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How to Create Anki 2 Vocabulary Flash Cards


Anki 2 is a sophisticated computer flash card program that keeps track of the difficulty of individual flash cards (adaptive spaced repetition software). The program automatically schedules the next review of a card depending on how well a learner could remember that particular card. For you as a learner, this is great: You only have to follow Anki 2’s scheduling to attain and maintain a certain knowledge level.

For more information on spaced repetition software, and where to download Anki 2, please check this article.

Anki 2 goes beyond two-sided flash cards

Anki is very flexible. It allows you to design flash cards according to your own needs.

Traditional flash cards have two sides: On one side, you write a question, on the other side, the answer to the question. Let’s say, you are a native English speaker and want to learn French. On the question side, you place an English word, and on the answer side the meaning in French. You could also include the pronunciation, gender (for nouns), a French sample sentence, word usage, and collocations on the answer side.

When you want to test yourself from English to French, you look at the English keyword, and try to pronounce and spell the word in French.

To test yourself in the opposite direction, you just flip the card, look at the French word, and think of the English meaning. Unfortunately, you now also have all your additional notes on your question side (previously answer side), which provide unwanted cues and hints to the English meaning. Ideally, you now want to hide these notes.

Unfortunately, a two-sided flash card with notes doesn’t easily allow for testing in both directions.

When making vocabulary cards for a language that uses a different writing system such as Chinese, you are faced with an additional problem. You need to include the English keyword on one side and the Chinese characters plus the pronunciation, written in normal Roman letters (Pinyin), on the other side.

Testing yourself from English to Chinese, you might try to recall either the Chinese characters, the pronunciation, or both.

On the other hand, when quizzing yourself from Chinese to English (i.e., testing yourself by looking at the Chinese characters), you want to recall either the characters meaning or the pronunciation. However, the Chinese characters pronunciation is now on the same side as the characters.

This illustrates the limitations of two-sided flash cards. With Anki, you can easily overcome these limitations:

Making Your Own Flash Cards

1. In Anki 2, you input all information you want to learn (e.g., vocabulary, geographical facts…) as so-called “notes.” Notes are based on “note types.” You typically design note types containing multiple fields, each field representing a different piece of information. For example, when designing a note type for Chinese vocabulary, you might include one field for the English meaning, one for the Chinese characters, one for the pronunciation script (Pinyin), and one for supplemental information.

2. In a second step, you design card types (i.e., blueprints/templates for flash cards) that specify which fields appear on the question side, and which fields go on the answer side of your cards. You can create multiple card types with different question and answer sides for a note type.

3. You input your information, such as your foreign language word, as a note. For each note, Anki 2 automatically creates as many flash cards as you have designed card types and places the cards in so-called “decks.” (Anki manages all your decks in a collection. A collection is essentially a database.)

To test yourself on information, you open a deck, and Anki 2 presents all flash cards due for review in that particular deck.

Step-by-step Procedure for Designing Note Types and Card Types

In the following, I am going to guide you through a specific example. We are designing note types and card types (flash card templates) for learning Chinese vocabulary and Chinese characters.

Important note: If you are using Ankiweb, please make sure that you have synchronized all changes from other devices and that you have an Internet connection, so that these changes can be downloaded. After this procedure, Anki has to upload the complete database. If you are only using Anki on this device, you can disregard this note.

Our setup will allow you to test yourself from English to Chinese and Chinese to English using two separate decks, one for each direction. You can, however, use the same design to study other languages as well. Let’s dive right into it:

1. Start Anki 2 and create two new decks by clicking on “Create Deck:”Ceate-new-deck-anki-2The first deck will later be filled with cards to test us from English to Chinese:


The second deck contains the cards to test us from Chinese to English:


2. Open the deck “Chinese Daily Use English to Chinese:”

Open-Deck-English-Chinese-Anki-23. Let’s now create a new note type. Click on “Tools” and select “Manage Note Types.”


