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make flashcardsGot some free time? Why not immerse yourself in a new subject or perfect your knowledge of, say, the Spanish language? MakeUseOf has rounded up several educational sites, like MIT 5 Great Sites with Free Video Lectures from Top Colleges 5 Great Sites with Free Video Lectures from Top Colleges Read More and 8 Awesome Websites to Take Free College Courses Online 8 Awesome Websites to Take Free College Courses Online Read More Yale 6 Really Good Sites with FREE Video Lectures from Top US Colleges 6 Really Good Sites with FREE Video Lectures from Top US Colleges Read More ‘s OpenCourseWare sites, as well as Youtube channels The Five Best Educational YouTube Channels The Five Best Educational YouTube Channels Read More for you to get started with a subject to learn.

To learn most subjects, flashcards make great companions to refresh your memory every so often. You might be used to making flashcards by hand, but considering how most people probably type faster, here’s one way to digitize your flashcards and review them on your laptop and smartphone with Google Docs and gFlash+. The latter is available for iPhone or iPod Touch [iTunes link] and Android.

Making The Flashcards

For thi,s we will be using Google Docs Spreadsheets to input our terms and definitions on two columns. To start, head to Google Docs’s site and create a new spreadsheet.

make flashcards

Click on Unsaved Spreadsheet right next to the Google Docs logo (or press Ctrl + S) to give this spreadsheet a descriptive name.

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make flashcards

Now type all of your terms on one column (column A), and your definitions on the next column (column B).

make your own flashcards free

If you have a bunch of vocabulary words, you can divide them in groups and dedicate one spreadsheet document (not sheet) for each group because the gFlash+ app works with individual documents.

Reviewing On Your Laptop

To review with your freshly inputted terms, we still need some mechanism that can help hide and show the terms on demand. Not many users know this, but there are special gadgets you can insert in Google Docs documents to make use of the data you entered, and since Google Docs is geared towards general users as well as students, there are some educational gadgets, a few of which are flashcard gadgets.

The most useful one for this tutorial is one made by Google. To see this, click on Insert > Gadget.

make your own flashcards free

On the Featured tab, scroll down to the 6th to last gadget, Flash Cards Gadget by Seth Glickman, and click on Add to spreadsheet.

make your own flashcards free

If you can’t find this gadget, you can always right-click here and copy the link or add

http://hosting.gmodules.com/ig/gadgets/file/107586420984574887835/flashcards.xml

to the box in the Custom tab.

You’ll get a dialog box to indicate which columns have the words with the terms and definitions. Since your terms are in column A and the definitions are in B, we need to edit the default text (“Sheet1!A1”) and type “Sheet1!A:B”.

Now you will get a somewhat primitive but still very intuitive and useful gadget with terms.

You can move the gadget to cover the terms for practice or resize it to see more terms. Other useful features that you can use down the road include the Shuffle and Flip Cards features.

Reviewing On The Go

The free gFlash apps for iPhone (iPad and iPod Touch as well) and Android (click here from device) come in handy for this tutorial as they happen to make use of the Google Docs spreadsheet two-column flashcard format. Blackberry users who don’t mind paying $6.99 can use the gFlashPro app, which supports images in flashcard entries and has no ads, among other things.

Once you download the app, head to Menu > Get My Google Data to login to your Google account and retrieve your Google Docs spreadsheets.

Once you’re done retrieving your lists of terms, you can start reviewing and tapping on the card below to reveal the answer. What makes gFlash incredibly useful is that it can keep score and on subsequent rounds, it gives you the terms you got wrong (plus a few you got right) so you can work on the terms you need more review for. You do need to tap on the arrow or X (after you get revealed the answer) to aid gFlash keep score.

Another cool feature is the ability to switch to multiple choice mode, tap on More at the bottom.

I did notice that gFlash crashed when I tried accessing the gWhiz Catalog to search for other term groups. Also, if you need to update your vocab list, you’ll need to delete the old spreadsheet and re-download the updated one to gFlash+.

This is probably among the simplest solutions to create flashcards I have found that don’t require a steep learning curve. There are a few more sophisticated tools such as:

Which way do you prefer your flashcards, traditional or digital? Feel free to share your favorite program in the comments!

Image credit: pierocksmysocks

  1. Dennis G Daniels
    April 13, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    google gadgets are dead
    And a search in google templates shows no hits for flashcards now...

  2. Mikko
    January 5, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    Nice instructions! Lately, I have preferred using http://www.memomash.com which I find to be the most easy to use, and since it's a web app, it can be used with any device. Before I have tried and used Mnemosyne and Anki.

  3. Herb C.
    November 28, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    I don't have the gadget option in my insert column. I guess I'll have to request that my Administrator turn that feature on?

