Hands-free operation of Anki


The following questions and suggestions are applicable to either Anki desktop or Anki Mobile, or just both.


I’ve checked the internet on this topic and from what I can tell it doesn’t seem that complete hands-free operation is possible with Anki.


I believe that Anki can be set up so that text on cards is read to you. You apparently have to add some extra coding to the deck coding and you can have cards be read. You can set this up so that the front card and back card or maybe even sections of cards are read in different languages.


The tricky part, the part that as far as I know can’t be done hands-free, is the evaluation. This would require that Anki read out the possible evaluation values and you make it known to Anki what your answer is. This would most likely have to be done with a microphone and with the aid of a speech recognition program of some kind. It would also require that Anki would receive your audio answer translated into electronic current and be able to interpret it properly and carry out the command.


Is this true then that the evaluation step for Anki card study can’t be done hands-free?


The request is that something be done, some software be created, to allow for total hands-free operation of Anki card study. I much desire this and I think that some to many people could really benefit from this.


When doing a search on Google regarding hands-free operation of Anki, I came across this in the Anki-Mobile-Forum/Support-site:

— Hands-Free Interface, with Text-to-Speech, and Voice Recognition


Mar 22, 2020 @ 04:25 PM

Not sure if this has been mentioned or not, but I’m willing to help out if needed.

Anki’s usefulness would go up if it had an add-on which used “Text to Voice” to read the card to you, and then listened to voice response rather than keyboard. Then you could use this app while driving, hands-free; or if you just got tired of looking at the screen for hours (you could rest your eyes, and just listen to it instead).

Has this been mentioned yet, or even better, has it already been done?

I am a mobile app programmer; I’d be happy to help out on this if needed. My middle-son is in his first year of med-school, and said this would be a big help to him, and his friends agree. —

“Not sure if this has been mentioned or not, but I’m willing to help out if needed.”

There’s a mobile app programmer out there that is willing to help you create software for Anki hands-free operation!


I’ve been playing around with and studying Anki for a number of years. My main reason for learning Anki is to help me learn languages—currently French and Spanish being the main focus, as well as learning alphabets: IPA, Greek, Arabic, etc. There are many things I could use Anki for learning.

I not only wanted tools to help me memorize more easily, I also happen to want to have nicer Anki cards to study with. Besides the over-the-years off-and-on returning to Anki to learn and relearn Anki, at one point I went and learned a bunch of HTML and CSS and almost Java Script so I could make nicer Anki cards. This was months of work. Because without constant use of computer languages you forget what you need to know easily, I ended up making my own digital manuals to compile HTML and CSS explanations. I eventually created a number of Anki decks that do look a bit nicer, not to mention their coding contain features such as being able to accommodate either horizontal or vertical views on digital screens. I learned about that feature in my studies of HTM and CSS. That took quite a bit of work—like months.

In the end, despite the nice decks I created, it’s turned out that I don’t actually have time to study Anki cards using the keyboard input method. I slightly want to pull my hair out.

I would, I believe, however, have time to do hands-free study of Anki decks while I do various chores around the house like washing dishes, cleaning, caring for my 100 year old mother etc. It would also come in handy if I could do hands-free Anki study while going for walks, riding the bike, laying in bed etc. In fact, if I could do hands-free study with Anki, I may even be motivated to do more of the chores and projects around our apartment because I think hands-free Anki study would make doing chores around the house more profitable and enjoyable.

I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve actually thought about looking for programmers who might develop some software for me that would allow computer-mobile hands-free memorization study with Anki or with even some other system. I had actually thought about bulk text-to-speech creation of a bunch of audio files in prompt-and-answer form that I might play with Music-Monkey, but I still run into the problem of hands-free evaluation. How possible it might be to find and pay for a programmer to create software for this I don’t know—I’m also a bit on the poor side.


I had some ideas which could be applied to Anki hands-free operation if that ever were developed for Anki.

single set of evaluation values

What would simplify hands-free operation with Anki is if you didn’t have different sets of evaluation values for Anki cards. This way there wouldn’t be a need for the program to explain, communicate to you, for every card what the new evaluation values are (is it just “Easy and Hard” or “Easy, Medium, Fairly Hard, Very Hard, 7 months).

What I might do is maintain one evaluation system for all cards, for example:

0 > say nothing before a configurable amount of time such as 5 seconds = very difficult (quick return of card for study)

The other options would be 1 to 5 (or 1 to 3) with either 1 being very difficult and 5 being very easy, or the inverse.

This way the program wouldn’t have to give an explanation of the list of evaluation values with each card. The learning curve might suffer a bit with the less sophisticated card-return-algorithm, but I don’t think all that much.

answer interval could be configurable

The amount of time that the program would wait before automatically giving the card an evaluation of very difficult and causing that card to return for study soon, that amount of time could be configurable.

one downside

Reducing the evaluation values to a fixed set of values would probably require, unfortunately, significant revision of Anki. I’m hoping that since the change would be a simplification rather than an increase in complexity, that this wouldn’t be too overly hard to do (crossing many, many, fingers and toes).

information exchange directions synopsis

The information exchange between the program in a computer or mobile to the studier would be by text-to-speech that currently I think is possible. The studier-to-app information exchange would have to be done by microphone and a speech recognition program. Maybe an established speech recognition program could be used for this. You would only need the speech recognition to be able to recognize the numbers 1 to 5. You might want to expand the functionality to work in several languages if this were to be made more widely available. Maybe the commands of “start” and “end” or “finish” you might want to work in, as well as maybe a few other commands. These audio commands would have to be recognizable by Anki. Speech recognition programs already do allow for a certain amount of control of various apps without having to alter the apps themselves any.

non-voice control options

Another things is that studying with Anki in which you always had to be giving oral answers could get tiring. What about creating a kind of strap with sensors you would put on you arm, maybe just above your elbow. You could give an evaluation to Anki flashcards by pressing your arm into your side a specific number of times.


I much desire this and I think that some to many people could really benefit from this.

Crossing many, many, fingers and toes.

Anki forum has a suggestion department. Should I maybe pass some of the ideas I mentioned over there?

On iOS you can use Anki in a hands-free mode using iOS accessibility features and voice commands, see e.g. https://www.reddit.com/r/Anki/comments/hmh4lh/tip_you_can_use_voice_commands_on_iphone_for/

1 Like

There are some add-ons like Ankimote and Review Hotmouse that are not hands-free, but could be expanded upon to make it truly hands-free. Perhaps there already is some software that uses motion sensors (e.g., of your phone) and translates movements into mouse controls, for example.