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FAQ: SuperMemo 98
Do you have a question about using SuperMemo 98? Write to SuperMemoMail.
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First steps

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
You can install a SuperMemo icon on your Windows desktop
With SuperMemo you can tackle any exam
You can search for substrings with Ctrl+F

Learning

You can learn this item later
You can locate most difficult items
You do not have to interrupt repetitions to forget or dismiss an element
SuperMemo can be merciful after a vacation break!
Grades are not important at final drill
Completing the final drill is not critical
You can always delete the final drill
Press F5 to quickly view the statistics
There is learning material available for download
You can easily repeat sounds, display translation or phonetic transcription
You can change the sequence of learning particular elements
You can remove all information about the learning process
You can backup learning in large collections
Knowledge tree does not play a role in learning
You can see the exact history of repetitions of a given item
You can view all pending elements in a given branch
Show answer stage may be skipped
The timer should not make you hurry during repetitions
More questions about learning and memory

Interface

You can make SuperMemo remember the size of its windows
You can quickly translate the interface of SuperMemo to your language
You can install a foreign keyboard in Windows
You need Internet Explorer to view CHM files
You can customize grades
You can turn off hints or hide the status bar
You can prevent your students from editing their collections
You cannot change the font used for titles in the element window
You cannot turn off the clock

Creating your own learning material

You can keep different font for questions and for answers
You can change the position of the question window
There is an important difference between items and topics
You can quickly change items into topics
You can center texts in text components
Pictures can serve as answers
Knowledge tree is like a family tree
You can underline important words
You can import text files as questions and answers
You can display structural formulas in chemistry
You can add mathematical formulas
You can quickly duplicate elements
You can copy elements via the ClipBox
Creating a hyperlink is simple
Keep only one collection!
Categories help you organize material in groups
After choosing a category, last added element is displayed
Components are displayed in the same order they were added to an element
You can delete all occurrences of 'xxxx'
Secondary storage is used to tell SuperMemo where your CD-ROM is
You can add new phonetic transcription entries
You should delete texts before saving a template
You can see the number of the current element
More questions about formulating knowledge in SuperMemo

Advanced collection authoring

You can determine the priority of elements
You can import sound files directly to the sound registry
You can import many GIF files at once
You can search for an image
You can swap questions with answers in the entire collection
You can transfer a template from one collection to another
You can add a sound recorder
It is possible to change the element background color in many elements at once
SuperMemo 98 can use HTML templates

You and your wife can jointly expand the same collection
You can memorize chess positions with chess font
You can globally change the layout of components
Title may differ from the question text

Troubles and bugs

There is no millennium bug in SuperMemo!
Remember to make a backup!
Your collection can suddenly appear empty!
Use Copy or Move instead of File : Save as
You can backup learning in large collections
Fear no virus attack!
If SuperMemo is unstable ... check your computer first
You may have problems displaying MS Equation formulas in SuperMemo
SuperMemo can be getting slower!

Other

SuperMemo can keep a billion items
Identical texts get stored only once
The source code of SuperMemo 98 is 70,000 lines long (Delphi 3.0)
You can quickly import SuperMemo 8 collections to SuperMemo 98
You can find here the contents of files used by SuperMemo
SuperMemo will not shed its authoring features in the future

For more answers see the body of this file


(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 : Organize : Copy. For more see: ABC of SuperMemo


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


(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, or E to edit all text components. You can also edit all properties of all components by using pop-up menus available with right button click on a component in question


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


(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 : Save as default (Ctrl+Shift+F5). Windows sizes are automatically stored in the beginner and basic mode


(Grzegorz Malewski, Poland, Dec 10, 1997)
Question:
Do grades at final drill affect the learning process?
Answer:
No. They are only used to eliminate items from the final drill queue.


Question:
How can I postpone memorizing an element when I am learning new material?
Answer:
Choose Forget on the element pop-up menu (Ctrl+R). This will put the item at the end of the pending queue.


(Roger Dykes, USA, May 20, 1998)
Question:
What collections are available for SuperMemo 98?
Answer:
See SuperMemo Library


(Josef Holubik, Czech Republic, Sep 13, 1998)
Question:
When I make repetitions, I would sometimes like to use Reset/Forget or Commit/Remember but I only have grade buttons available. Do I have to stop the repetition cycle?
Answer:
No. You can use Ctrl+R for Reset/Forget and Ctrl+M for Commit/Remember. In both cases, you will continue with the next item in the repetition schedule as soon as resetting or recommiting an item is completed


Question:
How do I delete an element in SuperMemo 98?
Answer:
Choose one of the following:


(Ryszard Siwczyk, Poland, Nov 4, 1997)
Question:
Does the response time at repetitions influence the next interval?
Answer:
No


