FAQ: SuperMemo interface


You can make SuperMemo remember the size of its windows
(Thomas Clark, USA, Nov 24, 1997)
Question:
Why doesn't SuperMemo remember the size of individual windows? It has to be changed on each running the program!
Answer:
Please save your windows layout with Window : Layout : Save as default (Ctrl+Shift+F5)


You can quickly translate the interface of SuperMemo to your language
(Jaroslaw Mekarski, Poland, Apr 15, 1997)
Question:

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


You can install a foreign keyboard in Windows
(David Seagull, USA, Jul 10, 1998)
Question:
How can I define French keyboard for use with SuperMemo in Windows?
Answer:
In Window's Control Panel, choose Regional and Language Options : Keyboards and Languages : Change keyboard, and click Add to add the French keyboard layout (e.g. French - France). Set French as default


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

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


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


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


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


You cannot change the font used for titles in the element window
(Zoran Maximovic, Yugoslavia, Aug 16, 1998)
Question:
How can I change the font on window captions in SuperMemo (that is the font on the bar with three buttons on the right side: minimize, maximize and close), and on menus?
Answer:
Those fonts can only be set Windows-wide. For example, right-click the desktop, choose Properties, choose Appearance, and select a Scheme


You can save Classic layout with Ctrl+Shift+F5
(Adam, Australia, Thu, May 24, 2001 2:34)
Question:
I like the Classic layout (F5) but I have to switch to Classic layout manually every time I open SuperMemo
Answer:
You can preserve the layout by pressing Ctrl+Shift+F5 (for Window : Layout : Save as default)


Use Interface Font to reduce the size of fonts in SuperMemo
(Eli Liang, Russian Federation, Tue, Sep 11, 2001 12:38)
Question:
I found a number of places in SuperMemo, where dialog boxes do not display text within them properly (e.g. letters being truncated, etc.)
Answer:
Use Tools : Options : Fonts : Interface font to reduce the size of the font


Using Contents is optional (#148)
(Tomasz P. Szynalski, Monday, July 30, 2001 6:59 AM)
Question:
SuperMemo 2000 uses folders and a "forced" hierarchy of items (knowledge tree). This is rather confusing. I liked the old SM6/SM7 "flat-file" model
Answer:
Using Contents is optional. If you never go to the contents window, SuperMemo will look and behave exactly like SuperMemo 6. The non-hierarchical model works well for learning vocabulary, but it makes it impossible to effectively manage heterogeneous learning process in which priorities of various branches change in time. Only the tree structure makes it possible to process various branches differently (in terms of contents, format and learning). Most of all, incremental reading relies heavily on the hierarchical model by building the semantic tree of individuals articles, by providing article-dependent rescheduling and prioritization tools, by separating processed items from knowledge in various stages of review, etc.


Nearly all versions of SuperMemo use an English interface but ...
(yxuequn, Mon, Jul 30, 2001 15:14)
Question:
Is a Chinese version of SuperMemo available?
Answer:
No. Your closest best is SuperMemo for Windows with a Chinese language interface in the beginner or basic mode. Otherwise, nearly all versions of SuperMemo have been written to use English interface


You can change status bar font by changing the interface font
(Jens Buurgaard Nielsen, Denmark, Thursday, August 09, 2001 9:53 PM)
Question:
The status bar texts are too big. They look very crammed
Answer:
You can adjust the size of the font by changing the size of the interface font (in Tools : Options : Fonts : Interface font)


Explaining SuperMemo
(*, Wednesday, April 10, 2002 9:55 AM)
Question:
What are all these icons without any bubble help to explain what they do?
Answer:
If you turn on Window : Hints, you should be able to see hints related to the function of individual buttons by pausing the mouse over the button


Use category combo box to change the current category
(Maarten, Netherlands, Wednesday, September 19, 2001 12:40 PM)
Question:
When I change the category root in Contents, the branch template is not used correctly
Answer:
Templates are not associated with branches but with categories (see: Glossary). By changing the root, you change the parameters of the current category. Its template will remain unchanged. To change the root and the template you need to change the category (with category combo box on the main toolbar)


Some advanced messages will not show to a beginner
(Peadar, 29 April 2002 17:41)
Question:
If one not opening SuperMemo for a day or two, he will be greeted with the notice "Final drill is x days old", et cetera. How should the new user deal with this situation?
Answer:
This message is suppressed if any of these conditions is true: 


Keyboard shortcuts for templates
(Patrik, Friday, September 29, 2000 12:45 PM)
Question:
It would be great if I could assign a keyboard shortcut to a template. I use a couple of templates very often and it would save me a lot of time
Answer:
Template registry is supposed to work this way. To quickly apply a template you choose Ctrl+Shift+M and then type the first 1-2 letters of your template name. Shortcut table is too narrow to provide for such a wide name range. Registries make it possible to quickly access objects such as pictures, sounds or templates with just a few quick keystrokes


Shortcuts for components
(Martin, Beta, Romania, Fri, Feb 22, 2002 17:10)
Question:
It would be a good a idea to introduce shortcuts for inserting components. Now, I am forced to make a long trip to the Compose toolbar
Answer:
Optimally, you should rarely need to access the Compose toolbar. You will need it mostly for defining basic templates for working with SuperMemo. Then you will simply apply templates or paste new content in a way that automatically creates components (e.g. Ctrl+Alt+N to add a new article, Ctrl+V to paste a picture, etc.). Keyboard shortcuts are reserved for most often used options. As you can see in the shortcuts table, the room for new shortcuts is scarce. Once you master the use of templates you will rarely need the Compose toolbar


