I have had a long discussion with the Anki support asking how I can make some of my existing cards reversible but I have still not been able to do exactly what I want.

I have an existing deck where I want to make some cards reversible. I followed the instructions in this clip on YouTube (they are a little outdated, the +-button is replaced with a menu option Add card type) but the result is that Anki wants to create a new card for every card in the deck, rather than what I want which is to create a reversed item for just the current card.

I would like to go through my deck and pick the cards I want to reverse (or something like that).

The notes I want to make reversible are heavily customized.

How do I make some of the cards in an existing deck reversible?

I'd be grateful for a step-by-step explanation together with some information about why I should perform each action. I want to understand the underlying mechanism.

  • Re "less than stellar" : These are volunteers who, in their own free time, provide support for a valuable tool. They are programmers. If you know how to provide better support, figure out how to invest your own time to do it. First, you need to become expert in Anki. Nobody owes you anything. What are your own contribution to humanity? Some projects, from abundance of generosity, provide excellent support. Other project do not have enough volunteers, but I am always surprised how many people expect excellent free service. You may offer Anki to pay them for support Apr 16, 2020 at 19:47
  • IIUC, Anki for iPhone is paid, for Android is free (I paid nothing). If you are using paid app, you are rightfully upset, and might compare it to competition (which is equally bad, app support sucks in general) Apr 17, 2020 at 2:09
  • @d-b Anki for the desktop is open source and free, while AnkiMobile is a commercial product. Please keep the conversation civil.
    – Tsundoku
    Jun 24, 2020 at 9:51

2 Answers 2


This is what I did to solve this issue. I started from the basic reversible template and recreated my customized note type. I then selected all cards I wanted to make reversible in the browser, right clicked, selected Change Note Type and then matched all field (Which happened automatically since the note types are identical and fields come in the same order. Very simple.).

(Since I had hundreds of cards and needed to think a bit about which cards that I wanted to be reversible I sorted them in alphabetic order and looked through 50 cards a time or so and applied a flag to the cards that should be converted. Finally I converted all flagged cards and removed the flag.)

The whole process was very simple and understandable when I figured it out. I don't understand the complicated suggestions I have received here and in the support forum that suggest that I should create an extra field with some conditional syntax. In a basic Anki installation, there already are the Basic, Basic (reversible) and Basic (optional reversible) notetypes so they even follow my model there (with two/three identical note types where the only difference is if they are reversible or not).

However, I am still curios what it is that makes a notetype reversible. When comparing the three basic note types I couldn't see any difference in their "source" that explained this property. Would very much appreciate an explanation here.


You have to create an additional field in your note template. Call it something like “Reverse?”. That field is there just to contain a yes/no flag to create the reverse card: empty field means no reverse, non-empty means create the reverse card. Then create a new card template to ask the reverse question. In the front of the card, start with {{#Reverse?}} and end with {{/Reverse?}}. Write the question between these 2 marks, and nothing outside of the 2 marks. Like this:

{{#Reverse?}} write here the question For instance {{BackOfNote}} {{/Reverse?}}

You’re done. Now you just have to write something (anything) in the Reverse? field of a note, and anki will create the reverse card for that note.

  • I found a different procedure, explained in my own answer to this question. My solution seems much simpler than yours (which is very similar to what the support staff suggested, a solution they were completely unable to explain why or how). Am I missing something?
    – d-b
    Apr 17, 2020 at 9:24
  • 1
    @d-b If it works for you, stick with the solution of changing note type. Whenever you are using note templates that are different from the basic default ones, you cannot use this solution and you have to use some version of what I described.
    – YAG
    Apr 17, 2020 at 11:43
  • I don't understand? I use customized note types. What am I missing out in my use of Anki?
    – d-b
    Apr 17, 2020 at 14:25
  • 1
    I don't have enough points to up-vote an answer, but YAG's answer worked for me.
    – dannycodes
    Dec 16, 2020 at 18:56

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