4 column Spanish Vocab Deck

I have a master Excel file with 4 columns (GUID, Article, Spanish, English). Currently there are 1994 rows in the file (more will be added or changed every day as I work my way through Duolingo). To export the Excel xlsx file to a UTF-8 text file, I do the following:

  1. From Excel, “File / Save As” to a Unicode Text file

  2. Open the text file with Notepad and add my File Header Keys (#guid column:x and #columns:w x y z)

    I made this easier by using “#guid column:1 #columns:GUID” as my GUID column header in Excel.

    In the text file, I just have to split the first line to get what you see below. The column names are already properly tab separated.

  3. From Notepad, “File / Save as” changing the Encoding to UTF-8

  4. Import the UTF-8 text file into Anki

Here are a few rows from the top of the file I imported into Anki…
#guid column:1
#columns:GUID Article Spanish English
e7689ce3-3c01-ba14-015e-25bf6c4d2bfb . ¡Guácala! “gross, yuck, ew”
ae4b516f-27ab-6b3e-35fd-474a2d161fff . ¿Cómo está? How are you? (formal)
a317659a-d86e-dc18-6c5b-b934ebc31625 . abandonar to abandon
cca79ecb-e42f-13aa-3e15-b1355847360c . abierto / a open
86292255-26f2-9049-548b-10d09192c48b el/la abogado / a lawyer
b75fcaa5-39cb-cf97-7523-a51cc8042faf el abrigo coat

Note Type:
My Note Type started as a new “Basic (and reversed card)”.

GUID is an Excel generated GUID. I intended for this to be used to keep my cards unique and to allow me to import new cards and to import changes for existing cards. By trial and error, I found that I needed to NOT define GUID as a Field in my Note Type. It also appears that the GUID could be any column so long as “#guid column:x” matches.

Article can be blank, el, la, el/le, los, or las. Anki would not import rows with a blank Article, so I use a period, “.” (a space, " ", also works). I was hoping that by having GUID as the first column in my import deck, Anki would not treat Article as my first column. I was wrong. Anki appears to treat GUID as special, making Article my first column for Card purposes.

Spanish is my Note Type Sort Field. It is unique only in combination with Article, not on its own.

English is one or more comma separated translations for the Article/Spanish combination.


My Card Front Template contains…
{{Article}} {{Spanish}}

My Card Back Template contains…



  1. Is there any way to get around having to use a period or a space for Article values that should really be blank?

  2. When Anki displays the “reverse” card, it does not include Article, just Spanish. The Article value does not matter, it’s not displayed.


  1. Am I correct that with the GUID, I should be able to import change decks (adds and changes)? A delete would be a special case of change: an existing GUID would be imported with new Article, Spanish, and English values.

I would appreciate some help with the problems and question, above.

guid is an internal Anki thing; you should put custom identifiers into the first field instead, as Anki can match duplicates based on the first field.

Blank fields should work - two tabs in a row would indicate that field is empty.

You’ll need to customize the card template to change how Anki shows the card during review.

Since my initial post, I conducted some testing for:

  1. Initial import of a new data deck
  2. Import of additional new cards
  3. Import of changes (updates) to existing cards
  4. Import of changes that would completely replace existing cards (i.e. delete and add via change)

In my initial post, I listed 2 problems and 1 question. Here’s where I am after my testing:

Question 1 (Resolved): GUID is described in the Anki Manual in the Import / File Headers section under Keys and GUID Column. GUID is definitely provided by the user during Import. The “#guid column:x” Key identifies the import data column containing the GUID. The GUID column must be defined as a Field in your Note Type. It does not need to be mapped to a Card. With the GUID properly defined to Anki and properly managed in your external data file (it must be unique), it is possible to update exiting cards. The GUID does not change. All other fields may change.

Problem 1 (Resolved): Other than the GUID, none of my data fields are unique by themselves, especially the second column in my import deck (the first is the GUID). With the GUID properly defined, my problem with empty fields disappeared. I can leave the fields 2, 3, and 4 empty if I need to.

