Boosting Anki’s Power With Media Enhancements — 118 Comments

  1. I really like how some of those look. However, I’ve recently taken a liking to doing my reps on my phone while on the bus/waiting for the bus and the only features that ankiweb allows, as far as I am aware anyway, is additional text and colors and fonts — both of which I currently utilize.
    I suppose I could have two decks though: one with media which would be done at home, and one without which I could do anywhere I have a free moment.

    • If your phone supports the regular AnkiWeb interface, which I think looks just fine on a small screen, you can use pictures and possibly mp3s; AnkiWeb supports mp3s with ASCII filenames but that feature isn’t compatible with all browsers. Even if media wouldn’t work on your phone, a lot of media makes reviewing better but doesn’t render the card unreviewable if it doesn’t show up, so you can add it and just experience it when you happen to be doing reviews at home.

      I do a lot of my reviews using the AnkiMobile iPhone app. There’s also an Android app.

  2. Just in the past few days, google slowed down the speaking speed, which I’m not entirely happy about. It sounds like at some point they’ll make this configurable but it isn’t yet. When they do, I’ll post instructions for making the plugin use a more natural speed again. (Let me know if you notice before I do that it has become configurable and the default is still slow.)

    • I’d be happy to:

      Background: 234, 236, 211 (#eaecd3)
      Expression/Reading: 0, 0, 0 (#000000)
      Context: 0, 85, 0 (#005500)
      Explanation: 85, 0, 0 (#550000)

      I wasn’t sure whether decimal rgb or hexcode would be more helpful so I gave both.

  3. Thanks for the tips. I can use this to take screen shots with my iPhone. I may not do this too often because I find it to be a little too time consuming; however, your colors and fonts are FKNスゴイ!

  4. I’m having some trouble getting this to work.

    The actual images in the folder are .svg files so I tried changing the image link to but I still get the missing image picture in Anki. Can Anki open that type of file? Is there a place to download the pictures in .png format?


    • That was a typo on my part! I should have said .svg instead of .png. I’ll ask Adshap to fix that. Sorry for the bad proofreading on my part.

    • Also: If people want I can upload PNGs as well, but SVGs are significantly smaller and should be supported by any anki use except ankiweb in an old browser.

      Thanks for pointing out the problem. And I’m glad to hear you like them.

    • Ack, I’m not reading… usually I sit on comments for a bit to make sure I’m saying correct things. You said you changed the link. Did you copy and paste rather than typing? I see that wordpress changed my quotation marks to styled ones; they’re not actually necessary so it’s probably better to just remove them. And the third thing to try is the media check even though I remember that just being necessary at the syncing point in the process, but I don’t understand all the technical details behind why this works so I’m not certain that should be the case.

      • I’ve tried everything you’ve suggested up to this point, and I’m still unable to get this to work.
        I’m looking forward to being able to try it out on my cards though.
        One thing I’ve noticed is that there are files with names like 繧ア繧・svg instead of 繧ア繧.svg — In addition to it, I don’t have anything in my kanji field that would match up with most of these files either.
        But I’m not quite sure how this is supposed to work, so it may have been done like that intentionally.

          • Ah, my kanji fields are the default ones, so they just contain one character.
            蜈ョ.svg – I just mean that the files are named like this, so it seems like they won’t be picked up by looking for the kanji name then appending .svg to it.
            Also, I just looked in the zip file itself and it has lots of items with the same name, so they overwrite each other when they’re being extracted. Maybe it is an issue of the names getting corrupted in the zip file or perhaps them not working for people on other platforms.
            They’re being read as svg documents when they’re in the zip folder, but then as extensionless files when I extract them as they are named with a ・ instead of a . and my system won’t accept ・s for that purpose.
            This is how it appears for me by the way:
            Hopefully some of this proved useful anyway.

            • I tried it again and it worked! Not sure what was different this time, but it worked with the .svg extension.

            • I used winrar.
              Had to reply here as it seems I can’t reply that deeply.

