|FAQ: Using templates in SuperMemo|
You can detach a template to avoid global template
(Mariusz Zmuda, Poland, Jan 29, 2001)
I changed the size of the question field in one element and SuperMemo changed this in other elements too! This was quite a surprise!
If you change the template of one element, all elements that use this template will be affected. If you want to provide a unique look to a single element, you need to detach its template. For best effect, choose Template : Impose template or simply press Ctrl+Shift+F2 and respond with Yes to Detach template? As of this moment, changes to the element will not propagate to other places in the collection
You can set question and answer fonts
(Paul R Taubr, Wed, May 22, 2002 0:41)
I try to create a default template which is just a font and font size (Arial 14) to use with all my items (questions and answers)
If all your items are to use the same font for all questions and the same font for all answers, you could use Tools : Options : Fonts : Question font and Answer font.
However, if you want to use a template only on a subset of elements, you could do the following:
You can change the look
of items globally
(Doug Edmunds, USA, Nov 4, 1997)
How can I globally change the layout of question, answer, font, background color, etc.
Do the following:
How do you make components come up on top
(George W., USA, Dec 14, 2000)
I use the occlusion pre-defined template. Is there any way to make the red occlusion box appear in front of the image?
You need to learn two skills that will help you handle such situations:
Note that when you return to your element, it is the component order that determines which components are displayed on top (see: element menu)
if a template keeps old texts
(Brian DeMio, USA, Jan 10, 1999)
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 Alt+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?
Please make sure that when you save your template there are no texts in text components. You can accomplish that by choosing Template : Save as template rather than Template : Save with objects on the element menu
Component order may determine how the
titles are generated
(Krzysztof Morawski, Poland, Dec 28, 1998)
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)?
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 Components : 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)
If you delete a component from a global template, all
elements will be affected
(facep2b, Sunday, July 22, 2001 10:29 PM)
My collection is composed of questions and answers. For some reason, only the answers are showing. What gives?
Most likely you have deleted the question component (or changed its display status) in the default global template used in your elements. Try applying another template (e.g. Classic, Item, etc.) to see if this is the correct diagnosis. Then you will need to define the appropriate template and save it in place of your default template. Remember to make a backup beforehand!
change the position of question and answer fields
How can I change the position of the question field on the screen?
Alt-click the question twice. It will become draggable. Alternatively, you can choose Mode : Dragging mode on the question's menu or Components : Mode : Dragging on the element menu (in the latter case, all components will become draggable). If you want to change this position globally (i.e. in all elements in your collection), you should use templates
can delete the source element of a
(Christian Roessel, Germany, Dec 17, 2000)
If I save a template, is it safe to delete the source element? Is the element used to save the template copied or only referenced to in the template registry?
Yes. You can delete the source element. Every template is a separate copy of data defining the look of elements. Deleting the source element will only decrease the reference count for a given template. Templates are not deleted even if the reference count drops to zero
You can drag components inside a template
(Adam, Australia, Mon, May 07, 2001 2:48)
How can one tell if a transparent image component without an image is present in a template displayed in the template registry?
You can put the template in the editing mode by Alt+click or by choosing Components : Mode : Editing on the template's menu
Categories make it possible to select the default
(Adam, Australia, Mon, May 07, 2001 2:48)
How do we select a template from the template registry as the default template?
You need to select this template for the current category in the category registry. For example, choose Search : Categories, click Template (if you want to use the template with items), select the template from the registry and choose Accept (at the bottom of the registry window)
An item cannot use two templates at the same time
(facep2b, Monday, July 23, 2001 8:37 PM)
There seems to be two templates being applied at the same time! Superimposed over my questions and answers
Each element is made of the source data (e.g. question and answer) and may additionally include a template. There cannot be two templates used with the same element. If you apply a template to an element, the template is filled out with matching source data and displayed in the element window. For example, blue template with empty text fields applied to a green source with non-empty text will show as a blue element with non-empty texts taken from the source
If Add New does not create needed components, you can
(noam-at, Israel, Aug 04, 2001)
When I click Add New, I get a new item, but SuperMemo doesn't create two editing fields for the question and answer. Instead, I see the gray screen of SuperMemo without any fields
Add New uses the default template to create new items. If you delete all components (e.g. question and answer fields) from the default template, Add New will add new elements that look empty. If you want to restore your question and answer components, you need to redefine the template. If you are not very fluent with templates, locate an element in your collection that looks ok and choose Template : Save as default on the element menu. This will save the look of the selected element in the default template. Add New will then replicate this look
You can define your cloze template or apply it after
generating the cloze
(Patrick Stöckmann, Germany, Wednesday, July 11, 2001 8:03 PM)
How can I influence the template for cloze deletions?
