements are hard to recall. Usually these are too complex, too long, too boring or too similar to other elements in the same collection. You can also send 3-4 most difficult items to us for review to receive some suggestions. Read more: Leeches. You could also have a look at: 20 rules of formulating knowledge in SuperMemo


Question:
Are SuperMemo 99 collections compatible with SuperMemo 8 and SuperMemo 98?
Answer:
Yes. It is enough to open old collections (choose *.kno file in File : Open) and the whole upgrade process will proceed automatically. For large collections such as Advanced English, this process may even take 20-30 minutes!


(Nita L. Wunderlich, USA, Aug 24, 1998)
Question:
How can I make a good use of knowledge hierarchy in the learning process?
Answer:
Structuring knowledge by means of knowledge hierarchy is not very important for the learning process itself; however, it greatly simplifies managing large bodies of facts pertaining to different subjects. The knowledge hierarchy is best managed by means of knowledge categories. Read more: Knowledge categories


(Michal Grodzki, Poland, Aug 20, 1998)
Question:
You advice the users of Advanced English 97 to make back-up copies with File : Tools : Export : Learning process. However, this does not back up the material introduced by the user. What is the best solution in a case when I want to add lots of my own items to Advanced English?
Answer:
You might try one of the following:

  1. Keep your own material in a separate collection. You can back such a collection by compressing the <collection name>.kno file and the <collection name> folder into a single archive (e.g. with WinZip)
  2. If you prefer to add your items to Advanced English (e.g. in order to be able to search all material in one go), you might back up the contents of a single branch by transferring it into an empty system with Tools : Transfer node on the contents pop-up menu or by exporting it as text with Tools : Export as text (also on the contents menu). You can later restore your back-up after reinstalling Advanced English with Tools : Transfer node in the opposite direction or with File : Tools : Import : Text in the latter case

(Dr Janusz Murakowski, USA, Nov 18, 1997)
Question:
What is the meaning of Full History of Repetitions in Tools : Options : Learning? How can I see the history of repetitions?
Answer:
With Full History of Repetitions, all individual repetitions are recorded in a separate file (\info\reps.dat)

). Information about the history of repetitions of a given element can be viewed by double clicking the element data window or choosing History in element parameters dialog box available from element pop-up menu

(Volker Goretzki, Germany, Feb 22, 1998)
Question:
Which rules does the overlapping of components follow?
Answer:

Components are displayed in the order in which they were added to the element. To change this order use Component order on the element window pop-up menu


(Jaroslaw Mekarski, Poland, Apr 15, 1997)
Question:

Using Tools : Options : Language : Localization table, I have defined my national interface for SuperMemo but still some buttons retained their original English names. How can I translate those too?
Answer:
You can define only the interface of SuperMemo for the beginner and basic levels. That is why the list of strings to translate is so short. For SuperMemo on the middle or professional level the list would be over 3000 strings longs instead of the mere 50 strings that are used in simplified SuperMemo


(Marcin Piekarniak, Poland, Dec 2, 1997)
Question:
How to transfer a template between collections?
Answer:
Use Template : Save to file and Template : Load from file on the element pop-up menu. To save the new template in the template registry, use Template : Save as template. Read more: Using templates


(Zoran Maximovic, Yugoslavia, Aug 16, 1998)
Question:
Do you plan to write two version of SuperMemo for developing and viewing collections? Like Acrobat Reader and Adobe Acrobat?
Answer:
No. This would contradict our important claim that all learning material should be highly customized for an individual learner, and enhanced with individual comments and mnemonic clues. We would like all users to know how to change the learning material that is difficult to remember. There is no universal formula for well-structured material. A good item for one student may cause recall problems in another. This is because of knowledge interference that may come from different culture, language or simply different material stored in the same collection. BTW: it is not true that read-only SuperMemo would be visibly faster due to eliminating the editing options. The size of code might be reduced by 30-40% resulting in invisibly reduced loading time. The reading and presentation options would work in the same way as in the full version. Note that apart from read-only and learn-only modes, SuperMemo 99 introduces four levels of difficulty that cover some of the goals accomplished by separating presentation and authoring functions


(Janusz Murakowski, USA, Mar 18, 1999)
Question:
After using Apply template, my texts were deleted. I rather expected changing the look of my item
Answer:
To change the look use Merge with template instead


