Deck Options

Deck options primarily control the way Anki schedules cards. It is recommended that you spend a few weeks with the defaults to get a feel for how Anki works before you start adjusting options. Please make sure you understand the options before changing them, as mistakes could reduce Anki's effectiveness.

Deck options are accessed by:

  • Clicking the gear icon on the Decks screen.
  • Selecting a deck on the Decks screen, and then clicking Options at the bottom of the screen.
  • Clicking on More > Options while in review mode.
  • Pressing o while in review mode.

This page describes the options shown in Anki 2.1.45+, when you have the v2 or v3 scheduler enabled. On older versions, some options will not be available, or will appear in a different section.

Presets

Anki allows you to share options between different decks, to make updating options in many decks at once easy. To do this, options are grouped into presets. By default, all newly created decks use the same preset.

If you’d like to alter the settings on one deck but not other decks, click the arrow icon in the top right of the Deck Options window. The options are:

  • Save: Saves all modifications you've made since opening the deck options screen.
  • Add: Add a new preset, with the default options.
  • Clone: Clone your current present, which is useful if you just want to modify certain options, keeping the rest as they are.
  • Rename Changes the name of the current preset.
  • Delete Deletes the current preset. This will require that the next sync is a one-way sync.
  • Save to all subdecks. Like Save, but also assigns the selected preset to all subdecks of the currently selected deck.

Deck Options are not retroactive. For example, if you change an option that controls the delay after failing a card, cards that you failed prior to changing the option will have the old delay, not the new one.

Subdecks

If your deck has subdecks, each deck can optionally be assigned a different preset. When Anki shows a card, it will check which subdeck the card is in, and use the options for that deck. There are some exceptions:

  • The new cards/day and reviews/day limits behave differently depending on the scheduler version you have selected.
  • The display order options in the v3 scheduler are taken from the deck you select to study, not the deck of the current card.

For example, let's say you have this collection:

  • Deck A (Preset 1)
    • Deck A::Subdeck B (Preset 2)
      • Card B1
      • Card B2

Preset 1 and 2 are identical, with two exceptions:

  • Preset 1:
    • New Cards - Learning steps: 1m 10m
    • Display Order - New/review priority: Mix with reviews
  • Preset 2:
    • New Cards - Learning steps: 20m 2h
    • Display Order - New/review priority: Show after reviews

If you choose to study Deck A:

  • Learning steps for all new cards will be 20m 2h (preset 2 applies)
  • All new cards will be mixed with reviews (preset 1 applies)

If you choose to study Subdeck B:

  • Learning steps for all new cards will be 20m 2h (preset 2 applies)
  • All new cards will be shown after reviews (preset 2 applies)

Daily Limits

New Cards/Day

Controls how many new cards are introduced each day you open the program. If you study fewer than the limit, or miss a day, the next day the counts will be back to your limit - they do not accumulate.

In the v3 scheduler, Anki uses the limits of the deck you select as an upper limit on the number of cards. This means if "French" has a limit of 20 cards and "French::Lesson 1" and "French::Lesson 2" both have limits of 15 cards, when you click on "French", you’ll get at most 15 cards from either child deck, and only 20 cards in total.

In the v1 or v2 scheduler, each parent applies its limits to its children. If you have decks in a grandparent-parent-child arrangement, both the grandparent and parent limits will alter how many cards are shown from the child, even if you click directly on the child.

Studying new cards will temporarily increase the number of reviews you need to do a day, as freshly learnt material needs to be repeated a number of times before the delay between repetitions can increase appreciably. If you are consistently learning 20 new cards a day, you can expect your daily reviews to be roughly about 200 cards/day. You can decrease the reviews required by introducing fewer new cards each day, or by turning off new card display until your review burden decreases. More than one Anki user has excitedly studied hundreds of new cards over their first few days of using the program, and then become overwhelmed by the reviews required.

If using the v3 scheduler, please keep in mind that the new count is capped by the review count. If your review limit is set to 200, and you have 190 reviews waiting, a maximum of 10 new cards will be introduced. If your review limit has been reached, no new cards will be shown. If you have a backlog of reviews and still want to introduce new cards, you can do so by suspending the reviews, or increasing your review limit. That said, it is recommended you hold off on new cards until you catch up instead, as introducing more new cards when you're behind will only make the backlog worse.

Maximum Reviews/Day

Allows you to set an upper limit on the number of reviews to show each day. When this limit is reached, Anki will not show any more review cards for the day, even if there are some waiting. If you study consistently, this setting can help to smooth out occasional peaks in due card counts, and can save you from a heart attack when returning to Anki after a week off. When reviews have been hidden due to this option, a message will appear in the congratulations screen, suggesting you consider increasing the limit if you have time.

In the v3 scheduler and v1 schedulers, the counts are affected by parents/selected decks in the same way as new cards.

In the v2 scheduler, the limit is taken solely from the deck you select - any limits on its parents or child decks are ignored.

