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.


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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.

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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.


Thanks again for your help @MimKoRn

What I found works for me is:

1.) I make an Anki card that says “review this palace Locis 1 - 250”. The entire palace is copied on the back. I then review the palace mentally when doing other tasks throughout the day or when exercising etc.

2.) I review and will pass as long as I don’t miss more then a few loci. I will not fail the card just for missing 1 or 2 loci. Anything that feels weak I go back and skim the answers.

3.) Every 5 reviews I sit down and test myself with the palace formally. I keep a little count on the front of the Anki card - for each time I’ve seen the card. When it gets to 5 I like at an image of each loci in the palace and test myself (using a little app).

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Hey :slight_smile:

I’m quite new here and find your post really interesting, for now, I just use SRS and no palace. Maybe I underestimate palaces… I like your views but I wonder …
When you say you record all vim commands into star treck, how do you know where to look in the movie to get a specific command ? I thought that information is much more easy to remember if it is structured …
I also wonder how you add some loci for vim if your palace is full and the is no more scene in the movie you can exploit ?

Thanks for these deep techniques !

Thanks for your comment Maxsterwesh. I’m glad my crazed rambling had some value.

When you say you record all vim commands into star treck, how do you know where to look in the movie to get a specific command?

I had the exact same concern. Luckily, this is not the case.

I NEVER have to walk through the palace to retrieve the information.

As long as I mentally review the palace from time to time (which Anki takes care of reminding me to do), the information is in my normal, natural memory. I don’t have to think about the mnemonic, or its location in any memory palace (however, the mnemonic fortifies the memory).

It is quite strange, but it really does download to your “natural memory.”

I am not worried about running out of loci. I could easily make 1,5000 loci just from this old computer game. There is certainly a lot of Star Trek stuff out there. I am enjoying organizing my palaces by theme this way.

Incredible ! Maybe practicing them on Vim itself helps, I must say that the langage is wonderfully consistent and natural :slight_smile:

What do you mean by far superior ? For now, I just use SRS to remember dates, vim commands, everything I want to memorize … It works quite well, although I must admit I don’t have much for now ! The thing is all infos are mixed into only one deck, maybe a different palace for each theme would help organize all this ?

When you say you review the palace Locis 1-250, you mean only the locis or also the things supposed to be remembered there ? For exemple, with Star Treck, you visualize only the images you’ve shown us or also the vim commands attached ?

Here is a little video I made of my current experiments.

Perhaps you will find it of interest.

Hi Maxsterwesh,

Maybe practicing them on Vim itself helps, I must say that the language is wonderfully consistent and natural :slight_smile:

How funny that we are both VIM enthusiasts. It is a small world after all.

What do you mean by far superior? For now, I just use SRS to remember dates, vim commands, everything I want to memorize … It works quite well, although I must admit I don’t have much for now

I go back and forth.

Both SRS and memory palaces are great.

Piort Wozniak (the creator of SuperMemo) believes that 200,000 flashcards are the lifetime limit for someone practicing SRS 1 hour a day. Wozniak believes the Memory Palaces do not allow you to learn enough information, as it is difficult exactly what part of the palace you are about to forget. You have to re-review too much material in order to build a truly massive palace. He is wrong. After I read the absolutely incredible book, “The Memory Code” by Llyne Kelly (Who I think is on this forum?) I realized Wozniak was in error.

It is clear that many pre-modern societies have surpassed Wozniak’s “hard limit” by using memory palaces.

(For example, Ānanda memorized all of the Buddha’s discourses - which comes out to about 6,000 pages of text).

I can see both SRS and memory palaces have the plusses and minuses. SRS is especially great for reviewing practice questions for an exam for example.

SRS has downsides:

1.) You are a slave to the app.

2.) You spend 90 percent of your time reviewing old material. This can become tedious. (Although, I guess memory palaces are the same).

3.) It is rare to develop much skill using mnemonics - you get in the habbit of only using rote and nothing else.

4.) Enumerations (i.e. memorizing a list of items) is horrible.

Observe the crazy lengths some go to try to memorize lists in Anki

It would be very easy to memorize this list in a memory palace. Instead of using Anki.

5.) The information really is slightly less stable.

That being said, I have decided to focus on Anki more. I am using it as a way to trick myself into exercising. It seems to be working. I just spend 2 hours at the gym pedaling away and reviewing Anki on my old iPad Mini.

When you say you review the palace Locis 1-250, you mean only the locis or also the things supposed to be remembered there ? For exemple, with Star Treck, you visualize only the images you’ve shown us or also the vim commands attached ?

Yes, I visualize the location in the palace. I then try to “see” the command and “see” my outrageous mnemonic. I previously did not think I could visualize anything.


is my person for S (Seska from Voyager (the WORST Star Trek) coming out of someone’s nose (% = a giant nose) and I forget the rest. But I remember the command and where it is in the palace.

I forget about 80% of the mnemonics in time, but remember the location (loci) and the important information (vim command in this case). I still have to review the palace fairly regularly.