(David Seagull, USA, Jul 10, 1998)
Question:
How can I define French keyboard for use with SuperMemo in Windows 95?
Answer:
In Windows Control Panel use Keyboard and add French on the Language tab (e.g. French - Canadian). Set French as default


(Jim Ivy, USA, June 4, 1997)
Question:
What is the difference between a topic and an item?
Answer:
Topics are used to present knowledge (like chapters in a book), while items are used to test knowledge by means of repetitions (e.g. they have the question-and-answer structure). The main difference is that topics do not take part in repetitions but are only presented before learning a sequence of items. This helps to approach the subject as a whole before repetitions begin. See also: Topics vs items


(Bonnie Smithson, USA, Feb 24, 1998)
Question:
How do I put pictures into the answer part?
Answer:

Check Answer on the image component pop-up menu


(Charles Maggio, USA, July 7, 1997)
Question:
I use ChemDraw to create structured formulas of organic substances. How can I paste them to an image component?
Answer:
You can use your ChemDraw formulas and formulas generated with other applications as long as they support OLE 2.0. Do not use the image component here, use the OLE component


(Gabor Schmera, USA, Dec 13, 1997)

Question:
How do I add a recorder component to my items (as it is done in Advanced English 97)?
Answer:
Add a sound component and check Recorder on this pop-up menu.


Question:
How can I change the position of the question window on the screen?
Answer:
Alt-click the window twice. It will become draggable. Alternatively, you can choose Dragging mode on the question's pop-up menu or on the element pop-up menu (in the latter case, all components will become draggable). If you want to change this position permanently, you should use templates. See: Using templates


(John Gibney, Australia, Sep 1, 1998)
Question:
What is the simplest way to determine the order in which elements are memorized?
Answer:
You can sort the pending queue in the order of the element appearance in the knowledge tree by using File : Reset : Sort by hierarchy. You can also set individual element ordinal numbers and choose File : Reset : Sort by ordinals. Finally, you can search for individual elements and memorize them individually with Ctrl+M


Question:
I left for vacation, and my learning process is in mess. What should I do?
Answer:
Use Tools : Mercy


(Gabor Schmera, USA, Dec 13, 1997)
Question:
I would like to add mathematical formulas to my items. What is the best way? I have equations ready with MS Word 97.
Answer:
Use OLE component to display files generated with other applications (if they support OLE 2.0)


(Pawel Galecki, Poland, Feb 10, 1998)
Question:
I have created my own collection that contains 700 items in the root category. The system loads for nearly 60 seconds each time I open it! How can I speed this up?
Answer:
For performance reasons, you should limit the number of elements per category to 50-100. For this purpose, set a lower value at Tools : Options : Appending : Children limit per hierarchy node. To break up your 700-item category, run Tools : Arrange in folders on the contents window pop-up menu


(Ryszard Kosowicz, Krakow, Poland, May 16, 1997)
Question:
How can I quickly copy the text of an item to another item without using clipboard twice (for question and for answer)?
Answer:
Use Duplicate on the element pop-up menu (or press Ctrl+Alt+U on the copied element)


(Eryk Horloza, Poland, June 3, 1997)
Question:
How can I keep different fonts for the question and the answer component in SuperMemo 98?
Answer:
The fastest way is:

  1. Add a new item with Ctrl+A
  2. On the pop-up menu of the question component choose Text : New font (or Links : Font if you have already defined the font)
  3. Select the appropriate question font
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the answer components
  5. On the element pop-up menu choose Template : Save as template. Remember the newly created template name for the next step
  6. In Tools : Options : Appending : Default item template type in the name of the new template
  7. Choose Ctrl+A again to see if your new template has been applied correctly

Now your new template with new fonts will be used each time you add a new item. Note, that you should rather use Tools : Categories rather than Tools : Options : Appending : Default item template if you have more than one category in the collection


Question:
My computer was hit by a virus and SuperMemo reports integrity problems. What shall I do?
Answer:
Try File : Recover


(Peter Cool, The Netherlands, Nov 9, 1998)
Question:
I have installed the help for SuperMemo 98 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


(David Mckenzie, New Zealand, Apr 8, 1998)
Question:
How to make a hyperlink?
Answer:

Ctrl-drag a component to Hyperlink ClipBox (on the main toolbar), go to the linked element and drag the contents of Hyperlink ClipBox onto the element window.
If you remember the number of the linked element, a faster method would be to input this number after choosing the option Links : Hyperlink on the component pop-up menu


