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Contents : Overviews : Templates
Templates

Use templates to give your elements your favorite look

A template in SuperMemo is a definition of an element's appearance. Templates are used to create many similarly looking elements, e.g. with a given color, image, font, etc. The first thing to do with templates is to create a template (i.e. the "common look"). You can do it by first creating an element that looks in the way other elements are supposed to look. This element will contain all components that are common to all elements that will be created with the use of the template. All components should have their properties set in the way as in the "common look" (e.g. color, position on the screen, font, etc.). You set the properties of components by using the component menu.

After creating the element with the desired look, you can use Template : Save as template on the element menu (this menu opens with Alt+F10 or with right-click over the element toolbar). 

Saving templates with Save as template makes it possible to keep a "gallery of looks" for future use. This gallery is called the template registry. You can save any element as a template. If you want particular texts, sounds or images to be associated with the template, use Temple : Save with objects (Save as template does not save objects such as text, pictures, HTML files, etc.).

The template registry (i.e. the gallery of templates) can be viewed with Search : Template on the main menu

If you want a template to become the default template for all items in the currently selected category, use Template : Save as default (Ctrl+Alt+M). Save as default will save the template in the same way as Save as template but will also make this template the default template. If you now use Add new (Alt+A), all newly added items will use the default template. The appearance of items that had been added earlier, will not be affected. 

To give an element a selected look, apply the appropriate template to this element. Any template can be selected from the template registry and applied to any element with Template : Apply template. After you choose a template in the registry, click the Accept button at the bottom of the template registry window (or press Enter). Applying a template does not overwrite the "old look". You can always remove the applied template by choosing Template : Detach template.

Important! If you want to save fonts with your template, you must use plain text components (e.g. as in Classic template)! If you want to save fonts with your HTML components, you need to save them with empty text including the font definition (e.g. you must use Save with objects). See FAQ below


Use category templates to switch between different looks

If you always want a given template to be used within a given category follow these steps:

  1. choose Search : Categories on the main menu (if you are not in the professional level, you will need to enter the professional level, e.g. with Ctrl+Alt+F12)
  2. select the category (e.g. by typing its name at the top of the category registry window)
  3. click the Template button
  4. choose the template from the template registry (e.g. by typing its name at the top of the template registry window)
  5. click Accept (at the bottom of the template registry window)
  6. close the category registry window

The above will make sure that your template is used each time you choose Add new or press Alt+A while the relevant category is selected as the current category in the category combo-box.

You can apply a template to many elements at the same time

You can change the look of many elements at the same time. If your elements use a given template, go to one of these elements and simply redefine the template. If your elements use different templates or use no template at all, you can apply a template to all of them by choosing Process branch : Template : Apply template in the contents window, or Process browser : Template : Apply template in the browser.


Template operations reference

Here is the summary of template operations on the Template submenu of the element menu (use Alt+F10 to open this menu or right-click over the empty element area or over the element toolbar):


Advanced template operations

Adding components to a group of existing elements

If you want to add new components to a group of elements, use Add template in the contents window or in the browser. This will retain the old components and add new components from the added template. Add to template is similar to Apply template but the contents of the new template is simply superimposed over the old template. This way, you can create a template with an image and add this image to a selected group of elements by adding the image template

Transferring templates between collections

If you want to transfer templates (or single elements) between different collections, use Template : Save to file and Template : Load from file. You can also use Edit : Copy element with Edit : Paste template and Edit : Paste element to transfer templates and elements within a collection or between different collections using the clipboard


Frequently Asked Questions

You can change the position of question and answer fields
Editing an item associated with a template will affect the template
After you create a template, apply it to your elements
All newly added elements use the same default template

You can set question and answer fonts

You can change the look of items globally
Categories make it possible to select the default template
You can apply a template to any subset of elements you choose
Modify templates in elements that use them
Impose template to create a unique look

If you delete a component from a global template, all elements will be affected
How do you make components come up on top
You can define your cloze template or apply it after generating the cloze

You can detach a template to avoid global template changes
If Add New does not create needed components, you can redefine the template
You can learn English in your own language (e.g. Japanese)
You can use Multiple Choice template for multiple choice tests
Component order may determine how the titles are generated
Use plain-text templates to change the font after question-answer text file import

Use Template : Save with objects to include text labels in the template

Changing templates in SuperMemo is analogous to changing colors in Windows

You can drag components inside a template
You can save a template with objects to associate RTF components with fonts
You can delete the source element of a given template
What if a template keeps old texts

Templates are not used when building knowledge tree in the contents window
An item cannot use two templates at the same time


You can detach a template to avoid global template changes
(Mariusz Zmuda, Poland, Jan 29, 2001)
Question:
I changed the size of the question field in one element and SuperMemo changed this in other elements too! This was quite a surprise!
Answer:
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)
Question:
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)
Answer:
This is the fastest way: 