4. In the note types screen, click “Add” to add a new note type:


5. Select “Add: Basic (and reversed card)” and click “OK:”


6. Confirm the message below with “Yes:”


7. We name the note type “Chinese Vocabulary:”


8. Select the newly created note type “Chinese Vocabulary” and click on “Fields….” Rename the fields “Front” and “Back” as seen in the following screen shot:


9. Click “Add” to add the additional fields “English” and “Notes:”


10. Close the dialog, and click “Cards…” to design the card types (the flash card blue prints). Initially, we have the types “Card 1” and “Card 2” with default layouts, which we now have to change:

Card-Types-Anki-211. Click on “More” to rename Card 1:


12. Click on “Card 2” and rename it as well:


13. We can now design the card type for “Chinese to English.” Click on the card type “Chinese English” again, and make the modifications described in the text below:

Card-Type-Chinese-English-Anki-2The left part of the window allows us to design the layout of our front and backside templates and decide which of our note type fields go where. Field names are included in double parentheses: {{fieldname}}.

  • In the front template, we write {{Chinese}} to display the Chinese characters as a question. After the field we add (Pronunciation and Meaning?) to tell the learner exactly what answer he is expected to provide:
    {{Chinese}} (Pronunciation and Meaning?)
  • Complex Chinese characters are best displayed in a larger font size, e.g., 45 pixels. This can be achieved by adding some formatting information:
    <span style=”font-size: 45px; “>{{Chinese}}</span> (Pronunciation and Meaning?)
  • On the backside, we display the frontside by using the field {{FrontSide}} and a dividing line <hr id=answer>. We add the fields {{Pronunciation}}, {{English}}, and {{Notes}}. The first two fields are followed by <br> to create a line feed at the end of each line:
    Pronunciation: {{Pronunciation}}<br>
    Meaning: {{English}}<br>
    Notes: {{Notes}}

For more information on formatting flash cards, please check the Anki 2 user manual.

14. By default, Anki places all cards created from a note into the same deck. Since we want the cards “Chinese English” and “English Chinese” to be placed in separate decks, we have to make some adjustments. All cards created with the card type “Chinese English” should go into the deck “Chinese Daily Use Chinese to English”. Here is how to change the deck:
* Click on “More”, choose “Deck Override” and choose the deck name:



15. Similarly, we place all cards of card type “English Chinese” in their own deck. To achieve this, click on the card type “English to Chinese,” then select “More->Deck Override” again, and finally the deck:


16. Finally, design the card type “English Chinese” as shown in the screen shot below:

Card-Type-English-Chinese-Anki-2Close the card types editor and the note types dialog and you are done.

17. Upload your changes to Ankiweb.

If you are using Ankiweb, you need to upload the database to the cloud. If not, disregard this step.

Press the sync-button to start the synchronization:


Select “Upload to AnkiWeb” to upload your database:


This concludes the design of our Chinese vocabulary note type and card types.

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Remember Everything You Want and Manage the Rest

Adding vocabulary cards

We conclude this post by adding a Chinese word and checking the result. Note, we always open the Deck “Chinese Daily Use English to Chinese” to create new notes. Anki automatically creates the flash cards and places them in the appropriate decks.

1. Open the deck “Chinese Daily Use English to Chinese” and click “Add” to create a new note. Here is an example:


Confirm your input with “Add” and close the dialog.

2. Click “Decks” to see your result. The blue card counter “1” shows that Anki has placed a card in each of the decks:Chinese-Vocabulary-Decks-Overview

3. Open the deck “Chinese Daily Use English to Chinese” and click “Study Now” to review the card:




After you have pondered the correct answer, click “Show Answer“ to compare:


Rate your answer as “Good.”

4. Go back to “Decks” and choose “Chinese Daily Use Chinese to English” to review the reverse direction card. If your card doesn’t appear, it is because Anki “buries” related cards until the next day as to not make it too easy. So you would see it tomorrow. (See below for how to disable this function.) For now, click “Unbury” and then “Study Now” to see the card:



5. Optional: Disable “Bury related new cards until the next day.” Click on “Decks” and then the cock-wheel next to “Chinese Daily Use English to Chinese.” Select “Options:”


I would keep the “bury” option checked because you usually don’t want to quiz yourself on the same word in both directions on the same day. Some readers have noted that the reverse card was “missing,” so I just wanted to mention this point.

This concludes the step-by-step procedure.

I use the setup presented above every day to study new vocabulary and Chinese characters. This post focused on designing vocabulary flash cards. Using the same steps, you can also create note types and card types to study other kinds of information, including geography, biology, and medicine. I hope you have found this post useful.

I am looking forward to your comments.

Have a great day:-)

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45 thoughts on “How to Create Anki 2 Vocabulary Flash Cards”

  1. Hi, Helmut. Thanks for writing it.

    Steps 12-14 are umclear:
    *why to change default cards?
    *why 2 cards and not just 1 ?