The v3 scheduler includes learning cards with a 1+ day delay in the review count, so those learning cards will be subject to the daily limit.

New Cards

The settings in this section only affect new cards and cards in initial learning mode. Once a card has graduated (i.e. there are no more learning steps for this card), it becomes a review card, and the settings in this section are no longer applicable.

Learning Steps

Controls the number of learning repetitions, and the delay between them. One or more delays, separated by spaces must be entered. Each time you press Good during review, the card moves to the next step.

For example, let's say that your learning steps are 1m 10m 1d.

  • When you press Again, the card goes back to first step, and will be shown again approximately 1 minute later.
  • When you press Good on a new card, or a card answered Again, it will move to the next step, and be shown again in approximately 10 minutes.
  • When you press Good on a card after the 10 minute step, it will be delayed until the next day.
  • When you press Good on the card the next day, it will leave learning (i.e. it will graduate), and become a review card. It will be shown again after the delay configured by the graduating interval.

If there’s nothing else to study, Anki will show cards up to 20 minutes early by default. The amount of time to look ahead is configurable in the preferences.

Anki treats small steps and steps that cross a day boundary differently. With small steps, the cards are shown as soon as the delay has passed, in preference to other waiting cards like reviews. This is done so that you can answer the card as closely to your requested delay as possible. In contrast, cards that cross a day boundary are scheduled on a per-day basis like reviews are. By default they are shown after normal reviews; this can be customized in the display order section for the v3 scheduler, and in the preferences screen for older schedulers.

Please see the learning section for more info on how steps work. Also, check this forum's post for more examples.

Graduating Interval

The delay in days between answering "Good" on a learning card with no steps left, and seeing the card again as a review card. Please see the example in the previous section.

Easy Interval

The delay between answering Easy on a learning card, and seeing it in review mode for the first time.

The Easy button immediately turns a learning card into a review card, and assigns it the delay you have configured. It should always be at least as long as the graduating interval, and typically a few days longer.

Insertion Order

Controls whether Anki should add new cards into the deck randomly, or in order. When you change this option, Anki will re-sort the decks using the current Option Group. Cards with a lower due number will be shown first when studying, by default. Changing this option will automatically update the existing position of new cards.

One caveat with random order mode: if you review many of your new cards, and then add more new cards, the newly added material is statistically more likely to appear than the new cards that were already in the deck. For example, if you have 100 cards in random order, then review the first 50, newly added cards are still given position 1-100, but as you have already reviewed the first 50, the newly added cards are more likely to appear earlier. To correct this, you can change the order to Ordered mode and back again to force a re-sort.

When you select random order, Anki will randomize your notes, keeping the cards of a given note close together. The cards of a given note are shown in the order, in which their card types appear, so that siblings are introduced consistently — otherwise you could end up in a state where some notes had all their cards introduced and other notes had only one or two. Please see the "bury related" and "display order" sections below for more info.

Lapses

When you forget a review card, it is said to have 'lapsed', and the card must be relearnt. The default behaviour for lapsed reviews is to reset the interval to 1 (i.e. make it due tomorrow), and put it in the learning queue for a refresher in 10 minutes. This behaviour can be customized with the options listed below.

Relearning Steps

The same as 'learning steps', but for forgotten reviews. When you fail a card (press Again), the card enters the relearning phase, and before it becomes a review card again, you will have to pass all the relearning steps — or, alternatively, press Easy on the card.

If you leave the steps blank, the card will skip relearning, and will be assigned a new review delay.

Minimum Interval

Specifies a minimum number of days a card should wait after it finishes relearning. The default is one day, meaning once relearning is finished, it will be shown again the next day.

Leeches

Control the way Anki handles leeches. Please see the leeches section for more information.

Timer

Anki monitors how long it takes you to answer each question, so that it can show you how long was spent studying each day. The time taken does not influence scheduling. The default limit is 60 seconds. If you take longer than that, Anki assumes you have walked away from your computer or have been distracted, and limits the recorded time to 60 seconds, so that you don’t end up with inaccurate statistics. If you consistently take longer than 60 seconds to answer a card, you may want to either consider raising this limit, or ideally, making your cards simpler.

Burying

Please see this section for more information.

Display Order

The options in this section are taken from the deck you select to study, not the deck of the currently displayed card.

This section is only available when you have the v3 scheduler enabled.

Some further information about display order is available in the studying section.

New Card Gather Priority

Controls how Anki gathers cards from each subdeck.

With the default Deck ordering, cards are gathered from each subdeck in order, stopping when the limit of the selected deck has been exceeded. This is faster, and allows you to priorize subdecks that are closer to the top. Decks / subdecks are always ordered alphabetically, so you can give them a numeric prefix like 001 to control the order they are shown. You can also use _ and ~ as a prefix to place items at the top or bottom.

Although position order depends initially on the 'Insertion Order' setting above, you can manually reposition cards in different ways.

