May 5, 2000
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one
Here is an overview of the basic program structure.
General File Info
When you start the program, you will see a screen called "Welcome
to Input Easy!".
Press the button called "Open New File". You will see the
learning file options. Choose a font you like and a color you like
and just accept the other options for now. Press the 'Done' button.
Now you see the Learning File Information screen. This information
will help you to be certain that you are in the right learning file.
It doesn't matter if you are using a single book, class notes, a
computer file or many books to create this learning file. It is not
necessary to put any information into this screen.
Tip: If you are using many sources and the 'Overview' area is too
cramped, put the information in the Journal, and put "see
Journal for more information" in the 'Overview' field.
Enter your name in the 'File Owner' field and a 'File/Book
Description'. Now press the 'Done' button at the bottom of your screen.
You are now back at the "Welcome to Input Easy!" screen.
Note that your 'File Owner' name, the color you chose, and the
'File/Book Description' are displayed in the font of your choice.
Press the button "Help". Every screen in Input Easy has a
'Help' button. There is no separate 'Help' file except for this
documentation. The F1 key does not work. The program is so simple
that it doesn't need a large help file.
Press the 'OK' button.
Press the 'Copyright © 2000 Andy Shaw' button. This is your
license agreement. Please read it carefully. You own the copyright on
any learning files you create. You can share, sell or trade your
files with anyone you wish. You can give other people a copy of the
program with your learning files. However, you cannot, charge for the
program or - please note - the distribution of the program.
Press the 'Done' button.
Press the 'Done - Exit Program' button.
Tip: to exit out of the program quickly, you can hold down the Alt
key and press the letter 'd' until you are out of the program.
You will be asked if you wish to save the current file. Press
"Yes" and save the file somewhere as 'testfile.iez'. (The
learning files must have the extension '.iez').
Tip: Windows® 95/98 - double click a learning file ('.iez'). You
will be asked what program to associate with the learning files. At
the bottom of that screen there is a button called 'Browse'. Simply
select the program file (inputez.exe or Input Easy.exe), and it will
be made it the default program for opening '.iez' files. After that,
you can just double-click on a learning file and the program will
Before we go to the next step, please note that it is very fast to
get into the program. If you are working with the last file you used,
the procedure will be:
1. Start the Program. (directly or with a double-click on a
2. Hit the Enter key twice.
Tip: If you start the program with your mouse, use your thumb to
press the Enter key in the lower right corner of the keyboard twice.
We will now do this slowly.
Restart the program. You are in the "Welcome to Input Easy!"
screen. The button 'Open Last File Used' is the default button. You
can click it with the mouse, or just hit the 'Enter' key.
You are in the 'Learning File Information' screen. At the bottom of
the screen you can see a button 'Work with Chapters'. Since it is the
default button, simply press the Enter key to continue.
Now you are in the screen where chapters are listed. This is where
you keep your "chapters". These chapters are just groups of
"facts". You could also call them "sections".
Press the 'Add' button. Enter a Description for the chapter and a
Prompt. Press 'Done'.
The chapter is now displayed in the list of chapters. Select the
chapter with the mouse and then press the 'Change' button. Add
something in the U-Status field, click the 'Summary' box and click
the 'Mastered' box. Note the single character codes after the words
"Summary" and "Mastered" . These are used in the
chapter list so that you can see the status of the chapter. Press Done.
Now you see in the list of chapters how the information about the
chapter is displayed. Later, after we add a fact, you will see that
the number of facts in the chapter will also be displayed.
Now, add another chapter. Call it "Chapter Just for
Formatting" and put '1' in the field for Indent Level. In the
learning file 'Options' you can set the number of blanks spaces to be
used for each indent level. Push the 'Options' button, set the number
of spaces per indent level you wish to have, Press 'Done' to exit the
Options screen, and press 'Done' to exit the Chapter Information screen.
You will see how the chapter has been moved over a bit to the right.
Now, select a chapter with the mouse and press the button 'Add/Edit
Chapter Facts'. The list of facts in this chapter will be displayed
here. You can add them one-by-one, or create a list of facts with
your word processor and load them all at once into Input Easy. For
now, we will use the one-by-one method.
Press the button marked 'Add'. You are now in the fact entry screen.
For the 'Question' put "Input Easy?", and for the 'Answer'
put "yes". Press Done.
Now add 2 more facts, giving them unique questions and answers. Note
that the new fact is inserted below the currently selected line each
time. If you wish to insert a fact somewhere, just click on that line
before you press 'Add'. Also: you can always move a fact later.
