FAQ: Archive 2000

(Konrad, Sep 23, 2000)
Question:
What is the meaning of the parameter I need to input at Postpone?
Answer:
If you use 1.1, all intervals of outstanding elements in the selected subset will be increased by 10% (i.e. multiplied by 1.1)


(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


(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. This is why there is such an option in SuperMemo. You need to make sure that when you save your template there are no texts in text components. You can accomplish that by choosing Save as template rather than Save with objects on the element pop-up menu


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


(Tomas Klinkovsky, Czech Republic, Aug 7, 1998)
Question:
Why aren't there tool tips over grayed buttons?
Answer:
This is a default behavior of components in Delphi (SuperMemo 2000 was written in Delphi 5.0). Some disabled buttons just do not show hints


(Vaclav Losik, Czech Republic, Apr 10, 1997)
Question:

How to complete missing translations reported by File : Repair collection?
Answer:
If at recovery you get messages like Missing translation for Member #186: "virtually every" you can fill out the translation using the following procedure:

  1. choose Search : Text registry
  2. paste in the editing field the text whose translation is missing (e.g. virtually every)
  3. type in the translation in the translation pane of the registry window (bottom-right)

(Tomasz Szynalski, Poland)
Question:
Why should I upgrade from SuperMemo 8 to SuperMemo 2000?
Answer:
New SuperMemo is much faster, it can store 500K texts in topics, can import HTML files, etc. Additionally, you will greatly benefit from incremental reading that can be very valuable if you do lots of reading on the web. See: What's new?


(Jan Gromadzki, Poland, Jul 11, 1998)
Question:
I bought Advanced English 97 and I cannot pass through the introduction. There are arrows pointing to icons that ... do not exist. What is wrong?
Answer:
You need a sound board installed in your computer (this is listed among minimum requirements!). Some script commands do not work without a sound board and the introduction part is largely run by scripts. If you want to use Advanced English without sound do the following:

  • press Ctrl+O (to run Options dialog box)
  • choose Data access tab
  • check Full Access radio button (this will turn the access mode to Full as opposed to Read-Only that is set at the beginning of the introduction)
  • uncheck Hide Navigation (to show the navigation toolbar that is otherwise turned on by scripts after introducing the user to other complexities of the program)
  • delete the path showed in Secondary storage (this path shows where to look for sound files used by Advanced English; without a sound board those files are useless and deleting the path will speed up the program)

(Michael Doren, USA, Sep 7, 1998)
Question:
I am writing a collection for learning Windows NT 4.0 for my certification test. I am toying with the idea of using Dragon Naturally Speaking (a speech recognition program) to create my questions and answers in MS Word. Any suggestions on that?
Answer:
Probably the simplest approach is as follows:

1. Use the following text file format:

Q: <text of the first question>
A: <text of the first answer>

Q: <text of the second question>
A: <text of the second answer>, etc.

2. Replace Q: and A: with some easily spelled phrase that you would later replace globally. For example:

elephant Which tool can be used to manage security for domains?
giraffe User Manager for Domains

3. Convert the above text to:

Q: Which tool can be used to manage security for domains?
A: User Manager for Domains

4. Save the file in plain text format

5. Use File : Tools : Import : Q&A text in SuperMemo to import the text file to your collection


(Clarito Dimayuga, MD, USA, Sep 14, 1998)
Question:

Question:
SuperMemo comes with very impressive statistical graphs and charts but how do I use them to my advantage, how are these charts going to help me learn faster?
Answer:
The graphs available from Tools : Statistics : Analysis are not exactly supposed to speed up learning. Their main function is to assist you in understanding the algorithm used in SuperMemo and in monitoring the learning process. Obviously, once you understand the graphs, your enhanced knowledge of your memory and the learning process may appear helpful in better organizing your work. Read more: Analysis of the learning process

(Robert Van Weyenberg, Belgium, Sep 30, 1998)
Question:
I use SuperMemo on a portable machine that is not linked to the Internet. This is why two megabytes of the help file are quite difficult to handle. Any chance for having it sized down?
Answer:
There is a second smaller help file to download. This file only includes the help section of this website (www.supermemo.com/help/) and does not include pictures. NB: Help compiler compression is very efficient and there is little room for improvement


(Clive Hayden, Poland, Oct 19, 1998)
Question:
How can I best upgrade my SuperMemo 7 files to SuperMemo 2000?
Answer:
Use File : Tools : Import : From SuperMemo 7. Note, that you need to have the file sm7imprt.exe in your bin subfolder. This file can be downloaded free from the download page


(Neville Bailey, Australia, Dec 5, 1998)
Question:
I have previously used SuperMemo 6 and SuperMemo 7. There was always a printable manual file with the software. I cannot find anything like that on your website. Is there a manual to download or order?
Answer:
No. As of 1997, all our documentation is provided as hypertext that does not have a structure that can be printed and processed linearly (i.e. page by page). We are proud to adopt the environmentally-friendly electronic publishing

If you insist on having the help in a printed form, the best thing you might do is to go to www.supermemo.com/help/guide.htm, print that page, follow hyperlinks to material that you do not understand and print it as you go. Alternatively you might Teleport the whole www.supermemo.com/help folder and print all pages one by one; however, you may find it hard to select the appropriate reading sequence


Question:
How can I empty a ClipBox? In SuperMemo 8, it would empty by a click
Answer:
In new SuperMemo, you have to Ctrl+click. This is a protection from losing the contents of the ClipBox too easily


