A few questions from a noob about pleco flashcards!

Hey guys, I am extremely tired of skritter and how poorly it works and now I am going to try pleco, an app that I bought a long time ago but never really used the flashcard function.
I have a few questions that I hope someone can help me with.

1. How do I practice writing characters and tones at the same time (not pinyin, only tones)?

2. Is is possible to add words to your study while studying? The lists I use are huge with thousands of words, thus it will take me weeks/months to go through them. If I find new characters that I want to add to my lists while I am studying so I dont have to restart, is there any way to do this?

Last edited:
Hi Daxia,

happy to hear you're switching to Pleco! :) Let me try to help, though my answer can't be exhaustive:

1. You can practice writing characters using the test mode Fill-in-the-blanks and tones using Tone Practice, not simultaneously, but one after the other. Instead of using Fill-in-the-blanks, you can also choose Self-graded and Show: Definition if you prefer to write using pencil and paper, and then check if the answer was right. This would also allow you to check the tones at the same time, since you will not see the pinyin at first, and then with tones. (not sure if that is exactly what you want)

There is just one difficulty: Pleco keeps scores of your learning progress. If, say, you're much better at remembering the tones than with writing characters, Pleco would just add the scores up for both learning modes if you keep the same scorefile for both. So I recommend that you create two learning profiles, each with their own scorefile, and use one for Tone Practice and the other for Fill-in-the-blanks.

2. Yes, you could split the category containing thousands of words into subcategories containing 50 or so words each, then start studying, and just add any new words to a new category at the end, which you will study whenever you like. If you start a Flashcards session with a category containing thousands of words, this won't be possible because Pleco selects the cards to study at the beginning of a session, not during a session.

To split a category, you go into Organize Flashcards and tap-hold the category you want to split, select "Split", tap on Sequential, and enter the size of the split categories. To add a new flashcard, of course you just tap on the + button or long-press it and choose the category you want this and all future cards to go in.

If you need any more help, just ask!

Cheers, Shun
Last edited:
Dear Shun,

Is there a simple Youtube video to show how to setup Pleco flashcards for learning? Your instructions are clear enough, but it would be great, if there is a simple video showing what settings to use and what's the best and easiest way to get started using these flashcards on Pleco.

Even better, if there's a way to start using a pre-made list starting from the below as an example:
1. Chinese radicals
2. Chinese HSK 1
3. Chinese HSK 2

In Skritter or Tofulearn, I just import the word lists that I want and start learning and reviewing. How do I do that in PLECO? Apologies if I'm sounding lazy. I'm not, it's just that PLECO is just too feature rich, it's hard to know how to exactly make full use of it at times.

Many thanks in advance for reading this.
Dear agewisdom,

it's true that Pleco is more demanding than other learning tools like Skritter or Tofulearn, but as you say, it gives you more possibilities and flexibility than those other tools. I believe that the only way to use Pleco well is to actually understand (parts of) it; you probably can't just follow step-by-step instructions because they won't really explain the whys, they will only teach you how to do one particular thing. It isn't rocket science, you just have to trust that you will be able to grasp it.

If you know German, I could send you a PDF presentation that I'm still working on, which is designed to teach students to understand Pleco more deeply and use it more efficiently. Alternatively, there is a good tutorial written by the programmer himself at:

http://iphone.pleco.com/manual/30200/ (that's for the iPhone version, but since Android works almost the same, it is still very useful)

Simply read the tutorial carefully and try to reproduce what he says on your own device. If you come across concepts in the tutorial that you just can't seem to wrap your head around, please do come back to this thread to ask, and I will try to give you pointers. It's always fun to answer questions when someone is trying hard to understand something.

Have fun and good luck,

Dear Shun,

Thank you for your kind reply. I'll definitely review the tutorial link in detail to get a better idea on how to use the flashcards system functionality. Learning by doing is possibly the best way to learn. Just that it's a bit daunting and I just wanted to ask if there was a guide by any users before I dive in.

I've owned the basic Pleco package for 1+ years now and only used it superficially. Now that I'm serious about learning, I really find that it's superbly useful. Just perhaps almost too substantial.

BTW ~ I came across your thread below:

Can I know what's the best file for me to upload into Pleco to just learn Chinese-English sentences? It seems there are two version, your version and another one by leguan.

1. What's the difference? I read through the thread but it all sounds pretty foreign to me.
2. And how do I upload this into Pleco? Do I just click on the link on my android phone and it associates to Pleco? Or some other way?

Many thanks.
Hi agewisdom,

sure. Let's just do this: Since you need to and want to understand the app anyway, I recommend that you just read and work with the tutorial before you do anything else. You need to, anyway.

Once you've done that, either you're independent enough to find it out yourself, or you're able to ask a specific question that is much easier to answer.


Last edited:
Ah, you're right. The tutorial is quite extensive. I'll work from there and get back to you on any specific questions, if and when it arises then.