    *card is too small to see anything
    *how this card relates to card-1 & 2? I don’t see labels Card-1,2.

    Rest of it is clear.
    Q: Can you address Tags and Templats management?

    Thank you.

  2. Hi Sasha,
    Thank you for your comment.
    Why do I change the default cards and create two cards? (steps 12 to 14, and 15 to 17).
    Suppose you want to add remarks to your cards. These remarks should however never be revealed on the question side (because they might provide cues helping the learner to guess the answer). Then just reversing a card (with the remarks on the answer side) wouldn’t help.

    If you want to question yourself in two directions, you need two different cards:
    Card 1:
    Side 1: Info 1 (Question)
    Side 2: Info 2 (Answer), Remarks

    Card 2:
    Side 1: Info 2 (Question)
    Side 2: Info 1 (Answer), Remarks

    A second issue are languages which employ a script other than English such as Chinese.

    In the case of Chinese, you have a Chinese character/word, the character’s/word’s pronunciation, and the English meaning.
    Card 1
    Side 1: Character (Question)
    Side 2: English, Chinese pronunciation

    Card 2:
    Side 1: English (Question)
    Side 2: Chinese character, Chinese pronunciation.

    Again, just reversing card 1 would provide cues (here the Chinese pronunciation) the learner normally doesn’t want.

    The great thing is that Anki automatically creates and updates these cards based on one note (essentially a collection of related facts). After you have finalized your design, you just create / update one note for each set of related facts, and Anki manages all cards created from this one note.

    Changing the names of the card types is just my personal preference. My card types are called English-Chinese and Chinese-English (instead of card 1 and card 2). (Note, card types were called templates in Anki 1.)
    Finally, I place the cards into two different decks (deck override) instead of one because I want to control exactly when to review which direction.

    Steps 15 to 17 deal with designing the two different card types (Chinese-English and English-Chinese).

    Sorry, yes – the cards are quite small. Please click on the image in the post to view an enlarged version.

    Tags provide an additional way to categorize notes. A learner of Chinese for example might want to learn the 3000 most frequent Chinese characters in frequency groups. For exam one, he needs to master level 1 (1000 most frequent characters); for exam two he needs level 1 plus level 2 (1001-2000). Finally, for exam 3 he needs levels 1, 2, and 3 (chars 2001-3000). To distinguish the levels, he could tag his characters level1, level2, and level3, respectively. Based on the presence of a tag in a note, you can also decide whether to display additional information on a card. Maybe we can go into that in a future post.

    I hope, I could answer your questions. Have a great day,

  3. Thanks for stopping by Frank. There are actually only 17 small steps as per the procedure above. 🙂
    You don’t have to create your own note types. Just go with the built-in ones. I just love the flexibility of designing them the way I see fit for learning.
    It would be great though if Anki came with a few more standard note types. This would it make more accessible.
    Have a great day.

  4. I’m sorry, I’m sure I’m being an idiot, but I’ve created cards for my Chinese to English cards but can’t work out how to make those same cards also show up in the English – Chinese deck. I think I am missing some fundamental point about the way Anki works. Sorry if this is obvious, but please can you help? Thanks so much

  5. So I realised that I can use Browse to move cards around so now have my lovely English – Chinese deck all sorted but now have no cards in my Chinese – English deck. Basically I still don’t know how to enter notes to appear in two different decks. If you can help I’d really appreciate it! Many thanks

  6. Thank you for stopping by Lizzie:

    Per Anki default, all cards created from one note go into the same deck. In the example above, I wanted the cards Chinese-English and English-Chinese to be placed into two different decks. This is achieved in step 16, by overriding the deck for the cards Chinese-English: “Click on “More”, choose “Deck Override” and choose the deck name.” This is the crucial step if you want to have the cards in different decks.

    Note, when creating new notes, you would always work in the deck English-Chinese! Anki then automatically creates two cards (if you follow the example above) and places the card Chinese-English in the Chinese-English deck (instead of the deck English-Chinese). I hope this clarifies it a bit. Have a nice day!

  7. Please explain how you get the font size bigger. Anki doesn’t allow for me writing “px” in the font field. And even when I choose a huge font size like 72 it still displays in what looks like 9 point font. For the English font it works great…

  8. Hi Jared,

    Do you want to change the font size for the input/edit mask or the size when reviewing cards? These are changed at two different places, and the description in this post deals with the font size for cards you are reviewing.

