Making Custom Flashcards On a Desktop

Eli Sweet

Sorry if this is a question that has been asked and answered elsewhere.

(And feel free to direct me to the relevant thread if that is the case.)

Is there a good way to make custom flashcards on a desktop/laptop?

I collect a lot of vocab words in a word doc, and Id like to us them to create custom cards that I can then import into Pleco.

What is the best way to do that?

Thanks in advance.


Hi Eli Sweet,

your question hasn't been asked exactly like this before, so I can suggest the following approach to you, to save you a lot of work and mistakes with the pinyin or tab delimiters:
  1. You copy the list of vocab in your Word file to a plain text editor, making it so that one Hanzi word/expression fills one line, without any other text.
  2. Then you write "// <<category name>>" in the first line of the text file, replacing <<category name>> with your choice of category name.
  3. Save the text file and import it into Pleco, making sure you have the "Fill in missing fields" option selected. The definition source should be Dictionaries, and under "Dictionaries", you can put your favorite dictionaries at the top. "Duplicate entries" should be set to Allow.
  4. After the import, you export the imported list right again by selecting the category you imported the list to, with the option "Dictionary definitions" enabled.
  5. You open the exported text file in Word (or, which is easier: your plain text editor, then copy and paste into Word) and select the list, leaving out the "// category" line
  6. With the entire list of tab-separated text selected, you choose "Convert text to table" in Word, with three columns:

    Word convert text to to table.png

  7. You now have a long table in Word that you can modify or add defininitions to at will. The correct pinyin will already be there.
  8. When the Word table is ready, you can convert it back to text with tab separators in the same menu as above, then save it using a plain text editor (BBEdit on Mac or Notepad++ on Windows are good options.) and import it into Pleco, setting "Definition source" to "Prefer File". Be sure to put the "// category" line at the top.

You're welcome, hope this helps,


Eli Sweet

Thanks for your message. That seems rather complicated.

Also, I am fine with – and actually would prefer – inputting a custom definition.

Is it possible for me to just follow a specific format to create the cards in plain text editor and then import them?

I.e., something like:

// <<New Word List>>
正念 Zheng4Nian4 Mindful; Mindfulness
弥留之际 Mi2Liu2Zhi1Ji4 On your deathbed
自洽 Zi4Qia4 Logically consistent

(Rather than importing it, exporting it, and reimporting it.)

Many thanks,


You're welcome. Yes, that is exactly the format, with tabs in between Hanzi, pinyin, and the definitions. You can add your own definitions using my method, as well. It's just my experience that a lot of mistakes happen when you add the text directly and write the pinyin yourself, but feel free to experiment.


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