How to set up Anki to learn vocabs

In the previous part, I already talked about how traditional method of learning vocabs does not work and how Anki can help us to memorise words more effectively.

Today, I will walk you through a step-by-step tutorial on how to setup Anki to start your vocabulary learning.

1. Download and install Anki

Step 1: Go to

Step 2: If you’re using a Windows computer, click on the “Windows” tab and then click “Download Anki for Windows 7/8/10 (2.1.5)”.

download windows

If you’re using a Mac, click on the “Mac” tab and then click “Download Anki for Mac OS X 10.10+ (2.1.5)”.

download mac

Step 3: After it finishes downloading, install the software as you would normally would on Windows or Mac OS. This step is quite common so I don’t mention the details.

2. Register an account on Anki

Step 1: Go to


Step 2: Fill in your email into “Your Email” field. Fill it again on “Email again”. Fill in the “Password”. Click “Sign up”.

Step 3: You will be redirected to the Terms and Conditions page.

terms top

Scroll down to the bottom. Tick the box that says “I have read the Terms & Conditions …”. Then click “Continue”.

terms bottom

Now, you will see the “Email Sent” page.

email sent

Step 4: Go to your email inbox (it could be Gmail or any mail client). Open the email from “”. Click “Verify Email”.

verify email

You will then be redirected to the finish page on Anki. You now have a valid account to start using Anki now.

email verified

3. Setup the Anki app

Because I’m using a Mac so all of the screenshots will be from a Mac perspective. But Windows users should find the steps similar to follow.

Step 1: Open Anki on your computer. Choose “English” as the default language. Click “OK”.

choose language

You will see a confirmation dialog asking whether you really want to use English. Choose “Yes”.

choose language confirm

Then you will see the Anki interface.

anki default ui

Step 2: Click on the “Sync” tab on the top.

anki default ui click sync

A dialog will pop out. Fill in your email into the “AnkiWeb ID” field. Fill in the “Password”.

anki default ui click sync

You may be asked to download cards from AnkiWeb. Just choose “Cancel” for now.

anki default ui click sync

4. Create a new Anki deck

Step 1: From the Anki interface, you will see a deck called “Default”. It can be used now but the functionality is quite limited. Let’s create another deck. Click “Create Deck” button at the bottom.

anki default ui click sync

Step 2: Fill in a name for your deck. It could be any name. Here, I put “Hoang Vocabs”. Then click “OK”.

anki default ui click sync

Notice that the “Default” deck now has changed to “Hoang Vocabs”. Click on your new deck.

anki default ui click sync

You should see a congratulations screen like this:

anki default ui click sync

5. Add your first vocabs into Anki

Step 1: From your deck, click “Add” on the top.

anki default ui click sync

You will see a form to add a new vocabulary.

anki default ui click sync

You have to fill in the details for the “Front” and the “Back”.

  • “Front” means the vocabulary that you will see when you study, then you need to guess the “Back” of the card.
  • “Back” will contain all the pronunciation, definition and examples of that vocabulary.

Step 2: Fill in your new vocabulary. For example, I fill in the word “contemplate” like this:

anki default ui click sync

Then click the “Add” button at the bottom. The app will show the add-vocab form again. It means that we have added one new word successfully, now we can add more. But let’s close it for now by clicking on the “Close” button.

Now you will see that our deck has replaced the congratulations screen with a new one that shows the number of new words we have (“New: 1”).

anki default ui click sync

6. Study your vocabs on Anki

Just now we have added our first vocabulary. Let’s add a few more so that our study will be more interesting. Let’s say I have put 3 words into my deck: “contemplate”, “horrific”, “crime”. Now, to study them:

Step 1: From your deck, click “Study now”.

anki default ui click sync

Step 2: Anki will show us the first word (“contemplate”), but we can only see the word without its definition and examples. We have to guess those info. After you have guessed in your head, click “Show Answer”.

anki default ui click sync

Step 3: Now you will see both the word and its pronunciation, definition and examples. You should know by now whether your guess is correct.

anki default ui click sync

You will have 3 options to choose from: “Again”, “Good” and “Easy”. I have explained about these 3 options in the previous part.

In short:

  • “<1m” means “less than one minute”.
  • “<10m” means “less than ten minutes”.
  • “4d” means “4 days later”.

Let’s say you have guessed it wrongly, then you should choose “Again”.

Step 4: The app will show the next word (“horrific”). Keep repeating step 2 & 3.

Step 5: After you have seen all 3 words, you will then be shown the word “contemplate” again. Now since you have remembered it more, you choose “Good” (which will remind you in 10 minutes).

Step 6: You will still continue to see the word “contemplate” again. Now when you choose “Good”, it will remind you after one day instead. And when you choose an option that is at least one day, it will stop reminding you for that day.

Step 7: Study all 3 words until the app stops showing them to you.

Step 8: After you finished all 3 words, you should see the congratulations screen.

anki default ui click sync

Step 9: You are done for today. Open the app tomorrow to continue your study.

Wrap up

We have just gone through a basic setup for Anki. Now, you can add more vocabs into your deck and study every day.

Later, I will explain how you can customize your Anki so that every time you add a new word, the app will generate 3 versions:

  • See the word, guess the definition.
  • See the definition, guess the word.
  • See the example, guess the word and the definition.

and some other cool settings as well. See you soon.

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