Sentence flashcard creation?

#1
First, since this is my first post, let me give the obligatory "I love Pleco!" out of the way. As a beginner to Mandarin I have plowed my way through Pimsleur, Rosetta, Pod, Popup, FSI, Tuttle Flashcards, Anki, and several online dictionaries and apps. While many of those proved to be helpful and good in many ways, I must say I have a special place in my heart for the little blue fish, Pleco is my favorite weapon in my arsenal of weapons with which I attack Mandarin.

I only have one knock on Pleco, the flashcard system. I find it incredibly unintuitive and confusing. I don't grasp what a lot of the setting are for and wish there was a simplified interface to go along with an optional "advanced" interface for when I eventually become a poweruser.

My question is, and I did search these forums but did not find an answer, is how do I create sentence flashcards? I've read through the excellent post on using flashcards created by llamamama, and she mentions using sentence flashcards. How do I create those? Pleco doesn't recognize sentences, just vocabulary and I have no clue how to create a 'custom' flashcard. Help please!
 
#2
Well I think I have it figured out in case someone else has the same question. Very confusing and took some trial and error. llamamama actually did mention it in her post, but I missed it and still didn't 'get it' until I got it to work for myself.

When you are in the dictionary screen you will see a pencil icon on the bottom row. You must hold this icon down, not tap it. If you tap it, it will take you to a dictionary entry creation screen. If you hold it, it will take you to a custom flashcard creation screen which will let you select the category (or deck) to save it in which is listed at the bottom of the screen. You can type up any sentences and answers you want in this custom flashcard creation screen. If there is a better way of doing this or if I am doing something incorrectly, please point it out, but this was the only method I found for doing this.

Hope this helps someone who sometimes struggles with the subtleties of Pleco like I do. Pleco is wonderful, but could certainly become more user-friendly, especially with setting up and creating flashcards. Maybe if you tap-held the "+" sign, it could offer a "Create Custom Card" option. Would seem more intuitive to me.

Would also like to be able to set up a simple Flashcard test where I basically just had to choose 1) which categories to pull from 2) how many cards or how much time to run the test for. Maybe call it a 'Quick Session' and have it run in a standard random or repitition spaced format.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
#3
Hopfrog said:
Well I think I have it figured out in case someone else has the same question. Very confusing and took some trial and error. llamamama actually did mention it in her post, but I missed it and still didn't 'get it' until I got it to work for myself.
Sorry for the confusion. (and llamamama is actually a "he", though the username doesn't make that clear :) )

Hopfrog said:
When you are in the dictionary screen you will see a pencil icon on the bottom row. You must hold this icon down, not tap it. If you tap it, it will take you to a dictionary entry creation screen. If you hold it, it will take you to a custom flashcard creation screen which will let you select the category (or deck) to save it in which is listed at the bottom of the screen. You can type up any sentences and answers you want in this custom flashcard creation screen. If there is a better way of doing this or if I am doing something incorrectly, please point it out, but this was the only method I found for doing this.
The more straightforward way is to go into "Organize Cards" and tap on the "New Card" button at the bottom of the screen. Either way works just as well, though, the pencil button shortcut was added for the benefit of some people who like to create lots and lots of custom cards and don't want to have to change tabs to do so.

Hopfrog said:
Hope this helps someone who sometimes struggles with the subtleties of Pleco like I do. Pleco is wonderful, but could certainly become more user-friendly, especially with setting up and creating flashcards. Maybe if you tap-held the "+" sign, it could offer a "Create Custom Card" option. Would seem more intuitive to me.
We could add it as an option in the + menu, I suppose, but right now that tap-hold gesture is reserved for selecting which category to put your new card into, which is a more widely-used function. To be honest, custom flashcards are a little-used-enough feature that it's hard to justify putting them in a more prominent location - it might be user-friendly for you, but for anybody not interested in that feature it's one more confusing button to deal with. It's a tricky balance between user-friendliness and lots of options.