(Peter Cool, The Netherlands, Nov 6, 1998)
Question:
I started with SuperMemo 70 days ago (your French plus some words added by me; total 1000 words). In the first weeks I made a lot of mistakes so my measured forgetting index was 20%. Although I make very few mistakes now during repetitions the forgetting index decreases very slowly. Is this normal?
Answer:
The measured forgetting index includes the record of all repetitions made since you started learning. That is why it changes at an ever decreasing rate. If your performance is good and you would like to more accurately check your current forgetting index, you might reset the forgetting index measurements with File : Tools : Reset parameters : Forgetting index record. It will not affect the learning process per se


(Przemyslaw Glowacki, Poland, Nov 11, 1998)
Question:
I am still using SuperMemo ver. 7.53 and I am quite happy with it. Why should I upgrade? I am generally not interested in hypermedia "bells and whistles" so I will do it only for important reasons like considerably better algorithm or something similar.
Answer:
Even die-hard question-and-answer text-only users will benefit from upgrading to SuperMemo 2000. The only downside: the program is bigger, slower and requires significantly more hard disk space. Here are some basic benefits:

  1. you can use reading lists and incremental reading to dramatically increase the speed of reading and learning articles in electronic form (e.g. downloaded from the web)
  2. you can combine all knowledge in one collection without worrying about managing all branches separately (Mercy, forgetting index, dismiss, reset, etc.). You manage it in a healthy way with full control over each branch
  3. you can classify branches of knowledge: computers, English, business, etc. Use separate templates, ordinals, forgetting index, etc.
  4. multicriterial Mercy and Postpone are unparalleled if you are plagued by delays in making repetitions
  5. breaks in learning used to destroy the learning process in SuperMemo 7. The new algorithm takes all breaks into account
  6. other points: instead of being limited to 250 chars, you can use articles of up to 500K of text, dismissing reference material, lexicon compiled on-the-fly, element history list, final drill scrambling, simulation of the learning process, browser sorting, and many more

(Natalie Burgess, USA, Nov 10, 1998)
Question:
I am using the Japanese mix but I'm not getting Japanese characters, but English characters. I copied the fonts called hiragana.ttf and katakana.ttf from the sm98\systems\... folders to my d:\Windows\Fonts folder. Is there something else I have to do to have the fonts available in Windows 95?
Answer:
Yes. Instead of copying fonts you should install them. In Windows 95, use Control Panel : Fonts : Install New Font. In the Folders panel, choose the location where your TTF font can be found (sm99\systems\font\hiragana.tff).
Please note that SuperMemo 99 automatically installs true type fonts located in the FONT folder so that the installation is actually not needed (the only exception is Classical Greek from SuperMemo Library which uses non-true-type font)


(Manfred Kremer, Germany, Nov 11, 1998)
Question:
Recently, I have been using SuperMemo to learn economics. This would actually require the inclusion of a lot of mathematical expressions, including integrals, fractions, etc. So far I did not find a good way to do this. It would be nice to have an interface to display either TeX, or postscript, or to have a formula editor included in SuperMemo. But maybe I have overlooked something, and there is a possibility already provided?
Answer:
In SuperMemo 2000, you can either (1) use the HTML component and use all HTML extensions that might be useful in displaying expressions or (2) use the OLE component to display expressions edited in your favorite equation editor as long as it supports OLE


(Michael Baerlin, USA, Nov 20, 1998)
Question:
Is there a flashcard mode in which I could randomly display questions and answers for a short period of time (user defined)? I like the idea of sitting there and reviewing the answer without having to touch the keyboard or mouse
Answer:
No. We believe that random reviews are not recommended in the learning process. They interfere with computations made by SuperMemo in reference to optimum repetition spacing. Interference is unavoidable but should be minimized. SuperMemo 2000 still includes Tools : Random review (shortcut F11) and a number of other random review options; however, these are intended only for (1) collection authors (to review the material in preparation) and/or (2) for learning new material at random


(Roman Jedrkowiak, Poland, Nov 26, 1998)
Question:
Once I download SuperMemo, can I later install it on another computer? I want to download from work and install it at home
Answer:
Yes. You can move the downloaded file to another computer and repeat the installation. Please note that SuperMemo 2000 requires some libraries associated with the Internet


(Tomasz Szynalski, Poland, Oct 18, 1998)
Question:
What value of the forgetting index ensures the optimum ratio of (retention)/(time spent per day)?
Answer:

Paradoxically, the highest speed of learning can be accomplished ... without SuperMemo! In our daily life we pick up lots of facts that stay in our memory for long with few repetitions in lifetime! The problem is that these are usually not exactly the facts or rules that are critical to our goals. In other words, not the speed of acquiring new items counts but the speed of acquiring new items bearing a given content.

It is difficult to determine exactly what forgetting index brings the highest acquisition rate. Simulation experiments have consistently pointed to the value of 25-30%. You can even plot speed-vs.-forgetting graph using your own actual learning material in SuperMemo 98 using Tools : Statistics : Simulation. You will probably also arrive to similar results

As you perhaps know, SuperMemo disallows of the forgetting index above 20%. This comes from the fact that you should aim at achieving high speed of learning combined with high retention of the learned material. Setting the forgetting index above 20% would be like giving up SuperMemo altogether and coming back to remembering only that what is easy to remember. In highly interlinked material where new knowledge depends on the previously acquired knowledge, high forgetting rate can even be more harmful

Nevertheless, if you want to maximize the speed of learning with little control over what actually stays in your memory, set the forgetting index to 20%


(Manfred Kremer, Germany, Nov 27, 1998)
Question:
What is the simplest way to backup a collection in SuperMemo?
Answer:
If your collection's name is, for example, "All my knowledge.kno" then:

