MasterHowToLearn

MasterHowToLearn

"Damn I Should've Done That Years Ago" (4): Adding Tables In SuperMemo

2019-04-20 2019-04-26 2020-11-17

I have many learning materials in table formats. Fortunately, I have stumped upon a solution to add tables into SuperMemo. In this article I will show you my way.

Previously, when I tried to add tables into SuperMemo, it would look like this:

Imported_Into_SuperMemo

All nice and easy.

Clozed_In_Green

After extraction. Weird… Green?

Weird_Result

Where’s my table?

You can smell trouble when the extracted text becomes green. The table format isn’t retained. My guess is that SuperMemo doesn’t retain the whole table structure since what is extracted isn’t a complete one.

Without a table format, I had been manually spacing the content. It took a lot of time and I hated the asymmetry:

Asymmetry

The following works:

Clozed_Table_Without_Header

You might ask, why not the above, but with a repeating header?

According to #4 “Stick to the minimum information principle” in Effective learning: Twenty rules of formulating knowledge, all the other rows are redundant; they’re not related to the clozed item. I don’t like them clustering my items.

I tried importing from HTML table generators, from a browser, from Excel’s HTML format. No luck. Finally, I realized that the table format is retained in Microsoft Word. Therefore, I have made an ahk script to split the tables with a recurrent header. Here’s my ahk script. As you can tell from the code, my script is very simple and specific; it serves a very particular purpose that probably doesn’t apply to you. I only show it to tell how simple an ahk script could automate such a boring task.

Note: You should add some space between each mini table to ensure that in SuperMemo, you are extracting the whole tables, not partial tables. However many lines between each mini table is up to you.

My Working Solution

1. Finalize your table in Microsoft Excel (in my case, add a header to every other row)

2. Copy and paste the Excel table to Microsoft Word

3. Use the ahk script to split the table into mini tables. You can adjust the font size, alignment and various table settings in Microsoft Word.

4. Copy and paste them into SuperMemo

Demonstration

Source_Material

Source

Word_Source

Word_Split_Result

Extracted_Result

Working_Result

Closing Remarks

I really like the symmetry from the table format. This just makes the elements a lot nicer to look at, not to mention it will also save me a lot of time. No more manually spacing the content to pretend it’s a table.