Confused beginner

Hi. I’ve been using Anki for basic and reversed cards for a year or so and I’m trying to get my head round more complex stuff, and I’m failing. Could someone please explain some things to my feeble brain? I have 2 projects:

  1. Learn the common and latin names of trees and recognise them from a photo.
  2. Learn words in English, Spanish and French.

So I created a new deck called Trees and renamed the default Front and Back fields to Leaf, Common and Latin. My objective is for Anki to test me on all the combinations of these 3 data. However Anki doesn’t do some combinations. Why not?

Then I created another deck for the languages. However, when I go to the fields section, the fields are already those from the Trees deck. If I delete or change them, it changes the fields in the Trees deck too. This is not how I imagined it would work. I supposed a new deck was not connected to the other decks. In this new deck I want fields named English Spanish and French. What’s happening here?

I am very confused about how things are connected in Anki. Editing some things in one deck seem to affect all the cards in every deck! I get messages saying “this will affect all 1054 cards” - Why? I’m only editing one deck! What’s happening??

Hair out. Please help. Thanks.

All your questions are related to notetypes. The concepts are explained here: Getting Started - Anki Manual
To summarise:

  • Cards are generated as per the templates of the note’s notetype.
  • You need to add a new notetype if you want different fields. I wouldn’t advise to modify the default notetypes, but no harm done.
  • Notetypes are independent of decks.
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Thanks for that. I’ve read the guide you linked to. I’ve tried to draw it out as I understand it. Is this correct? All the data is in one big database from which you pull field names to put into card templates using {{field}}. Anki then fills in this field with data from the database. So when you create a new deck, you choose from a big mix of all the card templates (types) and all the fields from all your existing decks. (Edit: but that completely misses out Note type. I’m still confused!)

No, the diagram is not accurate.
First, there are notetypes, e.g. “Basic”, which has one template (card type) and two fields, viz. “Front” and “Back”. Notes are the objects that actually contain the study material. To add a new one, you have to pick a notetype. In the case of “Basic”, you then have to fill in the information for “Front” and “Back”, whereupon one card is generated. You can put that card in any deck, there is no connection between decks and notetypes.

Let’s take a look at your first example: You would add a notetype with 3 fields (“Common Name”, “Latin Name”, “Image”) and 6 templates:

  1. Front: {{Common Name}}. Back {{Latin Name}}.
  2. Front: {{Common Name}}. Back {{Image}}.
  3. Front: {{Latin Name}}. Back {{Common Name}}.
  4. Front: {{Latin Name}}. Back {{Image}}.
  5. Front: {{Image}}. Back {{Common Name}}.
  6. Front: {{Image}}. Back {{Latin Name}}.

(If that’s mnemonically sensible is another question.)
Then just pick this notetype and enter the 3 pieces of information to automatically create 6 cards for some tree.


Okay. So Anki doesn’t automatically create cards with all the combinations - I have to do create these card types (templates) for each. But after having done that, Anki will populate these automatically.
Then, when I create another deck, these templates will be available but I can create others if they’re not suitable for the new subject. Any changes to the card types will affect all decks.

Thanks very much for your help. I’ll try again…!