  1. use any archiving application (e.g. WinZip)
  2. select (1) "All my knowledge.kno" file and (2) "[All my knowledge]" folder/directory
  3. compress these two into a single archive (remember to use Preserve path option to retain the folder structure)

While restoring a collection from such an archive, remember to use Extract with path to make sure the folder structure is restored as originally archived (otherwise all files will be restored to the same folder and the collection will be unusable).
Note that you can save some space by choosing File : Tools : Garbage before archiving your collection

For more see: Safety of your knowledge stored in SuperMemo


(Eric Thompson, USA, Dec 15, 1998)
Question:
One important function I cannot find is regarding the contents window. I cannot seem to move elements around for flexible organization. Ideally, I would like to move elements around like I do in Windows Explorer
Answer:
You can drag and drop individual elements with the mouse. However, for more flexibility you will need to enter the professional level by choosing File : Level : Professional. At the top of the contents window you will be able to choose from several dragging modes as well as to open another contents window to drag between windows.
For example, to create a new folder at the place of the current selection, simply press Ins. To drag some elements into this folder choose Add as last child dragging mode (combo box at the top of the contents window), grab individual elements with the mouse, drag them and drop them onto the newly created folder


(Petr Bajer, Czech Republic, Dec 30, 1998)
Question:
I have a couple of separate collections. Does SuperMemo keep a global learning optimization data or data stored in individual collections are independent?
Answer:
All collections keep independent optimization data (\info\sm8opt.dat file). That is why we recommend you keep all your knowledge in one collection. You can freely swap sm8opt.dat files (for example, to speed up the convergence of the learning algorithm in a new collection)


(Robert Szumilo, Poland, Jan 3, 1999)
Question:
What is the optimum approach to making repetitions with SuperMemo: one long session or a few smaller sessions (e.g. main repetitions in the morning and the final drill in the evening)?
Answer:
For psychological reasons, the quality of learning should increase substantially when working in separate sessions, esp. if the number of repetitions surpasses 100 per day. Additionally, a break before final drill is useful due to the spacing effect. The danger of this approach is ... you can easily drive yourself into a situation in which you will spend excessive proportion of your day on repetitions (in the future when your schedule changes you might have problems with keeping up with your present pace)


(Marcin Piekarniak, Poland, Jan 6, 1999)
Question:
I cannot add a JPG file to display as an element background. How can I do it?
Answer:
The background option currently supports only BMP format. The only solution is to use an image component as the background


(Vladimir Slachta, Czech Republic, Jan 26, 1999)
Question:
I downloaded SuperMemo and the help file from the Internet. Unfortunately Help does not work. It is still giving me information, that I have old version of HHCTRL.OCX. I have system W95 OSR 2 with IE 4.0 on my computer. Please, can you inform me, where is the problem?
Answer:
Seemingly some IE 4.0 installations include an older version of HHCTRL.OCX. You might use the file that ships with Windows 98 or try to download the Microsoft's free update


(Michael Duggan, Canada, Jan 27, 1999)
Question:
I am having difficulty doing my final drill in one of my files. I am down to the last few elements and every time I hit the Next repetition button the same element remains on the screen and the counter doesn't show any movement. Any suggestions?
Answer:
It is hard to diagnose what has actually happened but if you use Learn : Cut drills the problem will definitely go away


(Lili Belsak, Slovenia, Feb 10, 1999)
Question:
I would like to use Advanced English on two computers. What is the easiest way to keep my learning process updated?
Answer:
This method will probably work best (you need SuperMemo 98 or later to use Export/Import: Learning process):

  1. Install Advanced English on both computers
  2. Make repetitions on Computer A
  3. When you want to move to Computer B, use File : Tools : Export : Learning process on Computer A and copy the generated files to Computer B
  4. On Computer B use File : Tools : Import : Learning process and import the file exported in Step 3
  5. Make repetitions on Computer B
  6. When you want to move back to Computer A, use Steps 3 to 5 analogously

Note that this method only transfers the learning process. If you want to edit the material, you would better introduce the corrections only on one of the computers. This way you will be able to avoid the need to copy all collection files between computers


(Tom Scott, Feb 12, 1999)
Question:
I just came across your website. Is it difficult to prepare material for learning with SuperMemo?
Answer:
No. The most popular approach is to create pairs of questions and answers. You just press Ctrl+A (to add a new element) and type in the question and the answer. That's all. Then you just click Learn to start learning.
You can build huge collections and learn effectively for years using only text, questions and answers. Adding images, sounds, video, etc. requires some more hard disk space and 2-3 more steps (such as: add an image component and import an image file, etc.)

See: Learn SuperMemo in 30 days


(A.M.V.C.Raju, Malaysia, Feb 15, 1999)
Question:
For some time now, when I start SuperMemo I get a message DZIP32.DLL file is not found. Program seems to work fine. Is it dangerous? I worry about losing my 700 items
Answer:
This message is not generated by SuperMemo. Neither does SuperMemo use such a DLL. Perhaps you should ask an expert to have a look at your computer.
(NB: the user has later confirmed that the same message was also cropping up when MS Word started)


(Said Hussein Yasin, Switzerland, Feb 18, 1999)
Question:
What should I do for different subjects; should I use different categories within one and the same collection or should I create a new collection for each subject?
Answer:
It is highly recommended you keep all your knowledge in just one collection. Categories have been created in order to help you manage different subjects globally. They help you to quickly switch between different branches of the contents tree and keep the same look for all items in a given category


