OLE component

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If you would like to display files created in MS Word, Excel, Equation, PowerPoint, Corel, Mind Manager, etc. you can use the OLE component. The OLE component can display files created with any application that supports OLE 2.0. If this application supports in-place activation, you will also be able to edit these files without quitting SuperMemo. For example, if you insert an MS Word document into an OLE component and switch to editing mode, SuperMemo menus and toolbars will be replaced by Word menus and toolbars.

As all other components, the OLE component is available from the Compose toolbar. To be able to edit files inserted in the OLE component you will need an appropriate server application (e.g. MS Word, Corel, Mind Manager, etc.). However, you do not need any software to display these files in the presentation mode.

To add an OLE component, click OLE button on the Compose toolbar. You might resize and reposition it within the element.

The OLE component will show as an empty rectangle. You may need to turn off Scaled property on the element menu or in your template due to sizing problems with various OLE objects.

If you want to import a ready file, right-click the OLE component, and choose Insert OLE object, click Create from File in the Insert Object dialog box and choose the file by typing its name or clicking Browse.

If you want to create a new file and edit its contents, right-click the OLE component, and choose Insert OLE object, and pick from the list of OLE servers available in your Windows installation. When you click OK, the appropriate server will be called and you will be able to edit your file (e.g. Microsoft equation, Excel chart, PowerPoint presentation, etc.). When you press Esc, SuperMemo will display the file in the presentation mode (i.e. the way it will look during repetitions or on the computer of the users of your collection).

Please note that the pop-up menu in the OLE component is mode sensitive, i.e. it will display the OLE server pop-up menu in the editing mode and standard SuperMemo options in the presentation mode. In the presentation mode you will be able to use options such as Display At, Answer, etc. In the editing mode you will be able to use options depending on your OLE server (e.g. if your server is MS Excel, you will be able to use Cut, Copy, Format cells, etc.).

The simplest way to switch between presentation and editing modes is to choose one of the following:

  • Alt+click over the element display area
  • press Ctrl+T until you reach the OLE component
  • click the Editing mode button (blue-notebook) on the Edit toolbar (Ctrl+E)

In the picture below, an OLE component is used to import an editable mind-map created with Mind Manager (courtesy of John England, TeamLink Australia Pty Ltd):

SuperMemo: "6 steps to excellent memory" editable mind map created in Mind Manager and imported in an OLE component

In the picture below, an Excel spreadsheet is being edited inside SuperMemo (notice the standard Excel toolbars right below the navigation bar) via OLE in-place activation:

SuperMemo: An Excel spreadsheet being edited inside SuperMemo via OLE in-place activation

If your OLE server shows stability problems or does not work seamlessly with SuperMemo, your OLE file may still work fine in the presentation mode. You will be able to redistribute your collection without worrying about its performance on the user's machine.


You can use mind-maps with SuperMemo

{{#if: Pascal Heimlicher | From: Pascal Heimlicher | }} {{#if: Switzerland |
Country: Switzerland | }} {{#if: Tue, Aug 07, 2001 1:53 AM |
Sent: Tue, Aug 07, 2001 1:53 AM | }} {{#if: |
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Is there a possibility to learn with mindmaps I've created in MindManager. Where can I find a description?


If you would like to use mindmaps editable with Mind Manager via OLE, see: OLE component. You can also export mindmaps as graphic files and used them with image components. Some of users use Mind Manager. Remember to turn off the Scaled parameter in your template (on the element menu)

Learning large mind-maps

{{#if: Marcelo de Oliveira Azevedo | From: Marcelo de Oliveira Azevedo | }} {{#if: Brazil |
Country: Brazil | }} {{#if: Tuesday, August 20, 2002 1:02 AM |
Sent: Tuesday, August 20, 2002 1:02 AM | }} {{#if: |
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I'm having troubles with large mindmaps: I can't see the entire one. What's the solution?


If you are using mind-maps with OLE, their behavior will depend on the mind-map OLE server. If you are using mind-maps with HTML or with the image component, you can view the file with F9.

It is important to know that in active recall, you only need a small portion of your mind-map to efficiently execute your repetitions. Ideally, you should convert your mind-map to a graphic file and paste only small portions of this file as separate topics (alternatively, you can use the image component's zoom&trim mode). Then, you can use questions referring to individual portions of the map or use occlusion tests to cover parts of the map. Asking questions about the mind-map is by far simpler and often more effective. Occlusion tests are harder to build but easier to recall. Consequently, you may want to use occlusion tests on large volume material where speed of learning is more important than precise map recall.

In any case, large mindmap preview in SuperMemo should not be necessary

It is possible to use Acrobat Reader files with SuperMemo

{{#if: Mala Kaur | From: Mala Kaur | }} {{#if: |
Country: | }} {{#if: Tuesday, July 24, 2001 6:03 AM |
Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2001 6:03 AM | }} {{#if: |
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I wanted to import PDF files to SuperMemo for reading and copying certain items for further analysis. I initially tried to use Insert OLE object but I found OLE mechanisms unstable


Another approach is to use the web browser (HTML) component. Then use Insert HTML link : HTML file (on the HTML component pop-up menu) and link to the PDF file. Using this option the PDF file is not immediately visible as only files of type *.txt, *.htm, *.rtf are listed. To visualize the PDF files on your drive type in *.pdf in the file name field and they become visible in the File window. Naturally, you need to have Acrobat Reader installed to view the file in SuperMemo. You can, of course, copy the text with the tools provided for the PDF viewer and use it for further SuperMemo purposes. The same method works for Excel files, Word files, etc.

SuperMemo will often not be able to use a given server to display your data correctly

{{#if: Tomasz Szynalski | From: Tomasz Szynalski | }} {{#if: Poland |
Country: Poland | }} {{#if: Dec 2, 1998 |
Sent: Dec 2, 1998 | }} {{#if: |
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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?


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)