(Marcin Piekarniak, Poland, Dec 2, 1997)
Question:
How can I easily back up Advanced English 97? In Advanced English 94 the entire system could be compressed to a 1.4 MB file!
Answer:
It is possible to back up the learning process without backing up the contents of Advanced English (the contents is backed up on your original Advanced English CD-ROM). This way only the data pertaining to items in the learning process will be stored (not items themselves). Use File : Export : Learning process to export the data. Later, upon reinstalling Advanced English 97, you can restore the learning process with File : Import : Learning process


(Mariusz Szepietowski, Poland, Dec 7, 1997)
Question:
How can I remove information about the learning process from a collection? I would like to start learning all over again from scratch?
Answer:
Use File : Reset : Collection. At the end of this process choose sorting the pending queue either by hierarchy (in most systems) or by ordinals (e.g. in Advanced English 97)


Question:
I keep material of different learning priority in my collection. Can SuperMemo help me pay more attention to high priority material?
Answer:

Yes. You should reduce the value of the forgetting index for high-priority material (forgetting index is a proportion of items not remembered during repetitions). In the contents window select the item or node that you want to have higher priority and choose Node operations : Forgetting index : Set forgetting index on the pop-up menu. Forgetting index is 10% by default and can be set to 3-5% for high-priority material or only to 20% for least important branches of the knowledge tree


Question:
What is the purpose of the option Tools : Categories?
Answer:
SuperMemo 98 introduces the concept of a category to help you keep items related to different subjects in different branches of the knowledge tree (contents window). It also makes it possible to give different item groups different appearance (e.g. size of text components, screen layout, font, color, and many more). Read more: Using categories


(Manfred Kremer, Germany, Sep 7, 1998)
Question:
I noticed that frequently I get Optimum Interval in Element Data window shorter than the last interval displayed as Interval. Is it a bug in SuperMemo?
Answer:
No. If your forgetting index is very low, e.g. 3%, SuperMemo will often conclude that you will stand 97% chance of remembering a given element only if your next interval is shorter than the presently used one. In such cases, it will not accept the new value and the new interval will be at least 5% longer than the previous interval. Please note that the forgetting index equal 3% should only be used for selected high-priority items. Keeping the forgetting index at this level throughout the collection will make repetitions annoying frequent and ineffective


(David Mckenzie, New Zealand, Apr 8, 1998)
Question:
Is there any point in keeping collections separate?
Answer:

No. Once you master contents categories and templates, there is no point. You gain global search, global registries, global repetitions, global optimization, etc. This would not be advisable back in SuperMemo 7 as item difficulty measure (E-factor) was dependent on the average difficulty of items in the collection. Presently, the item difficulty measure (A-Factor, or absolute difficulty factor) is absolute and does not depend on the context in which an item is placed (see: Algorithm SM-8). Only the length of the first interval will significantly be affected by the average difficulty of items in the collection. However, this shall not bear dramatically on the speed of learning. Especially that variable forgetting index for individual items makes it possible to set different first intervals for whole contents categories or branches of the knowledge tree


(Volker Goretzki, Germany, May 6, 1997)
Question:
I would like to remove all occurrences of a string 'xxxx' from a collection. What is the simplest way?
Answer:
(1) Choose Search : Text, (2) choose Find and replace on the menu, e.g. by pressing Ctrl+R, (3) type in 'xxxx' in Find what field, (4) leave Replace with empty, and (5) choose Replace All


(Doug Edmunds, USA, Nov 4, 1997)
Question:
What is the fastest way of checking the number of the currently displayed element?
Answer:
press Ctrl+G


(Brian Canova, USA, Aug 28, 1998)
Question:
Me and my wife use Medical Biology collection. How can we both add new elements and synchronize our efforts so that we both get the elements introduced by one another?
Answer:
SuperMemo does not have any nice mechanisms for real-time sharing data between students. However, there is a rather complex algorithm you might use. Please try this out only if you are an advanced user of SuperMemo:

  1. Keep four separate collections:
    1. BRIAN - your original Medical Biology collection
    2. WIFE - copy of Medical Biology for your wife (e.g. created with File : Copy or Ctrl+Shift+C)
    3. BRIAN-NEW - new collection for you to add new learning material (created with File : New)
    4. WIFE-NEW - new collection for your wife to add new learning material
  2. Make repetitions only in BRIAN and WIFE
  3. Periodically transfer newly created elements from BRIAN-NEW to BRIAN and to WIFE, as well as from WIFE-NEW to BRIAN and to WIFE

You can transfer whole collections or individual branches with Tools : Transfer node on the contents pop-up menu in the contents window

P.S: In future version we plan to add full data sharing between students (presently only large multimedia files can be shared). Read more: 1. the elements directory, 2. File : Semi-Copy


(Piotr Wysocki, Poland, May 14, 1997)
Question:
How can I change an item to a topic and vice versa without using node operations in the contents window?
Answer:
Check or uncheck the Topic menu item on the element pop-up menu (available with right-click over empty element area). See also: Topics vs items


(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 98 with its 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: if you are using Windows 95 or Windows NT 4.0, do as follows:

  1. right-click the desktop (at the place you want the icon to appear)
  2. choose New : Shortcut
  3. click Browse
  4. select the file SM98.EXE (you will find it in directory SM98 in the same place where you downloaded and ran SM98ZIP.EXE; for example: if you downloaded to c:\download\supermemo\sm98zip.exe, run sm98zip.exe and you will find sm98.exe in c:\download\supermemo\sm98\sm98.exe)

Question:
How can I quickly see how many memorized items I have in my collection?