            • Make sure you have the lastest version. If that doesn’t work, try a different application. If you do get something to work, that could be useful to other people.

            • Ah, I tried a few other programs, and they gave the same issue.
              However, since you created the archive on a mac, I decided to use stuffit, and that worked. So for anyone else experiencing the wrong file name issue, try using stuffit to extract the .zip file.

            • Ah, thanks. I’ll try zipping them up in linux instead. But I’m moving this week so I don’t know when I’ll get to it.

        • Wait… you say the file names are coming out that way? In the unzipped directory? That’s odd. I have tested downloading and unzipping the files and they did come out right (the filename should be a single character followed by .svg except for some variants that will have a dash and the name of the variant after the character (that is because these came in the original data and I chose not to bother to throw them away; they don’t do anything for the automatic anki adding.)

  5. No worries :P

    So the weird thing now is that I’ve gotten the links to work within the deck so the pictures show up on the desktop client, but all of the strokes are behind the background color I have (with the stroke number showing through fine).

    Also, no matter what I do I can’t get the pictures to work on Anki mobile. I’ve checked the media database a bunch of times and checked the database as well but they still won’t come up.

    • Interesting bug with the strokes hiding behind the background. I was able to reproduce it for some card template settings but haven’t figured out the precise pattern yet. Would you mind sharing your card template? And do you have it set to hide the question when showing the answer?

      With the AnkiMobile syncing, are other decks’ media syncing properly? Has dropbox had time to upload the 10,000 files you just dropped in it?

  6. What would be the easiest way to share the template? Right now I have the answer field as only the link to the picture. I don’t have it set to hide the question when showing the answer.

    One thing I was just messing with was that the picture isn’t behind the background if I remove one set of curly brackets around text:Kanji. Will that have any negative effects? Unfortunately it still isn’t working on Anki mobile. The pictures actually all synced to my phone on the last sync but they don’t show up on the cards.

    Thanks for taking the time to help!

    • Ah hah.

      You’re right, it needs to be {{text:Kanji}}. Using triple braces is another way to prevent formatting and they have weird interactions with how other things in the expression.

      Thank you for being such a good bug reporter.

    • I’m makin lots of test decks and syncing them to AnkiMobile and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t.

      So far, they’ve always worked if I’ve gotten them set up so that they are working on the desktop, checked the media database, then done at least one review, and then synced everything. And sometimes worked without doing all those things. Are you finding they’re not working even with doing all of that?

      • So I’ve tried a bunch of times and I still can’t get it to work. Are you syncing to an iPhone or a different type of phone?

        Any chance you could upload the png files? I posted this problem on the Anki Help boards and the response was that AnkiMobile might not support the svg file type?

        • This is working for me on an iPhone 4 running iOS 5.1, though it seems so quirky about what it takes to get it to start working that I’m not entirely sure what the necessary sequence of steps is. I’ve been syncing via Dropbox and AnkiWeb; you could also try the via iTunes method.

          I just remembered I’m running a beta version of AnkiMobile… I think the beta was just supposed to be bugfixes rather than adding new features though.

          I will upload PNGs, though it might not be until next weekend.

  7. I think what could be even more helpful are diagrams which color-code (and possibly identify) at-a-glance the radicals which make up a character. Anyone wanna take a crack at it?

  8. I got this to work (mostly) with Anki syncing via dropbox, but I have a strange problem with it. On my mac the contrast stroke order image shows up only as the numbers until I try and click on the image, then the entire image is visible as it should be. I have no idea why it does that. I haven’t tried it out via mobile yet to see if I have the same issue. Has anyone else experience this? Is it fixable or should I just start playing connect the kanji dots? That’s one way to spice up RTK…

    • That seems to have something to do with how these SVGs interact with Anki’s SVG display. I have experienced it when the whole diagram isn’t scrolled into view, and with some templates regardless of that. With those I have found that adding ” ” before the img tag fixes it.

      If it’s still an issue, when I upload the PNGs they won’t have this problem.

