Mastering Anki: How to Export Decks like a Pro

Learn how to export decks from Anki effortlessly and boost your study game like a pro!

·14 minutes reading
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Getting Started with Anki Export

Before diving into the technical aspects of how to export decks from Anki, it's important to understand what you can export and how to access the export feature. This will set the foundation for efficiently managing your flashcards and ensuring your study materials are backed up or shared with ease.

Choosing What to Export

You have the flexibility to export a part of your collection as a text file or a packaged Anki deck. Depending on your needs, you might choose to export:

  • A single deck for sharing with peers or transferring to another device.
  • Your entire collection, which is particularly useful for creating backups.
  • Specific cards, perhaps filtered by tags or study status, to focus on particular areas of study.

When exporting, you have the option to include or exclude certain elements, such as:

  • Scheduling information, which is your progress data.
  • Media files, like images and audio clips associated with your cards.
  • Tags that help categorize and organize your cards.

Deciding what to export is contingent upon your goal—whether it's for backup purposes, sharing with others, or migrating to a new device. Each scenario may require different export settings, which Anki accommodates through its flexible export options.

Accessing the Export Feature

To begin exporting your Anki decks, you'll need to navigate to the export feature within the Anki interface:

  1. Open Anki and ensure you are in the main window.
  2. Click on the 'File' menu located at the top-left corner.
  3. Select 'Export' from the dropdown list to open the export dialog.

The export dialog box will present you with various options to tailor your export file to your specific needs. Here you can choose between exporting your entire collection or just a single deck, as well as whether to include scheduling information or media files.

Remember, before exporting your decks, it's wise to understand the different file formats and what they contain. Anki distinguishes between Collection packages (.colpkg) and Deck packages (.apkg) based on the contents being exported.

For further guidance on using Anki, including how to add cards to Anki, how to review cards in Anki, or how to sync Anki with AnkiWeb, explore our collection of tutorials designed to enhance your experience with this powerful flashcard tool.

Export Options in Anki

When you're ready to share your Anki decks or back up your data, exporting is the feature you need to utilize. Anki offers different export options tailored for your specific needs, whether you're transferring your deck to another user, backing up your collection, or editing content outside of Anki.

Text File Exports

Exporting your decks as text files offers flexibility for editing outside of Anki. To export part of your collection as a text file, you navigate to the File menu and select 'Export'. Anki will generate a text file with fields separated by tabs, making it easy to edit with spreadsheet software.

When editing these text files, ensure the first field remains unaltered if you intend to import the file back into Anki. This will allow Anki to match the edits to the existing notes based on the unchanged first field. For a more streamlined process, you can install the 'Add note id' add-on, which replaces the first field with an ID number for easier editing and importing.

Here's a simple guide on how to export your decks as text files:

  1. Click 'File' > 'Export' from the main menu.
  2. Choose the deck or note type you wish to export.
  3. Select 'Notes in Plain Text' as the export format.
  4. Specify whether to include tags or not.
  5. Save the file to your desired location.

For those looking to customize card templates in Anki or use tags in Anki, exporting as a text file may be particularly useful.

Packaged Deck Exports

Packaged deck exports are an excellent way to transfer your decks, complete with media files and formatting. Anki supports two types of packaged decks: Deck packages (.apkg) for single decks and Collection packages (.colpkg) for your entire collection.

Deck packages are ideal for sharing individual decks without affecting the recipient's existing collection. When importing a .apkg file, Anki adds the content to the current collection and merges any duplicate notes based on the most recent modification time.

On the other hand, Collection packages are comprehensive backups that include all decks, scheduling, and media. When imported, a .colpkg file replaces the entire existing collection with the contents of the package.

To create a packaged deck, follow these steps:

  1. Click 'File' > 'Export' from the main menu.
  2. Choose whether to export 'All decks' or a specific one.
  3. Select the file type: 'Anki Deck Package (.apkg)' or 'Anki Collection Package (.colpkg)'.
  4. Choose whether to include scheduling information and media files.
  5. Save the file to your desired location.

For those who want to back up their data, how to backup and restore Anki data offers further insights. Additionally, if you're looking to import decks in Anki, understanding the packaged deck export process is crucial.

Anki's export options cater to various needs, from editing to sharing to backing up your valuable learning materials. By understanding how to export decks from Anki, you become proficient in managing your study content and preserving your learning progress. Whether you're interested in language learning, medical studies, or any other field, Anki's export feature is a powerful tool in your learning arsenal.

Exporting Your Entire Collection

When you've invested time in curating your Anki flashcards, ensuring you can move your entire collection safely is paramount. Whether you're transitioning to a new device or sharing your resources, Anki's export function simplifies this process.