Hopfrog said:
Would also like to be able to set up a simple Flashcard test where I basically just had to choose 1) which categories to pull from 2) how many cards or how much time to run the test for. Maybe call it a 'Quick Session' and have it run in a standard random or repitition spaced format.
That should actually already be what happens with the default "Simple" flashcard profile - choose your categories, number of cards, and what part of the card you want to be initially visible on the main Flashcard Testing screen and you don't really have to deal with any of the other options screens; again, we're trying to balance user-friendliness with feature-richness.
 
#4
Ah, my apologies to llamapapa...errr...mama... moving on

The pencil shortcut is much appreciated, no way would I want to juggle back and forth between the dictionary and the Flashcards menu when creating custom cards.

I suppose I am happy with the way it is now, well, since I know how to use it. But honestly, I had no idea I could create "sentence" flashcards. I thought I was limited to just adding things that came up in the dictionary and I have been a Pleco user since pretty much day one. I love having everything (dictionary, OCR, flashcards) in one spot (Pleco!) and not having to juggle a bunch of other programs so I am kicking myself a bit by not knowing it was there all along. I must have missed it somewhere, but even in scanning over the Flashcard tutorial just now I don't see this spelled out. I consider it a vital feature, and think it should be added to the tutorial at the very least.

I like the idea of spaced repetition testing and this is why I have never used the "Simple" option so I will try it out. Again, apologies if I am missing it, but does the "Simple" option incorporate some form of Spaced Repetition or just limit you to the number of new card exposure? I want my cake and I want to eat it too! If spaced repetition is already incorporated into "Simple", problem solved.... But for the life of me I cannot setup "Spaced Repeition" testing to work the way I want it too... it seems no matter what parameters I set the test goes on forever, or at least until I tire of it.

Pleco on the iPad is bliss. I love watching Chinese TV with the iPad on my lap and have gotten pretty good at HWR while watching the TV, a testament to how great the HWR works in Pleco. Again though, I just find a lot of the Flashcard setup confusing. It seems everything I want is already in place so maybe just a more complete tutorial is needed, but as someone who has hand built several computers I consider myself to be tech savvy and not easily confused by many apps, so that coupled with my passion for the product is why I am taking the time to bring up these issues. If it is confusing to me, I feel a lot of others might be a bit baffled as well. :shock:
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
#5
Hopfrog said:
I suppose I am happy with the way it is now, well, since I know how to use it. But honestly, I had no idea I could create "sentence" flashcards. I thought I was limited to just adding things that came up in the dictionary and I have been a Pleco user since pretty much day one. I love having everything (dictionary, OCR, flashcards) in one spot (Pleco!) and not having to juggle a bunch of other programs so I am kicking myself a bit by not knowing it was there all along. I must have missed it somewhere, but even in scanning over the Flashcard tutorial just now I don't see this spelled out. I consider it a vital feature, and think it should be added to the tutorial at the very least.
Fair point - to be honest it feels so awkward in its current form that we're a bit embarrassed by it (really should attempt to automatically fill in the opposite character set + Pinyin, even if that involves a prompt to choose between versions), but I suppose knowing about it is better than not knowing.

Hopfrog said:
I like the idea of spaced repetition testing and this is why I have never used the "Simple" option so I will try it out. Again, apologies if I am missing it, but does the "Simple" option incorporate some form of Spaced Repetition or just limit you to the number of new card exposure? I want my cake and I want to eat it too! If spaced repetition is already incorporated into "Simple", problem solved.... But for the life of me I cannot setup "Spaced Repeition" testing to work the way I want it too... it seems no matter what parameters I set the test goes on forever, or at least until I tire of it.
"Simple" does a little tiny bit of SRS in that it weights new / unlearned cards a bit more heavily and tries to avoid overwhelming you with too many at once, but it doesn't carefully calculate repetition spacings or anything like that. What you want - choose how many cards to review - isn't really possible with a proper SRS system; the whole idea of SRS is that you review each card at a particular interval designed to optimize your recall of it, so if you go a while without reviewing you'll have a lot of cards that are overdue for study, and if you review again too soon you'll have very few cards.