The element from which you generate the cloze deletion will be used as a template for your cloze unless you choose to automatically apply the default category template (see: Categories). If you miss the answer field in the parent template, it will be added for you. If you define your own answer field in the parenting element or in the template, it will be reused. Once you generate the cloze deletion, you can manually apply any template with Ctrl+Shift+M
Changing templates in SuperMemo is analogous to
changing colors in Windows
(Reinhard K. Koehler (private), Friday, September 21, 2001 10:15 PM)
Why templates change the appearance of elements behind my back. Those things should not change unless there is a specific clear conscious command by the user
Changing templates is like changing colors in Windows. Once you change the color scheme, all windows will be affected. To prevent changing the look of other elements, detach the template (e.g. with Template : Impose Template on the element menu)
Use plain-text templates to change the font after
question-answer text file import
When I try to use File : Import : Q&A text to import Cyrillic questions and answers. After import the Cyrillic displays as other characters (i.e. not Cyrillic)
Question and answer files are plain text files and do not include the font. You need to import your file into the correct template based on plain-text components that will use the appropriate font in text components. You could also use Tools : Options : Fonts : Question font and Answer font to define fonts for plain-text templates that use the default font (i.e. have no specific font setting). For example: apply Classic template, change the font to Cyrillic and import your file using the newly defined template
Use Template : Save with objects to include text
labels in the template
(Walter G. Mayfield, Jr., Friday, July 13, 2001 6:37 AM)
I would like to use the template as a header stamp, to identify where the information came from
You can accomplish this by defining an empty template with a plain-text component filled out with the label (e.g. "biology"). Instead saving this template with Save as default, use Template : Save with objects on the element menu to make sure the label text is included as part of the template. If this template becomes the default template of your "Biology" category, the label "biology" will be included in items each time Add New is chosen
Modify templates in elements that use them
(tomkin242, Nov 05, 2001)
How do I add a specific picture to a template?
In the element that uses the template, add an image (e.g. paste it). Then choose Template : Save with objects and save the template under the old name. This way, all elements using the old template will display the image
After you create a template, apply it to your elements
(Safecity Training Academy, Sat, Dec 29, 2001 7:29)
We create a template for a collection. But when we choose Learn, the template reverses back to the dull grey format and the very small text
It is not enough to create a template. You need to apply it (i.e. use it). If you created a template with Save as template, you could choose Save as default instead. This will make the new template a default template in the currently used category. All newly added items will use that template. As for previously created items, you can use Template : Apply template (Ctrl+Shift+M) on the element menu or apply it en mass in Contents or in a browser
You can use Multiple Choice template for multiple
(dieter.gauss, Germany, Friday, January 11, 2002 9:35 AM)
I want to make a simple multiple choice test. Not one word in your entire guide how to do it
You can use ready-made Multiple Choice template with Template : Apply Template (Ctrl+Shift+M) for the simplest form of multiple choice test. The reasons for little coverage of multiple choice tests in the documentation are two:
You can apply a template to any subset of elements
(I.L., Canada, Monday, January 28, 2002 3:40 AM)
I have created a template with fonts I like. Can the questions and answers I entered earlier be converted quickly and conveniently to the font that new elements are "enjoying"?
You can try the following steps:
There are two conditions that need to be met for this to work:
All newly added elements use the same default template
(Dustin J. D., USA Educational, Sunday, May 05, 2002 9:53 PM)
Anytime I hit Add new, SuperMemo creates an item with a template. However, it links the appearance from the last created template element to the new element
Add new uses the current default item template. Each time you change that template, all items using that template will be changed. All new items will also look in a new way. If you want to modify only one element without affecting the others, you need to detach the template. Most likely, you will want to use Template : Impose template to make sure you detach the template without changing the way other items look
Reapplying a template is a snap
(Lawrence Kritzinger, South Africa, Sunday, July 14, 2002 8:00 PM)
Is it possible to have a template with a custom font in a component as well as using a bulleted list at the same time?
No. By definition, plain text does not support bullets, while rich text encodes font within the text. These two cannot be reconciled. However, you can keep a handy HTML or RTF template which you can apply over a plain text component each time you need a bulleted list. Apply template takes just one keystroke (Ctrl+Shift+M). Important! Optimally, in your final questions and answers you should use plain text and you should not use bullets. Enumerations are not a good way of remembering things. They are costly in terms of your time. See: 20 rules to find ways around bullets and enumerations
"Add new" uses your default template
(Bill Sanchez, Saturday, July 13, 2002 9:13 AM)
Add new does not create needed components. What is the reason?
