PDF Copy and Paste

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Summary

SuperMemo does not support PDF. One of the methods to use PDF is SuperMemo is by copy and paste (see below).

For other methods see: PDF in SuperMemo

Copy and Paste

Some PDF texts paste whole chapters pretty well with little extra text/code (e.g. page headings). Some PDFs respond well to Ctrl+A (for selecting all text) and Copy with Formatting (right click). Usually, Acrobat will not let you do multipage selections that would paste to SuperMemo fast and nicely. You may even get annoyed with your attempts to copy a multicolumn portion of a single page. You will get one column selected, middle of the second, and the ending of the third. Other double-column texts will paste as a mix of both columns per line. Sometimes pasting multi-column texts is not possible. This means that you will often need to go from page to page, or even column to column, and repeat copy&paste. That can take ages. Similarly, pictures do not copy as part of HTML. So you need to copy&paste pictures separately. Here again, when Acrobat will not let you copy pictures easily, you can just use Print Screen, paste to SuperMemo and trim&crop in SuperMemo (see: visual learning). Tables are usually best processed as pictures (they import poorly to HTML). Some PDF documents do not even allow of selecting texts. In those cases you will need to resort to PDF visual learning too. Sometimes you may just give up and read the article straight without bothering about doing it incrementally, or look for alternative texts, or just give up reading altogether. You can also read the article using traditional methods, and copy to SuperMemo only the portions that you would normally extract within SuperMemo.

Hints

  • Selecting text in Acrobat

Question: Is there a method to "humanely" select text in Acrobat? When I try to select a piece from one column, a neighboring column gets selected too. If a sensible selection was possible, at least copy&paste with SuperMemo could be used! Answer: If you press Alt in Acrobat Reader, selection of a rectangular area will be possible. However, it is then not possible to skip endings of the preceding sentence or the beginning of the succeeding sentence if they both fall into the rectangle

  • Improving text flow in SuperMemo: After pasting text from Acrobat to SuperMemo, it will often be jagged, disrupted, wrongly formatted, etc. Converting short passages to plain text often dramatically improves readability. The shortcut is Ctrl+Shift+F12