Now we learn the fast way to enter facts one-by-one. Click the Add
button, enter some question text, press Tab, enter some answer text,
press Tab, hit Enter twice. It goes:
If you are a decent typist this is very fast.
Tip: Questions should be long and answers should be short. This is
because it is much easier to remember a question than an assertion.
Now that we have some facts, let us go and try out the learning
functions. Press 'Done' to leave the 'Fact List' screen. You should
now see the list of chapters.
Note that the number of facts in the chapter is now displayed in the
chapter list. When a chapter has no facts, nothing will be displayed.
This is so that you can put empty (no facts) chapters in the list of
chapters to make the list easier to read.
Hit the 'Learn' button.
This next part takes a long time to describe and seconds to do! It is
a great warm-up exercise before using the Input Easy 'CPL Test' function.
If you do not know how to type, do not despair. There is an entire
section called Pencil and Paper coming up. Please read this next
section so that you have a good understanding of this function before
reading Pencil and Paper.
This learning activity has three functions:
1. familiarizing yourself with new facts in a very low-impact way
2. check that facts are displayed well in the various learning activities.
3. if relevant, it also helps you to learn how to type your new words
If you got the learning file from someone else and do not know the
facts, you can use this Learn function to get to know them
accurately. If you made the facts yourself and loaded them, you can
use this function for proof-reading and formatting (such as adjusting
the font size).
There is a button called 'Edit' which you can use at any time to edit
the displayed fact. You do not need to type anything in this learning
exercise. If you wish to quickly check out the facts and answers,
simply leave the bottom data entry area blank and hit Enter (or the
'Next' button) to see the next fact. There will be a 1.2 second
delay, and the next fact will be shown.
If you are learning about something, it is not unlikely that you will
eventually have to type about it (for instance, for a term paper or a report).
Going through the facts here will help you to master typing the new
words. This is particularly useful when learning foreign language words.
This learning exercise can help you use all three modes of learning
(touch, visual and acoustic) to learn your new facts. You see the
question and answer, you can say the question and answer out loud,
and then you can type them. This is maximum input for your mind.
Typing the answer ensures absolute accuracy in spelling, punctuation
and grammar. If you typed it wrong, it is usually because you have it
wrong in your mind or "in your fingers". The instant
feedback here will correct that information in your mind immediately.
You will never have a chance to learn and reinforce mistakes, which
means you will waste no time or effort later in unlearning information.
Multiply this small saving in time and energy by a million facts
(This is what a typical university graduate is expected to know!),
and it is easy to understand why accuracy and instant feedback at the
fact level are vital right from the very beginning.
To begin, simply hit Enter. The first fact is displayed - both the
question and the answer. All you do is type in the correct answer and
If your answer is correct there will be a 1.2 second delay before the
next fact is shown. This is a very important moment! This is the
moment where you congratulate yourself so that your mind will
emotionally anchor the knowledge, and mentally integrate the fact as
a unit before another fact pops up.
If the answer is not correct, you see the text you entered
highlighted. You can compare your entry with the correct answer. When
you see your inaccuracy you can do one of two things. You can simply
start typing to replace the highlighted text, or you can use the
keyboard/mouse to edit your answer until it is correct.
Once you are ready, press Enter (same as pressing the 'Next' button).
Even if you are a good typist, please read the next section Paper and
Pencil. There is information in here which is very useful.
Paper and Pencil
If you do not know how to type or simply do not wish to type, you can
still go through this learning activity. In fact, I recommend doing
the Pencil and Paper exercise at least once because it provides your
mind and body with one more context for the fact.
When a fact is displayed:
1. read the question and answer carefully.
2. read them out loud if this is possible.
3. write the answer on a piece of paper instead of typing in the answer.
4. check your answer carefully.
5. press the Enter key or the push the Next button
6. congratulate yourself on your new fact
Tip: there are two Enter keys on the keyboard. One is beside the
letter section, and one is in the lower right-hand corner of the
keyboard in the numbers section. If you move the keyboard out of the
way so that you have room for your paper, position the keyboard so
that it is convenient for you to reach one of these two Enter keys.
Now we are done with the 'Learn' screen. Press the 'Done' button.
Normally, you would now do the 'CPL Test', but for the Quick Start
Tutorial we will use the 'Review' button next.
Press the button marked 'Review'.
Review is a slide show activity and involves no typing at all. It is
for an easy and comfortable ("heads up, back straight, no
keyboard or mouse activity") review of facts and a wonderful
help if you must relearn some information. Examples of this could be
academic material after a summer break, a foreign language you
haven't used for a while, the names and functions of staff at a
branch office, or the names of all your customers (or students) after
When you press the 'Play' button, the question will be shown, there
will be a delay, the answer will be shown, and there will be another
delay. The delay uses the values you enter for your reading speed in
the learning file 'Options' to calculate the delay. There is a
minimum delay time for the question, a delay "per character"
time for longer questions, and the same for answers.