Fastest way to see branch descendants
(Piotr, Beta, Feb 14, 2002)
Question:
What is the fastest way to see how many descendants are there in the branch in which a presently displayed item is included?
Answer:

  1. Ctrl+^ (i.e. Ctrl+Up) until you reach the branch you are interested in
  2. Alt+C for Contents 
  3. Alt+D for Data tab

Resizing columns in Workload
(Mark Z, Beta, Fri, Mar 08, 2002 19:31)
Question:
In Tools : Workload, retention doesn't fit in its column
Answer:
You can size columns in Workload (the gray headers at the top). You must remember to always size the columns in the first of the workload panels displayed. When you return to Workload, all other panels will use the size last detected in the first panel


Show ancestors shows the ancestors path without resizing it
(Beta, France, 2/27/02 10:28:14 PM)
Question:
The show ancestors button in the tools toolbar doesn't always work properly. Sometimes only the top of the window appears
Answer:
Ctrl+Shift+X will show the Ancestors window without resizing it. Usually, this means that the window will show up in the size and position saved in your current layout. If you resize this window and save the layout as default (Ctrl+Shift+F5) you should never need to resize the ancestors window except when by your choosing


Dismiss doesn't work in the browser
(Nick, Beta, Wed, Feb 13, 2002 23:25)
Question:
When I do some operations in the browser and click Dismiss in the element window, I need to repeat the click. The first click only activates the element window
Answer:
This behavior is hard-wired in MS Windows. Many button types do not work before their parent window becomes active. Unfortunately this behavior is not universal and depends on the type of the underlying control


Wizard for beginners and for advanced users
(Mark, Beta, Wed, Feb 20, 2002 20:16)
Question:
In the new category wizard, what is the purpose of the Next button if I can still go there clicking on the tab on the top of the dialog? Why don't you hide these tabs?
Answer:
The purpose of wizards is to simplify complex procedures for beginners. However, the process of setting category parameters can be done in any sequence. The beginner can use the Next button to be sure he goes through all steps. An advanced user can use tabs to easily backtrack to earlier steps of the procedure


The Copy button
(MZ, Non-Profit Organisation, Tue, Mar 26, 2002 9:33)
Question:
Why is there a Copy button in almost every confirmation dialog box?
Answer:
With this button you can copy the message to the clipboard. You can later use the message literally in help search, communication, support inquiries, etc.


Hand-point cursor indicates a hyperlink
(Beta, Thursday, March 14, 2002 9:32 AM)
Question:
Why sometimes in the contents window the mouse cursor takes a hand form and sometimes it doesn't?
Answer:
The hand-point cursor indicates a hyperlink. Once you click on the link, the target element will be displayed in the element window. You can turn it off by unchecking the Synchronize button at the top of contents window. In such cases, you will need to double-click the element before it is displayed in the element window (note that a double click also collapses or expands branches)


Changing display in Workload
(KK, Beta, USA, Fri, Mar 08, 2002 19:31)
Question:
In Workload, you can write into the boxes for selecting types of elements. Is it a bug?
Answer:
No. This makes it possible, for example, to quickly change to topic display by typing just "T"


Errors are displayed in yellow background
(JP, Beta, 22.2.2002 13:40:39, SYSTEM DATA)
Question:
Why is this error a yellow one: "Collection files missing!"?
Answer:
Colors are used to indicate the importance of a message in SuperMemo. Notifications and warnings are displayed in white, errors in yellow, and fatal errors in red. "Collection files missing" is a dangerous error that indicates that some of vital files belonging to a collection have been deleted or moved. This error is a protection from opening orphaned KNO files created by erroneous backup procedures. Earlier versions of SuperMemo did not have this protection and many SuperMemo beginners used to fall into the trap of moving KNO file in their file system behind the back of SuperMemo


Switching layouts with Esc
(Nick, Beta, Sat, Mar 23, 2002 18:46)
Question:
In one of collections from SuperMemo Library, when I press Esc the program alternates between the content window with the element window
Answer:
Esc may be used to call the default layout. If you choose Contents layout as the default layout, Esc will bring it up. As Esc is also used to close the contents window, pressing Esc in such circumstances will switch you in turn between the contents and the element windows


Extra space in edit controls
(Tomas, Beta, Tue, Apr 16, 2002 18:31)
Question:
There is some empty space to the left of the first char in search boxes. This can be interpreted as a space (chr(32))
Answer:
The space from the left edge of an edit field to the first character in edit controls is Windows specific. You will observe it systemwide wherever this particular type of object is used. Unfortunately, this space may differ even between individual Windows Service Packs (i.e. it may suddenly appear if you update your Windows DLLs)


Default layout vs. Last used layout
(Bill Tullock, Fri, May 17, 2002 23:03)
Question:
The default layout is not saved between sessions
Answer:
The default layout is saved on quitting SuperMemo, only if its name is "Last used". If you want to modify a layout and save it, you need to specifically choose Window : Layout : Save as default. If you want your layout to automatically save when you exit, choose "Last used" or save your current layout as "Last used"


Toolbar clearing options carry essential differences
(Tomas Drahokoupil, Czech Republic, Jul 30, 2004, 23:28:06)
Question:
There are so many shortcuts for docking toolbars: Ctrl+F5, Alt+F5, Ctrl+Alt+F11. Wouldn't it be possible to cut it down?
Answer:
The options you list may indeed be used for clearing the toolbars, but the differences in functionality are essential: