ABC Hints&Tips Overviews Reference Glossary Support
Contents : Support
Frequently asked questions about SuperMemo
If you have a question that does not appear on this list, ask SuperMemoMail.
This list was started on Feb 28, 1997. Last modified:

Question groups:

SuperMemo 98 (see also: SuperMemo 8 and SuperMemo 7)
Other questions
(Psion, Linux, Unix, Dos, PalmPilot)


Most recently asked questions


(Peter Rasmussen, Denmark, May 20, 1999)
Question:
I created a couple of collections and would like to put them all into one. How can I do it?
Answer:
In each collection go to the root node in the contents window and select Tools : Transfer node from the pop-up menu (right-click). Always select the same collection as the target of the transfer. Please note that unregistered objects do not get transferred (e.g. script images, global background image, global default font, etc.). You will have to set those manually and resolve possible conflicts (e.g. you can use only one global background image but you can set images individually for all elements if necessary)


(Siow Yew Nam, Singapore, May 12, 1999)
Question:
When I delete a collection in Windows Explorer, it is automatically restored when I return to SuperMemo! How can I go around it?
Answer:
Use File : Organize : Delete. When you start SuperMemo, it tries to open the last collection used. Even it it has been deleted, SuperMemo create a new collection of the same name. This is why it is more convenient to delete collections from within SuperMemo


(Peter Cool, The Netherlands, Nov 9, 1998)
Question:
I have installed the help for SuperMemo but it won'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


(Robert de Castro, UK, May 8, 1999)
Question:
I typed a wrong expiry date for my credit card when ordering SuperMemo. Do I have to reorder or can I just send the correct date via e-mail?
Answer:
You can send the date via e-mail. All credit card information is deleted from Yahoo Stores in two weeks and is not ever transferred to our computers. The error will not affect our database in any way


(Josep Ortega, Andorra, Apr 28, 1999)
Question:
How to change sibling items into child items?
Answer:
Select Add as last child at the top of the contents window and drag sibling items to drop them on those that are to become their parents


(Dag Berggren, Sweden, Apr 25, 1999)
Question:
I know how to change the size or style of fonts but I do not know how to make sure I do not have to repeat that with each new item I create.
Answer:
The simplest remedy is to press Ctrl+Alt+s which is a shortcut for Template : Save as default. This will save your current item as the default template in the current category. As this template will be reused each time you add a new item with Ctrl+A, you should create your item the way you want it to look before you fill out the text fields


(Frantisek Kvapil, Czech Republic, Apr 23, 1999)
Question:
I wanted to download the whole website in the CHM format by the link points to SuperMemo 98 Help.
Answer:
Both SuperMemo 98 and the rest of the website are integrated in the same file


(Dimitry Volfson, USA, Apr 23, 1999)
Question:
I downloaded SuperMemo 98. When I double-click on sm98zip.exe, then click OK, it says Unzip NOT successful!
Answer:
Problems with unzipping the downloaded file usually result from errors in download. Most importantly, please compare the size of the downloaded file with the original. On occasion, the downloaded file happens to be several bytes shorter. The simplest remedy is to repeat the download. If this does not help, the problem may be with the browser setting and downloading from another location may help. Please write to SuperMemoMail if you continue having problems


(Germany, Apr 22, 1999)
Question:
Where can I find electronic documentation for Advanced English on the CD-ROM?
Answer:
Advanced English was built to be self-explanatory and by passing the introduction (delivered by SuperMemo), you will be able to effectively use the material. The documentation for SuperMemo is available with F1 from within SuperMemo. This documentation also includes some basic hints&tips for using Advanced English


(Germany, Apr 22, 1999)
Question:
I use a notebook and was disappointed to see that Advanced English comes on two CD-ROMs. If you used sound compression, the material would fit a single CD-ROM and could be run directly from the CD
Answer:
Advanced English only installs about 40 MBs of the first CD-ROM and all sound files are stored on the second CD-ROM. This way, you can use Advanced English by keeping only CD-ROM #2 in your CD-ROM drive. Optionally, you can delete the elements directory in the adveng subdirectory to save further 15 MB. This subdirectory holds images and accessory sound files that are not critical for the learning process (e.g. background images used in all items, music, etc.)


(Duke Williamson, USA, Apr 21, 1999)
Question:
Why does it take a full business day to process an order? Once you have a credit card the authorization should take a few minutes
Answer:
Unfortunately, we are still waiting for CyberCash to be installed at SuperMemo Store. Until then, all orders have to be processed manually in business hours. They are usually processed at about 6 p.m. CET and confirmed the same day. Shipping usually takes place only the next business day


(Steven Trezise, USA, Apr 20, 1999)
Question:
In my collection, I have items for which I have done between 1 and 8 repetitions. However, when I look at the Cases matrix, there are no entries beyond repetition 3
Answer:
The algorithm used by SuperMemo updates all optimization matrices using repetition categories, not the actual repetition number (you can view the optimization matrices with Tools : Statistics : Analysis : Matrices). A repetition category is an expected number of repetitions needed to reach the currently used interval. Once the matrices change, the estimation of repetition category may change too. If, for example, you score well in repetitions and your intervals become longer, it will take fewer repetitions to get to a given interval. In such a case, you might be at 8-th repetition while your repetition category will be 3. All matrices such as OF matrix, RF matrix, etc. will be updated in the third row (not in the 8-th row)


(Mark Patterson, USA, Apr 8, 1999)
Question:
If I use SuperMemo98 to author/deliver business training programs, am I required to purchase a separate copy of SuperMemo98 for each computer the training is delivered on?
Answer:
No. You can use various forms of site licensing or purchase a replication license to produce your material on CD-ROMs or diskettes


(Mark Patterson, USA, Apr 8, 1999)
Question:
I purchased the Medical Biology collection and although it contains an impressive number of question-answer elements, there were no topic elements. So unless a person already understands the science behind the Q&A elements, it diminishes the learning value of memorizing definitions. Is this the case for most of the collections you sell?
Answer:
Yes. Around 70-80% of material currently available from MegaMix 99 CD-ROMs has been written by users of SuperMemo and as such rarely provides introductions via topics


(Donald Wijkniet, the Netherlands, Apr 6, 1999)
Question:
What is the difference between the evaluation copy I can download from the website and the version I get when I order?
Answer:
None. If you have an evaluation version of SuperMemo, the only thing you need is to input the password with File : Registration : Input password to unlock the program when it stops working. The version you download is fully functional until it locks and requests the password


(Doug Dicharry, USA, Apr 3, 1999)
Question:
I would like to have a "back" button in help. It would make it easier to move back and forth between sections!
Answer:
The version from early April already includes this button. See: download help


(Charles Jin Won Choi, South Korea, Apr 2, 1999)
Question:
Do you have an academic version of SuperMemo?
Answer:
No. We make it possible for students to get SuperMemo in return for writing material for SuperMemo Library. Many collections from the MegaMix CD-ROMs have been created this way


(Bengt Larsson, Sweden, Apr 1, 1999)
Question:
I have two computers of which only one is connected to the Internet. Will I be able to download SuperMemo 98 on one computer and then install it on the other?
Answer:
Yes. The file you will download is only about 1.05 MB in size and will fit on a single diskette


(Vit Usela, Czech Republic, Mar 23, 1999)
Question:
I have used SuperMemo 7 for a couple of years and would like to import my collections to Advanced English 97. However, I am afraid I will lose the easy control of the spelling exercises. Can you help?
Answer:
In new versions of SuperMemo, you cannot globally switch from standard repetitions to spelling exercises. At the moment of creating the material you must decide if it is best drilled as questions and answers or if the answer should be typed in from the keyboard. If you choose the latter, it is enough to define an appropriate template before you import from SuperMemo 7. In your template, instead of the answer component, you must simply create a SpellPad component


(Charles Poon, Hong Kong, Mar 18, 1999)
Question:
What is the best way to upgrade Advanced English 97 to SuperMemo 98?
Answer:
This is the procedure:

  1. install Advanced English 97
  2. go through the introduction: just press Start and read instructions on the screen (the introduction includes about 100 items; including the material for learning English vocabulary)
  3. delete sm8.exe (SuperMemo 8) and put sm98.exe (SuperMemo 98) in its place
  4. open Advanced English (adveng.kno) in SuperMemo 98 (the upgrade may take several minutes)
  5. if you would like to use the lexicon, you will yet need to run File : Recover with Rebuild lexicon checked

(Janusz Murakowski, USA, Mar 18, 1999)
Question:
After using Apply template, my texts were deleted. I rather expected changing the look of my item
Answer:
To change the look use Merge with template instead


(Vidar Garlie, Norway, Mar 18, 1999)
Question:
When I go to the contents window, select a category branch and click Ctrl+A, the template of this category is not used! Can you help?
Answer:
To select a category, you have to choose it in the category combo box on the main toolbar. Selecting branches in the contents window does not affect the current category selection


(Herbert Daeuble, Germany, Mar 15, 1999)
Question:
Do you also offer a German version of SuperMemo?
Answer:
No, we only provide an English version (we do not even localize to our native Polish). However, in the Beginner and Basic modes you can select the language used in the interface. You can download the German interface from this website. It is also available on all CD-ROM releases


(Michael Roman-Pintilie, UK, Mar 13, 1999)
Question:
By mistake I have placed two orders instead of one. You promise that automatically I can not place twice the same order unless. That did not happened!
Answer:
Our promise refers to not charging you twice for the same order! Currently, we cannot prevent you from mistakenly pressing the button Order twice. Consequently, you will be able to place two or more orders. However, your credit charge listing will only show a single charge