(Marek Futrega, Poland, Feb 25, 1999)
Question:
I upgraded from SuperMemo 8 to SuperMemo 2000 and noticed that Ctrl+H does not work any more. When I select a word on the list and choose Browse, I always get No elements found
Answer:
This is a limitation of the upgrade procedure. Due to a change in the format of the lexicon registry, the registry is deleted during the upgrade. It is enough to choose File : Repair collection and check Rebuild lexicon to create new lexicon registry and restore the previous functionality


(Kazimierz Bigus, Poland, Mar 1, 1999)
Question:
How can I quickly change the color of newly added items?
Answer:
Add a new item (Ctrl+A), choose Color on the element menu, select the color and choose Save as default (Ctrl+Alt+S). This will save the item with the changed color as the default template that will be used in adding new items


(Kazimierz Bigus, Poland, Mar 1, 1999)
Question:
How can I transfer only a subset of elements from one collection to another?
Answer:
You have to start from placing your subset of elements in the browser (read about subsets to select from a number of options). You could also start from a browser selection and choose Child : Selected in the browser to open a child browser with selected items. Once you have your elements in the browser, choose Tools : Transfer on the browser menu


(Steven Trezise, USA, Apr 20, 1999)
Question:
In my collection, I have items for which I have done between 1 and 8 repetitions. However, when I look at the Cases matrix, there are no entries beyond repetition 3
Answer:
The algorithm used by SuperMemo updates all optimization matrices using repetition categories, not the actual repetition number (you can view the optimization matrices with Tools : Statistics : Analysis : Matrices). A repetition category is an expected number of repetitions needed to reach the currently used interval. Once the matrices change, the estimation of repetition category may change too. If, for example, you score well in repetitions and your intervals become longer, it will take fewer repetitions to get to a given interval. In such a case, you might be at 8-th repetition while your repetition category will be 3. All matrices such as OF matrix, RF matrix, etc. will be updated in the third row (not in the 8-th row)


(Frantisek Kvapil, Czech Republic, Apr 23, 1999)
Question:
I wanted to download the whole website in the CHM format by the link points to SuperMemo Help.
Answer:
Both SuperMemo Help and the rest of the website are integrated in the same file


(Dag Berggren, Sweden, Apr 25, 1999)
Question:
I know how to change the size or style of fonts but I do not know how to make sure I do not have to repeat that with each new item I create.
Answer:
The simplest remedy is to press Ctrl+Alt+s which is a shortcut for Template : Save as default. This will save your current item as the default template in the current category. As this template will be reused each time you add a new item with Ctrl+A, you should create your item the way you want it to look before you fill out the text fields


(Josep Ortega, Andorra, Apr 28, 1999)
Question:
How to change sibling items into child items?
Answer:
Select Add as last child at the top of the contents window and drag sibling items to drop them on those that are to become their parents


(Siow Yew Nam, Singapore, May 12, 1999)
Question:
When I delete a collection in Windows Explorer, it is automatically restored when I return to SuperMemo! How can I go around it?
Answer:
Use File : Delete collection. When you start SuperMemo, it tries to open the last collection used. Even it it has been deleted, SuperMemo creates an empty new collection of the same name. This is why it is more convenient to delete collections from within SuperMemo


Question:
Recently I had to format my hard disk. After restoring my collection back-up from CDR, I get the following error: 'Access denied! System locked by another user'. What is happening?
Answer:
You need to remove the read-only attribute from the collection files


(Luis Gustavo Neves da Silva, Brazil, Sep 17, 1999)
Question:
What is the difference between a reading list and a tasklist?
Answer:
Reading list is a special case of a tasklist. All tasklists are sorted sets of tasks. Each task is composed of: title/description, priority and task body. In reading list, the body of the task has a form of a single article (e.g. imported from the Internet). You can use tasklist in the management of to-do lists. A reading list is your prioritized to-do sequence of most important articles you want to read


(Tomasz Szkopek, Poland, Sep 13, 1999)
Question:
I cannot use Polish diacritical characters, e.g. with Alt+c or Alt+s?
Answer:
Please use Tools : Options : SuperMemo : Trim shortcuts. This will turn off couple of offending shortcuts


(Robert Whitinger, USA, Mar 4, 1999)
Question:
I installed smhelp.chm file in the bin folder but SuperMemo still attempts to connect me with the Internet help!
Answer:
Please make sure that you choose Tools : Options : SuperMemo : Help system : Microsoft Help (CHM). If you choose Optimize instead of Microsoft Help, SuperMemo will always check the date of your chm file, and if it becomes outdated, it will attempt to connect you with the newer version of the same help page on the Internet


(Jiri P, Czech Republic, Sep 7, 1999)
Question:
I upgraded my collection from SuperMemo 98 and encountered the following error: Collection file access error. Wrong A-Factor distribution
Answer:
Please run File : Repair collection with Basic recovery checked. There is a slight difference in interpretation of AFactors in SuperMemo 99. Basic recovery will reassign AFactors to new distribution categories which will solve the problem.


