Suggestion for Curating and searching notes in anki


I’ve been using Anki for a couple months now and having a lot of fun. I use it to test my self and increase my retention. I also use it as the primary note-taking mechanism for my study - I don’t keep notes elsewhere, because that would mean typing it out twice, searching in both places for facts, etc.

Anki search view works OK for this, but I think it could be enhanced by optimising the search results page for this use case. I understand Anki is advertised as a flash-card app rather than a note-taking app, but still…

Currently when I want to review my notes or search for a particular fact, I see something like this

(searching for “executive”)

Where a single note might appear like this:

[Close 2] {{c2::annual bonuses}}… 202…0-26
[Close 1] {{c2::annual bonuses}}… 202…0-26

which is using a LOT of pixels to send me very little information about the underlying note:

{{c2::annual bonuses}} motivate short term gains

{{c1::stock inventives}} help motivate executives pursue long-term investments

I suggest the following representation would be better

annual bonuses motivate short (2) 2020-10-26
…motivate executives pursue long-term…

  1. only show the note once, not once-per-card
  2. elide cloze-markers and other annotations which don’t inform the viewer
  3. use two lines: one from the start, and one contextually showing the search term in context
  4. emphasize pixel space for unique note content to help the user quickly select and recall that content. De-emphasize date, formatting constructs, multiple cards since they have limited value in recall and selection.

This would clearly change the focus away from ‘cards’ in this view, but I would argue that viewing them as multiple cards is not helpful in this interface : the most common use (in my experience) is to find a note to edit or review, rather than viewing the statistics associated with a single card.

Even partially approaching this ‘maximal’ view would be and improvements over the current card-centric model.

Hi Alex,

Most operations operate on individual cards rather than notes, so flexibility would be lost if only the notes were shown. There’s certainly some room to improve which text is shown based on search context, but for now one thing you might want to consider doing is rotating your screen, as that will give you a fair bit more horizontal space.

I guess I use it a little differently. In my experience, there’s only two operations I do on a card/note:

  1. edit the contents (98%)
  2. switch the deck (2%)

both of those are note centric rather than card centric.

Thanks for the tip on rotating. My set-up won’t permit that : I used an ipad in a keyboard stand, with my learning app and Anki side-by-side).

The app is completely usable as-is, and I am perfectly able to edit.

My suggestions are meant in the spirit of improving usability for the content search/review process.