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Contents : Support : FAQ
FAQ: First steps with SuperMemo 2000

SuperMemo is not difficult!
You can learn your own material
You can edit elements during repetitions
You can see what items will be repeated on a given day
You can easily delete an element
Add New and Learn stand for 90% of value of SuperMemo for most people

If Add New does not create needed components, you can redefine the template

You can install a SuperMemo icon on your Windows desktop
With SuperMemo you can tackle any exam
Use Ctrl+S for AND-Search
You can search for substrings with Ctrl+F
To check system integrity use File : Repair collection

List of shortcuts

You can edit the font used with your elements
You can join SuperMemo eGroup for community self-help

Use Element Parameters dialog box to view element's category

You can easily install SuperMemo on two PCs

You can easily copy SuperMemo to a diskette

You can use View to see a contents element in the element window
In SuperMemo, Memorized<>Remembered

SuperMemo in other languages

You can define French keyboard for use with SuperMemo

We no longer produce printed manuals

Reading lists are tasklists that hold articles for reading


SuperMemo is not difficult!
(Crizeldo G. Cariaso, MD, Philippines, Dec 17, 1997)
Question:
Your software looks very time consuming ... is the learning curve very steep?
Answer:
Your opinion is not unusual. However, SuperMemo is much simpler than it looks. Try this:

  1. choose Add new (Ctrl+A) and type in question and answer in the editing fields
  2. choose Learn (Ctrl+L) to learn the collected material

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


You can learn your own material
Question
:

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


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


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


You can easily delete an element
Question:

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


You can install a SuperMemo icon on your Windows desktop
(Judy Citron, UK, May 26, 1998)
Question:
Your programme has been highly recommended to me so I've downloaded SuperMemo from the web. But when I execute it I seem to get thrown into the deep end - I don't have an overview of what it does or how I work with it. Have I lost a phase somewhere? Do I get a nice icon on my desktop?
Answer:
It is one of the most difficult tasks ahead of our company to make sure that people like you can sit down to SuperMemo and grasp it in 5 minutes. It has already been four years that we constantly experiment with various approaches. Perhaps SuperMemo 2000 with four difficulty levels will make some difference. SuperMemo has some new values to offer and those have to be understood before you can make a good use of it. Hence the difficulty. The two key operations you have to learn are:

The rest is optional!

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


With SuperMemo you can tackle any exam
(Anatolyi Lipatov, Ukraine, Jul 12, 1998)
Question:
I am using Advanced English to enhance my English and business English.
Now I am registering for CFA examination (that is Chartered Financial Analyst program of Association of Investment Management and Research). There are several organizations developing and distributing methodological stuff for preparing to the exam. A lot of things should be memorized for passing the exam. What do you think the best way to fit SuperMemo for memorization and what approach should I use to prepare my own knowledge base for memorizing the material. Is special programming knowledge needed for it?
Answer:
No specialist knowledge is needed to prepare simple collections in SuperMemo. With Ctrl+A (i.e. Add new item) you get 90% of functionality! All advanced editing options can be worked around by an appropriate questions-and-answer approach. Perhaps it would be useful yet to learn how to add images to your items (see help for details). To learn more about effectively structuring knowledge in SuperMemo you might want to read 20 rules of formulating knowledge; nothing works better as learning on one's own mistakes in formulating knowledge for learning with SuperMemo


You can search for substrings with Ctrl+F
Question:

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

Answer:
Press Ctrl+F and type in the string


You can edit the font used with your elements
(Joe Fosnot, USA, Nov 23, 1998)
Question:
How can I quickly increase the size of the font used in questions and answers?
Answer:
There are the following options:

  1. To change the size of the font in a single element, select the text and press ] (right square bracket) (this will only work in default rich text components)
  2. To change the size of the font used when creating new elements, choose Tools : Options : SuperMemo : Default font and select the most appropriate font
  3. If you want to use different fonts in question and answer fields, use the Classic template. Use Text : New font on plain text menu to define a new template font. See: Using templates

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


In SuperMemo, Memorized<>Remembered
(jj, UK, Sunday, December 24, 2000 1:54 AM)

Question:
I have noticed in the Statistics that the number of elements memorized increases even when I enter Fail when answering incorrectly. For instance, in the collection of US States Capitals, it was showing 100% memorized when I was still getting many of them wrong
Answer:
Parameter Memorized indicates the number of elements in the learning process; not the number of elements you are able to recall correctly. If you make regular repetitions in the long run (i.e. over weeks and months), the number of elements you will be able to recall will equal Memorized*Retention