If you find the facts are being displayed too fast, press the
'Slower' button. If the facts are being displayed too slow, press the
'Faster' button. Each time you press one of these buttons, the
reading speed values will adjusted by 10%. If this doesn't work
sufficiently well, push the 'Options' button and manually adjust the
reading speed values. After a very short while, you will know what
values here work best for you.
Using this function, you can sit comfortably and review about 10
facts per minute. It is even faster if you are just reviewing words
and phrases. In other words, you can review a 2000 word foreign
language vocabulary in about 2 or 3 hours. With the convenience of a
small program, a small learning file, and a low impact 'no hands'
method you can do this review just before leaving on a trip, on the
airplane or in your hotel room when your jet-lag is keeping you awake.
Now press the 'Play' button to begin.
So here you are reviewing your 2000 words and phrases and you see one
you wish to practice. Press the 'Pause' button, say it out loud if
possible and write down the fact (question and answer) on a piece of
paper. Now press 'Play' again.
At the end of the 2 or 3 hours you will have a list of words. These
are the words on your personal "critical path" at that
moment in time. You have accomplished two things:
1. You have reinforced - in context - knowledge which you know well.
2. You have identified exactly and precisely the knowledge that you
personally don't yet feel completely confident with.
By working with your "critical path" list for a couple of
days, you should be speaking that language at least as well as you
ever did - even if you haven't spoken it for years.
You can also switch the question and answer, showing the answer first
and the question second. For instance, you could review your
vocabulary English word first, German word second. Now switch them
and get German word first and English word second. Give your file to
a German friend, and they can learn English while you are learning
German with the same file! Then get together and help each other with pronunciation.
The same principles apply for any type of knowledge.
We are finished with the 'Review' function. Press 'Done' to return to
the list of chapters.
Now we will look at the 'CPL Test'. CPL stands for Critical Path
Learning. This is a very powerful learning tool. Press the button
marked 'CPL Test'.
Let's start with someone who can type. Even if you can't type, please
read this section.
As you can now see, in this section you can
1. show the facts in random order or in the same order as they are in
2. switch the question and answer
3. override CPL tracking by pressing the "I know this fact" box.
These three functions are important and useful, but CPL does more.
Most people are a bit shocked the first time they use this function.
They have studied the information, entered the information, and
edited the information in 'Learn'. This is more than they usually do
to learn material. They are confident that they have a good grasp of
the information. Then they do this testing and realize how many of
the facts they still do not know correctly.
You will not need to experience this feeling twice to realize how
useful this function is to allow you to prove to yourself that you
really do have a good grasp of the information.
Press the Enter key to display the first fact.
Now type in the correct answer, and press Enter.
If you get the answer correct, there will be a short delay and the
next fact will be shown. As I said before, this is an important
moment! It is where you congratulate yourself to provide an emotional
anchor for the knowledge. If this is the first time you have tried
the fact and you got the answer correct, you will not see that fact
again during this CPL test. You will have reinforced your correct
knowledge, and the list of facts remaining to test automatically
If you did not get the answer correct, a number of things happen:
1. The fact is automatically put on your Critical Path. From here on
in, the program will keep showing you that fact until you enter it
correctly twice in a row, or until you mark it manually with the 'I
know this fact' box.
2. The fact will be written into a CPL disk file for this learning
file. The CPL file is created new every time you open a specific
learning file. The name of the file is the same as the file name for
the learning file, but instead of '.iez' at the end it is called
'.txt'. Each fact will be written only once, independent of how many
times you enter it inaccurately. You can then print this file with
your word processor, or simply go back to the chapters list screen
and Import it as a new chapter. You can then invest some time working
only with your CPL facts. This is very powerful and can save you a
lot of study time.
3. What you typed in will be changed to the correct answer and
highlighted. This way, you won't even see your incorrect answer
anymore. It doesn't matter what your mistake was. You want to learn
the correct answer, not study your mistakes. You can start
over-typing the correct answer and press Enter when you are finished
(recommended for best reinforcement), or you can simply press the
Enter key to continue.
If you are stuck for an answer, just press the Enter key and it will
be shown to you. This causes the fact to be put on your Critical Path.
If you just want a hint, press the 'Hint' button. It will show you a
part of the correct answer as long as the length of the text already
entered plus one character. You can press the 'Hint' button several
times in a row to keep adding characters. If there is no text
entered, 'Hint' will start by showing you the first character in the
correct answer. The fact automatically becomes a CPL fact.