(Zoran Maximovic, Yugoslavia, Sep 24, 1999)
Question:
What is the recommended way to change the element to which new elements will be added as children in a category?
Answer:

  1. Use Search : Categories to open the category registry
  2. Select the category in question
  3. Click Hook (hook is the father of newly added elements in the category)
  4. Select a new hook in the contents window
  5. Click Accept in the contents window

(Steven MacAulay, Austria, Nov 22, 1999)
Question:
All my pages in SuperMemo are grey, is there any way I can change the colour?
Answer:

Yes, please choose Color on the element pop-up menu. If you want to make this change permanent for all newly added items, press Ctrl+Alt+s (for Template : Save as default)


(John Meritt, UK, Nov 26, 1999)
Question:
How can I best learn spelling with SuperMemo?
Answer:

You should create a template in which the answer will be a Spell-Pad (i.e. text input component). In the question part you should ask about the word that is to be spelled. Because many spelling problems come from the use of double letters (e.g. traveling vs. travelling), you do not need to define the word. It is enough you ask to choose a correct variant. For example, your question might look like this: traveling/travelling or better yet trave(l/ll)ing.
It is very important to focus on one problem at a time. This is why instead of o(c/cc)a(s/ss)ion, you should create two items:

  1. o(c/cc)asion
  2. occa(s/ss)ion

Occasionally, you can make an exception to this rule. For example, you might ask Mi(s/ss)i(s/ss)i(p/pp)i as a request to spell Mississippi. In this case, it is easy to remember that all questionable consonants in this word must appear in double. Once you realize that, you may never experience problems with recalling how to spell Mississippi


(Stefan Schenderlein, Germany, Dec 21, 1999)
Question:

SuperMemo tasklists order articles according to priority. The most practical approach I know is to distinguish between urgency and importance. Sometimes this is called the Eisenhower Principle. Stephen R. Covey has improved this method in his books "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" and "First Things First". To understand it, you can take a pencil and draw a vertical axis called importance. Then another called urgency. Now draw another two lines to distinguish between high and low in both directions. You will get four quadrants. Each has a specific meaning. (compare: www.franklincovey.com). The so-called quadrant B (highly important, less urgent) is of strategic importance. A (highly important, highly urgent) is vital. C are mostly routine tasks and are seen as less important but urgent. D can be forgotten. This is implemented in the Franklin Planner Software. Would it not be more practicable to apply similar principles in handling SuperMemo tasklists?
Answer:
Indeed the quadrant approach is very simple and convincing. However, we would like to promote the approach used in SuperMemo for two reasons:

  1. we believe that learning should always be based on importance. Indeed, SuperMemo by definition defies urgency as it emphasizes long-term learning. The truth is that pen and pencil will often work better than SuperMemo as a cramming tool for an urgent exam
  2. SuperMemo encapsulates the urgency as the function of importance in time! This should help understand the true meaning of urgency and eliminate it from the learning process (and not only)

SuperMemo introduces deadline functions to make tasklists adapt the sorting order to the changes of importance in time. For example, if you need to read an article before a meeting or exam that takes place on January 30, the priority assigned to reading this article will reach its maximum on January 29. If you pick the day on which the priority reaches 50% of its maximum value, you will be able to see how this article gradually climbs up the tasklist from day to day as the deadline approaches (there is no guarantee it would reach the top though). This deadline function illustrates how urgency influences importance.
There are also other changes in importance possible, for example, if a task makes sense only after a given date, you can use the Post-Date function. On the other hand, if the value of a task gradually decreases in time, you can use Decline function, etc.
Deadline functions can help you keep your tasks sorted without paying much attention to deadlines, value decline, urgency, etc. and without compromising their impact at the same time


(John Daniel, USA, Dec 22, 1999)
Question:
Is it necessary to install Internet Explorer to use your help files off-line?
Answer:
No. You can also use plain HTML help files. For this purpose you would need to do two things:

  1. copy the contents of www.supermemo.com/help/ folder to <SuperMemo folder>/help/help folder on your hard disk (for example, if your SuperMemo is located at d:\sm2000\sm2000.exe, you would copy www.supermemo.com/help/index.htm to d:\sm2000\help\help\index.htm, etc.)
  2. select Tools : Options : SuperMemo : Help system : HTML Help

You could also copy other folders from www.supermemo.com and place them in <SuperMemo folder>/help/ to retain access to some auxiliary articles such as Six steps to excellent memory, Reading the Internet, etc.


(Prof. Chris Houser, Japan, March 16, 2000)
Question:

In reference to Hot to break free from work overload: It seems to me that the greatest difficulty in the presented approach is in assigning values. For example, in case of SuperMemo features, you could value each feature as the number of email messages requesting the feature. This is comfortingly exact. But it's wildly inaccurate! I believe that Time Management authors have recognized this difficulty of pinning down exact numbers, and so recommend the A B C prioritization scheme
Answer:
The process of assigning values becomes quick and intuitive with a dose of training. If it is not accurate, it is still more accurate than the A B C scheme. For example, in choosing the value of a given feature in SuperMemo, many criteria will be taken into account with the overall intent to maximize the benefit to the user. Very often, new features are introduced without customer requests (e.g. tasklists!). Others, despite significant customer pressure, will not be included (e.g. many repetition rescheduling options have been proposed and rejected due to their potentially harmful effects on the results in learning). An average man in the street often takes similar multicriterial decisions without much effort. For example, if you would like to take a week vacation on Hawaii, you will quickly make an overall valuation of benefits and reject offers that seem too pricey. Valuating tasks, with some training, is equally automatic and straightforward


(Alex Lee, Canada, March 20, 2000)
Question:

How do I import gif or jpg files to SuperMemo?
Answer:
This is the simplest procedure:

  1. Choose File : Level : Middle (or Professional)
  2. Choose Edit : Add components : Image (alternatively use the compose toolbar)
  3. Right click the newly added image components, select Import file, and select the file you want to import

Press Ctrl+Alt+s if you would like to import more images using the same template


(L.G., Brazil, Oct 6, 2000)
Question:

