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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 new site 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:
HanWang fontHanWang Zhuyin ruby fonts arrow - new site in Traditional Kai (楷體) and Ming (明體) and characters, with Bopomofo on the right. Download and install all files starting with "wp" for all alternate pronunciations (poyin zi). Many thanks to Chris Underwood arrow - new site for pointing me to the link above! If that one disappears, try this link arrow - new site or do a search for "王漢宗48套字型" and please let me know.

FangZheng fontFangZheng Pinyin ruby font arrow - new site 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 arrow - new site 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 fontBabelStone Han arrow - new site 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 arrow - new site 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 fontHanaMin arrow - new site (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:

Source Han Sans fontAdobe 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. arrow - new site The technically inclined and other font fanatics will also want to visit the Adobe CJK Type blog arrow - new site and the Google Developers Blog. arrow - new site

Download instructions:

An Adobe TypeKit account arrow - new site (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 arrow - new site 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 arrow - new site and Source Han Sans arrow - new site 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.

 

  • More free font sources:
Wazu Japan's Gallery of Unicode Fonts arrow - new site in many languages
Abacus Chinese Translation arrow - new site is hosting University of Heidelberg fonts
Sinosplice arrow - new site
OLPC directory of free traditional Chinese fonts arrow - new site
Wenquanyi Open Source CJK Font Project arrow - new site (English home page)
Wenquanyi Open Source CJK Font Project arrow - new site (中文 home page)


Hán Nôm arrow - new site - 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

 

  • I bought fonts!
Dynafonts TrueType 28 "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 arrow - new site but I can't find it for sale anymore. Other font packages with Pinyin and Zhuyin ruby fonts include Arphic's "Dr. Zhuyin" arrow - new site package, and the Dynafont 2010 HK edition. arrow - new site

 

  • Foundries:

Adobe (see my section on the free Source Han Sans above)
Arphic Technology (文鼎科技, Taiwan) arrow - new site
DynaComware / Dynalab / Dynafont (華康科技, Hong Kong) arrow - new site
Founder (北大方正信息产业集团, Beijing) arrow - new site
Hanyi (北京汉仪科印信息技术有限公司, Beijing) arrow - new site
Monotype Hong Kong Ltd. arrow - new site
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) arrow - new site

Linotype arrow - new site is also a leading foundry, but does not design Chinese fonts. Linotype is however a distributor for others (see below).

The Microsoft Typography group arrow - new site 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. arrow - new site 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.

 

  • Distribution:
The Arphic iFontCloud arrow - new site 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 arrow - new site 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 arrow - new site distributes fonts from site owner Monotype and subsidiaries Ascender and ChinaType, as well as Dynacomware, Microsoft, and others.

Linotype arrow - new site distributes fonts from Dynacomware, Hanyi, & Monotype.

 

 

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