(Robert Whitinger, USA, Mar 3, 1999)
Question:
I downloaded the help file and put smhelp.chm in the bin directory. At this point, offline help worked fine. I then deleted the file to experiment with on-line help, and then later replaced the file again in the bin directory. Now, only on-line help works. I can get off-line help to come up by double clicking on smhelp.chm from Windows Explorer, but if I call up help out of SuperMemo, it always brings up the on-line (Internet) version. How can I make SuperMemo use smhelp.chm again?
Answer:
Please select Tools : Options : SuperMemo : Help system : Microsoft Help


(Kazimierz Bigus, Poland, Mar 1, 1999)
Question:
How can I transfer only a subset of elements from one collection to another?
Answer:
You have to start from placing your subset of elements in the browser (read about subsets to select from a number of options). You could also start from a browser selection and choose Child : Selected in the browser to open a child browser with selected items. Once you have your elements in the browser, choose Export : Transfer on the browser menu


(Kazimierz Bigus, Poland, Mar 1, 1999)
Question:
How can I quickly change the color of newly added items?
Answer:
Add a new item (Ctrl+A), choose Color on the element menu, select the color and choose Save as default (Ctrl+Alt+s). This will save the item with the changed color as the default template that will be used in adding new items


(Karl Hillis, Canada, Feb 25, 1999)
Question:
I want to use SuperMemo to learn Spanish. I am having problems however when it comes to the acute accents over the vowels. Could you please give me a solution? I have the standard 101 key North American Keyboard
Answer:
You might try installing Spanish keyboard in Windows. Otherwise, you should remember to turn NumLock on when typing Alt+0 sequences (e.g. Alt+0241 for ñ)


(Marek Futrega, Poland, Feb 25, 1999)
Question:
I upgraded from SuperMemo 8 to SuperMemo 98 and noticed that the Search button does not work. When I select a word on the list and choose Browse, I always get No elements found
Answer:
This is a limitation of the upgrade procedure. Due to a change in the format of the lexicon registry, the registry is deleted during the upgrade. It is enough to choose File : Recover and check Rebuild lexicon to create new lexicon registry and restore the previous functionality


(Tomasz Szkopek, Poland, Feb 25, 1999)
Question:
Does using SuperMemo increase the capacity of the human brain for learning with traditional methods?
Answer:
SuperMemo is likely to strengthen your mnemonic capacity. It is does not include any specific options for that purpose, it simply acts as a training tool via repetition. Your mnemonic techniques will develop subconsciously as a result of training the same way like muscles grow as a result of lifting weights. However, this should not be treated as a substitute for a course in mnemonic techniques. If you have not heard about mind maps and peg lists, you might want to visit sites listed in the links section (e.g. Buzan site).
Secondly, recent research shows that the brain continues growing new neurons and new synapses even at a very advanced age. This process is dramatically enhanced by rich environment and intellectual stimulation. It is possible that a 40-minute session with SuperMemo also acts as a good stimulant of these growth and development processes (as much as any challenging intellectual activity)


(Said Hussein Yasin, Switzerland, Feb 18, 1999)
Question:
What should I do for different subjects; should I use different categories within one and the same collection or should I create a new collection for each subject?
Answer:
It is highly recommended you keep all your knowledge in just one collection. Categories have been created in order to help you manage different subjects globally. They help you to quickly switch between different branches of the contents tree and keep the same look for all items in a given category


(Lawrence A. MacDonald, USA, Feb 16, 1999)
Question:
What is the result on scheduling in the future when you add a question every day? At what point does your future schedule become vastly over booked?
Answer:
The beautiful thing about SuperMemo is that overbooking never happens! Your question and worry is typical for those who begin their work with SuperMemo. Please have a look at simulation experiments that show that the learning curve, in the long perspective, is nearly linear, i.e. it does not bend as a result of "overbooking"! In practice, you will be able to notice the decline in the speed of learning for no more than a year. Later the slowdown is minimum and entirely imperceptible! The mathematical explanation of this is quite complex. The measurements show that you spend 50% of time on just 2.5% of the material! Imagine then that the memorized material quickly reaches high intervals and disappears from view. You just constantly struggle with newly memorized items and items that you find difficult to remember


(Lawrence A. MacDonald, USA, Feb 16, 1999)
Question:
From your experience, and I know it is different with different people, how many repetitions (how far out on the scale in the future) does one need to make to have mastered in information, and what is the standard deviation for that number?
Answer:
There is no point when you can say the material is remembered for ever! Even after 20 years of repetitions there is a slight risk of forgetting. If you want to always remember a piece of information with a defined degree of probability, you should proceed with your repetition till your last day on this planet


