What is Anki?

Anki is a free and open-source flashcard program using spaced repetition, a technique from cognitive science for fast and long-lasting memorization. Anki’s philosophy follows an object-oriented programming paradigm. Notes are Anki’s equivalent of objects, storing the data using fields to store single pieces of information. To review you need cards, which are the visual representation of (selected subset of) a note. Do not store information in separate decks (such as english-chinese, chinese-english) so that in case you need to edit something you only need to do it once.

“Special effects” for cards

Find proper explanations and examples in the Anki manual’s Card Generation article.

  • typing the answer: {{type:FIELDNAME}}
  • conditional statements: {{#FIELDNAME}}…{{/FIELDNAME}}
  • hints: {{hint:FIELDNAME}}
  • the odd one: {{cloze:FIELDNAME}}


To test e.g. only english-hanzi, do a logical search like (card:3 or card:5) deck:中文 if you have the same cards (in particular in the same order - that’s what the number refers to) as mentioned below.

Setting up Anki for Chinese

Chinese Support (Addon) introduces (amongst others) the following fields:

  • Hanzi
  • Meaning
  • Reading
  • Color
  • Sound
  • Traditional
  • Simplified

I would recommend adding the following fields as well:

  • Stroke Order Diagram
  • Sentence (example sentences)
  • Similar (Hanzi that look similar)

As for the cards, I found the following to be helpful:

  1. Hanzi → Pinyin
  2. Hanzi → Meaning
  3. Meaning → Hanzi
  4. Meaning → Pinyin
  5. Listening → Hanzi
  6. Listening → Meaning