Problem 2 (NOT Resolved): If I have an import card with 4 columns “guid la aldea village” (Tab separated), upon import Anki creates 2 cards (Card1 - forward, and Card 2 - reverse). Card 1, displays columns 2 and 3 (la aldea) on the front of card 1 and columns 2 and 3 (la aldea) plus a divider line plus column 4 (village) on the back. So, Card 1 is displaying correctly. Card 2 properly displays column 4 (village) on the front, but only displays column 4 (village) plus a divider line plus column 3 (aldea) on the back. The back side of Card 2 is NOT displaying column 2 (la).

I believe that Problem 2 is a coding bug.

I captured screenshots at each step of my testing. My results are repeatable.

Here are some of the screenshots from my testing…

First, my Note Type…




Then my initial import of a new deck…


And then Browsing Card 1 and Card 2 for one of the uploaded cards…

Finally, Previewing Card 1 front and back and Card 2 front and back for the same card…

In the Preview of Card 2 - Back, notice that the Article value of “.” is missing, but it is present in the Browse of Card 2.

Sorry, I’m having trouble following. Could you please simplify the issue into the minimum file size/template/steps to reproduce it?

Dae -

I am using Anki Version ⁨2.1.60 (76d88073)⁩ on Windows 11.

The screenshots above show the steps I took to document my problem. One thing that I mentioned in my initial post, but didn’t repeat in the second is that my Note Type was a new “Basic (and reversed card)” type.

My import file contains 4 columns of data: GUID, Article, Spanish, English.

The Sequence of screenshots is:

  1. Tools / Manage Note Types - with my note type selected
  2. Tools / Manage Note Types / Fields - with “GUID” selected
  3. Tools / Manage Note Types / Fields - with “Article” selected
  4. Tools / Manage Note Types / Fields - with "Spanish selected
  5. Tools / Manage Note Types / Fields - with “English” selected
  6. Tools / Manage Note Types / Cards - Front Template
  7. Tools / Manage Note Types / Cards - Back Template
  8. Tools / Manage Note Types / Options
  9. My initial text deck for import. I can upload the actual deck if you wish.
  10. The Import screen - All information is correct
  11. The results of the Import - 9 notes were added (3 sets of 3 notes). Each set had one card with “Article” of “” (empty), one card of “Article” " " (space), and one card of "Article “.” (period). I have tried additional testing with “Article” values of a, bb, ccc, dddd, eeeee, ffffff. All produce the same error on the Card 2 back.
  12. Browse / MyTestDeck / Spanish03 / Card 1 - this is the forward card - values are correct
  13. Browse / MyTestDeck / Spanish03 / Card 2 - this is the reverse card - values are correct
  14. Browse / MyTestDeck / Spanish03 / Card 1 / Preview / Front - values are correct
  15. Browse / MyTestDeck / Spanish03 / Card 1 / Preview / Back - values are correct
  16. Browse / MyTestDeck / Spanish03 / Card 2 / Preview / Front - values are correct
  17. Browse / MyTestDeck / Spanish03 / Card 2 / Preview / Back - values are NOT correct. It should display “. Spanish03” as the answer. The “Article” value of “.” is missing.

I tried two tests this morning with two “Basic” note types, one defining a Forward card and the other a Reverse card. Both produced the correct results.

Therefore, I believe that there is something wrong with the “Basic (and reversed card)” note type.

If you’ve added extra fields to a standard notetype and want those fields to appear during review, you need to ensure you add them to the front or back template.

Problem solved!

Further testing showed that the template for Card 2 - Back (Reverse - Back) was missing the “Article” field. I added the field using Browse / Cards and all Card 2 - Backs populated correctly.

I decide to rerun my whole test sequence and discovered that I had failed to notice that “Tools / Manage Note Types” had a dropdown menu to switch between the Card 1 and Card 2 templates. I had failed to set up the Card 2 template.

So this was a “User Error”.

I learned a lot about Anki in the process.

I have another problem to report, but I’ll take a third look before I post.

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