Create beautiful notes in Mathematica and export cards with knowledge to Anki
Mathematica Python Shell

Mathematica Anki

It's a project focusing on collecting knowledge in a systematic and efficient way. Why create flash cards when you can make your notes and then highlight the stuff that's important thus creating flash cards.

Example use

The project consists of Mathematica stylesheet and tools for creating TeX grade notebooks and Anki cards out of them.

Installation and prerequisites

Installation is a bit long and OSX only, but the process will be improved if enough people will ask for it.

OSX El Capitan notice

For those using the math fuctionality: Be sure to install the newest MacTeX.


The most expensive part of the setup, install a trial if you don't have the full version:


In case you don't have it already:

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

Hardlink (optional, but useful)

brew install hardlink-osx

Anki app

Download and install the standalone:

Anki source (you need to have both!)

Get it from here:

Download it and unpack it in "XXX", you'll not be able to run ./runanki straight away, first install and run the following:

brew install python
brew install pyqt
brew install sip

#test run

If anki runs correctly then open your profile and import MathematicaCloze.apkg to make a correct Cloze note type. You should get a temporary _SANDBOX deck - you're free to remove it, but double check if the new default note type is MathematicaCloze by trying to add a new card. You should see something like this:

Now, copy (or hardlink): Anki/runimport to anki source main directory (/) Anki/ to /anki/ subdirectory. Anki/ to /anki/importing/ subdirectory.

Note: you can make use of just check your paths and make sure you don't have your own stuff in Mathematica Stylesheets folder and others.

Mathematica packages and styles

Go to ~/Library/Mathematica/ and copy (or hardlink) there files from the Mathematica directory to corresponding subfolders.

Root Knowledge folder

You can make it anywhere, but I recommend you putting it inside dropbox folder:

mkdir ~/Dropbox/Knowledge

Important 2 steps in Mathematica

First: Open ~/Library/Mathematica/Applications/AnkiExporter/Exporter.nb and set appropriate paths:

  • ~/Dropbox/Anki/Ranza/ to your Anki database collection (if you didn't move it it's ~/Documents/Anki/<profile-name>/
  • ~/Projects/anki/runimport to your Anki source path

Second: Open Mathematica and open Options Inspector (CMD+O) and search for CreateCellID, set the Scope to Global Preferences and set it to True Make sure you don't forget about this step - otherwise Export to Anki won't work.

Useful Mathematica settings (optional)

In Preferences -> System uncheck Create and maintain version specific front end preferences and either set Notebook Security to Always trust or add the Knowledge folder to Trusted Directories.

In Preferences -> Messages set Kernel Messages to Print to Console it make notebooks more tidy by printing errors and logs to a seperate notebook.

Symbolic link Anki folder to dropbox (optional)

To keep a backup of your Anki database you can save it on Dropbox

ln -s ~/Dropbox/Anki/ ~/Documents/Anki

Test ride

Create a new notebook, go to and set a stylesheet through Format->Stylesheet->Science. You should see a docked cell (kind of a toolbar).

  1. Write a title (CMD+0) saying "Notebook title", move down with down arrow.
  2. Write a new section (CMD+1) saying "Section one" , move down
  3. Write a new subsection (CMD+2) saying "Subsection one" , move down
  4. Write a new text (CMD+7) saying "This is a test question with a witty answer"
  5. Select the text "witty answer" and press (CMD+D) the text should get green.
  6. Save the document in Knowledge/Test/Subcategory/notebook.nb filename can be different.
  7. Press "->Anki" in the toolbar. If everything goes right, after seeing "Importing to Anki..." in the status bar, you'll see "Exported 1/1 cells to anki".

    Only after exporting is finished you can open Anki. Be sure Anki is closed during exporting.

Here's the final efect:

To learn some more basics try opening Using Mathematica-Anki.pdf

Currently supported styles

Not all cells get exported to Anki currently supported include:

  • Text
  • EquationNumbered
  • Equation
  • Figure
  • Item1, Item2, Item3
  • Item1Numbered, Item2Numbered, Item3Numbered
  • Theorem,
  • Example,
  • Proof
  • Axiom
  • Definition

More tutorials coming soon. (The system is poorly documented, but already has the capabilities to export equations and pictures as it was built out of my own need).

Troubleshooting and notes

Highlighting shortcut apears not to work when caps-lock is enabled. Someone might think that CMD+SHIFT+D will do the job and try to press it... and then BANG! You've just learned that it doesn't work, but instead splits the selected text into another cell. Serendipity.