Hopfrog said:
Pleco on the iPad is bliss. I love watching Chinese TV with the iPad on my lap and have gotten pretty good at HWR while watching the TV, a testament to how great the HWR works in Pleco. Again though, I just find a lot of the Flashcard setup confusing. It seems everything I want is already in place so maybe just a more complete tutorial is needed, but as someone who has hand built several computers I consider myself to be tech savvy and not easily confused by many apps, so that coupled with my passion for the product is why I am taking the time to bring up these issues. If it is confusing to me, I feel a lot of others might be a bit baffled as well. :shock:
We really need to redesign the UI for it, actually - embrace the SRS aspects of it more and try to do a better job of making them easy to understand and customize than we do now. Flashcard improvements are our main focus for 2012 so you should see a lot of them show up over the course of the year.
 
#6
mikelove said:
We really need to redesign the UI for it, actually - embrace the SRS aspects of it more and try to do a better job of making them easy to understand and customize than we do now. Flashcard improvements are our main focus for 2012 so you should see a lot of them show up over the course of the year.
:D

Perfect! As my knowledge of Mandarin has deepened, so has my knowledge of Pleco's features and if I could have crafted one paragraph that I wanted to hear come from the developer(s), it is the one I just quoted above.

Also, another suggestion to consider. I would love to see the scoring system (correct/incorrect) a bit more streamlined and logical. I feel like I am wasting an incredible amount of time in figuring out where I am supposed to touch. It always baffles me that I touch the same place for either perfectly knowing something or not knowing something at all. I like to fly through flashcards and I have a hard time doing that with Pleco. I feel like I am always trying to decipher a formula whenever I score a card. I understand the logic I think, putting the extreme of "correct" or "incorrect" at a certain place, but it always baffles me. I think it might be more logical to always go from bottom to top (or left to right) in the logical way that my knowledge rises.

That way, whether I hit incorrect or correct I can always score it on a scale that corresponds to how much knowledge of the card I have, like a rising thermometer. Right now I constantly am double checking, whereas with my method, I think you could instinctively go through the cards without having to consciously look at the score. On that note, maybe add a colored background to the score to indicate you are going from cold to warmer. Incorrect don't know = Blue, Correct remembered perfectly = red.... with shades in between for the others.

Thanks for the feedback, it really helped clear a lot of things up. Sounds like "Simple" will do what I need it to do for the time being, and I see your point about how spaced repitition won't properly work with my parameters in "Simple"s current form. Thanks again and looking forward to the Flashcard overhaul.
 
#7
mikelove said:
Fair point - to be honest it feels so awkward in its current form that we're a bit embarrassed by it (really should attempt to automatically fill in the opposite character set + Pinyin, even if that involves a prompt to choose between versions), but I suppose knowing about it is better than not knowing.
Excellent.. my master plan to embarrass you into providing better support for sentence-length flashcards is working!

Also, another suggestion to consider. I would love to see the scoring system (correct/incorrect) a bit more streamlined and logical. I feel like I am wasting an incredible amount of time in figuring out where I am supposed to touch. It always baffles me that I touch the same place for either perfectly knowing something or not knowing something at all. I like to fly through flashcards and I have a hard time doing that with Pleco. I feel like I am always trying to decipher a formula whenever I score a card. I understand the logic I think, putting the extreme of "correct" or "incorrect" at a certain place, but it always baffles me. I think it might be more logical to always go from bottom to top (or left to right) in the logical way that my knowledge rises.
I believe there are options buried somewhere in a flashcards scoring menu labeled "654/321","456/321" etc. which will help you order the scores to your liking. I vaugely remember complaining about this issue a long time ago and Mike added an option. It's the fans like us with perfectly reasonable requests (and Mike's tireless efforts to 'do the right thing') that are responsible for most of the rat's nest of options in Pleco.