    If you want to change the font size for card input, open the deck Chinese to English Daily Use, and click “Study Now.” Next click on “Edit”, followed by “Fields.” Choose the field “Chinese” (or any other field whose size you want to set) and set the Edit font size to whatever size you wish. As editing font, I use Arial. Here you don’t use the word px at all.
    Note that this DOES NOT affect the font size on the actual cards you are presented with when reviewing!

    If you want to change the font size for the card review, you have to change the card type templates.
    If you are designing your card types as per this post, for the Chinese font, you would do this as described in step 15 for the card type ‘Chinese to English’ in the front template (here you should be able to wite “px”):
    To specify 45 pixel: “font-size: 45px; ”
    For the back template, you would do it again, as described in step 17.
    Please take a look at the screenshots, and find the lines with font-size.
    Have a great day!

  9. Thank you very much for this tutorial, it was easy to understand and follow. Now I can go on and study Japanese just like I did with the old Anki before 🙂 (Although I still find it overly complicated to create new decks with this new version…)

  10. Hi Sedna, I am happy that this post was of help to you – and that you took the time to post a feedback.

    I tend to agree, Yes, it somehow hasn’t gotten much easier to design notes and cards. It would be great if the developer put together a step-by-step assistant – and possibly a few more sophisticated note templates. The fundamentals are all there.

    The synchronization (esp., image sync) has gotten a lot better though. I use images quite a bit – and synchronize between Android and PC. A breeze compared to before.

    Have a great day.

  11. Hello again!

    I have a question and I was wondering if you could help me.

    I created decks according to your instructions above, and I added new cards every day as I progressed. (More than a hundred per day.) But today I realised that Anki decided to mess up my settings… 1 or 2 days ago, it mixed up two of my decks. Namely, one was a kanji collection, with a Japanese – English and an English – Japanese side (separated, as it is in your tutorial), and the other the same with vocabulary instead of kanji. But somehow Anki has been saving my new cards mixed up: I added them e.g. to the Japanese-English Kanji deck, and Anki put the reversed card into the English-Japanese VOCABULARY deck… and because it didn’t do this from the beginning (since I didn’t tell it to…), my English-Japanese cards were completely messed up. I became so frustrated, I just deleted them. (The reverse sides I mean.)

    Now I have my original Japanese-English decks, both the kanji and the vocabulary, but the English-Japanese ones are empty. I was hoping there is a way to put the reversed cards into their respective decks, but not just the ones I will create from now on, but the ones I already created, too. Right now I have no luck with this… if I add another side to the card, and do the steps I did before, it only changes what will happen to the cards I WILL create later, not the ones that already exist…

    Is there a way to… I don’t know, ‘select’ all the cards and put their other sides into the deck they belong to?

    I’m sorry if I wasn’t understandable, it’s not easy to explain all this ^^;

    Thank you in advance,


  12. PS.: It seems I have another problem now. When I want to add another entry to the deck ‘Japanese-English Kanji’, it doesn’t let me do it, because there is the same entry in the ‘Japanese-English Vocabulary’ deck. But why? The two have nothing to do with each other! … in theory. I’m starting to get really confused and angry 🙁

  13. Dear Sedna,

    You can move existing cards to other decks in the Anki browser. To get there, click “Browse” from the Decks overview screen. In Browse, go to the deck (you find all decks on the left side) where the misplaced cards are. You can now select them by pressing “Ctrl” and clicking them with your mouse. Alternatively, you can also select whole regions by pressing “Shift” and selecting the first and the last card of a region with your mouse. Then select “Change Deck” (from the toolbar on the top) and choose the deck where they belong. You can also search for cards that are of a specific card type. For example, to search for cards that have been created with the card type Foreign-to-Own, type “card:Foreign-to-Own” in the search bar and press “Search”. The search function is really powerful and can also be used to filter by tag (provided you have assigned a tag), deck name, etc. To see all search options, press “F1” in the browser, which will take you directly to the help page.