Add new uses your default category template. If you define an empty template, Add new will create no components. You can define a new template and save it as default. You can also choose any of the predefined templates to become default in your current category
(mstlk, Monday, July 15, 2002 2:51 AM)
I made a series of elements using an occlusion template. When I went back to drill on them, I noticed that the red rectangles moved in some elements
The position of the occluding rectangle in SuperMemo is considered "data", i.e. not part of the template. In other words, it will not be affected by the change to the template. However, the position of the image is considered "style". If you redefine your template by moving an image, all images affected by the template will move. This may make an impression that the rectangles have moved. You can use Impose template to detach the occlusion test from the template. Another problem may occur if you choose to scale elements (Scale on the element menu) and do not choose a matching attribute on Image : Stretch menu. Once you resize your element, the image and rectangle components may resize, but the image content will not
You cannot auto-impose templates
(Nathan Forsdyke, Sunday, June 30, 2002 2:54 PM)
How can I make SuperMemo auto-impose a template when I add a new element to different categories? I don’t like this if you change the element the master template changes all other elements
You cannot auto-impose templates. However, you can impose and/or detach template before you introduce changes that are not to become global. You can use Ctrl+Shift+F2 for that purpose. Upon confirmation, you can also impose templates in all elements in a category, tree branch, or browser. Imposing a template involves deleting source template data. This is why auto-impose would be irreversible and potentially dangerous
Templates are able to hide content
(Nick Murray, Australia, Wednesday, August 07, 2002 12:23 PM)
Why does a template obscure the content of an element?
Content of a template component cannot obscure the content of a source component. However, if your template does not include a component that corresponds with content data then, depending on template flags, you can make the unmatched source component transparent via the template or hidden. The latter option is used to hide or delete source components (and their content). For example, if you use Advanced English 97 illustrated with pictures, you can impose a picture-less template and thus hide the pictures. You can also delete the pictures if you impose the picture-less template
Use default category template to determine the
template used in new elements
(Seyed Razavi, Monday, August 19, 2002 12:23 AM)
I tried to select the multiple choice test template but it only works once. When I add new elements, it returns to a regular classic template
Use Search : Categories and click Template to select the default template for your default category.
More details: Categories
Applying template with a specific font
(Tim Elston, Thu, Jun 27, 2002 6:07)
I create an element with the desired font and use Save with objects. But when I then seek to apply this new template to a given element, the text of the element does not assume the quality of the fonts I tried to save in the template. Instead, the text turns into plain text
The behavior of your template will depend on the type of text components used:
The simplest way to uniformly apply fonts to texts in SuperMemo collections is to use plain text templates with the desired font setting
Answer attribute and the template
(Roger , Tuesday, May 06, 2003 10:24 AM)
What do you mean saying "the answer attribute is part of knowledge/data not part of template/presentation"?
It is a good practice to separate data from the way it is presented. Data might be the word "Washington", while its presentation will depend on the font used, boldface, etc. In SuperMemo, templates determine how data/knowledge is presented. Templates do not change the content of knowledge. The distinction between the question and answer part in the collection is part of knowledge. In other words, you cannot change the answer attribute of a text by applying a template. Whichever template you apply, your knowledge should retain its basic sense. Examples of data attributes: texts, pictures, answer flag, truth flag (in multiple choice tests), etc. Examples of presentation attributes: color, font, formatting, scale attribute, field size, etc.
You cannot modify the formatting of HTML texts with
(W Paul Gephart , Thursday, May 08, 2003 11:48 PM)
How can I create a template with HTML fields and the font size 18 pts, blue, Arial? I modify the template, save with objects with a space of the selected text, but still when I apply to an existing item, the text goes to small 9 pt, black?
You cannot use HTML templates for formatting HTML texts. When you create an HTML template with HTML text included, this text will be replaced by the source data text at Apply template. The formatting will not be transferred between HTML objects (from template to data). Only plain text components ignore source text formatting and apply their own font. RTF and HTML texts have formatting "wired" into the text. One of the fastest ways of applying a given font to HTML text is to paste an appropriate <font> label into the HTML source code (available with Ctrl+Shift+F6 or Ctrl+F9)
To retain formatting and pictures, you need to use a
matching component type in the template
(MMM, Poland, Jun 28, 2003)
I had a nice picture in the answer component. I applied a template and my picture disappeared. Why?