  4. GoodAirLanguage.com
    January 26, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    Great idea using Google Docs to make flashcards. There are a bunch of sites and programs dedicated to making flashcards, but this is perfect for someone who uses Google Docs a lot.

    GoodAirLanguage.com

  5. Anonymous
    November 24, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Nice application. I use Flash Card Maker Pro to help me learn. It is the only application that is optimized for Android pads, tablets, and mobile phones. Flash Card Maker Pro uses advanced gesturing and text-to-speech capability providing a fully interactive experience for users of all ages. This multi-sensory teaching tool uses all pathways of learning (visual, auditory, kinesthetic or seeing, hearing, touching) simultaneously, in order to enhance memory and learning. Use Flash Card Maker Pro on your Android phone or tablet to teach children how to read and do math, to help students study for exams, or to prepare for an upcoming presentation.

    Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand. (Chinese Proverb)

    Recycle your old paper flash cards and download the latest digital version today! Flash Card Maker Pro has the following highlighted features:

    1. Create Your Own Flash Cards
    2. Share Flash Cards with Other Users
    3. Download Decks of Cards from Developer Website
    4. Text-to-speech Audio Playback
    5. Built-in Study Timer
    6. Randomize or Change Order of Playback
    7. Swap Question and Answer
    8. Change Card Colors and Text Size
    9. Navigate Between Cards using Touch Gestures
    10. Backup Database to SD Card

    http://www.flashcardmakerpro.com

    • Kulmansam
      December 14, 2010 at 10:34 pm

      It would have been great if there was a place that said what the price was.. when there is no price it indicates that it is tooooo expensive. Now that stands to each persons interpretation. For some $3 is expensive and for some $50 is expensive for software and for some $150... either case I closed the site because the information was not enough..

  6. jeffthewhitegoose
    November 24, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    Nice application. I use Flash Card Maker Pro to help me learn. It is the only application that is optimized for Android pads, tablets, and mobile phones. Flash Card Maker Pro uses advanced gesturing and text-to-speech capability providing a fully interactive experience for users of all ages. This multi-sensory teaching tool uses all pathways of learning (visual, auditory, kinesthetic or seeing, hearing, touching) simultaneously, in order to enhance memory and learning. Use Flash Card Maker Pro on your Android phone or tablet to teach children how to read and do math, to help students study for exams, or to prepare for an upcoming presentation.

    Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand. (Chinese Proverb)

    Recycle your old paper flash cards and download the latest digital version today! Flash Card Maker Pro has the following highlighted features:

    1. Create Your Own Flash Cards
    2. Share Flash Cards with Other Users
    3. Download Decks of Cards from Developer Website
    4. Text-to-speech Audio Playback
    5. Built-in Study Timer
    6. Randomize or Change Order of Playback
    7. Swap Question and Answer
    8. Change Card Colors and Text Size
    9. Navigate Between Cards using Touch Gestures
    10. Backup Database to SD Card

    http://www.flashcardmakerpro.c...

  7. jenny4jones
    November 24, 2010 at 5:30 am

    From operating systems to multimedia, PC & mobile games to anti-virus, from drivers to registry cleaners and internet tools our website features all the latest soft wares for safe and free downloading enjoy.

  8. Jessica Cam W.
    November 11, 2010 at 2:09 am

    Hmm, I haven't tried it. Can you add a gadget to a Google Site by URL at all? If so, the URL of the gadget is http://hosting.gmodules.com/ig...

    Sorry I can't help you further.

  9. Nansen
    November 11, 2010 at 1:03 am

    Can you add this gadget to a google site?

  10. Jessica Cam W.
    November 9, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    I've been using gFlash for a while so I'm glad to hear it's helpful to more
    people!

  11. Angela Alcorn
    November 9, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Cool - I didn't know about the flashcard gadget or the app. Awesome. :)

    • Jessica Cam W.
      November 9, 2010 at 9:53 pm

      I've been using gFlash for a while so I'm glad to hear it's helpful to more
      people!

  12. John Weidner
    November 3, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    A custom google search engine just of flashcard sites is available at:

    http://flashcardflash.com

    It allows you to search for flashcards from the online sites mentioned in this article plus popular flashcard sites like studystack.com, quizlet.com, and flashcardexchange.com

  13. Jojon
    November 3, 2010 at 7:50 am

    just found out about the gadget and found this post ... best stuff around !

    • Jessica Cam W.
      November 3, 2010 at 1:50 pm

      Thank you!

  14. gav
    November 2, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Wow Jess - awesome stuff :-)

    • Jessica Cam W.
      November 2, 2010 at 7:33 pm

      Thanks for checking the post out!

  15. tzvi
    November 2, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    nice, thanks.

    • Jessica Cam W.
      November 2, 2010 at 7:19 pm

      Glad it helped!

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