Anki is one of the best tools for learning vocabulary or for anything else really. It has a built in spaced repetition system that helps remind you of the vocabulary just as you are about to forget it. If you haven’t checked it out I definitely encourage you to do so.
They’ve just recently posted an update to Anki. It has a few more features that make it a more powerful system. The developer has listened to the feedback of his users and incorporated that into the new version of his software.
Clearer Deck Options
In the old Anki, the deck options were up in the menu. Now in 1.2 they’ve been moved to the first screen you see when you open up a new deck. From that initial screen you can quickly change what you need to change or just get right into reviewing.
I find this more useful because I’m reminded of the different settings every time I start up Anki. It’s easy to install and set up the program and then forget it. This leads you to simply sticking with the same pattern. I find it useful to mix it up a little bit every once in awhile, so that your brain doesn’t go to sleep if you know what I mean.
The spacing system has changed a little bit from the previous version. In this version, cards that you hit ‘good’ for the first time around will not appear again in 8~10 hours. Instead, the smallest space will be 1 day. If you want to change it back to the old way of things, you can change the setting in Deck Properties → Advanced → Initial button 2 interval.
I personally found the whole wait 8 hours thing a little strange, so I like the new setup. I can see where it might be more useful if you go over your cards twice a day though.
Syncing with AnkiWeb
This has gotten a lot more straightforward. It use to be that there were two separate names for a deck, a local name and a name on the server. Now there is only one name. This helps to clear up a lot of syncing issues.
If you do happen to have a deck that has a different name than the one on the server, Anki will walk you through the process to clear that up.
Overall, the syncing is faster and smoother. The first time you start up Anki after the update there is a little bit of extra syncing, but after that, it is a lot faster.
If you do create your own cards, the formatting has been updating with some new features. A lot of these boil down to a more streamlined setup. I’m not going to go through all of them here, but be aware that Anki will try to reformat your decks. If you use custom fonts, you might need to do a little editing.
A lot of the formatting options have been removed in favor of HTML. One good thing though is that you can now see a live preview of your format changes. This should make editing the templates a lot easier.
Anki has the ability to use video, audio, and image files in its decks. This functionality has been greatly improved as well. You can of course still sync with dropbox or keep the media locally. If you were using a custom folder (e.g. your website) before, you’ll need to tell Anki where these files are. The custom folder plugin no longer works because it has been integrated directly into Anki.
If you do have a custom folder and are having issues, read Anki’s documentation on syncing media.
Another switch is that all media added to a deck will not be renamed. Before, Anki would rename your media into a string of numbers and letters. This made it difficult to find a file later. Now, you can add the media and still see the old filename in case you need it later.
Another thing I like about the upgrade is that the labels for the graphs now make more sense. Before, you had to be well-versed in Anki jargon to understand what they meant, but now they are a bit more readable.
One thing to note, as with most upgrades, this new version of Anki will break most of the plugins you may or may not have installed. If you have installed any plugins be sure to check for upgrades. You might want to wait to upgrade for a few weeks until all the plugins are updated and can work with Anki.
Some plugins like the custom folder plugin are no longer necessary, while others will actually break Anki and cause it to stop working. The Japanese support plugin (allows you to do things like add furigana) is up to date and can be used with the latest version.
Those are my thoughts on the new version 1.2 of Anki. What do you think of it? Have you noticed anything new that you have found useful? Let me know in the comments below.