Answer:
Press F5


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

Answer:
Press Ctrl+F and type in the string


(David Mckenzie, New Zealand, Sep 3, 1998)
Question:
What should you do if you don't complete the final drill for the day? Thoughts are: 1. Delete it, 2. Complete it first thing next day, 3. Complete it the next day, but with other final drill items. (I usually do 3.)
Answer:
It would be best to go through the final drill every day. Second best would probably be to delete final drill (Learn : Cut drills). This comes from the fact that all repetitions made on dates different from the original schedule interfere with computations made by SuperMemo. You can simply fool SuperMemo into believing that you know an element better than it is indicated by the history of repetitions. Finally, it would be worst to go through final drill before repetitions on the next day (for the same reason as above). The picture gets more complicated when your first interval for forgotten items is relatively long (e.g. over 5 days). In these circumstances doing the final drill on the next day might be more profitable than not doing it at all.

P.S. Perhaps in the future, we will add an option Unscheduled repetition in which you will be able to tell SuperMemo that an extra repetition took place. Naturally, final drill would automatically execute Unscheduled repetition


Question:
How many lines of code are there in different versions of SuperMemo? What language was it written in?
Answer:


(Anatolyi Lipatov, Ukraine, Aug 28, 1998)
Question:
When I add new elements in the contents window, it happens that the repetition cycle skips showing the answer even if the answer component is marked as Answer. Is it a bug?
Answer:
No. This is a standard behavior for topics. You must uncheck Topic on the element pop-up menu. Topics are considered a synthetic overview of knowledge and do not respect the Answer attribute on the component pop-up menu. They are just shown as they are and expect you to click Next repetition (i.e. skip Show answer and grading) (see also: Topics vs items)


(Tomasz Szynalski, Poland, Sep 7, 1998)
Question:
I have been using SuperMemo 6 Public Domain [for DOS] for years (this version seems enough!). However, I have recently noticed that it suffers from the millennium bug! If I buy SuperMemo 98, can I be sure that my learning process will be safe?
Answer:
Indeed there is a Y2K problem in SuperMemo 6. However, it probably touches only handling dates in the monthly calendar of repetitions. This should not affect the learning process per se! We have extensively tested SuperMemo 8 and SuperMemo 98 for the millennium bug. We have not found any problems. Lots of our users reported trying the same. If your hardware and the operating systems are OK, you should feel pretty safe about your learning process. Additionally, you can always bank on our service in case of troubles


(Matt Cassidy, New Zealand, Oct 2, 1997)
Question:
Is there a limit to the number of elements that a collection can have?
Answer:
SuperMemo 98 has been designed to be able to theoretically accommodate over 1 billion elements; however, for various reasons (e.g. speed) it probably does not make sense to go beyond 100,000. The largest system tested at SuperMemo World by August 1998: 65,000 items (users reported systems of around 120,000 elements). You can greatly increase the speed of the program with a large number of long texts by unchecking Tools : Options : Data access : Compile lexicon on-the-fly


(Shaun Hoffland, UK, Jul 15, 1997)
Question:
If I add an identical text component to each item in a given branch in the contents window, does the text get duplicated and increase the size of the collection?
Answer:
No. All texts are stored in the registry only once. Each item references the same entry without increasing the size of the collection


(Jake White, USA, May 14, 1997)
Question:
I learn Romanian vocabulary. How can I center the word in the question component?
Answer:
Check Text : Center text on the question component pop-up menu (available with right-click).


(Zoran Maximovic, Yugoslavia, May 29, 1997)
Question:
How can I independently turn off hints and hide the status bar in SuperMemo 98?
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 : View : Status bar on the main menu


(Lloyd M. Uhler Jr, Jun 12, 1998)
Question:
I have fonts for Chess and might want to use SuperMemo to remember Chess Positions. Can I import material created in MS Word?
Answer:
Try using the OLE component


(Ryszard Kosowicz, Krakow, Poland, May 16, 1997)
Question:
Why does not SuperMemo automatically change the title when I edit the question part of the item?
Answer:
Because sometimes the author of the collection might wish to keep the too different. To update the title press Alt+T and Enter (this will select Title on the toolbar, generate a new title from the first text component and store the new title in the collection).