    As to why your reverse cards might have gone into the wrong deck in the first place: Could it be that you used the same note type for the Japanese Kanji and the Japanese Vocabulary decks? If you did that and in the first deck activated “deck override” with a specific, designated deck, but subsequently created a second deck (with the same note type using the same card templates) where you again chose override and selected a different deck for your reverse card, the destination for your first deck’s reverse cards would also have been be changed. This would lead to the first deck’s reverse cards and the second deck’s reverse cards ending up in the same deck.
    One solution for this problem is to create a note type for Japanese Kanji (plus card templates) and a second note type Japanese Vocabulary (with its own card templates).

    Please note that in Anki, you don’t really add cards, you add notes of a certain note type (which you can define, and which has the card templates associated with it) from which one or more cards are created. These cards are placed in the deck in which you have created the note, or in a specific, designated deck if you have activated “Deck Override” for a card template. I also found it a bit complicated to get used to Anki’s note types and card templates and how it all works together. (On the upside, the developer has created a very flexible piece of software, and it’s free.)

    (Optional action to consider: I additionally assign a tag when adding new words to Anki. In your case, your notes for Japanese Kanji could be assigned the tag “JapaneseKanji”, while the notes for new vocabulary could be assigned the tag “JapaneseVocab”, or something similar. This makes it easier to find them later if something gets mixed up.)

    I have just noticed, you have posted a second remark – as to the duplicate checking of Anki. I think this might also be related to using the same note type for the vocabulary note and the Kanji note. Using two different note types should solve this as well. Please see http://ankisrs.net/docs/manual.html for how Anki’s duplicate checking works.

    I hope this helps a bit Sedna. Have a wonderful day and good luck with your studies!

  14. Dear Helmut,

    Thank you for your help! I followed the steps you wrote and successfully moved the cards I wanted to. Worked like a charm! (The search function does seem to be really useful!)

    I actually did use the same note type to create the two different decks, and now I see that might have caused some problems. (Namely the fact that Anki thinks there are duplicates, where in fact there aren’t any.) The strange thing is, it accured to me when creating the decks that maybe this would confuse the program, but for days it worked perfectly. All the cards went where I wanted them to. (So I assumed it was okay to use the same note type, and I let my guard down…) And the other thing is when all hell went loose, Anki didn’t put all my reverse cards in the same deck, it just switched them up. The reverse side of my kanji cards ended up in the vocabulary deck, and the reverse side of the vocabulary in the kanji deck. This is what I don’t understand… o.o (I checked the override settings and they were actually switched up. But I sure as hell didn’t do it, since I had to come back here to see how to get to those settings – I didn’t remember.) But this is really a technicality, and as long as I can get my decks work like before, everything is rainbows and butterflies 🙂

    I have one (hopefully) last question left. You said it might solve my problems if I used different note types to the kanjis and the vocabulary. Is it possible to change the note type of an already existing deck? I have more than 1,600 cards (or notes :D), and I really can’t see myself inputting those once again with a different note type.

    I will definitely consider using tags from now on, thank you for the advice.

    I can’t tell you how grateful I am for your help. I’m so glad someone’s out there who knows how Anki works and is willing to help 🙂


  15. Dear Sedna,

    Anki has a function to change the note type, but before you attempt that, make a complete backup! The manual has a section on backups.

    You would first need to create a new note type (Tools->Manage Note Types) if you haven’t yet:
    Click “Add.” Then you can clone a note type, provided your new notes have the same structure. Give the new note type a unique name.
    To avoid confusion, I would also rename the card templates in this new note type, e.g., by selecting the note type and clicking “cards.” Under “more” you can then rename the cards.
    If you want to work with “Deck Override” for the reverse cards, set it so that it is switched on and pointing to the correct deck. Check the correct deck assignment for all note types where you have activated “Deck Override.”

    Before you then change the note type for existing cards (notes), make sure that all cards are in the correct deck.
    Browse the deck that contains the cards whose note type you want to change to a new note type.
    Select the cards, then choose Edit->Change Note type. Make sure that all the field mappings are correct (change the ones that are not as you want). As a precaution, try it with a few cards first, to see how it works.
    (You don’t have to process the deck containing the reverse cards. These cards are automatically dealt with by Anki.)

    When adding new notes to a deck, always check that the correct note type is selected. If it isn’t, choose the correct type.
    Even though this is not mandatory, to avoid confusion, I would only add cards while you are in a forward deck. Use the reverse decks for reviews.

    All the best,

    Disclaimer: I am not the developer of Anki. I am happy to share my experience (but without any guarantees). As to changing note types, I didn’t really have to in the past. (However, I have just tried it, and for me it worked as described.) To be safe, please make a backup.