Understanding .colpkg Files

Anki's .colpkg files are comprehensive packages that encapsulate your complete collection. This includes cards, notes, note types, and any multimedia like sounds or images. When you opt to export your collection as a .colpkg file, you're creating a single file that can replace an existing collection upon import. This is especially useful for backing up your entire Anki database or transferring it to another system.

According to the Anki Manual, when you generate a 'collection package' that includes scheduling, the .colpkg file produced enables the seamless transfer of all your progress data. This ensures that all your learning schedules remain intact. For those using Anki version 2.1.50 or newer, the application supports faster imports and exports with compressed media files when you choose the Anki 2.1.50+ Collection Package format.

Preserving Scheduling Information

An integral part of using Anki effectively is the spaced repetition scheduling algorithm that adapts to your learning pace. When exporting your collection, it's crucial to preserve this scheduling information. The .colpkg export function maintains the study progress for each card, so you can pick up right where you left off after importing the collection on a different device.

To preserve your scheduling information during the export, ensure you tick the option to include scheduling data in the .colpkg file. This will prevent any loss of your progress and learning statistics when you move your collection. It's also worth noting that if you export without scheduling information, Anki assumes the deck is intended for sharing and will exclude certain tags to provide a fresh start for other users. For more details on how to manage your collection and maintain your learning progress, check out our guide on how to sync Anki across multiple devices and how to backup and restore Anki data.

Exporting Single Decks

Exporting individual decks in Anki can be a powerful way to share your study material or to back up your work. Here's how to create .apkg files for single decks and how to exclude certain elements like scheduling and tags.

Creating .apkg Files

A deck package, or .apkg file, contains a single deck and any subdecks it may include. To create such a file:

  1. Open Anki and select the deck you wish to export.
  2. Go to the File menu, choose Export, and then select the deck you want to export in the dialog box.
  3. In the Export format section, make sure 'Anki Deck Package (.apkg)' is selected.
  4. If you want to include media (like images and audio), ensure 'Include media' is checked.
  5. Click the Export button and choose a location on your computer to save the file.

This process will generate a .apkg file that can be imported into another user's Anki or merged with another Anki collection without overwriting existing data. It retains the most recent modification time for notes, ensuring that updated information is preserved.

If you're looking to transfer your decks between devices, understanding how to sync Anki with AnkiWeb or how to backup and restore Anki data can also be invaluable.

Excluding Scheduling and Tags

When sharing decks with others, you might want to exclude your scheduling information and certain tags that are not relevant to the recipient. To do this:

  1. Follow steps 1-3 from the 'Creating .apkg Files' section above.
  2. Before exporting, uncheck the 'Include scheduling information' box.
  3. If you wish to exclude tags, ensure 'Include tags' is unchecked.
  4. Proceed with the export by clicking the Export button.

By doing this, you provide a clean copy of the deck, stripped of your personal study history and tags, which is especially useful for sharing decks publicly or with classmates. Without scheduling data, the recipient can start learning the deck with Anki's spaced repetition algorithm from the beginning.

For those who want to delve deeper into personalizing Anki, learning how to customize card templates in Anki or how to create and use Anki addons could enhance your Anki experience.

Remember, while exporting single decks on Anki Desktop is straightforward, it is not yet possible to do so on Anki Mobile. However, this feature is expected in the future, so stay tuned for updates on the Anki Forums. Meanwhile, if you encounter any difficulties while exporting, be sure to have a unique and descriptive User-Agent to avoid potential blocks.

Handling Media and Formatting

When you're ready to share your Anki decks or back them up, it's essential to consider not just the textual information but also any associated media and formatting. This ensures your decks remain as informative and engaging as when you created them.

Exporting with Media Files

As you gather your decks for export, including media files such as images and audio can significantly enhance the learning experience. Anki allows you to export these media files by copying them into the collection.media folder. When you export your deck as a package, such as the .apkg format, Anki automatically includes the media files used by the cards in the deck.

Here's how you can ensure your media files are exported correctly:

  1. Verify that all media files are correctly placed in the collection.media folder.
  2. Choose to export your deck as an .apkg or .colpkg file to include media.
  3. If exporting as a text file, remember that media will not be included and must be managed separately.

For detailed instructions on how to include audio in your cards effectively, especially if you're making changes to multiple fields, see how to create audio cards in Anki.

Formatting Text Fields

When exporting decks with formatted text, such as bold or italicized text, Anki treats the imported text from text files as HTML. To maintain this formatting when importing and exporting decks, make sure to enable the "allow HTML in fields" checkbox during the importing process. This will preserve any HTML tags used in your deck's fields.

However, if your content contains angle brackets or other HTML syntax not intended for styling purposes, be sure to disable this feature to prevent any misinterpretation of your text as HTML code.