Most likely you pasted your picture to an HTML component and then used a template with a different type of text component. For example, plain text components can only show unformatted text. Such components, when used in a template, will only display the plain text of your HTML text without formatting and without the picture. You can solve the problem by using Detach Template and then applying a compatible template. In this example, you need to use a template based on HTML
In certain situations templates will auto-impose by
(Piotr, Poland, Feb 22, 2004)
I applied a template to an item. After some operations, the template self-imposed itself onto the source. I mean, it cannot be detached now. Is it a bug?
No. Some operations would be meaningless without imposing the template. For that reason Impose template is executed in the background without alerting you.
If you want to prevent this auto-imposition, be sure that all significant components used in the template are present in the source.
Use the Sound predefined template
to add pronunciation to your elements (#342)
(Karolina Melkowska, Poland, Wednesday, October 09, 2002 8:56 PM)
I am a learner of English. I have created my own collection in SuperMemo and add new words on a daily basis. My question is how I could add pronunciation to my English elements?
You would need to use the Sound template as opposed to the default Item template used in SuperMemo. It makes it possible to add sound files (e.g. with pronunciation of an English word) by right-clicking your mouse over the sound component and selecting Import file (e.g. press Ctrl+Q) from the component menu. You can also download a remotely located sound file into a sound component, by right clicking the sound component, selecting Download file, and providing the URL address to the sound file.
Template flags determine how templates are applied
(Ahmet Karahan, Saturday, December 21, 2002 5:14 PM)
I have designed a template with two text components and a banner at the top and saved it as the default template for the category. However, when I apply my template to a cloze deletion element, the banner is not displayed.
By default, cloze deletion elements have the Delete template extras template flag set. When it is on and you apply a template, all template components that do not match the element's source data will be deleted. If you would like your banner to be displayed, change the template flag before applying a template. You can change a template flag by right-clicking an element, and then choosing an option from the Template : Template flags submenu available from the element menu
You can restore deleted predefined templates
(Lisa Reaves, Tuesday, December 31, 2002 3:05 AM)
I have accidentally deleted the occlusion template from the template registry. Do I have to download your software again in order to restore it?
No. Do the following:
You can change the default item template for a given
(Anatoliy Lipatov, Ukraine, Friday, January 10, 2003 8:59 AM)
Whenever I create an extract from an article, it is not merged with the default cloze deletion template, where cloze deletions are marked in red color against the yellow background, but what seems to be the Classic template. How can I change it to the default cloze deletion template?
Instead of turning off Auto-Apply, you could also choose a more appropriate template:
Using an element as a
(Siow Yew Nam, Singapore, Oct 10, 1999)
I have created an element that I want to use as a template. How can I make it the default template?
To use the current element as the default template in the current category, use Template : Save as default on the element menu or simply press Ctrl+Alt+M
Spelling exercises in SuperMemo
(grzilc, Wednesday, January 30, 2002 8:56 AM)
How do I do spelling exercises in SuperMemo?
The simplest method is to use the Spell-Pad component within the Spelling standard template. To apply the Spelling template choose Template : Apply Template (Ctrl+Shift+M) on the element menu, select Spelling and click Accept. To make the Spelling template the default template in a given category, select this category in Search : Categories, click the Template button, choose the Spelling template and click Accept. If your collection has been upgraded from earlier versions and the Spelling template is not present, you can add it with Search : Templates and then with Tools : Add predefined templates (on the registry menu)
meaning of Replace with template
(George W., USA, Dec 17, 2000)
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?
Difference between "view source" and "detach
(Christian R, Germany, Sunday, December 17, 2000 1:43 PM)
I cannot see a sense of Template : View source. If I want to go back to the source, I can Detach template. Viewing the source is confusing
View Source is useful if you want to quickly peek at the source template. You can do it with Ctrl+Shift+U. The same key will return the applied template look. Detaching and reapplying the template in such circumstances would require accessing the menu, finding the detached template in the template registry (without actually being informed which template had been detached), and reapplying the template
Use Esc to clear the template source view (#1677)
(Christian R, Germany, Sunday, December 17, 2000 1:43 PM)
There is no indicator if you are viewing the source template or the applied template. How can I switch back from the source to to the applied template?
