Anki Forums

Display content of a field from another note (via reference)

The problem: When you use redundancy, i.e., create multiple notes about the same topic, you often want to have the same content in the extra field, or at least parts of the same content.

Current methods?

As of now, the best method for this is, as far as I know, a combination of two add-ons:

  1. Show field’s source (html) in editor
  2. Batch Editing
  • This will copy the exact content (with formatting etc.) from one note to one or more other notes.
  • But this method still requires copying and pasting content every time. It is still cumbersome.

There’s also copy note contents to new Add window. But this works only when you want to create a totally new note, not when you want to edit two or more existent notes.

There is Frozen fields, but it is even more limited: It only works when you are creating multiple notes in a row.

My suggestion: I think it would much less cumbersome with a kind of reference. This means to enter a string in a field (esp. the Extra field). The function of the string is that it is a reference to a certain field of a certain note. Not the string will be displayed on the card, but the content of the referenced field.

Inspiration: Maybe you are familiar with KeePass. In KeePass you can duplicate entries. Here, you can create a reference from one password field to the password field of another entry. When you copy the password from the entry with the reference, you don’t copy the referencing text, but the referenced password.

PS: I have made the same suggestion in r/Anki.

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As someone who is currently struggling to keep a lot of notes in order, I agree with you that keeping track of redundant notes isn’t easy.

The big advantage of references would be that - if they worked as expected - you could edit a single note and all notes that use it as a reference would be updated too.
However, it seems to me like adding these references and keeping track of them would require the same amount of effort as copying the contents. It would even add another layer of complication.

And what happens if you delete a referenced note for example? :thinking: It might require an alert that the contents are referenced somewhere and you would have to handle these situations every time such a note is deleted.

A different approach for redundant flashcards
You could set up a note type that creates multiple cards from one note. If you edit the extra information of this note, all its cards will be updated. I think this is exactly what you would want to achieve by references.

Also consider the following: If lots of notes have the same extra information, that information’s value will diminish. Maybe it doesn’t need to be shown on all cards that it could be on.

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Thanks a lot for your reply!! You’ve brought a lot of thoughts to the table that I hadn’t thought of. I think you solved the problem with your different approach.

However, it seems to me like adding these references and keeping track of them would require the same amount of effort as copying the contents. It would even add another layer of complication.

It would still require some effort. Still, it would a big advancement because (at least in my case) it requires only creating the reference once and then all subsequent changes can be made to one note only, granted that the field contents should be exactly the same.

And what happens if you delete a referenced note for example? :thinking: It might require an alert that the contents are referenced somewhere and you would have to handle these situations every time such a note is deleted.

Yes, that’s true; you certainly don’t want to inadvertently lose information.

You could set up a note type that creates multiple cards from one note. If you edit the extra information of this note, all its cards will be updated. I think this is exactly what you would want to achieve by references.

Also consider the following: If lots of notes have the same extra information, that information’s value will diminish. Maybe it doesn’t need to be shown on all cards that it could be on.

Yap, this is definitely sth. to consider. I used to create very big cloze notes (but, when reviewing, hiding parts of it with Javascript) – made from a whole paragraph or 3 shorter paragraphs from Wikipedia, for example.

Later, I realized that it’s better to create cards that have only a few clozes. So I broke the bigger cards up into several small cards. However, I think can still be good to have some more context in the extra section (e.g., 1–3 paragraphs from Wikipedia).

The result is that now I often have ~3 small notes that should have the same extra information.

I gets especially annoying when I want to add or modify the Extra section, because I often need to do it with ca. 2–5 notes, every time.

A different approach for redundant flashcards
You could set up a note type that creates multiple cards from one note. If you edit the extra information of this note, all its cards will be updated. I think this is exactly what you would want to achieve by references.

I hadn’t thought of that! I know this is possible with non-cloze notes, but with cloze notes it seemed less viable.

So, sth. like the note model from Cloze Overlapper: a note with more than one cloze field. They share the Extra section.

This sounds like the solution, and it is surprisingly easy. I hadn’t considered that you can have multiple fields with cloze deletion. It is, in fact, in the manual. IMO it should be explained in more detail how this affects the cards and what the advantages are.

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With the add-on Closet you can achieve pretty much everything you’d want from a multi-card note type: clozes, image occlusions, multiple choice and many more. If you have some time, check it out. It takes some time to set up, but it can be a game changer.

You seem pretty involved with Anki, so I’m sure you’ll be able to create such a note type on your own, but if you need help, feel free to ask!

Also, Henrik, the creator of Closet - has set up an official support topic here in the forum:

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I’ve adapted my note template and it seems to work perfectly! I took cloze (overlapping) as a model. This may be the most exciting improvement to Anki for me since Auto Ease Factor.

It is as easy as (recipe for people who want to do the same):

  1. adding additional fields (in my case, Text2, Text3, Text4, Text5)
  2. adding clozes in the fields ({{c1::clozed info}})
  3. editing the card types (Ctrl+L):
    • Front template: add {{cloze:Text2}} and {{cloze:Text3}} etc.
      • Where? Immediately after {{cloze::Text}}
    • Repeat on the back template

I appreciate your suggestion with Closet, thank you. I’m still on 2.1.35 on Windows, so it is not available for me unless I upgrade Anki. I will see if 2.1.36 breaks any add-ons and consider updating.

Closet does seem complicated, but your recommendation has given me an additional impetus to learn about it.

Thanks again for your dedication in the forum!

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