Why can I not transfer my SuperMemo 2000 collections back to SuperMemo 8? Do you try to follow Microsoft practices of forcing people into upgrades?
Answer:
Not at all! The reasons are purely technical. New features are often not supported by old versions and cannot be transferred. For similar reasons you cannot transfer Windows applications back to DOS. Partial transfer can be made by exporting collections as text. However, even this format has undergone change and many features will be lost on the way. For example, SuperMemo 8 does not support long texts, rich texts, HTML, OLE, 32-bit options and many more. Most of all, one-way upgrades are optional! The only time in the history of SuperMemo where users were indeed forced to take action was in January 2000 when the y2k bug kicked in (not actually affecting the learning process). Naturally, those y2k-compliant upgrades were provided free


(Siow Yew Nam, Singapore, Oct 10, 1999)
Question:
I have created an element that I want to use as a template. How can I make it the default template?
Answer:
To use the current element as the default template in the current category, use Template : Save as default on the element pop-up menu or simply press Ctrl+Alt+s


Question:
Can I learn Arabic with SuperMemo?
Answer:
Yes (see: Arabic Verbs collection, and picture)


(George W., USA, Dec 17, 2000)
Question:
Is it accurate to say that the Replace with template command is the same thing as Apply template, Impose template and "do not detach template" run in succession?
Answer:
Yes


(Karl Hillis, Canada, Feb 25, 1999)
Question:
I want to use SuperMemo to learn Spanish. I am having problems however when it comes to the acute accents over the vowels. Could you please give me a solution? I have the standard 101 key North American Keyboard
Answer:
You might try installing Spanish keyboard in Windows. Otherwise, you should remember to turn NumLock on when typing Alt+0 sequences (e.g. Alt+0241 for ñ)


(Cosmo, Germany, Feb 14, 1999)
Question:
Is it possible to learn vocabulary in both directions with one element? When I specify the questionbox as How are you? and the answerbox as C?est౿ can SuperMemo also change the directions of questioning so that I can train my vocabulary in both directions? Or do I have to define two elements?
Answer:
Each question-answer pair is handled independently in the learning process. For this reason, you must define two elements. Usually the active element is repeated more often than the passive element but there are no fixed rules here (leave it up to SuperMemo). Having it all in one element with a single pattern of repetitions would not serve the purpose of learning. You can quickly produce a reverse duplicate by using Duplicate (Ctrl+Alt+D) and Swap components (Ctrl+Shift+S). The former will duplicate the element and the latter will swap the question with the answer (if you have many elements in the pending queue, you will probably want to follow it with Remember or Ctrl+M)


(Christian Roessel, Germany, Jan 10, 2001)
Question:
I found items that have fewer repetitions than lapses. What is the interpretation of Repetitions?

Answer:
Repetitions
in the element data window do not show the actual number of repetitions of the displayed element. Repetitions display the number of repetitions since the last time the element was forgotten (it includes the use of the button Forget). To get the actual number of repetitions you can inspect the repetition history with Ctrl+Shift+H (or with double-click on the element data window). To see repetition history you need to be sure Full repetition history is checked in Tools : Options : Learning


(Daniel, Poland, Mar 3, 2001)
Question:
When I try to export multiple-choice items with File : Tools : Export : Q&A Text, I get an empty file. What do I do wrong?
Answer:
Currently, you can only import multiple-choice text files. You cannot export MCT items back to a text file. Only question-answer items are exported


(Daniel, Poland, Mar 3, 2001)
Question:
Is it possible to have SuperMemo randomly shuffle multiple-choice items at repetitions?
Answer:
No. The only shuffling takes place when you import multiple-choice items with File : Tools : Import : Q&A Text. The sequence of components remains the same later on


(Michal, Poland, Oct 7, 2000)
Question:
Why do I lose rich text formatting on importing e-mail to tasklist?
Answer:
Conversion to plain text saves disk space, makes SuperMemo text marks more prominent and prevents read-only problems upon import from your e-mail software. See also: Using e-mail in SuperMemo


(Mark, Poland, Mar 16, 2001)
Quetion
:
How can I use Polish fonts and keyboard in SuperMemo?
Answer:
To use Polish fonts in SuperMemo:

  1. Install multi-language support in Windows
  2. Install support for Central and Eastern Europe
  3. Install appropriate keyboard (Polish in your case)
  4. For convenience, in your default template use plain-text components and link the appropriate font, for example, Times New Roman with Script set to Central European

Do not forget to set Script to Central European. If you cannot do that, you have to install support for Central and Eastern Europe. If you can already use Polish fonts, for example, in MS Word, you don't need to execute steps 1-3.
Important! If you experience problems with Polish keyboard, turn on Trim Shortcuts in Options


Question:
I added a note with Ctrl+N, deleted the rich text component and ... now I get an empty element each time I use Ctrl+N
Answer:
You must have modified the Reading template globally (i.e. deleted the component from the element as well as from the template). To restore the original Reading template you can: (1) delete Reading in template registry and (2) use Tools : Add predefined templates on the template registry menu


Question:
When I right-click over HTML component, I cannot access reading options. Read toolbar options do not work either
Answer:
All reading options are built around RTF component (rich text component). There are no equivalents for HTML component which is a read-only component (you can only edit HTML files directly in HTML code in the editing mode or using your default external HTML editor with F9)


Complex terminology is not required to use SuperMemo (#5516)
(Krzysztof K., USA, Tue, Jun 05, 2001 5:36)
Question:
On one hand you claim that learning terminology of SuperMemo is optional, and on the other you state that the lack of knowledge of terminology generates 60-70% of your support e-mail
Answer:
Both are true. You can successfully use SuperMemo by only understanding buttons Learn and Add new. However, many customers impatiently delve into functionality that is of secondary importance in learning (e.g. structure of the knowledge tree). Because tree terminology such as child, parent, sibling is not obvious to non-technical users, these users quickly get lost in the documentation and prefer to write to support