(Tomoki Takahashi, Japan, Feb 6, 1999)
Question:
I would like to learn English with questions asked in Japanese. How can I do it?
Answer:
You have to (1) create your own template with the Japanese font in the question field (you can use Text : New Font to change the question font in the standard template), (2) save the template with Template : Save as template and (3) set the saved template as the default item template in Tools : Options : Appending : Default item template.
After this, each time you choose Add new (or press Ctrl+A), your questions will be generated in Japanese and answers will retain standard look (you can also swap English with Japanese by using Edit : Swap components).
Although you cannot change the writing direction in SuperMemo text components (from yokogaki to tategaki), you can include texts via OLE from Japanese Word or Ichi Taro word processors. These programs use either Microsoft IME or ATOK utilities to input Japanese text. Microsoft IME is part of Japanese Windows. ATOK is part of the Ichi Taro word processor (Justy System) but can be installed as a separate unit. With ATOK you can change from the English to the Japanese input mode. It is fully compatible with SuperMemo: 1) You type the pronunciation of a word from the keyboard, 2) press Space, and 3) select the appropriate kanji(s) from the list showing those matching the input sounds combination. Ganbatte ne


(Brian DeMio, USA, Jan 10, 1999)
Question:
I changed the template for the questions so that I have a purple background and yellow fonts. Everything is fine with that part.
After I entered in an element (question and answer) I hit Ctrl+A to put in a new one. The question from the previous element keeps popping up in the new elements where you are supposed to input answers. How can I fix this?
Answer:
Please make sure that when you save your template there are no texts in text components. You have to simply override your current template


(Helmut Fritz, Germany, Oct 19, 1998)
Question:
Why do templates store texts used by text components? Each time I use Apply Template I have to delete those texts
Answer:
Occasionally you may need to store texts or pictures in your templates. Save your template again after deleting the texts


(Krzysztof Morawski, Poland, Dec 28, 1998)
Question:
I am learning Norwegian. Until recently, SuperMemo has automatically chosen appropriate titles for my elements; however, for some time now, it has been choosing Norsk as the title for all elements (Norsk is a text included in a text component displayed as a label on each page). How can I make SuperMemo choose the right title (in my case, Polish word used as the question)?
Answer:
SuperMemo will automatically generate the title from the first text component in the component order. Your Norsk component is clearly first in the component order in your template. Choose Component order on the element menu and drag the component with your question text to the first position. Then choose OK and save your element in a new template (choose the same template name as before, i.e. default item template name)


(Jim Ivy, USA, June 4, 1997)
Question:
How can I prevent my students from editing the contents of the collection in SuperMemo?
Answer:
You can turn on read-only or learn-only modes (Tools : Options : Data access : Access mode) and then use SuperMemo in the beginner or basic mode. Naturally, nothing will prevent your students turning the full access back on (if they just know how). There is no passworded option to block it for good


(Armin Werner, Germany)
Question:
What is the contents and function of particular files in SuperMemo directories?
Answer:

See: Files used by SuperMemo


Question:
Why isn't there Save As on the File menu?
Answer:
Because File : Copy collection does exactly what you would expect of Save As. The different name indicates, however, that the collection is not stored in memory but is updated on the hard disk on-the-fly. Therefore, instead of saving it under a new name, you just have to copy it to the new location. Collections are kept on the disk due to their often huge size (for example Advanced English is 700 MB large; of which the primary storage takes nearly 50 MB)


Question:
What should I use Duplicate for? What for do I need the same item in the same collection?
Answer:
You can duplicate an item, if you want to add to the another item which is only slightly different. This way you can spare some time by reediting the old item instead of typing in the new one


(Shaun Hoffland, UK, May 25, 1997)
Question:
How can I view all pending or dismissed elements in a given branch in the knowledge tree?
Answer:
Probably the simplest method is to:

After the above sequence of operations, the browser will contain only the pending or dismissed elements belonging to the selected branch


(Tomas Klinkovsky, Czech Republic, Aug 7, 1998)
Question:
How can I do the following actions using the keyboard in Advanced English:

  • translating texts
  • displaying phonetic transcription
  • repeating the sound

Answer:
You can repeat sounds with Ctrl+F10. You can also display translations with Alt+U and the phonetic transcription with Alt+Y


Question:
I noticed that File : Repair collection does not recover the final drill queue. What if drill.dat file becomes damaged? Will that make learning impossible?
Answer:
No. drill.dat is a temporary file and can always be removed with Learn : Cut drills with little damage to the learning process. This file can also be deleted manually


(Tomas Klinkovsky, Czech Republic, Aug 7, 1998