Quick Start Tutorial

Input Easy

updated May 5, 2000

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler."

Albert Einstein

Here is an overview of the basic program structure.

File Open 

General File Info

Chapter/Section List

Fact List

Fact Entry


CPL Test



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 start automatically.

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 learning file)

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 press Enter.

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 a vacation.

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 the chapter

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 becomes smaller.

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 'Restart' button.

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 incorrect answer.

Definitely cool.


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 computer screen.

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 word processor.

5. Type in your example. If you have no example, simply leave one blank line.

It would look like the text between (not including) the following double lines.


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.

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