Anki – Re-sorting or Updating flash cards using your own lists (Cool for Frequency lists)

In this example, I will be re-sorting the Core2k6k Optimized Vocab deck, so that it’s ordered in an Anime/Visual Novel based order.


-Some vocab you want to resort (as Anki flash cards)

-Microsoft Excel

Notepad++ (preferably)


-An Anki vocab deck that you want to re-order.

-A frequency field for the note type for those vocab cards. This can be named whatever you want. I call mine “tempFreq”.

Adding a field:

Just go to a card in the Browser and click “Fields” 

Then click Add, and add a new field (mine will be called “tempFreq”)


Make sure that your FIRST Field is the “Expression”, or card written in Kanji only.

Example of properly ordered note fields.

You’ll want to avoid something like the “Reading” field being the first field. Simply Reposition your field so that something resembling the “Expression” field is first.


Now, we’re like halfway through the difficult stuff.

You’ll want to get some sort of frequency list with a list of the top words (for your source) written in Kanji. I recommend the Japanese Text Analysis Tool to make one from some anime subtitles or visual novels or something you have.

Get your words into a spreadsheet like this with Excel.
Copy ONLY the A and B columns, and paste them into a new Notepad++

Convert it to UTF-8 and make sure to hit Save (again if you’ve already saved it).

Now, we’ll import this spreadsheet into Anki. We’re basically going to update our entire vocab deck so that wherever we see an Expression, we will update the tempFreq with the value from the spreadsheet we generated.

Hit Ctrl-I to import, and select your file.

Aside from the Type and Deck which may be different for you, your Import window should look like:

And that’s pretty much it.


Troubleshooting, Large Frequency Lists, etc:

******So, there’s one caveat. If you use a giant frequency list vocab words that aren’t already in your Anki deck, you’ll wind up importing new vocab cards that don’t have definitions. There doesn’t seem to be a way to get around this, though I might be mistaken. The solution is simply go to your Browser, then sort your cards by “Created”.

There’s a solution to this that I just came up with. You can create a scrap deck called “scraps” and do the Import/Update into THAT deck, and then just delete all the cards added to that deck. An Import/Update statement will affect all cards of the Note type you specify, regardless of what deck they’re in.

(You may have to right-click on the bar to enable Created to show) and find the cards added today, starting with the first unknown card on your list.

If you added a ton of blank cards and you want to save time, there’s a certain trick you can do. If you know what the first nonsense card is, you can search for the card in the Browser. Find it, then Click on it. Then, click on the list of Decks in the left bar of the Browser, and you’ll be at the position of the card within the context of your whole deck.


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