(A.M.V.C.Raju, Malaysia, Feb 15, 1999)
Question:
For some time now, when I start SuperMemo I get a message DZIP32.DLL file is not found. Program seems to work fine. Is it dangerous? I worry about losing my 700 items
Answer:
This message is not generated by SuperMemo. Neither does SuperMemo use such a DLL. Perhaps you should ask an expert to have a look at your computer.
(NB: the user has later confirmed that the same message was also cropping up when MS Word started)


(Cosmo, Germany, Feb 14, 1999)
Question:
Can I order a SuperMemo 98 upgrade together with Advanced English even though I do not yet know my registration number?
Answer:
Yes (please note that you do not need SuperMemo 98 to effectively use Advanced English)


(Cosmo, Germany, Feb 14, 1999)
Question:
Is it possible to learn vocabulary in both directions with one element? When I specify the questionbox as How are you? and the answerbox as Cómo estás? can SuperMemo also change the directions of questioning so that I can train my vocabulary in both directions? Or do I have to define two elements?
Answer:
Each question-answer pair is handled independently in the learning process. For this reason, you must define two elements. Usually the active element is repeated more often than the passive element but there are no fixed rules here (leave it up to SuperMemo). Having it all in one element with a single pattern of repetitions would not serve the purpose of learning. You can quickly produce a reverse duplicate by using Duplicate (Ctrl+Alt+U) and Swap components (Ctrl+Shift+S). The former will duplicate the element and the latter will swap the question with the answer (if you have many elements in the pending queue, you will probably want to follow it with Remember or Ctrl+M)


(Tom Scott, Feb 12, 1999)
Question:
I just came across your website. Is it difficult to prepare material for learning with SuperMemo?
Answer:
No. The most popular approach is to create pairs of questions and answers. You just press Ctrl+A (to add a new element) and type in the question and the answer. That's all. Then you just click Learn to start learning.
You can build huge collections and learn effectively for years using only text, questions and answers. Adding images, sounds, video, etc. requires some more hard disk space and 2-3 more steps (such as: add an image component and import an image file, etc.)


(Lili Belsak, Slovenia, Feb 10, 1999)
Question:
I would like to use Advanced English on two computers. What is the easiest way to keep my learning process updated?
Answer:
This method will probably work best:

  1. Install Advanced English on both computers
  2. Make repetitions on Computer A
  3. When you want to move to Computer B, use File : Export : Learning process on Computer A and copy the generated files to Computer B
  4. On Computer B use File : Import : Learning process and import the file exported in Step 3
  5. Make repetitions on Computer B
  6. When you want to move back to Computer A, use Steps 3 to 5 analogously

Note that this method only transfers the learning process. If you want to edit the material, you would better introduce the corrections only on one of the computers. This way you will be able to avoid the need to copy all collection files between computers


(Alex Walmsley, Australia, Feb 9, 1999)
Question:
I ordered a copy of SuperMemo '98 and received my password. However, on entering my password, it consistently denied it saying it was the wrong password. Could you perhaps please check to see if I was indeed given the correct password?
Answer:
The two most frequent causes of such a situation are:

  1. Your CapsLock is on
  2. You are trying the password with SuperMemo 8 instead of SuperMemo 98 (see Help : About)

In the latter case, some customers having experienced download problems come back to download SuperMemo 8 from www.supermemo.com instead of downloading SuperMemo 98 from www.super-memo.com (note the dash in the latter address)


(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 question field (you can use Text : New Font to change the question font in the standard template), (2) save the template with Template : Save as template and (3) set the saved template as the default item template in Tools : Options : Appending : Default item template.
After this, each time you choose Add new (or press Ctrl+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!


(Tony D'Angelo, USA, Feb 3, 1999)
Question:
I am a management consultant who uses professional development programs from a company called Resource Associates Corporation. These programs are based upon spaced repetition learning. In their literature they cite an unnamed study that suggests that people will generally only retain 2% of information they are exposed to in a one time event after 2 weeks. In contrast they suggest that at least 65% of information delivered over 5 consecutive days may be retained for 15 years to life. Can you confirm those claims?
Answer:
If you look at the graphs generated by SuperMemo during the learning process, you will notice that the 2% figure might be true depending on how the material has been presented and its difficulty. However, the claim that 65% of knowledge can be retained for 15 years as a result of five-day exposure must be false in the same light. Even if we consider perfectly formulated knowledge (i.e. knowledge characterized by the highest possible A-Factor), you might need to space the quoted five exposures in the period of 2-3 years to make the 65% figure realistic. If the quoted figures were accurate, you would probably never need to use SuperMemo! For more details on the speed of learning, see Theoretical aspects of SuperMemo