(Doug Edmunds, USA, Nov 4, 1997)
Question:
How can I globally change the layout of question, answer, font, background color, etc.
Answer:
Do as follows:

  1. Create a new template with your new layout (make sure the number and the order of components are the same as in the original template).
  2. Save the template with Template : Save as template (on the element pop-up menu)
  3. In the contents window, choose the branch that should be changed
  4. On the contents pop-up menu choose Node operations : Merge template and select the new template
  5. Only text, images, sound files, etc. will be retain in the merging operation. All the rest will be taken from the new template

Warning! Make a back-up copy of your collection beforehand. If you miss a component in the new template, it will be removed from all elements in the node! There is not undo operation here


(Doug Edmunds, USA, Nov 4, 1997)
Question:
How to I paste the contents of a ClipBox to a new location?
Answer:
Drag it


(Keith Gibson, USA, Sep 3, 1997)
Question:
How can I introduce a sound file directly into the sound registry in SuperMemo 98?
Answer:
Choose Import files on sound registry pop-up menu


(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 98?
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


(Christian Roessel, Germany, July 21, 1998)
Question:
In my collection I have a template that consists of two image components. And I have a large number of GIFs, numbered 1.gif, 2.gif, 3.gif, etc. Is it possible to import 1.gif to the first image component, 2.gif two the second, 3.gif to the first of the next item on and so on?
Answer:
Not exactly. You will have to rename your images to a1.gif, b1.gif, a2.gif, b2.gif. Then go to the first item to which you want to add those files and choose File : Import : Multimedia files. All elements that do not have corresponding images will be ignored and relevant files will be skipped.


(John Gibney, Australia, Sep 1, 1998)
Question:
What is the difference between children and descendants in the knowledge tree?
Answer:
Children of a given element are those elements that are shown when you click the plus sign to the left of the element. They are all connected with the parent element and are shifted one level to the right. The descendants of a given element are all children of all children of all children, etc. If you take an analogy with a family, the descendants of an individual include children, grand children, grand grand children and so on


(Tomasz Chudy, Poland, Oct 17, 1998)
Question:
How can I globally change the color of element background in the whole collection?
Answer:
You should do the following (only if you use question-and-answer templates throughout your collection or if you use other uniform templates):

  1. Create a new element (e.g. with Ctrl+A)
  2. Change the color of element background with Color (available from the element pop-up menu in the element window)
  3. Save the newly created element as a template with Template : Save as template (available on the element pop-up menu in the element window)
  4. Merge all elements in the collection with the new template by means of Node operations : Template : Merge with template (available on the contents pop-up menu in the contents window)

Important: create a backup copy before you proceed. Merge template is irreversible!


(Peter J. Cool, The Netherlands, Oct 7, 1998)
Question:
I would like to interchange all question and answer pairs of my collection. How can I do it?
Answer:
You should do the following (only if you use question-and-answer templates throughout your collection):

  1. Create a new element (e.g. with Ctrl+A)
  2. Change the order of the element components with Components : Component order (available from the element pop-up menu in the element window)
  3. Save the newly created element as a template with Template : Save as template (available from the element pop-up menu in the element window)
  4. Merge all elements in the collection with the new template by means of Node operations : Template : Merge with template (available from the contents pop-up menu in the contents window)

Important: create a backup copy before you proceed. Merge template is irreversible!


(Marcin Piekarniak, Poland, Dec 2, 1997)
Question:
Why after choosing a contents category the last item in the category is displayed; not first?
Answer:
When you add new items you want to know which one was added last. You can easily navigate to the root by using the parent button on the navigation toolbar (or press Ctrl+Alt+Up)


(Erwin Anema, The Netherlands, Aug 28, 1997)
Question:
Can I hide the clock during repetitions in SuperMemo 98? It is distracting.
Answer:
You cannot hide the clock, but you can hide the toolbar by clicking the crossed button on the rights side of the button group


(David Mckenzie, New Zealand, Apr 8, 1998)
Question:
How to search for an element that contains no text (only an image)?
Answer:
Use Search : Image. With Ctrl+F you can search for the image name or you can simply scroll to the image in question. Then press Ctrl+B to list all elements using the selected image.