What will you have accomplished?
1. You will have reinforced - in context - facts that you already know.
2. You will have seen all the facts together as a coherent learning unit.
3. You will have double-reinforced any facts which you did not know
or type accurately.
4. You will have created a "critical path" disk file
containing only the facts which you entered incorrectly. You can
print the file and study it on paper, or Import into the Input Easy
chapter list as a new chapter and concentrate on mastering only those
facts which you have not yet mastered.
Remember: Every learning file will have its own CPL disk file. This
file is emptied every time you open the learning file. After you have
opened the learning file, it doesn't matter how many times you do a
learning exercise or what facts you work with, a fact will never be
written into the file twice. You can Import the file directly into
Input Easy for targeted study, or you can print it out for targeted
study. There is no faster way to master a body of facts than this.
Facts are never deleted in CPL Test. The CPL status of all facts is
reset every time you enter CPL Test, and every time you press the
Now, for the Pencil and Paper way to use CPL Test. I recommend doing
this exercise even if you are a strong typist.
You will use two lists. One will be for your answers, and the other
one will be your "critical path" list.
Press Next to show the first fact. Write down your answer. Press
Enter to see the correct answer. Check your answer.
If you answer is correct, click on the box 'I know this fact' and
press the Next button (or just press Enter).
If your answer is not correct, write the question and correct answer
on the second list (your "critical path" list) for later
study and practice.
With pencil and paper, there is no faster way to master a body of facts.
Now we are done with the 'CPL Test'. Press the 'Done' button to
return to the chapter list screen.
You've mastered all your facts. Now it's time for&ldots; The Big Exam!
(This is another one of those things that takes lots of words to
explain and seconds to do.)
Among the buttons on the top of this screen there are two called
'Create Exam' and 'Study Sheet'.
'Create Exam' will create two text (.txt) files. On is a nicely
numbered exam file with all of the questions in this learning file,
organized by chapter. The other file is the answer sheet containing
the questions and the correct answers. The answer file matches the
question file line for line. To check your answers "by hand"
you can simply fold the answer sheet in half (length-wise) and set
it on top of the question sheet, or put the files side-by-side on
your computer screen.
Press the 'Create Exam' button at the top left corner of the screen.
Take a look at the options available (teachers love this). Press
'Continue'. Choose a directory and enter a filename (maximum 6
characters) for your new question and answer sheet. Press 'OK'.
You may not wish to do this right now, but I will include the next
step for completeness.
Let's start with someone who can type.
1. You load the question file into your word processor.
2. (If necessary, you set the font and font size to a comfortable setting).
3. You enter your answers under the questions.
4. You save the file back to its original location and with the same
file name as a "Text Only" file.
5. You close the file in your word processor (otherwise, you word
processor will keep it "locked")
Tip: The Input Easy test files, answer files and CPL files all have
the name of the font in the first line of the text. You can 'copy and
paste' this into the font selection field in your word processor.
Copy the font name, select all the text, paste the font name into the
font name field, and press Enter.
Now you want to check your answers. This is very simple.
Press the 'Study Sheet' button. Tell Input Easy which question file
you would like checked. Press 'OK'.
Your file will be compared to the answer sheet, and a CPL study sheet
will be created for you automatically. The CPL study sheet will
contain only the questions and answers of:
1. questions you did not answer at all
2. questions where your answer was incorrect, including your
1. Load this new study sheet file into your word processor
2. Set the font
3. Edit it if you wish.
4. Print it out
This is very, very handy and effective.
If you can't type, don't wish to type, or you are preparing for a
paper test, then use the following Pencil and Paper method.
1. Create the test as above.
2. Print it out
3. Write you answers.
Now, to check your answers "by hand" you can:
1. simply print out the answer sheet, fold it in half (length-wise)
and set it on top of the question sheet, or
2. load the answer sheet into your word processor and view it on your
Here again, it is a good idea to make yourself a "critical
path" learning sheet. Any questions which you did not answer,
and any questions you answered incorrectly should be put on a
separate list. This allows you to concentrate your efforts and save time.
These are the basics of Input Easy. The software has several other
important features, but these are the key ones. On every screen there
is a Help button. I recommend you read the help for every screen when
you are just starting out.
It is useful to read about the "Theory of Learning" (ATOL)
, the method "Critical Path Learning" (CPL), and to read
the examples, but it is not necessary. I do highly recommend the
"Amazing Tips". This short section is information from
other sources which may prove incredibly useful to you.
