Before going deeper into what Chinese fonts are and font technology, I will discuss getting and using Chinese fonts.
The first problem that people with a non-Chinese operating systems will often encounter is basic display of Chinese text. Unicode fonts are a very useful solution to this because they can enable display a wide range of characters, not just Chinese but from many languages. Some well known and readily available Unicode fonts are:
- Arial Unicode MS, a proprietary font from Microsoft with 38,917 characters, included with Microsoft Office [Microsoft, 2010b]
- Bitstream Cyberbit, a freeware font, for non-commercial use only, with 32,910 characters. [Bitstream]
- GNU Unifont, GPL with 63,446 characters [Unifoundry.com 2008]
- HanNom [Le Van Dang 2005] The HanNom fonts have wider coverage than most of the other fonts listed here.
This may solve your problem in being able to read most Chinese characters. However, Unicode fonts are mostly designed with maximum coverage and readability in mind. For doing graphic design with Chinese fonts you will likely want something with a specific design. Some sources are listed below.
- WenQuanYi Bitmap Song, GPL with 41,295 characters [Fang 2006]
- WenQuanYi Zen Hei, GPL with 41,587 characters [Fang 2009]
For a list of fonts for many different writing systems, including CJK (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean) and Tibetan see the Fonts in Cyberspace web page [SIL 2010] and WAZU JAPAN's Gallery of Unicode Fonts [Wazu Japan 2009]. For a number of open source fonts see [Open Font Library]. For a list of Chinese fonts see More Chinese Fonts & Apps [Pinyin Joe 2010b] and Chinese Fonts [Devroye 2010]. Commercial fonts are avaiable from [DynaComware] 华康, [Founder] 方正, [Arphic] 文鼎, and [Twinbridge] 双桥. For a list of the fonts used in producing the Unicode standard see Font Acknowledgements [Unicode Consortium 2010b].
To install a font on Windows follow the steps on [Microsoft 2010d] for your Windows operating system variant.
To see the list of fonts installed on your a Windows system and query information, such as the range that the font covers, use the charmap utility (Start | run | charmap). The screen shot below shows a Song font, which is identified by the 'O' as an OpenType font with simplified characters ordered by pinyin.
To see Tibetan, Mongolian, and Yi script on Windows prior to Vista download the GB18030 Support Package [Microsoft 2010h], which contains:
- SimSun18030.ttc: A font file for GB18030
- A system library to support GB18030 on Windows 2000
For more information of setting up Windows for Chinese text see the Microsoft Go Global Development Center [Microsoft 2010a] and Enabling East Asian Languages in Microsoft Windows XP [Pinyin Joe 2010a].
苹果 Apple Mac OS X
For more on using Chinese on the Mac see OS X Language Support Updates [Apple 2010b]. To install a font on Apple Mac OS X see Using the Chinese language on the Mac OS [Rasmussen].
For Fedora and Red Hat use the yum installer:
> yum install fonts-chinese
To get free fonts for Linux see Free UCS Outline Fonts [Free Software Foundation 2010a]. To install a font on other flavors of Linux and for additional information see Installing Fonts on Linux [Bartholomew 2008].