(Almut Luiken, Germany, Feb 2, 1999)
Question:
I am having problems with Greek keyboard in SuperMemo 7. Why isn't there an FAQ for SuperMemo 7 on this site?
Answer:
SuperMemo 7 has not been in development for four years now, it is not in use internally, and we often find it very difficult to answer user problems otherwise than by suggesting an upgrade. Additionally, support questions in reference to SuperMemo 7 are very rare nowadays


(Werner Pirkl, Switzerland, Feb 2, 1999)
Question:
I would like to order SuperMemo and have it shipped to Austria to a colleague who does not have access to the web. Is it possible?
Answer:
Yes. However, we recommend that you rather order a CD-ROM version as the bare diskette version of SuperMemo is rather hard to use for beginners


(Lassi Kaleva, Finland, Feb 1, 1999)
Question:
Is SuperMemo 8 Y2K compliant? Does it work correctly in Windows 98?
Answer:
To our best knowledge, there are only minor problem with displaying dates in DOS versions of SuperMemo as of the year 2000 (e.g. Monthly Burden in SuperMemo 6). Otherwise we are not aware of any Y2K problems.
We also have not had any reports of problems in Windows 98


(Erik J Hofstee, USA, Jan 28, 1999)
Question:
Why, when I make a topic (for display only) do I always get the standard answer sheet (this time with nothing on it), displayed, and SuperMemo asking for a grade? All I wanted it to do was display the topic, and then move into the testing items?
Answer:
Grading is evoked if one of your components in your topic is marked as the answer. Please right-click over the components and make sure that Answer is unchecked


(Michael Duggan, Canada, Jan 27, 1999)
Question:
I am having difficulty doing my final drill in one of my files. I am down to the last few elements and every time I hit the Next repetition button the same element remains on the screen and the counter doesn't show any movement. Any suggestions?
Answer:
It is hard to diagnose what has actually happened but if you use Learn : Cut drills the problem will definitely go away


(Vladimir Slachta, Czech Republic, Jan 26, 1999)
Question:
I downloaded SuperMemo 98 and the help file from the Internet. Unfortunately Help does not work. It is still giving me information, that I have old version of HHCTRL.OCX. I have system W95 OSR 2 with IE 4.0 on my computer. Please, can you inform me, where is the problem?
Answer:
Seemingly some IE 4.0 installations include an older version of HHCTRL.OCX. You might use the file that ships with Windows 98 or try to download the Microsoft's free update


(Dallas Oldre, USA, Jan 21, 1999)
Question:
Can you list any reasons for which I might prefer SuperMemo 8 over SuperMemo 98?
Answer:
SuperMemo 98 is by far superior. However, you might prefer SuperMemo 8 in the following circumstances:

Otherwise, SuperMemo 98 is nearly a complete subset of SuperMemo 8 functionality


(Antonio Gutierez, Peru, Jan 20, 1999)
Question:
After providing my credit card number in SuperMemo Store I went to the download area and received the following message: ERROR
Supermemory Store, You haven't paid for this item.
How can I proceed with the download?
Answer:
This message is displayed if you type a different credit card number than the one you used when ordering. Perhaps you have changed the way you type in the number (e.g. by including dashes in place of spaces or vice versa). Sometimes it is enough to quit your browser and try again. If this problem persists, please write to SuperMemoMail


(David Brown, USA, Jan 13, 1999)
Question:
What are the shipping charges to Alaska with your Next Day Air option?
Answer:
Charges shall be of no concern to customers as they are included in the price and depend on the weight of a given package


(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 Ctrl+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 have to simply override your current template


(Marcin Piekarniak, Poland, Jan 6, 1999)
Question:
I cannot add a JPG file to display as an element background. How can I do it?
Answer:
The background option currently supports only the BMP format. The only solution is to use an image component as the background


(Robert Szumilo, Poland, Jan 3, 1999)
Question:
What is the optimum approach to making repetitions with SuperMemo: one long session or a few smaller sessions (e.g. main repetitions in the morning and the final drill in the evening)?
Answer:
For psychological reasons, the quality of learning should increase substantially when working in separate sessions, esp. if the number of repetitions surpasses 100 per day. Additionally, a break before final drill is useful due to the spacing effect. The danger of this approach is ... you can easily drive yourself into a situation in which you will spend excessive proportion of your day on repetitions (in the future when your schedule changes you might have problems with keeping up with your present pace)


(John Crouch, USA, Dec 30, 1998)
Question:
I have recently ordered SuperMemo 98 but was interested in how I might use the program when I am away from home. Any suggestions as to how I can either print out the days outstanding items or even use of the PalmPilot for this purpose?
Answer:
Currently there is no simple solution. However, we plan to add an option for working on paper or in a notebook text file in future version. There also versions for Windows CE and PalmPilot


