Anki to “Load Up” a Memory Palace?


Hello all,
My first post.

A big thank you to everyone on this forum. Reading the posts here have made a HUGE impact on my life. I found the books of Anthony Metiver and the wonderful book “The Memory Code” by Lynne Kelly from this forum. Both have been life changing!

Here is my horrible, shameful secret: I am a recovering Supermemo / Anki addict.

I have now concluded that a Memory Palace system is far superior to Spaced Repetition Software (SRS).
(For a variety of reasons…. I may post about them later if anyone is interested).

However, I am quite slow when it comes to my initial learning, populating, and memorizing of my memory palace.

I started off testing a few types of palaces.

1.) Outside journeys around my home
2.) Inside my home
3.) 3d video game worlds
4.) 2d video game screens
5.) Films

So far, I found films work the best.

Here is my current process:

1.) Take a screenshot of each scene in a movie.
2.) In MS Paint write BIG YELLOW NUMBERS over 1 or more places I want to use as Loci.
3.) Put the image on an Anki card
4.) On the back of the Anki card write the image name, what I want to memorize, and my outrageous imaginary image I am using to encode the image (i.e. my mnemonic).
5.) Create a text file with my entire palace and another text file filled in with my Loci, Information, and Mnemonic.
6.) After 1 month I delete ALL of the Anki cards. After that, I just mentally review my palace when needed to keep the information for life.

I have memorized: quotes, computer science stuff (a lot of VIM commands!), lots of historical information, and more.

Here is my question:

Is this a crutch?

Am I slow?

It takes me quite a while to fill up a palace this way. Maybe with experience, I can learn a faster method?

I rarely add more than 10 loci a day.

Reading the feats of memory champions has led me to conclude that I may be the planets slowest memory palace user.

Thank you for any help!

Best, Luke


No worries, I’m fairly new to the memory palace system myself, and sometimes I feel lucky if I can remember 10-12 loci a day as well. In the year and a half since I started, I definitely feel like my memories have grown sharper, but I haven’t gotten any faster. Ultimately, I’ve decided that even if I’m stuck with a slow storage speed, I would rather move slowly and remember things permanently than move faster and get sloppy.

Good luck to you on your endeavors!


@LukeAvedon don’t worry about your speed, getting used to the palaces helps in getting quite faster in that you don’t spend time thinking about the next locations, they just come to you automatically.

I’m curious to know your reviews on 2-D game palaces. Also, could you give some examples of movies that you have used as palaces? And do you take only the significant scenes or as many as you can get? I considered films earlier but didn’t quite try it out. I believe knowing about your experience will be helpful to me.


(Josh Cohen) #4

Vim is one of my favorite programs – you might be interested in the Vim discussion. :slight_smile:

If you haven’t seen it yet, our memory palace software combines spaced repetition with memory palace generation.


I would just like to point out, that comparing SRS and Memory Palaces is like comparing Major system with POA. They are two different things and they are used combined - each for different purposes.


IT analogy:

  • A Memory Palace is like a data array - you have slots and you can store information in the slots.
  • SRS is like the fact you need to be refreshing the data in RAM in a certain frequency in order to pertain the data structure physically in the RAM, before the data fades.

One is not superior to the other. Two tools for two different jobs. One allocates storage and compresses data for easier recall. The other refreshes this data in brain before they are forgotten.

So this leads to the fact, that I use both:

  1. I store information for long term storage to a memory palace.
  2. I put a reference to this memory palace on a card to an anki deck only with palaces.
  3. Then I walk through the memory palace (to review the stored info) in the least amount necessary - SRS takes care of that - plans the review for the latest most efficient point in time.


Yikes! I missed all of your thoughtful replies. Sorry about that.

A belated thank you for all the interesting comments.


That is an extremely elegant idea - using Anki to remind yourself when to review.

How do you rate your ANKI card? Because 1 Anki card equals an entire palace. How do you rate your Anki card?

Fail if most of the loci are forgotten?
Hard if only a few are forgotten?
Easy if there is perfect recall?

I may try this with 200 loci at a time on a card.


Apologies for the delayed response. Yes, I have a few film palaces now. I take screen shots of each major frame. Then I pick out a few loci per screen shot. I estimate I can get about 1,500 loci per film. I try to pick major franchises, like say Star Trek, and use that franchise only for one category of knowledge. Sci Fi type franchises are good because I can use both films and comic books. VIM will always be Star Trek. RegEx is Alien(s). History is Judge Dredd. Sales is Matrix. JavaScript is The Sandman.

I have found comic books a bit better as a source of palaces then film. It is more challenging initially to visually memorize a comic book page. However, with practice, each comic book frame becomes 1 loci. You can test your self by simply reading the comic book.

Here are some example images:


Comic Book:

Old Video Game:

I ended up making my own little software that downloads my palaces from a Google sheet. It flips through my images with a USB Super Nintendo controller. Then the buttons on the Super Nintendo controller toggle a display of either the mnemonic, fact, image, or # location.

Going to try @MimKoRn’s Anki card idea.


Yes VIM is incredible.


I am glad you like the idea. Won’t take credit for it. As far as I understand Anki, using it as a review scheduler is its primary purpose - the fact it stores the review data is a matter of convenience.

I guess the rating should depend on what you aim at in your performance. Are you okay with losing a loci here and there? You can relax your rating. I do not like my loci being dropped, so if I would forget some, I definitely click hard. If it would be multiple, or a whole section, definitely have it restarted. Good for a complete recall. Easy for a really fluent complete, fast, confident recall.

Using comics is an interesting idea. I used to read some comics over and over again as a child - I could dredge up those and re-use them as palaces. Will look into that on my next visit home.


@MimKoRn Thanks again. Definitely going to do this.



One quick question…

Per your advice, here is an Anki card to remind me to review a palace:

I am manually editing the back card to write down how many times I have seen this card. I guessed that after 3 reviews mentally, it would be goo to test my self. After 3 reviews I will look at the images that make up this palace and double check my answers.

Do you include in Anki some kind of protocol for when you should test yourself on your palaces, with a written record, as opposed to only reviewing mentally?



Not sure if I understood fully. If by test you mean mentally go through the palace and recall data, I do that on every occasion it pops up in Anki. If I review just the loci of the palace, the number of loci is sufficient. On the back of the card I have the loci written out, so I can check, if I did not miss any.

But what you probably mean is checking if you recalled all data and correctly for palaces which are used to hold long-term knowledge already.

I am quite new to persisting long term information into the palace for permanent storage, so I cannot tell you what my workflow for testing that is, since none exists for me at the moment. But I would assume that one feels inwardly, if one can trust his recall of a palace. I think I would feel if I missed some information, or was not sure of its correctness.

Personally, I guess I would “test” the correctness of recall every time the review pushes the card more than a month away. Since usually that means I will be seeing it far into the future and thus it should be scaleable. Also depends on the robustness of the stored data.

But really, I will be more apt to answer these questions after having more of my own experience. Please report your experiences for us, since you seem to be further ahead.