# Ability to add multiple notetypes to a single note

So I’ve been getting more advanced recently designing my own notetypes, and I’m running up against mainly one serious limitation that I think could pretty easily be solved, and I will explain how. I study math and physics with Anki, so that means I learn a lot of definitions, proofs, derivations, theorems, etc. Some concepts I have to learn are quite complicated and have multiple interrelated facets to them, and so I always try to get multiple carefully thought-out cards on one note which relate to the same topic, so that the cards are buried as siblings and so that my cards are very organised (I don’t need to look far for all the cards related to gravitational potential energy, such as its definition, its unit, etc).

A kind of note that I designed a while ago for this was one where there’s basically multiple basic, or front→back cards on it, and then an extra that will show up underneath any of the answers when they’re shown (to add maybe a picture or some extra info that is unessential but useful). Another is one with multiple basic and reversed cards, for related topics like ‘elastic collisions’, ‘inelastic collisions’, and ‘completely inelastic collisions’ (three concepts in physics with their own but related definitions).

But still I was recently getting increasingly annoyed that some cards were very difficult to make as good as possible, so I again designed a couple of new notetypes to handle the job. An example is this: I wanted a card with three sides, one with a term on it, another with a definition, and a third with the formula for that concept, and then also for every side a field that shows on the front of that card and disappears when I show the answer (i.e. the other two sides), where I would write things like [definition + formula] (for the card with the term) so as to remind myself of what I had to remember. So I did that, but then there are notes where it would be useful to also have a front→back card on it, on which I could f.e. ask to derive the formula for that concept, or to simply state what its unit is, or whatever. But… then there are cards where the front→back is actually the primary one (the one with the concept on, which I would like to appear in the brower, so then I basically would have to make exactly the same card but with the 3-sides card after the front→back card… and so on and on.

TL;DR:
So in sum, I’m in a position where I really have to start consider to either simplify my process a lot, and make mostly separated notes for the same concept, and not worry too much about sibling burying, or, more importantly, about a very organized browser with nonetheless complex card; or make a whole freakin’ lot of new notetypes, which is a time-consuming business, and which may one day become quite irrelevant in light of new options.

Therefore I would like to propose the following innovation: to be able to create new notes by simply adding existing notetypes (possibly containing multiple cards themselves) together, e.g. a basic, a basic and reversed, a cloze, all for the same concept; possibly as well as fields on the fly, so that you can f.e. add an extra field that shows up a certain amount of breaklines (that you can easily input) underneath the last text on the show-card. I’m not skilled to make this innovation myself but I feel like it would not be extremely difficult, and I’m certain it would greatly increase productivity and creativity for some people. Thanks for reading.

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I think you can achive what you want with a single note type that has multiple card types. You can add extra fields for the only purpose of conditional card creation.

Create new notes? I did that, that’s the problem, it’s very burdensome and cluttered…

I think you answered your own question here. Simplifying the process makes things a lot easier. I’m sure you’ve run into the situation where it’s hard to make changes to note types because you have many that you use (Oh, I want to change the font! Let me just change it on all 105 of my note types ).

What I do — because I don’t want to tell you how to run your Anki business — is keep using regular basic cards when possible. Let me give a super simple example. Let’s say you’re making cards about Texas, USA.

Q: What is the population of Texas?
A: 29.5 million (2021)

Q: Who is the governor of Texas?
A: Greg Abbott

Q: What’s the capital of Texas?
A: Austin

I used to think that I shouldn’t have cards like this on the same day (burying siblings you mentioned). But, each card exists fully on its own and doesn’t influence each other as long as they’re properly made. Aside from that, Anki’s Fuzz Factor will naturally spread the cards out as you review them.

Now if you want cards like this:

Q: Who is the governor of Texas?
A: Greg Abbott

Q: Greg Abbott is the governor of what state?
A: Texas

This is a little trickier because one directly helps the other. In this case, I would use an optional reverse card. This makes a card go in the opposite direction when you need it.

In summary, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. If a card ever comes up and you know the answer from a previous review, just bury it as you go (hotkey is - on desktop). I was in the same boat by making a bunch of note types, but it’s much easier to just use a regular basic card for 95% of cards.