(Petr Bajer, Czech Republic, Dec 30, 1998)
Question:
I have a couple of separate collections. Does SuperMemo keep a global learning optimization data or data stored in individual collections are independent?
Answer:
All collections keep independent optimization data (\info\sm8opt.dat file). That is why we recommend you keep all your knowledge in one collection. You can freely swap sm8opt.dat files (for example, to speed up the convergence of the learning algorithm in a new collection)


(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)


(Victor Hitiel Rodriguez Sardina, Japan, Dec 15, 1998)
Question:
I ordered SuperMemo 8 earlier this year. Can I upgrade to SuperMemo 98 free?
Answer:
Only customers of SuperMemo Store who ordered SuperMemo 8 in August or September 1998 are entitled to a free upgrade. You can also get SuperMemo 98 in return for contributing to SuperMemo Library. For details write to library@super-memo.com


(Eric Thompson, USA, Dec 15, 1998)
Question:
One important function I cannot find is regarding the contents window. I cannot seem to move elements around for flexible organization. Ideally, I would like to move elements around like I do in Windows Explorer
Answer:
You can drag and drop individual elements with the mouse. However, for more flexibility you will need to enter the professional level by choosing File : Level : Professional. At the top of the contents window you will be able to choose from several dragging modes as well as to open another contents window to drag between windows.
For example, to create a new folder at the place of the current selection, simply press Ins. To drag some elements into this folder choose Add as last child dragging mode (combo box at the top of the contents window), grab individual elements with the mouse, drag them and drop them onto the newly created folder


(Peter de Vries, Belgium, Dec 14, 1998)
Question:
I accidentally deleted all my SuperMemo files. Unfortunately I did not make a backup. Can you help?
Answer:
You can simply reorder, write FREE in the comment field and describe your problem shortly


(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). The best thing you might do is to go to www.supermemo.com/help/help.htm, print that page, follow hyperlinks to material that you do not understand and print it as you go


(Lutz Gutknecht, Germany, Nov 30, 1998)
Question:
I cannot order SuperMemo 98! When I click Order I receive the following message:

https://st4yahoo.com/cgi-bin/wg-order?supermemo+supermemo98 cannot be opened
Answer:
You must make sure you are not trying to download from behind a firewall. Some corporations install firewalls that prevent downloading potentially damaging material to your computer. All executable material belongs to this category. Please try repeating the procedure from home


(Manfred Kremer, Germany, Nov 27, 1998)
Question:
What is the simplest way to backup a collection in SuperMemo 98?
Answer:
If your collection's name is, for example, "All my knowledge.kno" then:

  1. use any archiving application (e.g. WinZip)
  2. select (1) "All my knowledge.kno" file and (2) "[All my knowledge]" folder/directory
  3. compress these two into a single archive (remember to use Preserve path option to retain the directory structure)

While restoring a collection from such an archive, remember to use Extract with path to make sure the directory structure is restored as originally archived (otherwise all files will be restored to the same folder and the collection will be unusable).
Note that you can save some space by choosing File : Organize : Garbage before archiving your collection


(Anatolyi Lipatov, Ukraine, Nov 26, 1998)
Question:
I have Advanced English 97, am I entitled to a free upgrade to SuperMemo 98?
Answer:
No. However you can get SuperMemo 98 in return for contributing to SuperMemo Library. For details write to library@super-memo.com


(Suleiman A. Dualeh, Switzerland, Nov 26, 1998)
Question:
SuperMemo 98 is working fine for me. I must congratulate for this wonderful product which has the potential to revolutionize the way people learn. Please let me know if you have created database on French Language Learning
Answer:
We are currently working on a multimedia course for learning French and hope to have it ready in early 1999 (more like Cross Country rather than Advanced English, i.e. more multimedia, fewer items). However, some projects tend to drag and we rather do not officially announce release dates before the material is indeed ready


(Tomasz Szynalski, Poland, Oct 18, 1998)
Question:
What value of the forgetting index ensures the optimum ratio of (retention)/(time spent per day)?
Answer:

Paradoxically, the highest speed of learning can be accomplished ... without SuperMemo! In our daily life we pick up lots of facts that stay in our memory for long with few repetitions in lifetime! The problem is that these are usually not exactly the facts or rules that are critical to our goals. In other words, not the speed of acquiring new items counts but the speed of acquiring new items bearing a given content.