    P.S.: Are you preparing for a Japanese exam, Sedna? May I know, what approach are you using for learning the Kanji?

  16. Ah, you have no idea how happy I am right now 😀 Thank you!!! It worked, now everything’s just fine, rainbows and butterflies 😀

    Yes, I am preparing for the Japanese Language Proficiency Exam (JLPT) 😀 My approach for learning kanjis is quite simple actually… right now I only concentrate on reading them (since the examination itself only requires that). I have a very good visual memory, so I just flip through Anki cards until I remember them. I memorize kanjis individually with all of their readings and meanings, and then words, too, in which they appear. The only downside to my very quick memorizing skills is that it doesn’t last long… I hope Anki and the continuous reviewing will help that.

    When I’m done with the exam and I will want to have actual, useable Japanese knowledge as well (as in writing the kanjis, too, not just recognizing them), I will learn them by the radicals they are made of. It’s a lot longer process than just recognizing them… but it works for me. That’s how I learnt to write all the lower-level kanjis before. (And forgot them, too, because I didn’t review… Shame on me.) I usually make up silly connections in my head about the radicals. Which means it’s similar to the Heisig method, I just make up the reminders myself 🙂 I find it easier than to memorize mnemonics others have created, which sometimes feel forced to me.

    Thank you once again for your help! 😀

  17. I am glad it worked. 🙂 All the best for your Exam, Sedna!

    I have used Heisig’s book for traditional Chinese characters, but have slightly deviated and included pronunciations and words that contain the characters as well. IMO, the book is a good start. However, it only contains mnemonic stories for the first 500 characters. Then the reader has to create his/her own stories. Even with mnemonics, reviews are still necessary, so Anki comes in really handy.

  18. Oh, I didn’t know the Heisig method only offered mnemonics in the beginning 🙂 To be honest, I tried to use the book itself, but when I realized there are no readings/pronunciations included, I put it down and never looked at it again 😀 (Which means I got like 3 pages in.)

    I learned how important review is the hard way… I have forgotten an impossible amount of words and kanjis in a few months since I graduated… and now I’m supposed to take this exam 😀 Well, I’ll do my best anyway. (Sadly, Japanese doesn’t rub itself in my face like English does… I have no chance to forget any English words or grammar, but Japanese… you have to look for it to see it, you never stumble upon it on the interwebs, unfortunately :D)

    And thank you, I’ll do my best on the exam! ^^

  19. Dear Helmut, I’m so grateful you’re sharing your Anki experiences and help. I’m a rough beginner but adamantly trying to figure it out. There’s a Model I haven’t grasped its function (probably because I haven’t faced the need to use it so far): BASIC (Optional reversed card). I’ve read the author’s manual and all that I managed to surf across to no avail!
    Could you please provide an explanation in your own clear words and be so kind to illustrate its use by an example?
    Thanks a million

  20. Hello Mau,
    “Basic with optional reverse card” means:
    If you type anything in the field “Add Reverse,” such as a “y,” a reverse card based on the information you have typed will be added to your deck. If you don’t fill that field, only the front card will be added. Why could you want this? Suppose you want to learn new Spanish vocabulary. In the front field, you could type the Spanish word and in the back field the associated English meaning. Let’s further assume that for some of the Spanish words, you only want to test yourself on the meaning of the words (i.e., from Spanish to English). For those words, you leave the “Add Reverse” field empty. For some Spanish words, which you might want to actively use on your next trip to Mexico, you want to test yourself from Spanish to English (front card) and from English to Spanish (reverse card). For those words, fill “Add Reverse” and the card English to Spanish will also be created. I hope this is of some help.

    Have a good day,

  21. Dear Helmut, as I expected you proved as clear as ever. I kind of nearly got to the same conclusion but I must have been misled by the field “Add reverse”. For some reason I thought the field content (“y”, for instance) would appear in the added card somewhere somehow. Therefore I filled that field with different creative words, but none showed up. In theory, even if I filled it with a “.” (dot) would do the job, that is making Anki create a reverse card for that particular fact. DId I get it right? (Must sound so numb!)
    God bless and Have a 2014 just as you wish!