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I disagree. Unfortunately life isn’t so simple, and life and knowledge require complexity to understand. Furthermore, I’m a complex person and I need complexity to live and thrive. You should understand, in some way, because at some point you did realize that you could use complexity to increase your understanding; only you gave up and gave in to limited capabilities. I’m hoping to change that, and I think my idea is a pretty simple but powerful solution. You don’t know yet what people can do with this, so please don’t be so fast trying to tell them that they are wrong and that they should ‘keep it simple’, that it’s better for them that way. No. Don’t underestimate intelligent people’s creative powers. What I propose would tremendously increase the power and efficiency of using Anki, IF used wisely, I think. But one needs to learn to live wisely, it doesn’t come of itself. Therefore, I stick with my point, and you have not convinced me. Please try again. But before you do, please actually try imagining the power and merit of my idea. Thank you.

No new notes, additional card types for the already existing notes. For example the note type for countries. You can have fields for name, capital, flag, locator map, coats of arms etc. Then for each card type you add, let’s say flag->name, would create new cards of the already existing notes. Cards have 2 sides, but you get several pairs, to name a few possibilities capital->country, country->capital, locator map->country name, etc.

With conditionals, you can get a card only if a specific field is non-empty, so not all notes might have the same number f cards.

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Ahh I had to look it up, I wasn’t aware of that possibility (should have looked better). That may actually do part of the trick, so thanks very much!

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Alright so what you said is very helpful, thank you! I don’t think it’s the best solution though, but it’s much along the way Therefore I will leave this question open so developers might still see it and ponder on it.

Don’t forget that I said this. I’m not trying to convince you of anything, only to give my perspective.

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You’re right, I’m sorry I was a bit antagonstic there, it may be the frustration of the struggle and the hard work I was putting into my cards. I should have been better educated because guillempalausalva’s advice helped very much already, and it would have been less of a hassle to find that out than to be making all these new notes that I was making. Order has returned in my Ankingdom, but I persist still that this process could be made simpler, and my idea may be a proper solution. Thank you for taking the time to respond.

I encourage you to read the manual at least once. Anki as it is is very powerful.

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This is a really cool idea! Can you give me some examples of your cards?

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I nailed extremely (and I mean extremely) hard courses of Physics/Math in college by using “Basic” type cards lmao

you know, the note type that comes with Anki

They were usually very big cards. For example, a Physics question on the front, and a huge 2-page answer on the back.

Some people say “flashcards should be short”… but this does not apply to Physics/Math. For these subjects, the cards have to be long, there is no other way.

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Well, I kind of agree. My timer is set to 10 minutes because that’s about how long a few of my cards take to really conceptualize in my mind. But a lot of them don’t need to be that complicated, and can even be very simple and short, like some definitions, derivations, and theorems. Certainly for the basics thats great. But I like to chunk whole concepts in some cards too, like I recently did with the proofs for Kepler’s Laws. So it depends. Another good thing about shorter cards is that they’re easily edited and clarified, because they’re not too integrated into other concepts, they stand a little freer, on their own.

Update: another benefit that this innovation would confer is the possibility of creating something like ‘cloze and reversed’ notes. What I would really like to do with some cards is f.e. to have some term on the front of a card and a definition on the back (as I do), but then be able to add some cloze deletions on the back too so that the ‘reversed card’ actually just hides some info from the whole definition (such as the term, and maybe a formulation of the term, etc.).

Either you knew the definition or you didn’t. An intermediate step hardly contributes anything to remembering.

Simply add two different cards, where one prompts you for a definition and the other one is a cloze deletion.

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If you are on Anki 2.1.56+ maybe you could use nested clozes.

E.g.

{{c1::Gatun Lake}} = {{c2::a(n) {{c3::artificial}} lake within {{c4::the Panama Canal}}}}

Yes I’ve been thinking about that too (but I’m waiting for some major bugs with mathjax to be solved before I update), and it probably could do a good job of it, but it still has limitations that could easily be overcome by implementing my proposed method. But hey, we have to be creative with what’s at our disposal, so that’s something.