It is difficult to determine exactly what forgetting index brings the highest acquisition rate. Simulation experiments have consistently pointed to the value of 25-30%. You can even plot speed-vs.-forgetting graph using your own actual learning material in SuperMemo 98 using Tools : Statistics : Simulation. You will probably also arrive to similar results

As you perhaps know, SuperMemo disallows of the forgetting index above 20%. This comes from the fact that you should aim at achieving high speed of learning combined with high retention of the learned material. Setting the forgetting index above 20% would be like giving up SuperMemo altogether and coming back to remembering only that what is easy to remember. In highly interlinked material where new knowledge depends on the previously acquired knowledge, high forgetting rate can even be more harmful

Nevertheless, if you want to maximize the speed of learning with little control over what actually stays in your memory, set the forgetting index to 20%


(Tomasz Szynalski, Poland, Oct 18, 1998)
Question:
What retention can I obtain with the forgetting index set to 9%? What if I then change it to 12%?
Answer:

The formula that relates the forgetting index to the retention looks like this (source):

retention = -(forgetting index)/ln(1-(forgetting index))

If you accomplish the forgetting index of 9%, the retention will equal 95.4%. For 12%, the same figure will be 93.9%. Note that if your material is very difficult, your measured forgetting index may be higher than the requested forgetting index. This comes from the fact that SuperMemo imposes some boundary conditions on the increase of intervals. Elements that have been forgotten more than five times should be reformulated with a view to reducing their difficulty or increasing their mnemonic component.

If you initially set the forgetting index to 9% and later on increase it to 12%, you will probably start with retention of 94-95% which will later gradually decrease to 92-93% (after the change)


(Tomasz Szynalski, Poland, Oct 18, 1998)
Question:
When first versions of SuperMemo were released, how could SuperMemo predict intervals that were many years long if it had only been researched for a couple of years? I read that the first version was released after just 3-4 years of research on the length of intervals.
Answer:
The first experiments in reference to the length of optimum interval resulted in conclusions that made it possible to predict the most likely length of successive inter-repetition intervals without actually measuring retention beyond weeks! In short, it could be illustrated with the following reasoning, if the first months of research yielded the following optimum intervals: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 days, you could with confidence hope that the successive intervals would increase by a factor of two. To better understand what reasoning lead to the first formulation of SuperMemo read: First experiments: 1982-1985


(Roman Jedrkowiak, Poland, Nov 26, 1998)
Question:
Once I download SuperMemo, can I later install it on another computer? I want to download from work and install it at home
Answer:
Yes. You can move the downloaded file to another computer and repeat the installation. Please note that SuperMemo 98 requires some libraries associated with the Internet


(Joe Fosnot, USA, Nov 23, 1998)
Question:
How can I quickly increase the size of the font used in questions and answers?
Answer:
The simplest way is to choose Tools : Options : Appending : Default font and select the most appropriate font. If you want to define more fonts and use them differently with different element categories, read about templates and categories


(Michael Baerlin, USA, Nov 20, 1998)
Question:
Is there a flashcard mode in which I could randomly display questions and answers for a short period of time (user defined)? I like the idea of sitting there and reviewing the answer without having to touch the keyboard or mouse
Answer:
No. We believe that random reviews are not recommended in the learning process. They interfere with computations made by SuperMemo in reference to optimum repetition spacing. Interference is unavoidable but should be minimized. Earlier versions of SuperMemo included automatic random review. SuperMemo 98 still includes Tools : Random review (shortcut F11) and a number of other random review options; however, these are intended only for (1) collection authors (to review the material in preparation) and/or (2) for learning new material at random


(Marc Ryan, USA, Nov 20, 1998)
Question:
I have specified a wrong e-mail address while ordering SuperMemo. What shall I do?
Answer:
Write to SuperMemoMail to obtain further instructions. Your records will be updated manually


(Lu Ming-Pin, Taiwan, Nov 19, 1998)
Question:
I ordered Contemporary English but experienced download problems. How can I resume the download without reordering?
Answer:
Go to the front page of SuperMemo Store and click the Download button


(Said Hussein Yasin, Switzerland, Nov 19, 1998)
Question:
If I pay by bank transfer, do I get SuperMemo before or after the payment?
Answer:
After the payment. Unfortunately, some past customers did not pay for software and we had to change the rules. This introduces substantial delay. That's why we favor secure on-line credit card operations


(Thomas Niedermaier, Austria, Nov 16, 1998)
Question:
You have sent me an e-mail with the password to unlock SuperMemo, but where do I have to fill it in? When I click the red bar, SuperMemo asks me to send e-mail to register(AT)supermemo(.)com.
Answer:
Your instructions should indicate that you can use File : Registration : Input password to provide the password. You do not have to register your copy at SuperMemo World. This is done automatically at placing the order. If you have any doubts, please read: Registering SuperMemo


(Manfred Kremer, Germany, Nov 11, 1998)
Question:
Recently I have been using SuperMemo 8 to learn economics. This would actually require the inclusion of a lot of mathematical expressions, including integrals, fractions, etc. So far I did not find a good way to do this. It would be nice to have an interface to display either TeX, or postscript, or to have a formula editor included in SuperMemo. But maybe I have overlooked something, and there is a possibility already provided?
Answer:
If you upgrade to SuperMemo 98, you can either (1) use the HTML component and use all HTML extensions that might be useful in displaying expressions or (2) use the OLE component to display expressions edited in your favorite equation editor as long as it supports OLE