Sometimes I feel guilty for helping clutter up Pleco's menus, but then again I'm sure each of those options has a person somewhere out there who absolutely couldn't live without it. Like the tap-hold on the pencil =)

And about the name... yeah when I was 10 I apparently thought it was cool and ironic if you were pwned by a "llama" who was your "mama" or something like that... sadly those handles have a way of sticking around. Better than "Cooldude89" I suppose...
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
#8
Hopfrog said:
Also, another suggestion to consider. I would love to see the scoring system (correct/incorrect) a bit more streamlined and logical. I feel like I am wasting an incredible amount of time in figuring out where I am supposed to touch. It always baffles me that I touch the same place for either perfectly knowing something or not knowing something at all. I like to fly through flashcards and I have a hard time doing that with Pleco. I feel like I am always trying to decipher a formula whenever I score a card. I understand the logic I think, putting the extreme of "correct" or "incorrect" at a certain place, but it always baffles me. I think it might be more logical to always go from bottom to top (or left to right) in the logical way that my knowledge rises.
As llammamama points out, there's already an option for that - Flashcard Testing / Scoring / Button layout. IIRC there was a post about a month ago arguing how silly it is that we make that user-configurable (can't seem to find it now), so thanks for demonstrating why it isn't :)

Hopfrog said:
That way, whether I hit incorrect or correct I can always score it on a scale that corresponds to how much knowledge of the card I have, like a rising thermometer. Right now I constantly am double checking, whereas with my method, I think you could instinctively go through the cards without having to consciously look at the score. On that note, maybe add a colored background to the score to indicate you are going from cold to warmer. Incorrect don't know = Blue, Correct remembered perfectly = red.... with shades in between for the others.
I've been wary of going too multicolored ever since an early Pleco 2.0 beta on Palm/WM came under a lot of criticism for having extremely multicolored icons; still, I suppose just a green or red tint to the buttons wouldn't do too much harm. I'd be more inclined to go with that (green = correct) than your hot/cold spectrum since it's already what we use in fill-in-the-blanks and stroke order tests (and a little bit in multi-choice too).

Hopfrog said:
Thanks for the feedback, it really helped clear a lot of things up. Sounds like "Simple" will do what I need it to do for the time being, and I see your point about how spaced repitition won't properly work with my parameters in "Simple"s current form. Thanks again and looking forward to the Flashcard overhaul.
No problem! Appreciate your thoughts on this.

llammamama said:
Excellent.. my master plan to embarrass you into providing better support for sentence-length flashcards is working!
Well it got us to go out and license that lovely new TTS engine anyway...

llammamama said:
Sometimes I feel guilty for helping clutter up Pleco's menus, but then again I'm sure each of those options has a person somewhere out there who absolutely couldn't live without it. Like the tap-hold on the pencil =)
Yep, if you ever find an option that seems unnecessary just dig around the forum archives and you're almost guaranteed to find somebody presenting a passionate and well-reasoned argument for why we should add it :)
 
#9
llammamama said:
I believe there are options buried somewhere in a flashcards scoring menu labeled "654/321","456/321" etc. which will help you order the scores to your liking. I vaugely remember complaining about this issue a long time ago and Mike added an option. It's the fans like us with perfectly reasonable requests (and Mike's tireless efforts to 'do the right thing') that are responsible for most of the rat's nest of options in Pleco.

Sometimes I feel guilty for helping clutter up Pleco's menus, but then again I'm sure each of those options has a person somewhere out there who absolutely couldn't live without it. Like the tap-hold on the pencil =)
Thanks a ton, and glad to see that it is an option. The default method may work better for some, but I absolutely need to flip it. Also, a big thanks for cluttering up the menus because those are things I have found to be of absolute necessity! Granted, the trick seems to be integrating all of these great ideas into a streamlined uncluttered system, but cluttered and functional I will take anyday over wishing there was a feature I needed, and big thanks to the dev team for including these things even if it means jamming them in a few cogs and cleaning it up later.

mikelove said:
I suppose just a green or red tint to the buttons wouldn't do too much harm. I'd be more inclined to go with that (green = correct) than your hot/cold spectrum
A slight, subtle tint would absolutely do the trick and would be a better look. The color choice wouldn't matter much as long as it's logical and green=correct would work just fine. The more sensory cues one has, the easier it is to trigger the right parts of the brain in an efficient manner. One has to go no further than look at a modern gaming console controller to see how they incorporate both color and symbols/letters into the scheme to help trigger the brain as quickly as possible and for flashcard study, efficiency is a top priority. Use your alloted time with more efficiency = more flashcards = more knowledge acquisition..... a giant productive growing and rolling snowball.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
#10
Hopfrog said:
Thanks a ton, and glad to see that it is an option. The default method may work better for some, but I absolutely need to flip it. Also, a big thanks for cluttering up the menus because those are things I have found to be of absolute necessity! Granted, the trick seems to be integrating all of these great ideas into a streamlined uncluttered system, but cluttered and functional I will take anyday over wishing there was a feature I needed, and big thanks to the dev team for including these things even if it means jamming them in a few cogs and cleaning it up later.
Glad to hear it! And we've certainly taken some criticism over UI clutter, but we've been doing it since our very first product launch and we've been selling Chinese dictionary software for 10 years now so it seems to be a successful strategy for us :)