  9. Using GoogleTTS to generate readings! Well, I’ve got both kana and kanji – which one is better to use as a base to generate off of? It’s possible it could mispronounce the kanji, but it’s also possible it would sound less natural using the kana (bad word boundary categorization) and mispronounce certain particles. I’m not sure what to use…

    • As I write about in part 2, I recommend generating with the kanji and then fixing any that it gets wrong. I generally mass generate them and then only check them by reviewing the card; I mark any that are wrong and fix marked things later.

    • Despite I haven’t downloaded or googled anything yet, I’m pretty into watching some dubbed C.S.I’s new season episodes. I’m not sure whether if the show is too difficult for me, or if I’ll be able to get the subs but, I’m so excited about the possibility of inputing video on Anki, that’s gonna be good for everyone’s progress in my opinion.
      The funny thing is that, when Adshap first blogged about reviewing with images and sounds, I was like “that’s so cool”… I’m glad Anki’s been improving day by day and giving us more options to make our studies funner ;)

  10. For some reason i can’t get this to work with my deck. I have added all the sentences from genki textbooks and followed this guide, but the audio file just doesn’t have any sound to it. Does anyone have this same problem?

  11. I’ve been wanting to put audio in my decks for a while now but didn’t because I thought it would really slow down how long it took to make each card, but I finally got myself to give it a try. It’s really surprisingly easy! Even using audacity to snag lines of a song for my lyrics deck only took a little bit longer than making the cards, and the googleTTS only takes a couple of seconds. Thank you very much for the helpful guide!

  12. I have been slowly making my first 1000 sentence deck from the genki books and I have been getting the audio off of the cd thats included with the book. However I have just relaised I have been putting the audio on the question section. Should I change this? I thought it would be helpful hearing the sentence at the same time im reading it and then trying to remember the meaning of the word I dont know yet. Or should the audio be in the answer section? (Note: Im refering to 1000 sentences here only, I understand that kanji audio would need to be in the answer section.)

    Sorry for so many questions.

    • Should be in the answer section. Otherwise you can’t test whether you can read the sentence or not (since you will end up hearing it before you get a chance to read it out loud).

  13. Can this be turned into animated gifs? I think that animated kanjis or frames like in could be better.

    • This is just a thought I had, but I think gifs might be ultimately harmful, at least past a certain point. The reason is that as you get better you start going through your cards reasonably fast, and when you do have doubts about stroke order they’re usual very specific and clear points (usually about something like two strokes that cross each other but for which is not clear which is drawn first, or which of two parts of the kanji are drawn first), and having to wait for a gif file to run when you just want to check a single specific point might just end up being aggravating. (and, on another note, it would also be harder to harmonize with ankimobile, if you use it)

    • I don’t mean to argue — I’m sure it could be better for many people like that; personally, I like it how it is. It just takes one quick glance and I can tell exactly how it is written rather than following along or waiting for an animation.

    • Personally I prefer non-animated for the same reasons that other people posted. But I understand that different people learn differently and I can see that for some people the initial learning process would be enhanced by watching an animation.

      Translating SVGs into other image types in a cross-platform way on python is a bit tricky, but it would also be possible to animate the SVGs using Anki’s JavaScript support – and something interactive like that could also have a way to skip to the end when you’re past that initial stage. Unfortunately I’m really busy at the moment and it’s not a priority for me, but I’ll consider it.

      You might consider one of the methods of creating automatic links to web pages and visiting the page for your kanji and watching their animation any time you fail a card and feel like you’d like to see it animated.

  14. This has made a great addition to my RTK deck. Thanks! However, I am using the sixth edition of RTK, and so I have recently stumbled into a few problems. The kanji 嗅 (keyword ‘sniff’, Heisig no. 129/3008) is missing, and I suspect so are the other 175 new additions to the book. I would like to add these missing kanji to my deck, but I was unable to get your script to work, possibly because I am using Python 2.6.1? Anyway, could you please suggest a possible solution to my problem?

    • I just double checked, and that is included, so there’s some issue with your deck. (Could you have a space as well as a character on the card? Did you delete unused media before adding that card?)