Use Esc to clear the template source view. If you are not sure if you are viewing the source or the applied template, press Esc. That should restore the applied template (if any)
You can add a picture to a subset of elements
(Rod F, Jun 21, 2005, 07:09:56)
I ordered the text only version of Advanced English and I'd like to add my graphics to elements falling under the main categories
You can define a template that would include a question field, an answer field, and an image component. You can then link a picture with the image component. If you save such a template with objects (Template : Save with objects on the element menu), and apply it to any subset of your collection, the picture will show in the subset. Note that if your element already includes pictures (e.g. illustrating the question), the template picture will be replaced with the source picture of the item. In other words, the template will add pictures only to picture-less elements
Understanding templates requires some reading
(anonymous, Oct 27, 2005)
SuperMemo applied some stupid template to all my cloze deletions. I applied the template I want to be used on the parenting topic. Then I imposed it. But my templates are still unchanged. Do I have to go to each item now and apply my preferred template? Just please do not send me to any article. I do not have time to read it. I just want my templates to look nice
Some basic reading in unavoidable when using templates. Experience shows that templates and categories in SuperMemo are not very intuitive and many users waste unnecessary time by trying to figure these out on their own. Instead of imposing a template, you should change your default item template in the category in which the wrong template is applied.
This is a terminology problem (impose vs. apply vs. default). This terminology problem can best be cleared by reading about templates. Imposing a template removes the template without changing the looks of the item. Changing the default template affects all newly created items as well as the items that are using this template. To find out more about managing categories you should also read: Categories.
As for the items that have already been created, you need to open them all in a browser and apply your template en masse. Use Process browser : Template : Apply template on the browser menu.
Again some reading will make life easier: Subset operations.
You can add a picture to all your chemistry elements
(Dariusz M., Jan 28, 2006, 06:44:49)
I have made a template that contains an image of the periodic table as its only component, so that I can batch place the table into all my chemistry elements. Add to Template seems to do nothing to the descendent elements of my chemistry branch. It changes only the root node of the category. It works neither in Browser window nor Contents window
For the new template to change many elements, you need to overwrite the template that is used in these elements, or apply the new template to these elements. Add Template applied to a subset will not work on items if the added template is a topic template and vice versa. The simplest way to accomplish your goal is:
If, in addition to items, you want your topics to use the picture as well, you will need to repeat the entire operation on topics
Using default RTF templates instead of HTML templates
(Pawel, Poland, Jul 27, 2005, 15:16:36)
I created a folder, converted it to a category, and created an article template (single RTF component). I also changed the settings in the category registry so that it automatically applies my article RTF template instead of the default Article. The problem is that it doesn't work
Check the following:
Use Spelling template over cloze deletion for a
"typing cloze" (#29023)
(nibalart, Italy, Oct 13, 2004, 22:25:44)
Is there a component that in the question will leave a blank and in the answer will allow me to type in the missing word or phrase?
You can use cloze deletion tools and apply a Spelling template to achieve this effect. To understand cloze deletions and templates, read: Incremental reading and Templates
How do I find the current template in the element?
(Jon Seidel CMC, Jul 22, 2008, 14:17:20)
How do I find what template has been/is currently applied to a particular item/element?
Usually you will choose Edit : Element parameters (Ctrl+Shift+P) or Template : Apply template (Ctrl+Shift+M). Both commands are available from the element menu.
template does not disable View source
(Gussy Villa-Real, Monday, November 01, 2010 18:38)
First I read: "Replace with template - replace the current template source with a new template. The original look of the element will be lost. Replace with template is equivalent to Apply template and Impose template run in succession." and then: "Impose template - overwrite the source template with the currently applied template. After Impose template, View source will have no effect as the source template will be the same as the applied template." therefore, View source should have "no effect" after Replace with template; however, after Replace with template, View source is still available.
View source is never disabled as an option. However, after Replace with template, the source is identical as what you see in the element. In other words, if you press Ctrl+Shift+U, the element will not change. This statement is correct: "View source will have no effect".
differs from the element type
(Marco Di Ninno, Jun 02, 2011, 09:58:43)
in my collection, if I apply "item" template to a topic, I’m asked before the template is applied, whether I want to keep the element of "topic" type or I want to change it to "element" type. The same option doesn’t appear in other collections. I use Supermemo2008, but my collection was creaded with Sm2006. All the other collections that don’t show the option are either created with my actual Sm2008 or with Multimedia Supermemo (they are the collections from Extreme English). All of them have been converted to Sm2008
You will receive the message "Template type differs from the element type" only if the element type differs from the template type. If the template has no type, you will not be asked if you wish to change the element type. Note that predefined templates in SuperMemo 2008 have no type. You can change template type in the template registry.