  1. Add an item (Alt+A
  2. Apply Classic template (Template : Apply template on the element menu or Ctrl+Shift+M)
  3. Choose Text : Edit font on the component menu for both the question and the answer (right click)
  4. Use Template : Save as default (Ctrl+Alt+M) on the element menu

The trick is that only plain text components store a registry font within the template (unlike HTML or RTF components which use the font definition wired into the text). In the procedure above you first apply a classic template which is plain-text based. Then you modify its font, and then save it as your default template for the currently selected category

If you want to set the same font for both questions and answers, you could simply set the default font in your Internet Explorer. HTML is the default text format in SuperMemo. If you change the default font in Internet Explorer, it will become the default font of your default item template.

If you want to set the same font for both questions and answers in RTF components, you could also use the default font in Options


Templates are not used when building knowledge tree in the contents window
(Vidar Garlie, Norway, Mar 18, 1999)
Question:
When I go to the contents window, select a category branch and choose New : Item, the template of this category is not used! Can you help?
Answer:
To use a category template, you have to first choose the category in the category combo box on the Tools toolbar. Then you need to use Add new in the element window (Alt+A). Operating on branches in the contents window does not affect the current category selection. Nor does it apply any template to newly created elements


You can change the look of items globally
(Doug Edmunds, USA, Nov 4, 1997)

Question:
How can I globally change the layout of question, answer, font, background color, etc.
Answer:
Do
the following:

  1. Create a new template with your new layout
  2. Save the template with Template : Save as template (on the element menu)
  3. In the contents window, choose the branch that should be changed (or open a relevant browser subset)
  4. On the contents menu choose Process branch : Template : Apply template and select the new template (or use the same operation in the browser)

How do you make components come up on top
(George W., USA, Dec 14, 2000)
Question:
I use the occlusion pre-defined template. Is there any way to make the red occlusion box appear in front of the image?
Answer:
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)


Impose template to create a unique look
(George W., USA, Dec 14, 2000)
Question:
When I use the occlusion pre-defined template, I cannot edit one item without affecting the appearance of others. What should I do to have images of different sizes?
Answer:
To make sure your global Occlusion template does not get modified each time you resize components, you need to detach this template from the element whose components are to be resized. The fastest way to do it is: 

  1. Ctrl+Shift+F2 (here Template : Impose template writes template data over the element source) 
  2. Answer Yes to Detach template?. This will make the element use the template's look without using the global template

Once you detach the template, all changes to the looks of a given element will be local


You can learn English in your own language (e.g. Japanese)
(Tomoki Takahashi, Japan, Feb 6, 1999)
Question:
I would like to learn English with questions asked in Japanese. How can I do it?
Answer:
You have to (1) create your own template with the Japanese font in the plain-text question field (you can use Text : New Font to change the question font in the classic template), (2) save the template with Template : Save as default. Important! Do not use rich text components in your template as these do store a font setting!
After this, each time you choose Add new (or press Alt+A), your questions will be generated in Japanese and answers will retain standard look (you can also swap English with Japanese by using Edit : Swap components).
Although you cannot change the writing direction in SuperMemo text components (from yokogaki to tategaki), you can include texts via OLE from Japanese Word or Ichi Taro word processors. These programs use either Microsoft IME or ATOK utilities to input Japanese text. Microsoft IME is part of Japanese Windows. ATOK is part of the Ichi Taro word processor (Justy System) but can be installed as a separate unit. With ATOK you can change from the English to the Japanese input mode. It is fully compatible with SuperMemo: 1) You type the pronunciation of a word from the keyboard, 2) press Space, and 3) select the appropriate kanji(s) from the list showing those matching the input sounds combination. Ganbatte ne


What if a template keeps old texts
(
Brian DeMio, USA, Jan 10, 1999)

Question:
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?
Answer:
Please 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 menu


Component order may determine how the titles are generated
(Krzysztof Morawski, Poland, Dec 28, 1998)

Question:
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)?
Answer:
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 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)
Question:
My collection is composed of questions and answers. For some reason, only the answers are showing. What gives?
Answer:
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!


