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23 Jul, 2014 09:42 PM


I'm trying to find the best way to learn history with anki. It can be quite cumbersome to type in every detail of every historical event without losing the important conxtualization of said events.

The optimal way for me would be to include different questions and answers into a single file that are established on the previous question and answer.

Like this for example:

Q: What was Louis XIV stance on religion?
(mouse click)
A: He tried to make everything catholic.
     What was his motto?
(mouse click)
A2: une foi, une loi, un roi
       optional question?
(mouse click)
A3: optional answer!
       optional question?
(mouse click)
rinse and repeat.

That way it would keep things simple, and I wouldn't have to memorize huge chunks of text and can learn everything in context. Is there any way to do this?


  1. 1 Posted by vokietis on 24 Jul, 2014 10:28 AM

    vokietis's Avatar

    You know Anki is an SRS program, so it’s not only important how you want to organize your material but also how you will rate performance. What should, e.g., happen if you fail A3? Shall the whole chain of information be shown again? Or is there any way you can think of that would take into account that you got A1 and A2 correct?
    If it’s the first thing you intend, SRS is probably not the best way to study your stuff. I think of some kind of on-screen presentation to browse through regularly. I’d rather not lengthen review intervals in this case, since SRS algorithms have been developed for small bits of knowledge instead of long chains.

  2. 2 Posted by victus on 24 Jul, 2014 11:58 AM

    victus's Avatar

    If I happened to fail A3, I would learn the whole sequence again, yes. I wouldn't put more than five simple answers into a single file, so it shouldn't take too long.

    In history, everything is dependent on each other, and I love anki and would like to adapt it for every subject I'm learning.

    It is rather hard to list every reason for WW2, for example, without putting too much information on a card. And creating five cards for the different reasons makes you lose the context. It is also too specific to ask for reason 3 of 5.

    I'm really trying to find the best way to study history, also regarding students I might have in the future. Any tips are very appreciated

  3. 3 Posted by togobo on 24 Jul, 2014 04:32 PM

    togobo's Avatar

    tldr version: Many experienced learnes discourage such a setup. If you still want to use it: At the end of this post there's a provisional solution based on css ("checkbox hack") that simply needs to be copied to your card template. Use it at your own risk.

    Long answer:

    Some digressions Questions like yours how to learn various facts that are linked together are sometimes asked in this forum. I think there were multiple questions related to medicine like this one: or here
    Sometimes linked cards are suggested as a new feature like here for math
    Just search the forum for other posts. There are probably some ideas in them. You write you "want to find the best way to study history". You can tweak Anki in many ways. I've been reading the manual every couple of weeks in the last year. Every time I learned something new or got new ideas. So you should read the manual carefully multiple times. You should also study the forums for at least for an evening. Just reading about other people's problems got me many ideas. There must have been people before you who tried to learn history with flash cards. So somewhere on the Internet there should be some info available.....
    You write "It can be quite cumbersome to type in every detail". Do you know how to touch type? If not that might alleviate your problem. Have you tried speech recognition? Have you tried working with electronic texts so that you can copy&paste. If you use electronic texts it might be helpful to use a clipboard manager, learn some shortcuts. Having the appropriate tools makes a huge difference. Have you checked all Anki-Addons whether there is one that you can use?

    I think most experienced users would recommend to use separate cards. These answers sometimes link to Supermemo's 20 rules webpage. Have you tried this approach for some time? It takes some time to figure out how to make questions that fit one's style of learning.

    Many years ago before Anki was released I used paper (A4) flashcards to study some history for examinations. These examinations also contained some were fairly general open questions. So I tried to prepare myself for this kind of questions. So I organized the stuff that was taught in the lessons into questions/lists. For WW2 I made cards like "Shortcomings of the Potsdam treaty", "Reasons for the the absence and failure of German resistence against Hitler", "important military events during WW2", "Gleichschaltung - important events", "1933-39 - important events in discrimination against jews". In my examen I just need to remember and combine one or two lists. So my "past me" would probably have made one card titled "Louis XIV - internal politics: religion, law,... - 10 things you should remember". I had over 100 lists. On each list there were up to 10 different ideas. For each idea I included some sentences or keywords. So my cards were really long. Because I wrote these lists myself summarising two books and notes from class I could easily remember most of the information afterwards though they were a gross violation of the minimum information principle (which I didn't know at the time). I used SR to not forget the information because I had read about Sebastian Leitner. This worked fairly well. Of course I did not always remember everything that was on a card. If I constantly forgot just one piece of information I made an additional short card for it. Today I'd probably learn differently with shorter cards. But my old procedure definitly worked for me. So in my view SR also works for sequences of information. It's better than the alternatives. But if you can decide how to present/learn your information splitting sequences of information is probably more efficient.

    Direct answer My first idea to would be to use html/css for your notes. Maybe some Javascript, too. So I googled "CSS hide". At the end of the post you'll see what I found. You could create a note type that contains about 10 fields, Question1-5 and Answer1-5. This allows for a separation of content from presentation. Then you can play around with these fields. If you want them on separate cards you can make Anki generate multiple cards from one note. As you worry about context you could include the previous questions in a hint field or below your question in a smaller fonts .... You could make an elegant CSS based template that you could tweak over time (because all (including old) cards are affected by changes of the card template). A quick and dirty temporary solution might be to put a lot of blank lines between your questions and answers so that each answer is only visible after you scroll down (instead of a mouse click). All these things can be done in the card template menu, You could also create two note types that contain the same fields. One note type is used for separate cards, the other note type is used for connected cards. So you can compare for some weeks and if you prefer one type the other one can be easily adjusted.
    CAVEAT: I have not worked with notes that are displayed on multiple cards. So maybe there is a big flaw in my first idea.

    PS: Based on and I tried this solution that on first glance seems to work on my windows computer. Use this with caution. I'm an amateur with hardly any html/css knowledge. Read the comments on the latter link. I've attached a screenshot of how it looks on my computer. I don't know if this works on Anki for iphone/Ankidroid.

    You need a note type that contains these fields:

    In the styling box in the window "Card Type for [name of note]" put this CSS:

    .zq2 {
    .zq3 {
    .zq4 {
    .zq5 {
    input[type=checkbox] {
        position: absolute;
        top: -9999px;
        left: -9999px;
    #CB2:checked ~ .zq2 {
    #CB3:checked ~ .zq3 {
    #CB4:checked ~ .zq4 {
    #CB5:checked ~ .zq5 {
    label { 
      -webkit-appearance: push-button;
      -moz-appearance: button;
      display: inline-block;
      margin: 60px 0 0 0;
      cursor: pointer;
      font-size: 12px;

    In the Back Template put this:

    <hr id=answer>
    <input type="checkbox" id="CB2">
    <label for="CB2">Show Answer</label><br>
    <div class="zq2">
    <input type="checkbox" id="CB3">
    <label for="CB3">Show Answer</label><br>
    <div class="zq3">
    <input type="checkbox" id="CB4">
    <label for="CB4">Show Answer</label><br>
    <div class="zq4">
    <input type="checkbox" id="CB5">
    <label for="CB5">Show Answer</label><br>
    <div class="zq5">
  4. 4 Posted by Soren Bjornstad on 26 Jul, 2014 01:12 PM

    Soren Bjornstad's Avatar

    Thanks for your very complete suggestion togobo.

  5. 5 Posted by victus on 27 Jul, 2014 12:17 PM

    victus's Avatar

    thank you very much indeed. I'll definitely try out your ideas and see what works best for me. Your effort is highly appreciated. Cheers!

  6. System closed this discussion on 23 Feb, 2016 12:10 AM.

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