No Dedicated SuperMemo Shortcut Keys? Try Windows Access Keys

2019-06-20 2019-07-20 2020-11-06

Photo by Juan Gomez on Unsplash

Even though SuperMemo has more than 100 dedicated shortcut keys, it still doesn’t cover every operation. This article was inspired when I was trying to quickly add sound files to a lot of items. It turned out that SuperMemo doesn’t have a shortcut key for opening the sound registry, so I had to use the mouse, navigate to the main menu, Search > Sounds. It was quite tedious repeating the same mouse operation dozens of times. Then I realized SuperMemo supports Access Keys in Windows.

Access Keys in Windows

This source explains Windows access keys better than I do:

An access key gives you access to a command by pressing a specific key on the keyboard. Access keys appear on the menu by displaying the underscore character under the shortcut letter.

If you hold down the Alt key while pressing a keyboard letter corresponding to one of the underlined letters in the toolbar, it will trigger that command in the menu.

In the SuperMemo’s main menu, you can see there are letters underlined. So in my case, pressing Alt S → S quickly opens the sound registry for faster sound insertion.


SuperMemo-fu as in Google-fu

How much time is saved when using the access key (Alt S → S) rather than the mouse to open the sound registry? Probably a few seconds every time. Maybe it counts quite a lot over the long term. However, what counts more is the (relative) mastery of using SuperMemo. The whole SuperMemo experience is just more fluid and enjoyable by reducing inconvenient operations here and there.

It’s obvious that repetitive and mindless operations like adding sound waste a lot of time. They steal the precious time for the most important thing when using SuperMemo: actually learning. It is not easy to find the time and willpower to sit down and learn with SuperMemo every day. The majority of such time should be racking your brains to do your SuperMemo repetitions and Incremental Reading. It is highly unfortunate if this quality time is wasted on some preparation work like adding sound to items, importing articles, prettifying HTML etc. Although these are necessary and unavoidable operations for creating a good SuperMemo experience, you should still try to find ways to minimize the time spent or automate them, like in this case, using Windows access keys.