You can recover from a temporary disconnection from the secondary storage (#7059)
(Jiri, Saturday, February 02, 2002 10:18 AM)
Question:
I am planning to travel a bit, but am unable to keep my whole collection with me as the ELEMENTS directory is over 1.5 GB in size. Is it safe to put the whole collection without the ELEMENTS directory on a JAZZ drive then play with it and, when I return, replace my old collection files with the files from the JAZZ?
Answer:
If you sever the connection with the secondary storage (i.e. your 1.5 GB ELEMENTS folder), you will run into the weakness of secondary storage handling in SuperMemo 2000 (and earlier). SuperMemo does not keep a record of storage files otherwise than by checking for their physical presence. If you import a storage object (e.g. picture, HTML file or a sound file) it will be allocated into the first encountered free storage slot. Consequently, upon return, you will find primary storage files in conflict slots with secondary storage files. Luckily, File : Repair collection is able to move the conflicting files to new storage slots. Your best bet would be to minimize import of new pictures, sounds, and HTML files until your return. Upon return, you will need to run File : Repair collection with Verify Filespace checked. This weakness will be resolved in future releases


Use Incremental reading processing options to best import an item to SuperMemo (#211)
(Asia Symonowicz, Poland, Sunday, September 22, 2002 3:41 PM)
Question:
How can I most efficiently import a SuperMemo item sent to me via e-mail to my collection?
Answer:
(1) In your e-mail agent, select an item and copy it to the clipboard with Ctrl+C
(2) Switch to SuperMemo, and paste the content of the clipboard into an HTML note with Alt+N,
(3) Select the answer part of the item, right-click your mouse and select Reading : Remember cloze (press Alt+Z alternatively) from the component's pop-up menu,
(4) Dismiss the source element with Ctrl+D (so it is removed from the learning process)
Make sure to remove Q: and A: from individual components.


SuperMemo on CD-ROM (#12876)
(clacour, Wednesday, September 04, 2002 12:50 AM)
Question:
I really don't like downloads. What I would like to do is buy a disk (hopefully a CD-Rom), and I would be willing to get an older edition if SuperMemo 2002 was not available
Answer:
Ordering SuperMemo on CD-ROM makes sense only if you order it for the learning material content. CD-ROMs are expensive and include older versions of the program that will rob you of new features such as incremental reading. It is highly recommended that you opt for SuperMemo 2000 or SuperMemo 2002. Unless you have problems with the access to the Internet, there should not be a conceivable reason for choosing CD-ROM versions. You can easily back up SuperMemo on a floppy disk


SuperMemo is not shareware (#12902)
(John Lopez, Sunday, September 15, 2002 6:44 PM)
Question:
How many times do I have to register this stupid program? Every time I boot it up, it starts over again!
Answer:
You need to use a valid return e-mail address at registering to receive registration information via autoresponder. This information should indicate that you must input the unlock password received while ordering the product. This information should also help you order the product, if you have not yet done so


You can learn a block of text in incremental reading (#76)
(Jonathan Moran, Tuesday, December 10, 2002, 8:11:24 AM)
Question:
I need to learn a passage of text. How could I do that with your program?
Answer:
Incremental reading is optimal for this purpose. In a nutshell, you import a text, extract it into digestible portions, and then create cloze deletions from them. For a thorough explanation of this new learning technology, read: Incremental reading.


The polishing required for items generated in incremental reading usually satisfies generally accepted copyright principles (#260)
(M Huang, Tuesday, December 31, 2002 12:08 PM)
Question:
Would incremental reading collections (with cloze deletions) violate copyright laws if they were available to the public (e.g. from SuperMemo Library)? Are they restricted for personal use only?
Answer:
It basically depends by how much the generated elements differ from the original articles/extracts they have been created from. Rarely can you extract a given sentence from an article, create cloze deletions on it, and have ready well-structured items which perfectly adhere to the rules of effective knowledge formulation outlined in the 20 rules of formulating knowledge article. In the review process of incremental reading, you extract paragraphs/sentences, and then polish them by manual editing to a more compact and understandable form. This alone guarantees the contribution sufficient to satisfy generally accepted copyright principles.


Use Edit : Add a new article for articles you would like to read in incremental reading, and Edit : Add a new task for to-do activities (#101)
(Anatoliy Lipatov, Ukraine, Friday, January 10, 2003 8:59 AM)
Question:
It is not fully clear when it is preferable to add a new article and when a new task.
Answer:
Use Edit : Add a new article (Ctrl+Alt+N) when you would like to import an interesting article and later process it in incremental reading (i.e. convert it into manageable parts, streamline it, and create cloze deletions).
Use Edit : Add a new task (Ctrl+Alt+A) to add a to-do activity (e.g. buying a new piece of software), which you are going to execute once it comes top on your tasklist (depending on its priority)


See Overview section in Help to read about particular functions of SuperMemo (#6942)
(J.M., USA, Sep 27, 2001)
Question:
I think you should write tutorials on using specific features. For example: 'creating and using a template', 'creating a new branch', 'adding elements within branch', 'creating a new category', 'importing an article for incremental reading'
Answer:
You can find similar articles in the Overviews section. If you believe a particular overview is missing, write to SuperMemoMail 