(Ken Little, USA, Nov 11, 1998)
Question:
I read that I am automatically registered upon my credit card purchase; however, I didn't get a password to remove the red stripe and hopefully display other program options I read about. I tried my order number which didn't work. Please email me some guidance. I can't wait to get started in using your program.
Answer:

  1. You are automatically registered in our customer database and you can start using the program immediately
  2. Within a business day you will receive further instructions that will help you remove the red stripe
  3. You do not need the password to use 'other program options'. It is enough you turn on the professional mode with File : Level : Professional

(Natalie Burgess, USA, Nov 10, 1998)
Question:
I am using the Japanese mix but I'm not getting Japanese characters, but English characters. I copied the fonts called hiragana.ttf and katakana.ttf from the sm98\systems\... folders to my d:\Windows\Fonts folder. Is there something else I have to do to have the fonts available in Windows 95?
Answer:
Yes. Instead of copying fonts you should install them. In Windows 95, use Control Panel : Fonts : Install New Font. In the Folders panel, choose the location where your TTF font can be found (sm98\systems\...)


(Natalie Burgess, USA, Nov 10, 1998)
Question:
Once I learn the katakana and hiragana alphabets, will SuperMemo teach me how to put them together to make meaningful words?
Answer:
No. These two collections only teach you the basic symbols. The only thing you can do is to extend them with additional material that will help you learn particular combinations


(Przemyslaw Glowacki, Poland, Nov 11, 1998)
Question:
I am still using SuperMemo ver. 7.53 and I am quite happy with it. Why should I upgrade? I am generally not interested in hypermedia "bells and whistles" so I will do it only for important reasons like considerably better algorithm or something similar.
Answer:
Even die-hard question-and-answer text-only users will benefit from upgrading to SuperMemo 98. The only downside: the program is bigger, slower and requires significantly more hard disk space. Here are some basic benefits:

  1. you can combine all knowledge in one collection without worrying about managing all branches separately (Mercy, forgetting index, dismiss, reset, etc.). You manage it in a healthy way with full control over each branch
  2. you can classify branches of knowledge: computers, English, business, etc. Use separate templates, ordinals, forgetting index, etc.
  3. multicriterial Mercy is unparalleled if you have any delays
  4. breaks in learning used to destroy the learning process in SuperMemo 7. The new algorithm takes all breaks into account
  5. other points: commenting items with unlimited-length text, dismissing reference material, lexicon compiled on-the-fly, element history list, final drill scrambling, simulation of the learning process, browser sorting, and many more

(Peter Cool, The Netherlands, Nov 6, 1998)
Question:
I started with SuperMemo 70 days ago (your French plus some words added by me; total 1000 words). In the first weeks I made a lot of mistakes so my measured forgetting index was 20%. Although I make very few mistakes now during repetitions the forgetting index decreases very slowly. Is this normal?
Answer:
The measured forgetting index includes the record of all repetitions made since you started learning. That is why it changes at an ever decreasing rate. If your performance is good and you would like to more accurately check your current forgetting index, you might reset the forgetting index measurements with File : Reset : Forgetting index record. It will not affect the learning process per se


(Peter Cool, The Netherlands, Nov 6, 1998)
Question:
Last weekend I started to read and exercise Kevin Trudeau's book Mega Memory. What is your opinion about this?
Answer:
MegaMemory is a good system to exercise your mnemonic skills. It is simple, strongly motivational and shall be useful for most students who want to strengthen their ability to master hard-to-memorize material.
A word of criticism is necessary though, needlessly Kevin Trudeau begins his program with the claim that memories do not get erased as a result of forgetting and are simply becoming inaccessible. This is not true. The example used in the program refers to our bicycle riding skills. It is noted that people retain biking skills for years without repetition. However, biking falls into the domain of procedural learning (including touch typing, playing instruments, sports, etc.) as opposed to declarative learning (e.g. math, vocabulary, learning faces, etc.). Every minute of biking is equivalent to multiple repetitions in declarative learning and retention and forgetting are governed by slightly different principles. Information theory can be used to quickly prove that the brain is not capable of retaining all information in stores in long-term storage. Hence the need for forgetting.
Having said that we still strongly recommend Mega Memory as a program complementary to SuperMemo


(Vladimir Slachta, Czech Republic, Jan 26, 1999)
Question:
I downloaded SuperMemo and the help file from the Internet. Unfortunately Help does not work. It is still giving me information, that I have old version of HHCTRL.OCX. I have system W95 OSR 2 with IE 4.0 on my computer. Please, can you inform me, where is the problem?
Answer:
Seemingly some IE 4.0 installations include an older version of HHCTRL.OCX. You might use the file that ships with Windows 98 or try to download the Microsoft's free update