(Noel Clary, USA, Aug 17, 1998)
Question:
I have created my own database on plumbing and air conditioning. My forgetting index is quite high. Are there any tools in SuperMemo which could help me remedy this situation?
Answer:

You might want to use View : Special : Leeches and locate the elements that cause most problems in learning. You must then go into your own mind to answer the question why these elements are hard to recall. Usually these are too complex, too long, too boring or too similar to other elements in the same collection. You can also send 3-4 most difficult items to us for review to receive some suggestions. Read more: Leeches. You could also have a look at a more advanced text: Principles of knowledge structuring


Question:
Are SuperMemo 98 collections compatible with SuperMemo 8.4?
Answer:
Yes. It is enough to open old collections (choose *.kno file in File : Open) and the whole upgrade process will proceed automatically


(Nita L. Wunderlich, USA, Aug 24, 1998)
Question:
How can I make a good use of knowledge hierarchy in the learning process?
Answer:
Structuring knowledge by means of knowledge hierarchy is not very important for the learning process itself; however, it greatly simplifies managing large bodies of facts pertaining to different subjects. The knowledge hierarchy is best managed by means of knowledge categories. Read more: Knowledge categories


(Michal Grodzki, Poland, Aug 20, 1998)
Question:
You advice the users of Advanced English 97 to make back-up copies with File : Export : Learning process. However, this does not back up the material introduced by the user. What is the best solution in a case when I want to add lots of my own items to Advanced English?
Answer:
You might try one of the following:

  1. Keep your own material in a separate collection. You can back such a collection by compressing the <system name>.kno file and the <system name> directory into a single archive (e.g. with WinZip)
  2. If you prefer to add your items to Advanced English (e.g. in order to be able to search all material in one go), you might back up the contents of a single branch by transferring it into an empty system with Tools : Transfer node on the contents pop-up menu or by exporting it as text with Tools : Export as text (also on the contents menu). You can later restore your back-up after reinstalling Advanced English with Tools : Transfer node in the opposite direction or with File : Import : Text in the latter case

(Dr Janusz Murakowski, USA, Nov 18, 1997)
Question:
What is the meaning of Full History of Repetitions in Tools : Options : Learning? How can I see the history of repetitions?
Answer:
With Full History of Repetitions, all individual repetitions are recorded in a separate file (\info\reps.dat)). Information about the history of repetitions of a given element can be viewed by double clicking the element data window or choosing History in element parameters dialog box available from element pop-up menu


(Volker Goretzki, Germany, Feb 22, 1998)
Question:
Which rules does the overlapping of components follow?
Answer:

Components are displayed in the order in which they were added to the element. To change this order use Component order on the element window pop-up menu.


(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 in the professional level the list would be over 2000 strings longs instead of mere 39 strings that are used in simplified SuperMemo


(Marcin Piekarniak, Poland, Dec 2, 1997)
Question:
How to transfer a template between collections?
Answer:
Use Template : Save to file and Template : Load from file on the element pop-up menu. To save the new template in the template registry, use Template : Save as template. Read more: Using templates


(Zoran Maximovic, Yugoslavia, Aug 16, 1998)
Question:
Do you plan to write two version of SuperMemo for developing and viewing collections? Like Acrobat Reader and Adobe Acrobat?
Answer:
No. This would contradict our important claim that all learning material should be highly customized for an individual learner, and enhanced with individual comments and mnemonic clues. We would like all users to know how to change the learning material that is difficult to remember. There is no universal formula for well-structured material. A good item for one student may cause recall problems in another. This is because of knowledge interference that may come from different culture, language or simply different material stored in the same collection. BTW: it is not true that read-only SuperMemo would be visibly faster due to eliminating the editing options. The size of code might be reduced by 30-40% resulting in invisibly reduced loading time. The reading and presentation options would work in the same way as in the full version. Note that apart from read-only and learn-only modes, SuperMemo 98 introduces three levels of difficulty that cover some of the goals accomplished by separating presentation and authoring functions


(Jim Ivy, USA, June 4, 1997)
Question:
How can I prevent my students from editing the contents of the collection in SuperMemo 98?
Answer:
You can turn on read-only or learn-only modes (Tools : Options : Data access : Access mode) and then use SuperMemo in the beginner or basic mode


(Armin Werner, Germany)
Question:
What is the contents and function of particular files in SuperMemo directories?
Answer:

See: Files used by SuperMemo


Question:
Why isn't there Save As on the File menu?
Answer:
Because File : Copy does exactly what Save As would do. The different name indicates, however, that the system is not stored in memory but is updated on the hard disk on-the-fly. Therefore, instead of saving it under a new name, you just have to copy it to the new location


Question:
What should I use Duplicate for? What for do I need the same item in the same collection?
Answer:
You can duplicate an item, if you want to add to the another item which is only slightly different. This way you can spare some time by reediting the old item instead of typing in the new one


(Shaun Hoffland, UK, May 25, 1997)
Question:
How can I view all pending or dismissed elements in a given branch in the knowledge tree?
Answer:
Probably the simplest method is to:

After the above sequence of operations, the browser will contain only the pending or dismissed elements belonging to the selected node


