Exporting and Importing Excel Files to and From Anki Decks

So you have all of these great word lists in Excel from my blog, and you would prefer to use them in the Anki format as a “deck”. How would you do this? Since Excel exports text files as UTF-16 files, and Anki uses the UTF-8 format, someone may suggest to you to convert the file to the LibreOffice spreadsheet version which is UTF-16. That’s a pain in the derriere, oui? This is far easier. It will take less than a minute:

How to import to an Anki Deck from Excel:

  1. Open your Excel file and format the columns. By default, the Front of the card will contain column A, the back of the card will contain column B and column C will contain tags. You can add more fields to your card template, but you’ll figure this out after you’ve created a deck or two.
  2. Copy the three columns from top to bottom, and paste them into the blank field you see when you open Notepad.
  3. Save this new Notepad file, but pay attention because you want to save this file as…a UTF-8 formatted file (that choice is on the bottom of the dialog box as a drop-down choice, that appears when you choose to Save).
  4. Open Anki, and create a new deck. You will then set up this decks first card, paying attention to which field will correspond with Front, Back, Tags, or the creation of more fields, and what will go where when you import.
  5. Now choose to import this Notepad file.

You may screw this up the first time, but take some notes as to where columns A, B, C, etc. get pulled into the Anki deck, and within no time you’ll have it figured out. But now you tell me that you’ve seen some great Anki decks and wish to extract the vocabulary or sentences into your Excel language file. How can one do that?

How to export an Anki Deck and import into Excel:

  1. From the first screen of Anki, choose the deck you wish to edit.
  2. Go to “File”, “Export”.
  3. Export format “Notes in Plain Text”, Include the deck’s name.
  4. Unclick “tags” unless you want them, and I don’t see why you would. Choose your location (I always use the Desktop so I can see it immediately).
  5. In Anki, go back to Decks, and delete the one you just chose (drop down menu on the button to the far right, choose “Delete”).
  6. Now we’re going to re-create this deck, using Excel.
  7. Minimize Anki and start Excel. Have a blank sheet ready in Excel.
  8. Be sure your Excel sheet is formatted as Text (not the default, General) . This will prevent Excel from dropping your leading zeros or trying to convert fields that start with “=” into formulas.
  9. Double click the text file you created on your Desktop and Notepad should open it (unless you have another program set-up for text files of course).
  10. Highlight all of the text in this and copy the text (I use CTL+C)
  11. Go to Excel and on your blank sheet, choose “Paste”, “Paste Special”, “Text” You should have two columns with French on the left (column A), and the English on the right (column B). Edit as needed.

Now when you are ready to add audio (Text-to-Speech) to your Anki Deck….

  1. Insert the add-on power of “Awesome TTS” by using the Anki “Install Add-on” feature found in the menus, and when that window appears, copy and paste 301952613 into the “Code” field and click “OK”. The download happens in seconds. Close Anki then re-open. The power is now in there.
  2. To add audio to your deck, open the deck with the Browse feature.
  3. Choose “current deck” and highlight the cards you wish to add audio to.
  4. The upper left drop down box will reveal a choice to use Awesome TTS.
  5. Click “Awesome TTS” and choose which card section you wish to use as the audio creation and then where you wish for this audio to appear.