I also associate music whenever possible.

For example, any command with ^ (first non-blank character) has Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” playing in the background when I get to that section of the palace.

Jeez, what a lame nerd I am.

Thanks for the ressources and sorry for my late !

Completely agree ! You cannot put away your phone for a week without taking it back with 200 cards to revise …

Sure, but I don’t really see the bad point here, for small piece of information (like dates, foreign vocabulary, figures, …) I must say that rote learning works quite well for me, I just have to see it once or twice in anki, and I remember it. Rote learning is quite fast for me and I am afraid that mnemonics take much more time !

Yes indeed ! I think this is the only kind of info that should take a palace to be stored (speeches, books, poetry, chronological events, even sheet music…).
What refrains me from using palaces is the following point : once you’ve memorise your list, it’s not easy to add elements in the middle of the list. Especially when you have a lot of elements to add afterwards. I understand you can make nested palaces or add stories in one locus but it doesn’t really feel efficient nor natural to me.
The way I see palace memorisation is : you take a list you’ve completed and you are sure not to add anything inside, then you make your journey. That is why your post is very surprising to me, I have hard time believe you add the anki commands in your palace, in the order you learn them. For example, that would mean you have :%s/old/new at loci 18, then [crtl-R] at loci 19, then :s/old/new/gc at loci 20 … etc
How do you do to make your images not mix ?
The way I proceed is just put vim commands I need into anki … Once you’ve used them some times in vim, you’ve integrated them, so some loci in your palace are useless, whereas when anki makes you see a command you forget, you remember to use it. I find it much more efficient than to review a whole palace to make sure I use all the commands I put in it, what do you think ?
I’m sure it’s not very clear but I tried my best :slight_smile:

One big drawback I find in anki is that infos are stored only one way, so you have to enter a question and the reversed one to remember the info. Like if you say for exemple
q: “Who was Maria Agnesi ?”
a: “The first woman to write a course in calculus.”

and you want to remember the name of that first women, it does not come to mind !! So you must make an other card like
q: “Who was the first women to write a course in calculus ?”
a: " Maria Agnesi"

So actually you need two cards to store any info… I guess for vim commands you just need to store one way because you don’t really need to remember what [Ctrl-F] stands for independently of the context. What do you think of palaces for this ? Can you remember the two sides of the info ? I guess it depends on the image you made …

Do you have the source of this computation ? I wonder how he did it…
I also don’t really realise what 200 000 flashcards represent, and if you ever need that much ?


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In Anki you can solve your problem for

by writing a cloze note like this:

{{c1::Maria Agnesi}} was the first women to {{c2::write a course in calculus.}}
This will create automatically two cards, where different parts of sentence will be hidden. You need to use the “cloze” note type for that. Read more about this here:

You guys love Vim? You should try Vimium for chrome. Makes your browsing go BOOM. I just created an Anki deck with vimium commands here:

@Maxsterwesh I would not worry about how you approach memorizing key shortcuts. I use Anki for that too and I also believe that using a palace is not necessary in this case, nor it does not seem to me to bring much benefit. I have no problem being “slave” to Anki. It is my tool for scheduling memorizing, because it is more efficient than manual scheduling. One would not think of being slave to Gmail or internet or technology anyway. Or would they?

You can actually put your phone away for a week and not have to go through much. When I know I will be going away, I review cards ahead in a reasonable manner. You generate yourself a deck with a search like “prop:due<=6” for six days ahead and go through it slowly. There is more talk about this and how to do it reasonably in Anki manual.

In Anki I use mnemonics not to be cramming stuff without association, cause after longer reviews (months) I tend to forget it sometimes if there was no mnemonic. I put a reminder of the mnemonic into the Extra field of a card which only shows after viewing answer (just to be reminded of it). It does not matter which card of the note is viewed, it always shows in the answer.

Enumerations truly work better with palaces or sometimes Link Method can be just enough. You can then put your story or palace itself into a card with different locis being cloze-removed.

Hey Luke, some time have passed and I got more into experimenting, so I can share with you.

What currently works best for me is a cloze-type note, where all loci are listed and I have a fraction of it hidden.

So for a palace of 100 loci I have 10 closures with 10 loci.

  • This makes the cards quick to review (I need to be able to move fast in the palaces because of the way I use them).
  • It also makes the reviewing less tiring — having to review a whole palace or too many loci with one card slows down progressing through cards. I think in 20 rules of formulating knowledge this was considered bad practice.

For memory palaces used for long-term storage of information I am planning to do this:
Have the whole palace with filled up stuff created as a cloze type, but every locus will have its own closure. This is because often I put a lot of information on one locus (using link method). So having to answer just one locus of the palace takes a while, since I am retrieving a collection of information. I am using this as an alternative approach for creating a massive palace — creating links on a locus instead of linking to a short palace works better for me now.

Nice, I use a similar extension called Tridactyl for Firefox. If you install it, type :h for the docs. The keybindings are here.