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Contents : Overviews
OLE Component

If you would like to display files created in MS Word, Excel, Corel, Microsoft Equation, PowerPoint, 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 a 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 three points:

  1. OLE button on the Compose toolbar
  2. Top-left corner of the area you want your OLE file displayed (in the element window)
  3. Bottom-right corner of the area you want your OLE file displayed

The OLE component will show as an empty rectangle. Important! In SuperMemo 2000, you will 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, Border, 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:

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

wpe1.jpg (68159 bytes)

Professional level

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

OLE components do not work well in Scaled elements (#6119)
(Leitnick, David, Thu, Dec 27, 2001 18:27)
I want to put Chinese characters in the question box. I've put the characters in MS Word and tried adding them via OLE. But the OLE objects get hidden behind the question and answer boxes. When I hit Learn button the question and answer boxes get resized so they are huge
You can try one of the following: 

  1. Turn off the Scaled attribute on the element menu. Depending on the application, OLE component may wrongly interpret its own coordinates in the Scaled mode. Unchecking Scaled makes sure the component does not try to recalculate its size 
  2. Use image components to represent Chinese texts. This is the best method if you do not need to reedit these texts. With GIF or JPG compression, you do not need to worry much about the size of your collection 
  3. Use HTML components with any HTML editor

You can use mind-maps with SuperMemo (#6029)
(Pascal Heimlicher, Switzerland, Tue, Aug 07, 2001 1:53 AM)
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 on this new Yahoo eGroup use Mind Manager. You could share the experience or simply browse their messages. Remember to turn off the Scaled parameter in your template (on the element menu)

It is possible to use Acrobat Reader files with SuperMemo (#5891)
(Mala Kaur, Tuesday, July 24, 2001 6:03 AM)
I wanted to import PDF files to SuperMemo for reading and copying certain items for further analysis. I initially tried to use Insert as an 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.

(Tomasz Szynalski, Poland, Dec 2, 1998)
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)