Hopfrog said:
A slight, subtle tint would absolutely do the trick and would be a better look. The color choice wouldn't matter much as long as it's logical and green=correct would work just fine. The more sensory cues one has, the easier it is to trigger the right parts of the brain in an efficient manner. One has to go no further than look at a modern gaming console controller to see how they incorporate both color and symbols/letters into the scheme to help trigger the brain as quickly as possible and for flashcard study, efficiency is a top priority. Use your alloted time with more efficiency = more flashcards = more knowledge acquisition..... a giant productive growing and rolling snowball.
Quite right, and with flashcards almost anything to reduce the mental burden of figuring out what's going on is justified if it lets you focus a little more on learning. (though that's not entirely true about consoles - Microsoft yes, but with Sony it's kind of an afterthought - the colors seem to have been selected more to look nice than to convey information, red and purple are way too similar - and Nintendo ignored it altogether in their early systems, used it only to differentiate *kinds* of buttons on the N64 and GameCube, and then went back to ignoring it altogether in the Wii)
 
#11
As someone with a red-green colour deficiency, such an implementation would be good as long as the red and green were distinctly different. Simple to do on iOS, trickier to do on the massive range of handsets and potential colour balances you get with Android.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
#12
Vzzzbx said:
As someone with a red-green colour deficiency, such an implementation would be good as long as the red and green were distinctly different. Simple to do on iOS, trickier to do on the massive range of handsets and potential colour balances you get with Android.
Quite right, which is why we normally either make those colors customizable (as they are for stroke order tests) or add some other subtle visual cue (like the double-thick black border around incorrect characters in fill-in-the-blanks tests).
 
#14
Well I think I have it figured out in case someone else has the same question. Very confusing and took some trial and error. llamamama actually did mention it in her post, but I missed it and still didn't 'get it' until I got it to work for myself.

When you are in the dictionary screen you will see a pencil icon on the bottom row. You must hold this icon down, not tap it. If you tap it, it will take you to a dictionary entry creation screen. If you hold it, it will take you to a custom flashcard creation screen which will let you select the category (or deck) to save it in which is listed at the bottom of the screen. You can type up any sentences and answers you want in this custom flashcard creation screen. If there is a better way of doing this or if I am doing something incorrectly, please point it out, but this was the only method I found for doing this.
Hi Pleco! I've been searching through the user guide and forum for some information on how to create sentence flashcards and this series of posts was the best I found. I've tried to find the aforementioned 'pencil' icon to no avail and guess it's because these posts are 6+ years old?

I'd be very grateful if you were able to direct me towards some guidance on how to create sentence flashcards. Thank you!
 
#15
Hi Jackpockalipse,

you could try the following: (I see it's already been mentioned earlier in the thread.)

Select a sentence in a dictionary definition

IMG_3107.png

Then tap the "+" button

IMG_3108.png

The only thing that's missing is the translation, but you may want to customize it with your own comments anyway.

You can actually do that anywhere, just select a bit of text and tap the "+". I would just check if the pinyin and word segmentation are correct, since Pleco is parsing the string of Hanzi and trying to figure out the words and pinyin from it.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,

Shun


Hi Pleco! I've been searching through the user guide and forum for some information on how to create sentence flashcards and this series of posts was the best I found. I've tried to find the aforementioned 'pencil' icon to no avail and guess it's because these posts are 6+ years old?

I'd be very grateful if you were able to direct me towards some guidance on how to create sentence flashcards. Thank you!
 
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