Best Index Flash Cards

Updated April 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for Best index flash cards

When you need to learn something quickly and thoroughly, there's no substitute for flash cards. We're not talking about a digital program that you hurriedly tap and swipe through to get a score; we're talking about actual, physical cards that you write up yourself by hand.

Index flash cards are an excellent learning tool for students of all ages. Since you fill them out yourself, they are fully customizable to your needs. And, you can use the cards for far more than educational purposes. They can be used to organize any type of information in endless ways.

If you are considering purchasing index cards, there are a staggering number of options. One type of card isn't uniformly the best, but one particular type may be best for you. To discover which type that might be, keep reading. Or, if you are in a hurry, you can just pick from the hand-selected index flash cards that we've spotlighted on this page.

Research has proven that what we write by hand is more easily retained than what we type. If you want to create the best study guide, use index cards that you write by hand.

Key considerations

While there are a few features that would make index flash cards appropriate for different individuals, the two that top our list are the size of the cards and whether they are ruled or blank.


While most people rightly think of 3-by-5-inch cards as index cards, they can also be 4-by-6, 5-by-8, and even 2.9-by-4.1 (called ISO Size A7).

Choosing a size can actually be a bit of a conundrum. On one hand, you want them large enough to fit all the needed information. But on the other, smaller cards are easier to work with, store, and take with you. For giving a speech, for instance, you'll likely want cards small enough to fit in a pocket. If you are farsighted or prefer larger print, a bigger card might be better for you. Consider your needs and pick the size that's best for you.

Ruled vs. blank

If you need to place more than a line or two of writing on each index card, it is probably best to go with ruled index cards to keep the information neat and legible. If you will only be using the cards for a word or two or will be drawing on them, you might prefer blank cards.

Did You Know?
In the mid-1700s, scientist Carl Linnaeus used small, thick pieces of paper to categorize every known plant, mineral, and animal in the world. He is commonly credited as being the inventor of the index card.



For individuals who want to have a quick reference to a number of larger categories, colored index cards are a great option. For example, if someone is organizing recipes, desserts could be one color and entrees another. For a student, all science flash cards could be one color while all math flash cards could be another.

Vertically ruled

Most index cards have the ruled lines running parallel to the longer side. But so-called vertically ruled cards are available, which feature lines following the shorter edge and which more closely resemble a sheet of paper.


This feature comes in handy when graphs or charts need to be part of the information on the cards.


If you are concerned about the size of your carbon footprint, recycled index cards are the best option.


Some producers offer spiral-bound index cards. Often, they have perforation marks for easy removal from the pack. Other sets of index cards have a hole in the corner and are held together by a binder ring. The advantage to this method of binding is the ability to rearrange the order of the cards as needed.


Few people need a large amount of index flash cards at once but purchasing a box of 1,000 cards can yield substantial savings vs. buying 10 packs of 100 cards.

An index card file box is an inexpensive item that can help you keep your cards organized.


Index flash card prices

The cost of index cards falls in a fairly standard range. A pack of 100 cards, whether ruled or blank, multiple colors or white, usually sells for $3 to $6. Cards that cost less than that likely will be thinner and perhaps less durable or more prone to tearing. Buyers should be aware that some manufacturers produce 50-card packs, which could be priced the same as another company’s packs of 100.

Cards in notebook form, spiral-bound and perforated, are more expensive, typically around $10 for a book of 50.

For a better value, the best option is to buy in larger quantities. For example, a pack of 1,000 index cards may come with a price of $2 per hundred cards or less.

Did You Know?
Photographers who need to quickly and accurately set the white balance on their camera (or phone) can do so by using a white index card.


When creating index flash cards for studying, there are a few points to keep in mind to get the most out of the experience.

  • Keep the word count tight. Only use essential words and phrases. The goal is to grasp the concept on the card in a glance.
  • Keep it simple. Keep each card focused on a single topic or point that can be fully expressed briefly.
  • Use a pencil. Ink can bleed through cards and allow the user to accidentally “cheat.”
  • Write in colors. Colored pencils can be used to make key words stick out.
  • Write neatly. This makes it easier to quickly take in everything on the card.
  • Use doodles. Many people are visual learners. If a picture makes more sense, that's what should be on the card.
  • Shuffle the cards. Otherwise, it’s possible to begin to memorize a pattern of answers rather than the actual information.
  • Study with a partner. Having someone else read the questions to you, rather than looking at the cards yourself, can help confirm that you thoroughly know the information.
  • Time yourself. Once you can answer all the questions on your flash cards, time how long it takes to go through them. At the next study session, try to beat your previous time.
  • Be careful with colors. While using index cards in a variety of colors is an excellent way to organize, you might start remembering information based on color, so it is best to use the same color index card for each subject.
To be considered a postcard, an item must be larger than 3.5 inches high and 5 inches wide but smaller than 4.25 inches by 6 inches. That makes a 4-by-6-inch index card ideal for mailing.


Q. For what purposes do people use index cards?

A. Many individuals depend on index cards in their day-to-day lives or jobs. Teachers and students (of all ages, even college) regularly use index cards to create flash cards for learning. Crafters, cooks, and handypersons use index cards to easily keep track of techniques, recipes, and other vital information. Others use index cards for work-related reasons, such as to prepare for speeches, presentations, and job interviews. Index cards are ideal for the home use as well, because they can be used to leave messages where others will see them (e.g., taped to the bathroom mirror). And many writers still prefer to use index cards to organize plot points, character traits, story arcs, and other concepts.

Q. Why does it say my index cards are 110 pounds? There's no way this small stack of cards weighs that much.

A. One of the ways paper is classified is by its weight, which is based on the heft of a ream (500 sheets) of “parent paper.” So, when you see the label “110-pound index cards,” that means a ream of those cards’ parent paper (uncut, larger sheets that are 25.25 by 30.5 inches) weighs 110 pounds. Index cards need to be durable, so they are usually made of at least 90-pound stock. By comparison, standard office printing paper is 20 pounds.

Q. Speaking of printing, is it possible to run index cards through a printer?

A. It depends on the capabilities of the printer, but usually, the answer is yes. There are two points to consider. First, the printer must have a manual feed that accepts a variety of paper sizes. Then, a computer’s settings must be changed to instruct the printer about the cards. Test your printer to be certain it will work on the thicker stock of the cards. This is particularly important for individuals with laser printers, as the temperature must be higher for the toner to melt into the paper. It’s best to perform such a test before purchasing a bulk of cards for printing.

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