(Tomas Klinkovsky, Czech Republic, Aug 7, 1998)
Question:
How can I do the following actions using the keyboard in Advanced English:

Answer:
In SuperMemo 8.4, you can only repeat the sound with Ctrl+F10. In SuperMemo 98, you can additionally display translations with Alt+U and the phonetic transcription with Alt+Y


Question:
I noticed that File : Recover does not recover the final drill queue. What if drill.dat file becomes damaged? Will that make learning impossible?
Answer:
No. drill.dat is a temporary file and can always be removed with Learn : Cut drills with little damage to the learning process


(Tomas Klinkovsky, Czech Republic, Aug 7, 1998)
Question:
Why aren't there tool tips over grayed buttons?
Answer:
This is a default behavior of components in Delphi (SuperMemo 98 was written in Delphi 3.02)


(Vaclav Losik, Czech Republic, Apr 10, 1997)
Question:

How to complete missing translations reported by File : Recover?
Answer:
If at recovery you get messages like Missing translation for Member #186: "virtually every" you can fill out the translation using the following procedure:

  1. choose Search : Text
  2. paste in the editing field the text whose translation is missing (e.g. virtually every)
  3. type in the translation in the translation pane of the registry window (bottom-right)

(Tomasz Szynalski, Poland, August 1998)
Question:
Why should I upgrade from SuperMemo 8.4 to SuperMemo 98?
Answer:
Because it is faster, you can store unlimited length of text in your topics, you can import HTML files, etc. See: What's new?


(Artur Osadowski, Poland, Sep 5, 1998)
Question:
Does the setting of Access Mode in Tools : Options : Data access affect the accessibility of sounds on CD-ROM?
Answer:
No. To make sure SuperMemo correctly reads sounds from CD-ROM, you only have to provide the correct path in Tools : Options : Data access : Secondary storage


Question:
What should I do if SuperMemo displays strange error messages, aborts frequently, and File : Recover does not work?
Answer:
Make sure that your Windows is stable and you have no hardware problems. If the messages are displayed by Windows rather than SuperMemo itself (e.g. modules such as Kernel, User, Ctl3D, etc.), the problem is probably not with SuperMemo. Some hardware problems are a frequent reason for such situations, esp. if similar events happen with other application. Check your memory, hard disk, system setup and the mainboard in the first order.
In case you are sure File : Recover is unable to recover your system for reasons related to SuperMemo, write to SuperMemoMail


(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 Knowledge Structuring and Representation; however, nothing works better as learning on one's own mistakes in formulating knowledge for learning with SuperMemo.


(Jan Gromadzki, Poland, Jul 11, 1998)
Question:
I bought Advanced English 97 and I cannot pass through the introduction. There are arrows pointing to icons that ... do not exist. What is wrong?
Answer:
You need a sound board installed in your computer (this is listed among minimum requirements!). Some script commands do not work without a sound board and the introduction part is largely run by scripts. If you want to use Advanced English without sound do the following:


(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


(Tomasz Szynalski, Poland, Dec 2, 1998)
Question:
When I create an MS Equation formula in the OLE component, the equation is unnaturally large and distorted. How can I go around this bug?
Answer:
Rendering of the OLE object is done by the server application, MS Equation in this case. You have to fix the problem in MS Equation by adjusting display attributes (e.g. reducing the size of fonts in this case)


(Michael Doren, USA, Sep 7, 1998)
Question:
I am writing a collection for learning Windows NT 4.0 for my certification test. I am toying with the idea of using Dragon Naturally Speaking (a speech recognition program) to create my questions and answers in MS Word. Any suggestions on that?
Answer:
Probably the simplest approach is as follows:

1. Use the following text file format:

Q: <text of the first question>
A: <text of the first answer>

Q: <text of the second question>
A: <text of the second answer>, etc.

2. Replace Q: and A: with some easily spelled phrase that you would later replace globally. For example:

elephant Which tool can be used to manage security for domains?
giraffe User Manager for Domains

3. Convert the above text to:

Q: Which tool can be used to manage security for domains?
A: User Manager for Domains

4. Save the file in plain text format

5. Use File : Import : Q'n'A text in SuperMemo to import the text file to your collection


(Clarito Dimayuga, MD, USA, Sep 14, 1998)
Question:
Question:
SuperMemo comes with very impressive statistical graphs and charts but how do I use them to my advantage, how are these charts going to help me learn faster?
Answer:
The graphs available from Tools : Statistics : Analysis are not exactly supposed to speed up learning. Their main function is to assist you in understanding the algorithm used in SuperMemo and in monitoring the learning process. Obviously, once you understand the graphs, your enhanced knowledge of your memory and the learning process may appear helpful in better organizing your work. Read more: Analysis of the learning process


