How to Make Flash Cards

It's easy to make flash cards, and the skill comes in handy. If you want to save money on school supplies, or if you can't find learning flash cards for a particular subject at the store, you can whip up your own very quickly. All you need is a computer, a printer and word-processing software.

Making Flash Cards that Work
Flash cards are used as a memory aid to help in learning. They can be used to teach languages, mathematics, phonetics and even science and history.

There are two ways to make flashcards at home. One method is to use perforated postcard paper from the office supply store. This paper is inexpensive and durable. The other option is to use smaller sizes of photo paper, such as 3 x 5 paper, which fits most inkjet printers. You won't have to separate the cards once they're printed, and you can sometimes get very good deals on overstocked photo paper.

Whichever stock you choose, remember the basic elements of a flash card. The question is on one side, and the answer is on the back, where you can see it. For foreign language, you can use pictures of different items, with the foreign-language word on the back. For math, you can simply put equations on one side, such as 3 x 5, 10 - 6, etc., with the answers on the back. The key is to keep it simple. If you're using photos, make sure the subject of the picture is obvious. Clip art illustrations, which you can find for free online, are far better than busy photographs.

Using Postcard Paper
First, you will need to find the postcard template in your word-processing program. These are often preloaded into word-processing software. If you can't find the right template, check the package for the postcard stock. Some manufacturers, such as Avery, have free templates that you can download and open as a word processing document.

Once you've got a template, all you need to do is fill it in. Each piece of postcard stock makes four flash cards. You'll need to fill out two templates, one for the front and one for the back. It's much easier to create the fronts and backs as separate files, with one for all of the fronts and one for all of the backs. Print out the fronts, then flip the printed postcards over and print out all of the backs. Once everything's printed, you can separate the cards easily at their perforations. To increase your flashcards' lifespan, consider using a machine to laminate the cards.  

Using Photo Paper
It takes a little longer to create flash cards with photo paper, but they're a bit more durable and you can choose different sizes.

Instead of using a template, you'll need to use the photo settings in your word-processing software. This means creating a page with custom dimensions that are the same length and width as your photo paper, such as 3 x 5. Once that's done, you can fill in the fronts and backs of your flash cards. Again, two-sided printing is much simpler if you create separate files for the fronts and the backs.

Simply run all the fronts through, then flip them over and print the backs, making sure you repeat the printing order from the first card to the last so that the answers line up with what's on the fronts of the cards. 

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