You can keep text and pictures in separate components (#8538)
(Gabor Schmera, Saturday, December 01, 2001 7:57 AM)
Question:
Is the rich-text component capable of displaying embedded pictures?
Answer:
No. However, for most applications, it should be enough if you paste your pictures into separate image components (e.g. Ctrl+V on an element in display mode). The advantage of this approach is that on each cloze and extract in incremental reading, the pictures propagate as context


Template flag indicator in SuperMemo 2000 (#15317)
(Abdul Ghani, Singapore, Saturday, January 04, 2003 12:57 AM)
Question:
I have this message DelTmpExtr at the bottom of the element Window. Can you tell me what's wrong and how to rectify it?
Answer:
Nothing is wrong and you need to take no action. This is an indicator of template flags used in the current element (here "Delete template extras"). This indicator should appear only if you select the debugging version of SuperMemo in Options. In SuperMemo 2002, this indicator is not shown as all template flags are displayed in Component Order dialog


(Dag Berggren, Sweden, Apr 25, 1999)
Question:
I know how to change the size or style of fonts but I do not know how to make sure I do not have to repeat that with each new item I create.
Answer:
The simplest remedy is to press Ctrl+Alt+s which is a shortcut for Template : Save as default. This will save your current item as the default template in the current category. As this template will be reused each time you add a new item with Ctrl+A, you should create your item the way you want it to look before you fill out the text fields


(Jiri P, Czech Republic, Sep 7, 1999)
Question:
I upgraded my collection from SuperMemo 98 and encountered the following error: 
Collection file access error. 
Wrong A-Factor distribution

Answer:
Please run File : Repair collection with Basic recovery checked. There is a slight difference in interpretation of AFactors in SuperMemo 99. Basic recovery will reassign AFactors to new distribution categories which will solve the problem.


(Zoran Maximovic, Yugoslavia, Sep 24, 1999)
Question:
What is the recommended way to change the element to which new elements will be added as children in a category?
Answer:

  1. Use Search : Categories to open the category registry
  2. Select the category in question
  3. Click Hook (hook is the father of newly added elements in the category)
  4. Select a new hook in the contents window
  5. Click Accept in the contents window

Categories do not impose a limit on the number of elements to include (#7104)
(mark, Denmark, Fri, Oct 05, 2001 9:46)
Question:
Is there an easy way to create and place many elements in a category?
Answer:
Yes. Add a new branch in Contents. Use Ctrl+K to create a new category and choose Add New (or other category operation) as many times as necessary. Use Ctrl+A for items or Ctrl+N for topic notes, etc.


You can easily copy SuperMemo to a diskette (#5520)
(Jack B., Sun, Jun 24, 2001 2:20)
Question:
After getting the program downloaded, may I simply pay for a backup diskette sent to me?
Answer:
You can create your own backup diskette in a minute by simply copying the downloaded file onto a blank disk. For example, SuperMemo 2000 download file (sm2000zip.exe) is only 1.3MB in size and should fit on a diskette


(Manfred Kremer, Germany, Nov 27, 1998)
Question:
What is the simplest way to backup a collection in SuperMemo?
Answer:
If your collection's name is, for example, "All my knowledge.kno" then:

  1. use any archiving application (e.g. WinZip)
  2. select (1) "All my knowledge.kno" file and (2) "[All my knowledge]" folder/directory
  3. compress these two into a single archive (remember to use Preserve path option to retain the folder structure)

While restoring a collection from such an archive, remember to use Extract with path to make sure the folder structure is restored as originally archived (otherwise all files will be restored to the same folder and the collection will be unusable).
Note that you can save some space by choosing File : Tools : Garbage before archiving your collection

For more see: Safety of your knowledge stored in SuperMemo


Question:
One of my items does not work with Extract and with Cloze?
Answer:
Check if the text is not marked as read-only. If you paste texts from MS Outlook (e.g. into your e-mail tasklist), they will be marked as read-only. You can quickly remove all formatting (including read-only status) with Ctrl+Shift+F12 (Text : Plain text on the rich text component pop-up menu). If you do not want to remove formatting, you can also use F9 to edit the text in your default word processor (e.g. MS Word). If you edit the text in MS Word and save it, it will automatically remove the read-only attribute


(Zoran Maximovic, Serbia, Sep 25, 2000)
Question:
In approximation graphs in Tools : Statistics : Analysis, some of the curves "jump out" of the graph area. What is wrong?
Answer:
This was a harmless bug in the algorithm in SuperMemo 98/99. The assumption is that intervals cannot grow beyond the value of A-Factor. For that reason, the maximum R-Factor should equal the relevant A-Factor. However, in plotting the forgetting curves, higher values of U-Factors are used as repetitions may be delayed (e.g. with Mercy, user procrastination, etc.). The algorithm puts a cap on the maximum R-Factor value (along the theoretical assumption that R-Factors cannot be greater than corresponding A-Factors). However, the implementation used the maximum U-Factor value as the cap (the one used in plotting the forgetting curve). Consequently, R-Factors could grow larger than A-Factors and the curve would "jump out" of the graph, which displays the correct cap.
This bug should have little effect on the learning process. The higher cap does not invalidate the correctness of R-Factors. It just does not prevent very long intervals in case of very good repetition results.

This bug has been fixed in SuperMemo 2000 (and later)


Installing SuperMemo CE (#7933)
(hamweej, Wednesday, March 06, 2002 8:44 AM)
Question:
I do not have a connection between my Pocket PC and my desktop, and usually install programs by copying the .cab file to a compact flash card and running it directly from the pocket PC. I cannot seem to do this with SuperMemo
Answer:
SuperMemo CE installer runs in Windows. You need to have some form of connection between your Windows machine and your Pocket PC in order to be able to complete the inst