Importing a file: #guid column:1 header

Hi, I’m confused about the #guid column:1 header when importing a file.
Goes that column name actually need to be called GUID?
My column is called ID and is unique.
When I specify #guid column:1, Anki reimports all the notes then flags them as duplicates in the browser.

See GUID Column

If the manual doesn’t help with the question, wait for someone who understands about importing

No, column names don’t matter in general. A screenshot of the import screen and possibly a sample of the file would help to understand what’s going on.

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If I understood, the import screen suggests that despite the first column being specified as ID in the #columns header, when the #guid header line is present, Anki offers to import the column into the GUID field (which doesn’t exist for this note type).

Or is the problem that Anki has its internal GUID for the notes already present, so that when I import in place, since the existing notes’ guid doesn’t match the one I’m now providing, new notes are then created? This is probably just me not understanding how guids work in Anki.

By the way, something is missing from this sentence in the manual:

If an existing note with the provided GUID is not found, and a new note is created with the provided GUID.

Without that line, things work perfectly.

Yeah, there seems to be an extra ‘and’ in that sentence. Does it make sense like this?

You can specify a GUID to have Anki use this instead when looking for duplicates. If an existing note with the provided GUID is not found, and a new note is created with the provided GUID.

I don’t know what your use case is here, but it doesn’t seem like you actually want to provide GUIDs.

Okay, I won’t use that header. Thank you.

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I think you should be using the GUID header as from the text I can see in the picture you have long sentences which you might want to change later.
If you don’t provide a GUID in the text, Anki will generate one for you, the problem is, that if you don’t have a GUID, Anki will use the first field, to decide whether the note is a duplicate.

That is why (in a file without a GUID):

  • if you change the first field of your note in Anki, but later import this file, you will have a new card with the old front and back, as you have not changed it in the file
  • changing the first field in the text will leave the old card in your Anki collection untouched and create a new one.
  • changing not the first field in the txt is fine, and the note will be updated

What you have done is totally correct if you write your notes in a text editor and later import them to Anki.

But if it is not the case than you should export your notes with their GUID before modifying them in your preferred text editor. (File > Export… > Notes in Plain Text > Include unique identifier)

Thank you for your thoughts. I always use a guid precisely for that reason. On the screenshot above it is the first field: MYTK00001 etc. It’s just that the #guid column:1 header seems to be for a different use case. And that doesn’t matter, as every time I import the file (as I do edit the cards a lot in a text editor) Anki correctly uses the first field to determine whether the note has been seen before.

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