The Next Level&ldots;Entering Thousands of Facts
There are several places where you can get facts. Wherever you get
them (Internet, computer files, manually by taking notes from
lectures or textbooks), you can enter, spell check and format them
extremely fast using your word processor and Import them into Input Easy.
If you really do not know how to type, you can consider voice entry
software. But beware! The software must let you s-p-e-l-l the words
in directly. I was unpleasantly surprised when I found out my voice
recognition software didn't support this elegantly. It helps if you
can also define the aviation alphabet for better recognition accuracy
(c sounds like b sounds like t sounds like e, but charlie, bravo,
tango, echo is clear). Learning the aviation alphabet is also handy
when you have to spell something over the phone.
Be careful with copyrights!
In some cases, it is a nuisance to someone if you tell them that you
are using their file (no copyright), in some cases it is a courtesy
to tell someone that you are using their file (no copyright), in some
cases it is necessary to get or buy permission (copyright), in some
cases (where you are adding significant value to the material) you
own the copyright and don't have to tell anyone, anything. Your local
library will have excellent books on the subject. If you have access
to a copyright lawyer, you could check with them (the first meeting
is usually free). You don't want people infringing on your own
copyrighted material, so you know how "they" feel. For
instance, this book and the software are copyrighted.
By the way, copyrights are automatic and free. You don't need a
lawyer. The old copyright trick, well known to musicians and authors,
is to put your work (both the diskette and a printed version) into an
envelope, mail it to yourself by registered mail - and DO NOT open
the envelope again. Just put it in your treasure box with your old
trophies (or, which I highly recommend, a safety deposit box) and you
will have sufficient proof in the case of a dispute.
Now, back to our fact entry. Basically, you create an Import file
with the content of a new "chapter". If you wish, you can
have all of your facts in one big file, Import it, and then use the
Export/Import function to copy it. In Add/Edit Facts you can choose
many facts to delete at the same time. This can actually be faster
than using your word processor to create separate files per chapter.
Alternately, you can create a bunch of chapter files to import, then
Import them one at a time.
How to do it.
1. Open a word processor file.
2. IMPORTANT: The first line of the file is the name you wish your
chapter to have.
3. Type in your question. It cannot be more than one paragraph in
your word processor.
4. Type in your answer. It cannot be more than one paragraph in your
5. Type in your example. If you have no example, simply leave one
It would look like the text between (not including) the following
This is My Chapter with 1,000 Facts
What is the name of this planet?
Are you sure?
What color is the sky?
blue, sometimes gray
What is the purpose of an example?
The next line is the name of a sound file to be used as the example
for this fact.
How will the program find the directory containing the multimedia files?
You use the 'Options' button to tell Input Easy where your multimedia
files for this particular learning file are located.
Can I put in a very long answer which is probably too long and I will
have to shorten because I want to be able to see all of the question
text on my screen, but I don't want to use a tiny, little font?
Notice the blank line after the last answer, which is a place-holder
for the fact example. If this line is not there, the last question
will not be imported.
Now save the file as a "Text Only" text file (for instance, earth.txt).
Import the file from the Chapter List screen in Input Easy.
And there's more&ldots;
If you wish, you can append a chapter of facts to an existing
chapter. You do this in the 'Add/Edit Facts' screen. There is a
button called 'Import and Append'. The chapter heading must be the
first line of the file, but it will not be used for the 'Import and
Append' operation. Only the facts will be imported.
What can go wrong?
Check your imports carefully!
1. The first time you try Import with a large number of facts, you
may experience the infamous munched import. This looks rather odd.
This usually means that somewhere in your file, the order
"question/answer/example" is not accurate. You will be able
to tell exactly where the problem is by looking at the first munched
fact. Delete the chapter in the learning file, edit your text file
and try again.
Make sure that you take a quick look at the entire list of facts you
import to be certain that nothing went wrong.
2. Special fonts and characters can behave in mysterious ways. For
instance, in the "LeedsBit PaliTranslit" font, the ñ
character gets eaten by the word processor while making a text file
and replaced with a dash. After import, you can simply type it in
again, and it displays fine. It can sometimes be necessary to fix
special characters after Import. You can consider using the one-by-one
fact entry method if this is a big issue for your font, but usually
it will be faster to simply edit the affected facts in Input Easy and
repair the characters.
3. If you are:
a. using a word processor
b. save your file as a text file, and
c. do not close the file in the word processor
d. your word processor will have a lock on the file and you will not
be able to open it with Input Easy. Input Easy will say "Unable
to Open File".
This can be very scary if you have created a large list of facts for
the first time, and you do not know about it. Make certain that you
close the document in your word processor before you try and Import
it into Input Easy.