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How can one setup Anki to take advantage of its algorithm when learning all aspects of Chinese characters?


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This past weekend, I rewatched the videos from the course Outlier Chinese Character Masterclass

and I am motivated again to start learning characters in a systematic fashion.

The course suggests breaking down the workload by allocating 1 day for learning the form, meaning, and sound of a new character.



For example, let's say that you are learning 5 characters per day.

A group of Chinese characters contains 5 characters.


Day 1 - Learn the form of Group 1

Day 2 - Learn the meaning of Group 1

Day 3 - Learn the sound of Group 1

Day 4 - Learn the form of Group 2

Day 5 - Learn the meaning of Group 2

Day 6 - Learn the sound of Group 2



I know that I can add fields as needed to a card on Anki.

So I don't have problems with adding form, meaning, and sound for all the Chinese characters.

But, how do I set-up the Anki so that Anki allows me to study characters as per the schedule described above?


Could you please help? 

Thank you in advance.

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I need to get back into Anki.  But, the last time I tried, it was less a SRS software than a DIY web development kit.  You're expected to learn its paradigms and terms and design your own cards in XML.  I hope it's changed by now, but I fear the answer to your question is "do it yourself".  😟

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I'd say you have 5-10 hours of study and debugging ahead of you before you've got a handle on how to set up Anki in the way that you envision.  


You could try asking the course organizers to do it.  You're a paying customer after all, and Anki is commonly used among Chinese learners.  Try to enlist other students to make some noise.

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Set up the cards (actually Anki calls them notes) with the three fields (sound/form/meaning).

Tell Anki to give you three card types for each note (testing you on each of the three fields).

Create your (new) cards and suspend them.

Unsuspend the ones you want to study each day.


Advice: first, study the characters away from Anki, use pen/paper, whatever. Only start anki-testing a character after you have studied it and understand it. So, treat Anki as a not-forgetting tool rather than a learning one, when it comes to characters.

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Or to dive in:


On a paper-based flashcard with Chinese on one side and English on the other, you can test yourself in two directions, Chinese to English and English to Chinese, so you get two cards for the price of one.

You can do the same with Anki, except you can do more than two cards per note if you want. If your Notes consist of three pieces of information, e.g.


Field 1: Chinese-word 

Field 2: pinyin

Field 3: English-word


... then you can create three cards for each note:


Card 1: Q: "你好", A: 你好; NIHAO; hello

Card 2: Q: "NIHAO", A: 你好; NIHAO; hello

Card 3: Q: "hello", A: 你好; NIHAO; hello


open anki card browser, click on 'cards...', click on 'options' drop-down, select 'add new card type'.

That will give you two cards for each note. Do it again to get a third card.

Then edit Front and Back templates for each of these various card types:


Card 1: Q: Field 1,  A: Field 1, Field 2, Field 3

Card 2: Q: Field 2,  A: Field 1, Field 2, Field 3

Card 3: Q: Field 3,  A: Field 1, Field 2, Field 3


I've used Anki on and off for years and despite what Vellocet wrote above, I don't even know what XML is, certainly never needed it for Anki.

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I say, don't invest the time trying to bend Anki to your will. Or at least settle for something that kinda but not quiet works the way you want...

For instance you could suspend all cards and then tag them 'form', 'meaning' and 'sound'. Unsuspend those cards by hand, once you want to learn them.

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