      The addon for anki 2.0 should work a lot more smoothly, so I’m looking forward to 2.0 going stable.

      • I do apologise. The kanji is there, my Anki implementation must have deleted the unused media for some reason. By the by, I have noticed an error in the sixth edition relating to that kanji. (Just from my close inspection of it this afternoon). It appears that in the book, the kanji is missing the final stroke (the one the turns the 大 into 犬). Also, what do you know about Anki 2.0?

  15. I don’t want to sound like a “newb”, but could someone please tell me where the screenshot at the bottom of the article is from? I really hate it when people don’t put any sort of indication of where their screenshots came from (especially the cooler ones).

    On another note, I had thought that something like this would be a great idea. You know, translating episodes to learn the language better. It’s great that this technique was devised and I look forward to using it. The best learning is the type where we are tricked into it! :)

    • That’s Clannad, an anime that I think proves that you don’t need great subject matter to be a great show. Unfortunately I found after I got farther into the episode that the the timing of the Japanese subtitles got farther and farther from the video.

  16. I don’t know how to edit here. I checked that one out by it doesn’t let you choose tts engine, it does use like other 3 besides google’s. Pity cause misaki is simply he best jap tts engine. I guess I’ll have to stick to task automation to give voice to those sentences …

  17. I have downloaded the googletts plugin on my anki but I have a problem.
    I use the sort-keys to read the question field when I can’t remember how to read the kanji or after seeing the anwser to train listening. But when I do it, if the sentence is to long (more then 9-10 characters), it only reads the first part and stops. Even if I click again it only reads until a certain point and when i close anki it reads what missed (sometimes 3 or 4 sentences at the same time).
    Please help me!

  18. A great place to get audio + sentences is Japanesepod101. Though audio transcription of sentences requires a premium account, when you first sign up you get the premium account for a month (for 1$ and non-recurring).

    They’ve tons of material spoken by various native speakers, and every sentence has the audio transcribed in a manner that’s easy to copy n paste straight to Anki. It, at the very least, seems useful during the beginning phases when your choice of sentences is more dependent on getting used to the grammar etc.


  19. Thank you very much! After a lot of messing around, I finally got it to work on ankimobile 1.8.
    For it to work on ankimobile (not sure if this has changed in the new ankimobile as I haven’t yet upgraded) double quote marks are required:
    <img src=”{{text:Kanji}}.svg” />
    (Note the added double quotes around the filename.)
    Without these the images just won’t show on ankimobile.

    • It doesn’t always get kana words right, but it’s much better than just reading without any indication of pitch accent. It is too bad that there’s no way to correct it when you know it’s wrong though.

  20. I have a question. My plan is to put the audio in the question field.
    What I’ll do is that I will listen to the audio first and write the answer on a separate paper. Then after that I’ll check if what I write is correct in the answer field. Is this ok?

  21. Hm, I’m having pretty shoddy luck trying to extract these files on Windows. It looks like the files were given Unicode names, but any program I use on Windows – the shell default, 7-zip, or WinZip – all interpret them as ASCII and refuse to extract some of the files because they appear to have characters that are invalid in windows filepaths (like ‘:’).

    Luckily, I do have W7 Enterprise, so I’m currently installing the Japanese language pack to see if that helps…

  22. Just changed from the somewhat troublesome implementation of stroke order diagrams in Anki 1 to the Anki 2 addon implementation, and it totally blows the previous version out of the water (including on how sweet looking the diagrams end up being).
    The one critique I have is that you really should publicize it more on this site (it totally should be mentioned somewhere one the post above, if not even get it’s own post). I was pretty much lucky to find it before I tried to painstakingly address the problem I had one kanji at a time…

    • Thanks for the info. I added an update to the top of the post. If Cayenne or any anyone on this site is interested in writing about the new version of this for Anki 2, I’d be happy to put it up.