To assist with importing, Anki 2.1.54+ supports headers in text files, which can define various parameters such as notetype and destination deck. These headers, formatted as #key:value pairs, are placed at the top of your text file and can significantly streamline the importing process.

If you wish to learn more about enhancing your study materials with custom styling, check out how to customize card templates in Anki.

Remember, whether you're exporting your decks to share with others or for your own use on a different device, handling media and formatting correctly is key to preserving the integrity and effectiveness of your flashcards. For information on importing these decks back into Anki, you can read how to import decks in Anki.

Importing Exported Decks

After you've learned how to export decks from Anki, the next step is to bring them into your Anki application, or share them with others. Whether you are importing decks to expand your study material or to merge with another collection, it's essential to prepare for the import process and manage any duplicate notes effectively.

Preparing for Import

Before you import a deck, ensure that Anki is installed on your device. If you haven't done so, follow our guide on how to install Anki. Once installed, check that the version of Anki you're using is compatible with the deck file you intend to import. It's generally advisable to back up your current collection prior to importing new decks to prevent any potential data loss. You can find steps on how to backup and restore Anki data on our blog.

When you're ready to import, open Anki, click on the File menu, and choose 'Import'. Select the deck file you wish to import. If you're importing a deck package with media files (.apkg), ensure you have enough space on your device to accommodate the additional media.

Managing Duplicate Notes

Duplicate notes can occur when you import a deck that contains cards similar to those already in your collection. Anki deals with duplicates by checking the first field of each note. If the content in the first field matches an existing note, Anki will treat the incoming note as a duplicate.

Here's how Anki manages duplicates during import:

  • If the imported deck contains notes with the same first field as notes in the existing collection, but the rest of the fields or the note type is different, Anki will not merge the notes by default. Instead, it will append 'dupe' to the note types of the incoming duplicates.
  • If the notes are identical in the first field and have the same note type, Anki will update the existing notes with the imported information. If the imported notes have more recent modification times, they will replace the older ones in your collection.

To handle duplicates effectively, you can:

  • Use the 'Add note id' add-on from Anki to assign a unique ID to each note. This can make the first field an ID number, simplifying the editing and importing process back into Anki.
  • Review any potential duplicates and decide whether to update your existing notes with the new information or keep them separate.
  • If you're importing a deck to update or merge with your existing material, pay attention to the modification dates and ensure that you're incorporating the most recent and relevant information into your collection.

For a more comprehensive guide on dealing with duplicates and other import-related topics, visit our page on how to import decks in Anki. By preparing adequately for import and managing duplicates wisely, you can seamlessly integrate new decks into your Anki collection and continue your learning journey with a refreshed set of study materials.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

When mastering the process of how to export decks from Anki, you may encounter a few common challenges. These can range from dealing with file size limits to ensuring that your exported data maintains the correct file encoding. Let's go through these issues and find out how to handle them effectively.

Working with File Size Limits

AnkiWeb sets a limit on the size of collections when syncing, capping the compressed size at 100MB and the uncompressed size at 250MB. This includes your cards' text and scheduling information but excludes separate media files, which have their own restriction of 100MB each.

ComponentCompressed Size LimitUncompressed Size LimitIndividual Media File Limit
Collection (text & scheduling info)100MB250MBN/A
Media FilesN/AN/A100MB each

Most users don't encounter this limit, as an extensive collection of 25,000 cards with years of review history typically uses around 25MB. However, if you have a vast number of cards with large amounts of text or an extensive media library, you might hit the cap. To manage this, consider the following steps:

  1. Review your collection and identify cards that are not actively studied or contain excessive information.
  2. Create subdecks for cards that aren't essential and export them separately.
  3. Delete these subdecks from the main collection to free up space.
  4. If necessary, backup and restore Anki data to ensure that no important information is lost during this process.

If you receive messages about an inconsistent state upon upload to AnkiWeb, it's an indication that you've reached the collection size limit. Follow the steps above to reduce your collection size and then attempt to sync again.

Ensuring Proper File Encoding

When exporting decks from Anki, file encoding can sometimes be a concern, especially if you're sharing decks across different operating systems or importing them into other software.

To ensure proper file encoding:

  1. When exporting, choose the UTF-8 encoding option to preserve special characters and formatting.
  2. Confirm that the software you're importing into also supports UTF-8 encoding.
  3. If you encounter any issues with special characters after importing, re-export the deck from Anki, double-checking the encoding settings.

Remember, maintaining the correct file encoding is essential for preserving the integrity of your data, especially when it comes to language characters and programming syntax. For more detailed guidance on how to customize card templates in Anki or how to use Anki for language learning, be sure to explore the respective links.

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