(Robert Van Weyenberg, Belgium, Sep 30, 1998)
Question:
I use SuperMemo on a portable machine that is not linked to the Internet. This is why two megabytes of the help file are quite difficult to handle. Any chance for having it sized down?
Answer:
There is now second smaller help file to download. This file only includes the help section of this website (www.supermemo.com/help/) and does not include pictures. NB: Help compiler compression is very efficient and there is little room for improvement


(Dusko Ivanisevic, New Zealand, Oct 1, 1998)
Question:
How can I add phonetic transcription to some words?
Answer:
Press Ctrl+Alt+P and type in the word and its transcription. If the transcription dialog does not appear, you have not chosen phonetic transcription in Options. In such a case do the following:

  1. Choose Tools : Options : Language : Phonetic transcription
  2. Select ready-made transcription file or type in a name for new phonetic transcription registry (in the latter case, you will be building phonetic transcription registry from scratch)
  3. If necessary, choose Font on the left to select phonetic transcription font (e.g. IPA font available from Advanced English)
  4. Once a given word appears on the screen, press Alt+Y to transliterate all texts (or use on-mouse-move transliteration)

Note that SuperMemo Library includes IPA phonetic transcription of English (including the IPA font) with 72,000 transcriptions


(Jeremy Sherman, USA, Oct 12, 1998)
Question:
I am using Filemaker Plus to create a more comprehensive database for quotes, my ideas, etc. of which only a select number of items are the kind I would want to commit to memory. I have not found any reference in the help menu to ways to import a number of elements and test items directly into SuperMemo. Can you suggest a format for importation? I do see the section on Import Q&A but I don't see how to format the fields
Answer:
For File : Import : Q'n'A text, it is enough you create a text file in the following format:

q: <text of the question>
a: <text of the answer>

q: <text of the question>
a: <text of the answer>, etc. etc.

For example:

q: What is the name of the Polish king dynasty that ended with Casimir III?
a: Piast dynasty

q: Which Polish king dynasty did Casimir the Great belong to?
a: Piast dynasty, etc. etc.


(Helmut Fritz, Germany, Oct 19, 1998)
Question:
Why do templates store texts used by text components? Each time I use Apply Template I have to delete those texts
Answer:
Occasionally you may need to store texts or pictures in your templates. Save your template again after deleting the text


(Clive Hayden, Poland, Oct 19, 1998)
Question:
How can I best upgrade my SuperMemo 7 files to SuperMemo 98?
Answer:
(1) Download SuperMemo 8, (2) use File : Import from SuperMemo 7 (in SuperMemo 8), (3) exit SuperMemo 8, and (4) open the newly generated collection in SuperMemo 98 (it will be upgraded automatically)


(David K. Harris, Peking University, Oct 23, 1998)
Question:
I would like to underline important words in my elements, but have not yet figured out how to change the font of individual words within components
Answer:
You should use RTF components instead of text components. In an RTF component, select the text to underline and click the underline icon on the Edit toolbar. If you want all your elements to use RTF components instead of text components, save your RTF components in a template and make this template default in Tools : Options : Appending : Default item template. Read more: Using templates


(Michael Duggan, Canada, Nov 2, 1998)
Question:
I was cleaning up my harddrive and attempted to move SuperMemo from one folder to another folder. In the process I lost the data for a number of collections. Can I retrieve these data files and place them back in my collection? How do I do that?
Answer:
It is always recommended to move collections with File : Organize : Copy in SuperMemo. Otherwise, a frequent mistake is to copy the kno file without the directory that contains the actual collection files (see: Files used by SuperMemo).
Some customers also fall victim of the following scenario:

  1. user moves the whole SuperMemo directory to a new location using Windows tools
  2. user starts sm98.exe from the new location
  3. SuperMemo inspects sm8.ini for the location of most recently used files and looks for them in the old location
  4. SuperMemo displays Cannot find <collection name> at <old location>. Create new files?
  5. User responds with Yes
  6. SuperMemo creates empty files with the old name
  7. User is convinced he lost his data while intact collections are safely stored at the new location

The simplest remedy is to answer No in Step 5 and open collections at the new location with File : Open


SuperMemo 98 can use HTML templates
(Jonathan Heddle, Apr 16, 2005, 01:05:38)
Question:
In SuperMemo 98, I choose "Add New", click the "Compose" tab, click the "html" button, draw HTML boxes, minimize the exisiting boxes, and paste HTML code. This takes a long time and is not practical as I have thousands of pieces of html code to paste. Can this be speeded up?
Answer:
You can execute this procedure only once. Instead of minimizing plain text components, delete them. Then use Template : Save as default on the element menu. As of this moment, Add New will do all the above steps for you