  23. Hey guys, I’m just about to embark on my Japanese journey so I downloaded Anki and got ready to start. However, once I discovered that I could add a stroke order add-on such as this, I immediately tried to figure out how. I have downloaded the Kanji Colorer into Anki, but after this I have no idea what to do. I am not tech savvy at all and I am extremely confused by the directions on the shared plug in at ( I also have a Mac if that helps. I guess what confuses me is in the directions when it says “Add a “Diagram” field to a model with “Japanese” in the name and a field named “Kanji”.” I don’t know how to go about doing this at all.

    Is there anyway someone could please give me an extremely basic description of what to do, or suggest something else that I can do. Sorry about the hassle and thank-you in advance.

    • I had trouble with this too.
      You need to rename the note type (“tools” > “note types”) of the card and add “Japanese” (ex: from “Heisig” to “Heisig Japanese”). Then add to that card type a field labeld “Diagram” (and don’t forget to add it to the back of the card, too).
      Then (re)genrate all the cards from the “tools” menu, and it should work.

  24. I find anime I want to use but the scripts never match up properly. Sometimes anki/addons/plugins etc can be very frustrating…

    • You can use Aegisub to shift the script file.
      Sometimes I’m forced to shift it differently for 2 sections of the file (or sometimes 3 or 4 sections for very long stuff), but I’m yet to find anything that is truly unusable. In fact, around 3/4’s of my daily new sentences currently come from using Subs2srs.

  25. Hey guys, not sure if anyone else is having this problem but
    I can’t seem to get subs2srs to work with Anki 2.

    I use 2 context lines, I’ve added the necessary fields in the correct order in my card template and everything is lined up on the import screen, but it still does not import correctly. (Yes I’ve moved the media files into Anki’s media folder also + enabled HTML when importing).

    Everything looks fine when I am in the browse menu, but when reviewing it just shows the tag ID of the card.
    Using latest version of subs2srs.

    • Well… by “Everything looks fine when I am in the browse menu” do you mean that the process is creating cards with the right fields all filled up correctly?
      ’cause if that’s it, all I can think of is that you created a card type with all the right fields, but forgot to configure which fields (and where) actually appear in the cards… To edit this go to “Tools>Manage Note Types…”, then choose the card type you are importing to, and select “Cards…”.

      • Sorry, I’m not exactly sure what you mean.
        But here’s how my card browser looks:

        The tag field is red because Anki 2 now needs the first field to be unique, but subs2srs makes it the same for each card. That shouldn’t make the card not work, though, right?

        For added clarity, here’s how one of the cards look when reviewing:

        • Ok, looking at your screenshots I’m pretty confident that your problem is what I thought it was. The problem really has nothing to do with subs2srs, all that’s happening is that you didn’t configure you card type fully in Anki (card types are what this article calls templates. I believe this terminology was changed between Anki and Anki 2).

          Ok, so the first thing you need to do is figure out what is the card type you are using in your “test” deck (I can’t really see this from your screenshots). On Anki’s main screen do “Tools > Manage Note Types…”. Just go through each card type you have and press “Fields…” until you find the one which has “Tag”, “Sequence Marker”, “Audio”, etc, as its fields.
          (by the way, you were probably here before when you created those fields in the first place)

          Anyway, once you locate the right card type, click “Cards…”, which will show you the problem to be solved. I expect that in the window your “Front template” box will say “{{Tag}}” and your “Back template” box will say “{{Sequence Marker}}”. Or in other words, right now Anki thinks that all you want in front of the card is the Tag, and all you want in the back is the Sequence Marker, which is of course silly of it.
          So all you have to do now is change those two boxes. On the “Front template” you probably want it to say something like:
          I’ll leave you to figure the “Back Template” (as I don’t know what you want to put there anyway).

          • Hey awesome, guess it did just need a bit of formatting! Thanks a lot!

            Also, I’m trying to get my cards to look like the one in the article above here. I can’t seem to get the right font though, does anyone know the font name of what’s being used up above?

