More Chinese Fonts & Apps
1. More Fonts 2. More Apps: IMEs & Tools » 3. Encoding Standards »»
1. A Survey of Free and Commercial 3rd Party Chinese Fonts
This survey assumes you're already aware of:
The latest Windows fonts include Cantonese and many rare literary characters, including a much improved SimSun font for those using mainland/Singapore input and encoding, and expanded MingLiU / PMingLiU fonts for Taiwan/HK/Macau encoding, but in the latter you must manually enable the extended character sets for Traditional Chinese.
If you're looking for particularly rare characters, a free tool for Windows called BabelMap can tell you which of your fonts contain a specific character. Scholars should also see my FAQ on working with ancient, classical, and rare Chinese characters.
Free Chinese Fonts
- Ruby text fonts with Zhuyin or Pinyin pronunciation:
WangHan Zhuyin ruby fonts in Traditional Kai (楷體) and Ming (明體) and characters, with Bopomofo on the right. Download and install all of the files with names starting with "wp" for all alternate pronunciations (poyin zi). These are part of a larger set of free fonts available on that page. Have fun! If this link disappears, try searching for "王漢宗48套字型", and please let me know.
FangZheng Pinyin ruby font in Simplified Kai (楷体) characters, with Pinyin on the top. This "collection" file will install six fonts starting with "FZKTPY" with all alternate pronunciations (poyin zi). Look for a "下载" button on that download page. You will need the free 7-Zip program or similar utility to extract from the ".rar" file. If this link disappears, just do a search for "方正楷体拼音字库" or "FZKTPY", and please let me know.
I am often asked for help finding Traditional character + Pinyin ruby fonts, or more comprehensive Traditional+Zhuyin and Simplified+Pinyin fonts. See this article for examples of ruby fonts you can buy.
- Fonts with the most classical, literary, and other rare characters:
BabelStone Han is a Song/Ming (宋体/明體) font with many hard-to-find Chinese characters , though it is not yet complete in some basic ranges. An ongoing project, the last time I checked it covered most Unicode CJK Unified Ideographs, large portions of Extensions A and B, all of Extensions C and D, a good chunk of Extension E, plus all CJK compatibility ideographs.
There is also a BabelStone Han PUA font that will offer characters not yet in the Unicode Standard. When those characters are accepted into Unicode, then the main font catches up.
The creator of BabelStone Han, Andrew West, has been making steady progress towards the goal of covering every Unicode CJK character and many general Unicode characters as well, using open-source Arphic fonts. I know of no other Chinese font project like this, free or commercial.
HanaMin (花園明朝), a.k.a. "Hanazono Min", is a Japanese Mincho (明朝, Song/Ming) font containing over 96,000 Kanji/Hanzi. I mention it here in case you need a rare character not found in the fonts listed above, because this is a similarly comprehensive project that was the first to cover all Unicode CJK Unified Ideographs through Extension E.
- The world's first open-source pan-CJK fonts:
Adobe Source Han Sans
(思源黑體) and Adobe Source Han Serif (思源宋體), jointly developed with Google and also released as
Google Noto Sans CJK and Google Noto Serif CJK,
each contain 65,535 Chinese, Japanese, and Korean (CJK) glyphs in seven weights for a total of 458,745. You can download them all together, or in separate files by language, region, and/or weight.
The Simplified Chinese subset includes all GB 18030 characters, with the 8,105 on the Tōngyòng Guīfàn Hànzìbiǎo which includes 199 outside GB 18030. That means all of the Unicode CJK Unified Ideographs and CJK Extension A, plus 199 characters representing small portions of Extensions B through E and three newly proposed characters.
The Traditional Chinese subset includes the Big 5, Hong Kong SCS-2008, and ETen characters, which as I understand it means most of Unicode CJK Unified and Extension A, plus significant portions of CJK Extension B. They plan to support more Hong Kong characters including the latest SCS revision in version 2.0.
These are 100% Unicode Standard fonts. For more background, I highly recommend this marvelous multilingual multimedia Adobe web page. The technically inclined and other font fanatics will also want to visit the Adobe CJK Type blog and the Google Developers Blog.
An Adobe TypeKit account (included with Creative Cloud) is free, and may be the easiest way to manage these fonts and stay up-to-date.
The Google Noto Fonts page is the second-easiest method. Just search for "CJK" there, and you'll see all your choices listed by language.
The Adobe GitHub pages for Source Han Serif and Source Han Sans offer downloads of the latest versions, often before they are posted elsewhere. Scroll down for options to download by weight, language, or region, or other packages, and lots more info on these fonts too.
Wazu Japan's Gallery of Unicode Fonts in many languages
Abacus Chinese Translation is hosting University of Heidelberg fonts
OLPC directory of free traditional Chinese fonts
Wenquanyi Open Source CJK Font Project (English home page)
Wenquanyi Open Source CJK Font Project (中文 home page)
Hán Nôm - a GB standard TrueType font created by the VietUnicode project. Supports Extension B. On the VietUnicode Sourceforge page, look in the "Hannom" folder. HannomH.zip is the best version. Hannom.zip is low-res for older systems. Install both font files, HAN NOM A.ttf and HAN NOM B.ttf
See also Alan Wood's directories of Unicode fonts for:
Commercial Chinese Fonts
"Pinyin Joe" owns the Dynafont TrueType 28 package. I use it primarily for the ruby text fonts (examples here). It was distributed in North America by PenPower but I can't find it for sale anymore. Other font packages with Pinyin and Zhuyin ruby fonts include Arphic's "Dr. Zhuyin" package, and the Dynafont 2010 HK edition.
Adobe (see my section on the free Source Han Sans above)
Arphic Technology (文鼎科技, Taiwan)
DynaComware / Dynalab / Dynafont (華康科技, Hong Kong)
Founder (北大方正信息产业集团, Beijing)
Hanyi (北京汉仪科印信息技术有限公司, Beijing)
Monotype Hong Kong Ltd.
SinoType (常州华文印刷新技术有限公司, Changzhou, PRC)*
ZhongYi (中易中标电子信息技术有限公司, Beijing)
Linotype is also a leading foundry, but does not design Chinese fonts. Linotype is however a distributor for others (see below).
The Microsoft Typography group licenses and resells Chinese fonts from Dynacomware, Monotype, SinoType, and ZhongYi via Fonts.com (see below).
*SinoType doesn't seem to have a website, but they are leading type designers and were key partners with Adobe in developing Source Han Sans. Adobe, Apple, Amazon, Google, IBM, and Microsoft include SinoType Chinese fonts in their products, as do millions of Chinese TV set-top boxes and other electronic devices.
The Arphic iFontCloud offers web fonts and downloadable desktop font by annual subscription, with special pricing for educators. The Arphic main site (see previous section) offers more information.
The DynaShop section of the English language Dynalab website offers direct downloads and boxed packages of Dynalab fonts. (See also DynaComware link in previous section.)
Fonts.com distributes fonts from site owner Monotype and subsidiaries Ascender and ChinaType, as well as Dynacomware, Microsoft, and others.
Linotype distributes fonts from Dynacomware, Hanyi, & Monotype.
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