SuperMemo CE - Survival Help

Main window

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In the top part of the main window, menu and toolbar are located. The remainder of the screen is divided into five parts:

  1. Question field, which displays the current question (this field can be used to edit the question)
  2. Answer field, which displays the current answer (this field is blank at times when the learner is supposed to recall the answer during a repetition cycle)
  3. Statistics field, which contains the following data:
    • Collection name - name of the collection in use
    • Total number of items in the collection
    • Memorized - number of memorized items in the collection
    • Pending - number of pending items in the pending queue
    • To repeat - number of items to repeat and to drill (equivalent of Outstanding in SuperMemo for Windows). For example, if there are 48+5 items to repeat, you still have 48 outstanding items to repeat on the present day. 5 of the outstanding items repeated earlier scored a grade below good (4), and will have to be repeated again in the final drill. In other words there are at least 48+5=53 repetitions to be made on the present day
  4. Item statistics field with item parameters which characterize the currently displayed item:
    • Number - number of the currently displayed item
    • Last rep. - date of a previous repetition of the current item
    • Status - status of the current item
    • Interval - interval between the last and the next repetition
    • Next rep. - date of the next repetition
    • (x) - number of repetitions which indicates that the displayed item has been repeated x times since it has been introduced into the collection or since it has last been
  5. Below the Answer window there is some place for miscellaneous button sets (Quick buttons). When there is no collection opened, there are up to three buttons with recent collection names. So you can quickly open a recently used collection

SuperMemo CE basics

The main function of SuperMemo is to supervise the process of learning pairs of questions and answers. Such pairs are later called items. Collections of items are stored in computer files and are called collections. In order to work with a SuperMemo CE collection you must first open it with File : Open. After you do it, you can see some of the items of your collection using the option Learn. Choose Learn and respond with Yes to Do you want to memorize new items? Look at the question field. The first question of the currently used collection should appear there. Try to answer the question. Now, the computer expects you to input the quality of your answer expressed in a 0-5 grade point scale. Press any number key in the range from 0 to 5, or tap one of the grade buttons located just below question and answer fields.

The grade point scale is:

  • 5 - bright - excellent response; correct answer given without hesitation
  • 4 - good - correct response given after some consideration
  • 3 - pass - response recalled with difficulty, perhaps slightly incorrect (e.g. 5 billion in response to a question on the size of the human population which will be 6 billion in 1999)
  • 2 - fail - incorrect response which makes you say: I knew it!
  • 1 - bad - wrong response in the situation when the correct one still seemed somewhat familiar
  • 0 - null - complete blackout; you even do not recall ever knowing the answer

You should remember that:

  • in SuperMemo, you are unlikely to need grades 0 or 1
  • if you guess the correct answer your grade must be less than 3

Your work with SuperMemo will consist in such simple repetitions as described above, i.e. attempts to answer questions stored in the collection. You can learn the material stored in commercial or shareware collections, or you can create your own collections that will suit exactly your needs. See the next paragraph for more details on creating a customized collection. To quit repetitions now, choose Cancel learning. To save the currently open collection choose File : Close

Your first collection

To create your own collection with items concerning exactly the sort of knowledge you want to learn follow the steps presented below:

  1. Run SuperMemo
  2. Choose the option New on the File menu (e.g. by pressing Ctrl+N)
  3. Input the name of your collection

This way, your first collection has been created, i.e. all its disk files have been filled up with all necessary data.

Switch SuperMemo CE to editing mode by clicking the button Edit. At this moment, your collection is ready to accept its first item (a question-answer par).

To add new items to the collection, choose the menu option Item : Add new (e.g. by pressing Ctrl+A). The cursor will appear in the question field. This indicates that the computer is ready to accept a new item. You can write your first question now. Having finished, press Esc or just click the answer field. Now, the cursor has moved to the answer field, and you may type in the answer. You may press Esc when you have finished. At this moment, your first item has been stored in your collection files. You can input more items to have some learning material for later use. To save the currently open collection choose File : Close


On the File menu there are options used in manipulating whole collections such as: New..., Open... and Close. The function Reset... clears collection's learning process (after Reset a collection looks like new; like nobody has learned with it)

There are also functions useful for importing and exporting collections. To import files to SuperMemo CE you can use File : Import-Export functions.

SuperMemo CE accepts only raw *.txt files. So if you want to convert *.txt files containing native characters (e.g. Russian, Czech, etc.) you will have to use the option called Convert tables (see below). Convert tables simply replaces some characters (native characters) to corresponding Unicode codes

When collection is opened you can quickly switch between the editing and learning modes using the Mode menu. You can also do this by using Quick buttons

Most of options from the Item menu are active only in the editing mode. There you can Add new item, Delete item, swap the question with answer (Exg Q-A). You can change the item's status (Forget, Remember, or Dismiss). There are also options Find... and Go to... to locate items in a collection

In Misc menu, there is an option called Calendar.... It opens a window which shows all days of the current month. Each day shows you numbers which tell you how many repetition are queued for a given day. Second option Information... shows some other statistics related to the current collection

Conversion tables

Convert tables replace some characters (native characters) with the corresponding Unicode codes while importing and exporting collections. To use convert table, load it (File : Convert table : Load...) and then import your collection (File : Import-Export : Import Q&A...).

To create new convert table choose File : Convert table : Edit.... A new window will open. It shows the currently used conversions. To add a new conversion choose Add... and type the ASCII code of the character to convert (in hexadecimals). Then type the Unicode number (also in hexadecimals) or type the equivalent letter. When you choose Ok you will see that your conversion is now visible in the Convert table window. Now you can Add... a new conversion, Edit... an existing one or Delete... a conversion

Conversion tables can be stored in *.scv files (functions Load..., Save... in File : Convert table menu).

To turn the convert table feature off simply clear it (File : Convert table : Clear...)


Toolbar contains nine buttons. These are: New collection, Open collection, Learn mode, Edit mode, Add new item, Forget item, Remember item, Dismiss item and Calendar. They work exactly as menu functions with the same names

Collection files

SuperMemo CE stores its collection in two files: *.sdb and *.sbi.
File *.sdb contains the main collection body such as question and answer texts (in compressed Unicode).

File *.sbi contains indexes to this collection and other miscellaneous information (learning process). If the *.sbi file is missing, SuperMemo CE will automatically create it. Thus File : Reset... simply works by deleting the current *.sbi file

You can order and download SuperMemo CE from SuperMemo Store in seconds (800 KB)