You can change the position of question and answer fields
Question:
How can I change the position of the question field on the screen?
Answer:
Alt-click the question twice. It will become draggable. Alternatively, you can choose Dragging mode on the question's menu or 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


You can delete the source element of a given template
(
Christian Roessel, Germany, Dec
17, 2000)

Question:
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?
Answer:
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)
Question:
How can one tell if a transparent image component without an image is present in a template displayed in the template registry?
Answer:
You can put the template in the editing mode by Alt+click or by choosing Mode : Editing on the template's menu


Categories make it possible to select the default template
(Adam, Australia, Mon, May 07, 2001 2:48)
Question:
How do we select a template from the template registry as the default template?
Answer:
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)


You can save a template with objects to associate RTF components with fonts
(Reinhard K. Koehler (private), Fri, Jun 22, 2001 1:35)
Question:
Is there a way to circumvent a limitation of rich text components that they do not associate a font? I would like to use mixed fonts but still begin with a desired default font
Answer:
You could trick SuperMemo by associating one-letter texts associated with your preferred font. For example, apply RTF Item template (based on rich text components). Add different letters to question and answer fields (e.g. 'x' and 'z'). Apply your preferred font. Choose Template : Save with objects. Select this newly defined template as the default template in your current category (with Search : Categories)


An item cannot use two templates at the same time
(facep2b, Monday, July 23, 2001 8:37 PM)
Question:
There seems to be two templates being applied at the same time! Superimposed over my questions and answers
Answer:
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 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 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)
Question:
How can I influence the template for cloze deletions?
Answer:
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 it will be reused. Once you generate the cloze deletion, you can manually apply any template with Ctrl+Shift+M


Editing an item associated with a template will affect the template
(Reinhard K. Koehler (private), Friday, September 21, 2001 10:15 PM)
Question:
I changed the width of a component and all my items changed. I only wanted that one item changed
Answer:
If you edit an element that is associated with a template, the appearance of all items using that template will change. If you want to edit only one element choose Template : Impose template on the element menu (answer Yes to "Detach template"). This will disconnect your item from the template


Changing templates in SuperMemo is analogous to changing colors in Windows
(Reinhard K. Koehler (private), Friday, September 21, 2001 10:15 PM)
Question:
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
Answer:
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 Impose Template)


Use plain-text templates to change the font after question-answer text file import
(Eli Liang, Russian Federation, Fri, Sep 21, 2001 21:10)
Question:
When I try to use File : Tools : Import : Q&A text to import Cyrillic questions and answers. After import the Cyrillic displays as other characters (i.e. not Cyrillic)
Answer:
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. For example: apply Classic template, change the font to Cyrillic and import your file using that template


Use Template : Save with objects to include text labels in the template
(Walter G. Mayfield, Jr., Friday, July 13, 2001 6:37 AM)
Question:
I would like to use the template as a header stamp, to identify where the information came from
Answer:
You can accomplish this by defining an empty template with a plain-text component filled out with the label (e.g. "biology"). Instead of standardly saving this template, use Template : Save with objects 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)
Question:
How do I add an image to a template?
Answer:
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. For performance reasons, when saving with objects, you should should clear all components from content that is not to be used by the template 


After you create a template, apply it to your elements
(Safecity Training Academy, Sat, Dec 29, 2001 7:29)
Question:
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
Answer:
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, it is enough to 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 choice tests
(dieter.gauss, Germany, Friday, January 11, 2002 9:35 AM)
Question:
I want to make a simple multiple choice test. Not one word in your entire guide how to do it
Answer:
You can use ready-made Multiple Choice template with Apply Template for the simplest form of multiple choice test. The reasons for little coverage of multiple choice tests in the documentation are two: 

  1. Multiple choice tests are an inefficient way of representing knowledge in learning. Unless you are learning for a specific multiple choice test exam, it is by far better for your knowledge and skills to produce simple questions and answers where you need to remember correct answer instead of choosing it from among several options 
  2. Once you understand how to create and resize components, you only need to select MCT : Wrong or MCT : Correct on the component menu. Those and similar skills are sufficient to build more advanced multiple choice tests as well as a whole range of specialist testing procedures. In other words, you are only given basic building block skills. The rest is up to your infinite creativity

You can apply a template to any subset of elements you choose
(I.L., Canada, Monday, January 28, 2002 3:40 AM)
Question:
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"?
Answer:
You can try the following steps: 

  1. Open the earlier-created elements in a browser 
  2. Choose Process browser : Template : Apply template on the browser menu
  3. Choose the template you have defined for your elements and click Accept

Note that you may hit the following two snags: 

  1. Template type must match for a template to be applied. In your case your template must be an item template to be applied to Q&A items (right-click the template to see its type on Type menu)
  2. For your fonts to overwrite earlier-used fonts in your elements, the template must use plain text components. If your template uses rich text components, the template font will not be used (fonts are hard-wired in rich text)

For more information see: Text components


All newly added elements use the same default template (#9053)
(Dustin J. D., USA Educational, Sunday, May 05, 2002 9:53 PM)
Question:
Anytime I hit Add new, SuperMemo creates an item with a template. However, it links the information from the last created template element to the new element
Answer:
Yes. 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 Impose template to make sure you detach the template without changing the way the item looks