  22. Dear Mau,

    Thank you very much for your wishes!
    Yes, any text in the field “Add reverse” will cause Anki to create the reverse flash card. Note that not all fields that are part of an Anki note (the fields you see, when you add a note) need to be displayed on flash cards. What is displayed on a card depends on the card design.
    In case you want to see the design:
    You can see the design for the note type “Basic with Optional Reverse” by adding a new note and then pressing the button “Cards…” To see all fields that are present in the note type, click the button “Fields…”
    I wish you a healthy and most happy year 2014.

  23. Dear Helmut, thank you for this step-by-step tutorial for creating vocabulary flashcards.

    I’m trying to learn German with the Duolingo system and I’ve been using Anki as a complement for few weeks now, though in a very basic way.

    With the help of your clear guide, I was able to enhance the 850+ notes already entered and create forward and reverse decks. I also added sound for pronunciation as well as an example sentence for each word. I appreciate your help very much.

    Vielen Dank!

  24. Dear Michel,
    I am glad, the tutorial is of help for you. Are you familiar with the dw.de website? They also have quite a few (free) resources for learning German. Thank you very much for your feedback.
    Ich wünsche Ihnen einen schönen Tag!

  25. Dear Helmut,

    Thank you for your suggestion regarding the dw.de website. It looks interesting and accessible! As an anecdote, my three children, seing how I enjoyed learning German, decided to offer me a subscription to Der Spiegel digital for Christmas. It was a very nice thought but sadly I must say that I am not fluent enough to be able to enjoy it. 🙁

    Anyhow, I will explore dw.de further in the coming weeks. Vielen Dank!

    Mit besten Grüßen


  26. Michel: How did you add the sound to already existing cards? I need to click each card manually for the sound file reference to be created. I can’t do that with thousands of flashcards! My deck has Pinyin, Hanzi and Meaning, but I fail to find a way to automatically add the sound for all cards without having to click each card individually.

  27. This cleared up a lot of confusion, thanks. I am still confused however about reverse cards. Did you somehow set reverse cards to show up automatically in the other deck?

  28. Hi Dave,

    in Anki, the user creates a note (based on a note type, which the user can define), rather than a card.

    Anki automatically creates as many cards for the note as there are card templates defined in the note’s note type (you can define as many card templates as you need in the note type, not only forward and reverse).
    Per default, all these cards go into the deck in which you have created the note.

    When you select “Deck Override” and choose a different deck for a card template (see step 16), the generated cards (for that template only) automatically appear in the chosen alternative deck (instead of the deck in which you created the note). For card templates where you haven’t activated “Deck Override,” cards are placed in the deck in which the note was created.

    You have to be a bit careful when reusing a note type for a second deck. If you have “hard-coded” the deck for a template through “Deck Override,” you need to clone the note type to use it for a new deck and change the deck override settings for the clone. (See my earlier conversation with Sedna)

    I hope this makes it a bit clearer.
    All the best.


    Yes, in my mind I was still mixing up template making and note making. Thanks so much for following up and specifying that for me. Great!

  30. Thank you so much for your wonderful description. I was going crazy with this Anki, it is soooo complicated, but thanks to your help I kind of have a better understanding of the programme.

    But I am doing something wrong, but I don’ t know how to fix it.

    I followed your description and it all works fine. But I did something wrong. I hope you could help me. After adding a new vocabulary in the English-Chinese folder. I have one new word in English-Chinese folder and the same word new in Chinese-English. So far so perfect.

    But after studying for example the new word of English-Chinese deck and I return to the decks, I can see that in the other deck (Chinesen-English) there is no new word to study. So it seems like I cannot study those words separately. How can I change this? What did I do wrong?

  31. Sorry to bother again, I also have another question. I am a little bit afraid of using Anki, putting all the words inside and then something goes wrong and all my data is lost or messed up. Do you have some other tips for idiots like me to make it really safe?

    By the way can’t find a search option in your blog, to check your articles for specific words.

    Wish you all the best and thank you so much for your effort. How can we support you?

  32. I am really sorry, got another question. After following your steps above. Is it possible to add another new deck for example: notes to chinese , then opening the deck english to chinese , open the cards and add another card notes to chinese, change the front and back side, override deck (english to chinese)?

    All the best

  33. Hi Hello,

    there is a deck option in Anki that leads to an automatic burying of siblings of new cards and there is also a related option for cards that are due for review. Siblings are cards that are created from the same note. You can turn this option off by clicking on the cog wheel next to the deck and then choosing “Options.” Under the tab “New Cards” you find the option “Bury related cards until next day.” Under the tab “Reviews” you find the related option “Bury related reviews until the next day” for cards that are due for review (as opposed to new cards).
    Keeping these options on usually makes sense as for most applications you don’t want siblings to be presented together. If, however, you need this for your specific learning task, just turn these options off.
    All the best.

