Copy an existing deck completely


I would like to copy a deck completely in order to make changes in the copy.
As I am a newcomer to Anki, I would like to try out changes to the card type etc. without destroying the original deck.

Question: what is the best way to proceed?
As I am a beginner to Anki, I would appreciate small step by small step instructions.

Additional question:
The original deck contains about 9000 records.
It would be enough for me to copy “only” 200 records from the original into a new deck to be created, whereby the structure of the old deck should be preserved.
Question: what is the best way to proceed?

Thank you, Peter El Salvador

I’ve found a similar request in this forum, but till now, it wasn’t answered yet.
Therefore, I dare to ask again, sorry, lo siento, Entschuldigung

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For experimenting with changes, you can export your collection, then use file>switch profile to create a test profile, and you can import a copy of your collection into it.

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Dear Dea,
thanks for your advice, I’ll try it the next day.

One question:
Can I finally export the content of the deck from the “test profile” to my original profile?

Regard Peter El Salvador

Do you mean, can you export a deck from one profile and then import it into another profile? If so, then yes, you can.

One thing to be aware of though is that existing items can’t be updated if the note type has been modified, so you’d need to remove the notes from your source collection before trying to import them back again.

Since you apparently want to export decks not to share it, but just to try out a few things one it, and then push the modifications to the original deck, you could also achieve the same result by backuping your deck, then modifying directly, and if you are not satisfied you can revert it to the backuped one.

Dear Dae,

thanks for the suggestions, not only from you.

The suggestions you made to me for copying a deck seem rather “complicated” to me.
My idea - maybe I’m too naive of what Anki can offer - was / is:
a) go to the folder in Anki where all data from a specified deck is stored,
Example: Name of the deck: “A”
b) copy the whole folder and give another name to the copied deck,
Example: Name of the copied deck could be now “A modified 01”.
c) open the copied and renamed deck “A modified 01” with Anki and then modify the content of this deck.
d) save then the modified deck with extended fields etc.

Of course, it would be even easier just simply save the modified deck under a new name when editing using the windows version.

But now, desafortunadamente there are seams to be no such a choice in the menu. (Maybe hidden?)

Somehow, I can’t imagine that this simple way is not possible for Anki.
Hundreds of apps can do it in different OS.

At the beginning, I wasted quite a lot of time, days, modifying an existing deck, adding fields, and for example “German translation, audio-sample etc.”, hints for irregular verbs in Spanish etc.:

There was the hint at the latest when liked to synchronize the modified deck:
Your changes differ significantly from the original.
You now have two options: a or b.

Unfortunately, I made the wrong choice and several days’ of work went down the drain.
Neither option a nor b offered by Anki was what I wanted to achieve.

So once again my question:
Isn’t there an easier way to save an existing deck under a different name on the computer, and then call the file with the changed name?

Why am I so interested in a simpler solution for copping an existing deck?
At the moment, I’m less interested in creating learning content with Anki.
(it’s just something I’m doing on the side at the moment)
My focus at the moment:
just to find out how Anki works, to find out if I can fully recommend Anki as an e-learning medium, or what challenges there are to create a good deck with Anki.

Additional question:
Under Settings / Backup the number of backup copies is displayed.
I assume that only the changes are saved in the backups.
But maybe the backup copy is also a possibility to …

I would be very grateful for any help to simplify:
copping en existing deck under a new name.

Yours sincerely, Peter El Salvador

Dear matter,

thanks for the suggestions, not only from you.

As I don’t like to repeat myself, please be so kind and read may note I sent to the forum member “dea”.

Yours sincerely, Peter El Salvador

Dear Blackbeans,

thanks for the suggestions, not only from you.

As I don’t like to repeat myself, please be so kind and read may note I sent to the forum member “dea”.

Yours sincerely, Peter El Salvador


You wrote:
“Since you apparently want to export decks not to share it …”

Not at all!
I’ve no problem at all to share the modified deck.

I intend to “publish” the deck I modified later, but that will take at least 9 months or more of time.
The original deck is more than 9000 records for Spanish <> English.
An excellent deck.
But from my point of view it should be modified in many places.
And then I would like to split the deck, a new deck Spanish <> German.