New Card Sort Order

Controls how cards are sorted after they have been gathered. By default, Anki sorts by template first, to avoid multiple cards of the same note from being shown in succession. This results in cards appearing in the order they have been added, with the first card template (eg front->back) appearing before later card templates (eg back->front).

New/Review Priority

Whether new cards should be mixed in with reviews, or shown before or after them.

Interday Learning/Review Priority

Whether learning cards with a 1+ day delay should be mixed in with reviews, or shown before or after them. Because learning cards tend to be harder than reviews, some users prefer to see them at the end (getting the easy stuff done first), or at the start (allowing more time to review forgotten ones).

Review Sort Order

The default order prioritizes cards that have been waiting longer, which works well when you are up to date, or when you only have a small backlog. If you have taken an extended break or have fallen behind in your reviews, you may want to consider changing the sort order temporarily. Sorting by ascending intervals will ensure cards with shorter delays are shown first, and by descending intervals will allow you to work through the easier material first.

Choosing the Deck, then due date option will ensure reviews are shown for each subdeck in turn. This is generally not recommended, as having material appear consistently in the same order makes it easier to guess the answer based on context, and may lead to weaker memories.

Audio

By default, Anki automatically plays audio on the front and back of cards. If you uncheck 'automatically play audio', Anki will not play audio until you press the replay audio key, r or F5.

Always include question side when replaying audio controls whether audio from the question side should be played when replaying the audio while an answer is shown. Please note that it does not control what happens when you show the answer; for that please see this section.

Advanced

Maximum Interval

Allows you to place an upper limit on the time Anki will wait to reshow a card. The default is 100 years; you can decrease this to a smaller number if you’re willing to trade extra study time for higher retention.

Starting Ease

Controls the easiness that cards start out with. It is set when a card graduates from learning for the first time. It defaults to 2.50, meaning that once you have finished learning a card, answering Good on subsequent reviews will increase the delay by approximately 2.5x (e.g. if the last delay was 10 days, the next delay would be around 25 days). Based upon how you rate the card in subsequent reviews, the easiness may increase or decrease from its starting value.

Easy Bonus

An extra multiplier applied to the interval when a review card is answered Easy. With the default value of 1.30, Easy will give an interval that is 1.3 times the Good interval (e.g. if the last interval was 10 days, the next interval would be around 13 days).

Interval Modifier

An extra multiplier that is applied to all reviews. At its default of 1.00 it does nothing. If you set it to 0.80, though, for example, intervals will be generated at 80% of their normal size (so a 10 day interval would become 8 days). You can thus use the multiplier to make Anki present cards more or less frequently than it would otherwise, trading study time for retention or vice versa.

For moderately difficult material, the average user should find they remember approximately 90% of mature cards that come up for review. You can find out your own performance by opening the graphs/statistics for a deck and looking at the Answer Buttons graph - mature retention is the correct% on the right side of the graph. If you haven’t been studying long, you may not have any mature cards yet. As performance with new cards and younger cards can vary considerably, it’s a good idea to wait until you have a reasonable amount of mature reviews before you start drawing conclusions about your retention rate.

On the SuperMemo website, they suggest that you can find an appropriate multiplier for a desired retention rate. Their formula boils down to:

log(desired retention%) / log(current retention%)

Imagine we have a current retention rate of 85% and we want to increase it to 90%. We’d calculate the modifier as:

log(90%) / log(85%) = 0.65

You can use Google to calculate it for you.

If you plug the resulting 65% into the interval modifier, you should find over time that your retention moves closer to your desired retention.

One important thing to note however is that the trade-off between time spent studying and retention is not linear: we can see here that to increase our retention by 5 percentage points, we would have to study 35% more frequently. If the material you are learning is very important then it may be worth the extra effort – that is, of course, something you will need to decide for yourself. If you are simply worried that you are forgetting too much, then you may find investing more time at the initial learning stage and/or using mnemonics will give you more gain for less effort.

One final thing to note is that Anki forces a new interval to be at least 1 day longer than it was previously, so that you do not get stuck reviewing with the same interval forever. If your goal is to repeat a card once a day for multiple days, you can do that by setting more learning mode steps, instead of by adjusting this modifier.

Hard Interval

The multiplier used when you use the Hard button. The percentage is relative to the previous interval: e.g. with a default of 1.20, a card with a 10-day interval will be given 12 days.

New Interval

The multiplier used when you use the Again button on a review card. The default 0.00 means that a review card's delay is reset to zero when you forget it (which then becomes 1 day after the minimum interval is applied).

If changed from the default, it is possible for forgotten cards to preserve part of their previous delay. For example, if a card had a 100 day interval, and you set the New Interval to 0.20, the new interval would be 20 days.

While preserving part of the interval may seem to make sense, SuperMemo has observed that preserving part of the delay can actually be counter-productive. For this reason, we recommend you leave it on the default setting.

Custom Scheduling

Please see this page.