  26. I have one question regarding this. How do you get the furigana on top of the expression? I can do this just fine when I create my own cards by clicking add using the Japanese type card. This is how I add all of my sentences from other sources. However, I can’t get it to happen when I use the card type that I created for importing (which I called subs2srs and copied it from the Japanese note type and added more fields). Is there a way to get the furigana to automatically add?

    • Okay, sorry for this ignorant comment. It appears there is a reason you put “Japanese” in front of the subs2srs note type! =D

      I can now get furigana in the card just like I do from other sources. However, it still doesn’t add automatically on import. I’m guessing this is just something I’ll have to deal with? It’s not too big of a deal, as I can just tab from the “Expression” field to add the line with furigana whenever I’m adding the meanings/definitions. But if there’s a way to have it be done automatically on import, I’d definitely like to know. Thanks!!

  27. Question, where can I get the deck seen in the first picture? It’s beautiful and it’s got the perfect background that I wouldn’t strain my eyes. I would pay for that! :P

  28. How is AwesomeTTS better than GoogleTTS? I looked at it, and it didn’t seem any different. The only TTS I could use for Japanese was GoogleTTS.

    • Let’s see…

      I think the most common ways to get the problem you guys are describing are the following:
      – you either forgot to toggle the “import HTML” box when importing the info into Anki or
      – you transferred the media into the Anki media folder after importing rather than before.

      Importing again (with the “import HTML” box toggled) should fix your cards, if I remember correctly.

      • Ah! You’re right. I read elsewhere about enabling HTML but I couldn’t find the box where it was, obviously because I’d already imported it. Thank you so much!

  29. Alright, I have almost everything perfect, just the way I want it…the only thing that confuses me is how to get the furigana for the kanji in the definition on the back of the card. I can get the furigana to show up for the main expression, but can’t figure out how I would get it to work for the dictionary definitions beneath it (よく調べて in the example in the article, for example.)

    Anyone have any ideas? Do I need to make a new Reading2 field or some such?

  30. Hello there once more!

    Well, I am feel a bit exhausted and desperate. I ordered a few animes which have japanese subtitles (Baccano!, Claymore and Log Horizon), with the aim of fusing both subtitle files with the respective sentence and a screenshot into an anki deck.

    So far, I just can’t shake the feel that I won’t be able to do it:
    Most of the subtitle files are asynchron from the ones from kitsunekko and have vaguely different timings. Seeing how my japanese is still pretty bad, I honestly can’t figure mid episode, which japanese phrase belongs to which english sub. And, with those few I do know, I can’t shake the feeling, that the english subtitles are mostly oversimplifying.
    I already invested now around 25 hours with basically no showable result.

    Has anyone of you guys a neat, simple anki-deck lying around they’d be happy to share? At this point, I don’t even care, what Anime it is, as long as I could finally understand some of it.

    ありがとうございます in advance

    • go to ankishareddecks. There are heaps of pre-made subs2srs decks.
      There’s even a persona 4 deck from memory! Have fun!

      The kitsunekko subs can be really irritating. Sometimes they are only 5-10 seconds off, sometimes minutes. For the new dbz movie they were actually in sync! Bit of a lucky draw with those bad boys.

      • You can use programs like Aegisub or Jubler to make the subtitles line up with the audio. It’s really easy to figure out, I’d recommend it because now I can watch pretty much any anime I want with Japanese subs and it has helped me immensely.

        Also, the reason they are 10 seconds off is because in the subs, they usually don’t include the 「この番組はご覧のスポンサーの提供でお送りします」transition between the theme and the show. If it’s a couple minutes off then its because the person who made the subs watched it on Japanese TV with commercials involved.

        • Thanks to both of you!

          Well, the Timings are not the only hardships: Some of the sentences are translated a bit… strange, sometimes, two People talk at once and the way the subbers put the subtitles differ… Trust me, I already tried fiddling with subtitleedit.

          However, a big thanks to the reminder for doublechecking with the anki shared decks. This could be awesome!

  31. Hello, I’ve got a question. How do you export based on tags? The only export option I can see is limited to the deck.

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