Well, I have to admit, I have never though about copying a deck to modify it. I don’t manage huge collections, but still I have used Anki for about five years now and I never felt like I needed to have several copies of the same deck, to create or modify content. It’s simply not how Anki works.
This does not mean that what you are looking for is impossible. It simply means that you are not looking in the right place. If you think that you are going to have a massive deck production, and that you need versioning / branching or whatever, I would recommend that you actually create your notes outside of Anki, with the tools that match best your workflow.
If you like spreadsheets, Anki can natively import them. With this approach, you have a full control over where, how and how many copies of each deck you have access to.
You could even go for an org document in a git repo, and then push it to Anki (other alternative), allowing for collaborative editing (with git, with google docs, or with git but through an addon), for finer versioning than just copying your deck all over the places.

The point is that it is complicated to do this kind of stuff in Anki because it was not meant for it. Instead, you have to rely on a dedicated tool. Having a good workflow with Anki (as with most great pieces of software you’ll ever use) will stem from combining tools that fit you.
Notice I gave you quite an amount of links. All of them point to tools that could potentially help you, but there are many ways to achieve what you want to do.

Hi BlackBeans,

thanks for your rapid replay.
Your suggestion exporting to “Excel” and importing back, I tried already.

But somehow I didn’t get the result I was looking for.
One of the explanation I found in the net - I don’t know if it true - if fields are empty in an Anki or in the excel cells, you will get in trouble by importing to an Anki deck.
By my several tries: lots of data were lost or mixed up.
I haven’t found the reason, jet, Why?

If you could send me links where I could see the steps by step how to reach my goal,
exporting records from Anki to Excel, modifying in Excel and importing back to Anki that would be great.
But very importing for me:
As I’m a lazy boon, I’d like the audio-samples as well to be exported / imported as well.
(Sorry to bother you but, as one who is 75 + x years old, prefers a bit more explanation than a young nerd.)

Best regards Peter El Salvador

Nice way to put it!

Personally, I have never tried, I don’t see any reason for this to be true. Excel, Anki and CSV files (the intermediate format between the two) support empty fields… it may have been a bug that has been patched since.
The only thing is that the there is one field that should not be empty when importing in Anki, and this can be prevented with this addon.

I don’t know whether you prefer videos or text. In any case, here is a video that seems to explain in detail how to import / export in Anki, including audio and images. Instead of doing that by hand, you can also use this addon.

Dear Blackbeans,

thanks for your advice.
I forgot to mention that I’d already exported the Anki deck to Excel.
But in my case is didn’t work properly.
The deck contains 9,000 records. But Excel excepts only the import of maximum 1000 records.

Regards Peter El Salvador

Turns out, Excel is quite a bad piece of software. But there are plenty of alternatives. You could try Google Docs or Libre Office.

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I installed the add-on: Spreadsheet Import Plus
I shouldn’t have done it.
Starting Anki new I got the message:
the add-on Spreadsheet Import Plus doesn’t work with Anki.
It was explained why, but I didn’t understand what it ment.
I ignored the advice to get rid of the add-on.

Even worse:
having ignored that massage twice now I can’t start Anki anymore.

Can you tell me where I can find the folder on the pc which contains the
add- on for Anki?

First, find the Anki directory

You can access it by opening the file manager, and typing %APPDATA%\Anki2 in the location field. Older versions of Anki stored your Anki files in a folder called Anki in your Documents folder.

(from the Anki manual)
You should find there a directory where all add-ons are stored. On my computer, it is called addons21, but I could not find it in the manual so maybe it will be named differently on your computer.
Finally, in that directory, you should see a directory whose name is the number you had to enter in Anki to download the add-on. Simply delete that directory (for Spreadsheet Import Plus, it should be 716643677).
To recap:

  • Go in %APPDATA%/Anki2/addons21
  • Remove the directory called 716643677

thanks for your help, I found it already.

the local on my pc is:


This error has already been submitted to the developer of the add-on, and will probably be patched soon. I believe that the last version of Anki for which this add-on currently work is 2.1.46. You can either downgrade Anki, wait (god knows how much time, could be a couple of hours, could be weeks), or find an other add-on that does the job.
Maybe @dae knows more precisely why this error occurs (a change in the API?).

It’s caused by this commit: switch the Importers global to a callable for i18n · ankitects/anki@efb1ce4 · GitHub

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Thanks for your replay.
I’ve not the foggiest idea what you mean, when telling me:
"switch to the …)
What I did I left a note at the Gib-Web-Side with the screenshot of the error-message, hoping the developer can handle the mistake.