SuperMemo in other languages
(Nuno Freitas, Portugal, Thu, Jun 21, 2001 13:39)

Question:
I'm Portuguese and I'd like to learn English with SuperMemo. Are the words translated to Portuguese? If not, how can I learn?
Answer:
Collections in SuperMemo Library do not provide foreign language translations. You have only three options:

  1. Use English language collections
  2. Create your own learning material in Portuguese
  3. Use the translation mechanism in SuperMemo to translate most difficult portions of English collections

List of shortcuts
(kensweet21, Nov 25, 2000)
Question:
Do you have a reference list of shortcuts?
Answer:
See: Shortcuts in SuperMemo 2000


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


You can define French keyboard for use with SuperMemo
(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 use Keyboard and add French on the Language tab (e.g. French - Canadian). Set French as default


Use Element Parameters dialog box to view element's category
(Steve Brown, Tuesday, August 21, 2001 4:01 PM)
Question:
Is there a way to tell what category an element (e.g. Q/A pair) belongs to without going to other windows?
Answer:
The simplest way is to press Ctrl+Shift+P (Category combo in the Element Parameters dialog box). If you would like to quickly see the location of an element in the contents, choose Alt+P (Ancestors window)


If Add New does not create needed components, you can redefine the template
(noam-at, Israel, Aug 04, 2001)
Question:
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
Answer:
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 template on the element pop-up menu. This will save the look of the selected element in the default template. Add New will then replicate this look


To check system integrity use File : Repair collection
(rocky eversman, Sunday, July 08, 2001 7:35 PM)
Question:
I encountered a message that stated there were problems terminating recent session and that I should use system recovery to check system integrity. How do I do it?
Answer:
Use File : Repair collection to verify collection integrity and repair file errors (if possible). Historically, this option has been called Recover, but users suggested a change to more meaningful Repair


You can join SuperMemo eGroup for community self-help
(Tami Laughlin, Monday, October 16, 2000 6:55 AM)
Question:
Other than reading the material and keeping at working with it, is there anything else you could suggest to learn it? Is there a discussion group somewhere maybe?
Answer:
Yahoo eGroup has been created for SuperMemo at: http://supermemopedia.com/wiki/What_happened_to_SuperMemo_Yahoo_Group%3F 


We no longer produce printed manuals
(
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


Add New and Learn stand for 90% of value of SuperMemo for most people
(Tosh B., Saturday, August 04, 2001 10:50 PM)
Question:
I am unable to see any collection. Although I can access the 2 dialog boxes for the Add New question-answer formats, I can not do much more
Answer:
Once you are able to create questions and answers with Add New, all you have to do to begin your work with SuperMemo is to click Learn. You have to do it regularly. Preferably once per day, until you see the message: "No more items" (or "Run random test?"). Then you can add more questions and answers. Remember that you will not experience the benefits of SuperMemo earlier than in 1-2 weeks. As the first optimum intervals in learning last up to a week, your first week will bring no better results than traditional learning. The power of spaced repetition will show and increase in weeks, months and years. If you want to use more advanced functions of SuperMemo, you can later venture into this Guide


You can easily install SuperMemo on two PCs
(Steve Brown, Wed, Aug 15, 2001 14:00)
Question:
I just recently purchased SuperMemo and have successfully downloaded to my home PC. I would also like to load it on my work PC. How can I get another download going?
Answer:
You can simply copy the downloaded file onto a diskette and transfer it to another PC. Please note that it is not easy to synchronize large collections. The simplest method is to use File : Copy collection and copy entire collections between the two PCs


Reading lists are tasklists that hold articles for reading
(Reinhard K. Koehler (neusob), Germany, Sat, Aug 18, 2001 20:31)
Question:
Is there any difference between a task list and a reading list?
Answer:
A tasklist is a list of tasks sorted by value/time ratio. A reading list is a special kind of tasklist, in which all tasks are articles (e.g. that are to be introduced to incremental reading)


Use Ctrl+S for AND-Search (#7268)
(Alexia L McKnight, USA Educational, Wednesday, October 10, 2001 5:07 AM)
Question:
How can I search for "pneumonia" AND "horses"?
Answer:
Use Ctrl+S and search for the less frequent term (e.g. "pneumonia"), and then repeat the procedure with Ctrl+S again (e.g. "horse"). You can enter the found members into the element browser by pressing Ctrl+Shift+B