  34. You can create as many card templates for a note as needed and choose the fields that go on the front side and beck side of the card template. Take a look at Step 15. There is a small + sign to the right. Clicking on this sign allows you to create an additional card template. In this template you could then again override the deck and choose your own destination. I recommend taking the existing templates as examples for how to design your own new template.

  35. I recommend regular backups of your Anki database. Please take a look at the manual for how to do backups:
    Thank you for your feedback regarding the search option. I will include one in the Blog.
    If you want, you can support the blog by spreading the word or buying “Remember Everyhing You Want and Manage the Rest.”
    Have a great day.

  36. Hello Helmut, I also use Anki to study Chinese. How do I format the cards so that the on the back side, pinyin and English are not shown at the same time?

    My current set up:
    Front: Chinese characters.
    Back: Pinyin and English (two separate fields shown at the same time).

    What I want:
    Front: Characters
    Back: Pinyin, *mouseclick* English. (two separate fields shown one after another).

    Thanks for your help!

  37. Hi Christy,

    you could do this via a “Hint field” on the back side, which is only shown after you click it. The Anki manual at (ankisrs.net/docs/manual.html) has more details on it. Just search for “Hint field” in the manual.

    Personally, I don’t use this setup because I still would have to judge whether I have answered a card correctly. Let’s say you have got the Pinyin right, but can’t remember the English meaning. There is no “half correct.” What’s more, the Pinyin on the backside might help you to retrieve the meaning, but you ideally want to know the meaning without even having to vocalize the character.

    If you wanted to test yourself on the Pinyin and the meaning of a character independently, you could alternatively have Anki create two different cards from the same note: one with the Pinyin on the backside, the other one with the meaning on the backside. Anki can automatically create as many cards from a note as you like.

    Anyway, I think the “Hint field” would do just what you want.

    Have a great day.

  38. Thank you so much.

    I’ve watched 5 to 6 YouTube videos, read the manual and couldn’t find anything that explained this. I’m still a little confused, but I got my cards to look like yours and can work from there. Thank you!

  39. Helmut,
    I followed the guide completely but when I make the flashcards it puts them in two separate decks like I wanted but when I review one deck, it “reviews” the other deck too and does not allow me to review the reverse cards that were made. How exactly are you able to review both decks without counting one review as reviewing both the normal and reverse card at the same time?

  40. Hello Bob,

    I think this might be what you are looking for:
    By default, Anki hides related cards until the next day. That is, it hides additional cards that have been created from the same note after you have reviewed one of them. The idea is not to test you on related information to soon. Of course, this may not always be what you need.
    You can switch this option off:
    1. Choose “Options” from the menu to the right of the deck (in the decks list).
    2. Untick “Bury related cards until the next day.”

    I hope this helps.
    Have a great day!

  41. Hi, Helmut,
    I’m not sure if I’m the only one with this problem, and as I use a different GUI-language for Anki I’m also not sure whether all descriptors are correct – sorry for that, but I hope you understnd the problem anyway:
    I have a deck with several sub-decks. All notes have tags according to the names of the sub-decks, but also according to smaller subset in that subdeck (like Book_Chapter1_Intro, Book_Chapter1_Main, Book_Chapter1_Synthesis). Is there any way to automatically produce subdecks for these subset-tags? I know the manual way, but it’s cumbersome, as I actually have a lot of subsets.
    Thanks a lot in advance!

  42. Hi Norbert,
    I am afraid, I don’t know how to create these decks automatically.

    I am wondering if creating a multitude of decks for chapters and possibly sub-chapters is the way to go.

    According to the developer Damien Elmes, this approach might significantly slow down Anki.

    Why not add extra fields to your note type to capture this information? You wouldn’t have to display them on your cards if you don’t want to. You could then create temporary decks using search terms containing these fields when needed. Take a look at Damien’s article on multiple decks, fields, and tags: https://apps.ankiweb.net/docs/manual.html#manydecks

    Have a great day.

  43. Hi, Helmut,
    Thank you very much for that. I fear I have to rethink my whole approach then.
    Thanx again – Norbert

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