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How can I import PDF files to SuperMemo for incremental reading?


PDF is a proprietary format. SuperMemo does not support PDF natively. This has always made PDF materials harder to process than ordinary HTML text imported from the web.

There are five approaches that are most often used to process PDF incrementally. You will need to see which one is best for your particular material. It may happen that you will need to resort to mixed strategies and use different approaches to different texts. The five options are:

  1. Converters: using PDF to HTML converters to generate HTML text that can be read in SuperMemo. See: PDF to HTML converters
  2. Pictures: using page snapshots (e.g. with Print Screen) and employing visual learning. See: PDF and Visual Learning
  3. Manual: using copy and paste to copy PDF to SuperMemo page by page (or picture by picture). See: PDF Copy and Paste
  4. Google: using Google cache. See: PDF Google Cache
  5. Incremental: using an incremental approach to read-copy-and-paste while working with PDF in Acrobat called from SuperMemo. See: How to read PDF incrementally?
  6. OCR: using CDR to convert PDF to text. See: PDF and OCR

Conversion to HTML is most convenient and least expensive. However, some converters and/or some PDFs produce HTML that is quite different than the original, and/or difficult to process in SuperMemo (e.g. requiring extra filtering, or extra manual formatting). Page snapshots are a fast way to read and import pages that are difficult to convert or are read only (e.g. manuals that require a specific page layout). Copy and paste approach is best for articles that can easily be selected in their entirety and which do not contain too many pictures. Finally, the incremental approach is most natural for SuperMemo, however, instead of using read-points, the students needs to make a note where he or she stopped reading the text.

Read-points and Kami

Alternatively, in Chrome, for reading PDF in SuperMemo and remember the last read point use Kami extension in Chrome. Whenever your topic with PDF shows, you enter the component with PDF and it opens with the last read point. You don't have to manually write your last page. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nF_1TiXUvFI

PDF at SuperMemoPedia