How to choose the Chinese font in Pleco Android

Xiaoju

Member
I just switched from Pleco iOS to Pleco Android (Xiaomi Note 3).
How do I get Pleco to use a nice chinese font in Android?
In iOS for example I was using the FZKaiTi font from the Pleco basic bundle.
Thanks!
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
You'd have to find + install one yourself - Settings / Fonts / Custom Fonts; we don't currently offer paid add-on font downloads on Android. (due to a combination of uncertain firmware compatibility + difficulty of copy-protection)
 

Xiaoju

Member
Mike, thanks for the fast answer.

1. First I tried Arphic "AR PL UKai" font. It's free and beautiful. It's a Kaiti font, it looks like brush.
Direct link to the file:
http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/pool/main/t/ttf-arphic-ukai/ttf-arphic-ukai_0.2.20080216.1.orig.tar.gz
After uncompressing, the font file is called "ukai.ttc".
Source: https://www.freedesktop.org/wiki/Software/CJKUnifonts/Download/

However some characters weren't rendered correctly (for example 明确).
So I switched to Kaiti_SC font from OS X El Capitan (see below for instructions).

2. copy the .ttc or .ttf file to a folder in the phone. For this, on a Mac, I used 'Android File Transfer' from
https://www.android.com/filetransfer/

3. install the font within Pleco: Settings > Fonts > Custom fonts > Customize Chinese Font

Remarks:

- The Noto fonts from Google are also nice (but they are "heiti" style), especially they include different thicknesses, for example you can take light as "customize chinese font" and regular as "customize chinese bold font". Here the link:
https://www.google.com/get/noto/#sans-hans

- Here how I exported Kaiti_SC (SC = Simplified Chinese) from OS X (El Capitan):
1. start "Font Book"
2. select a font (for example "Kaiti SC")
3. File > export fonts
4. you get a .ttc file. We need to extract the .ttf files from it, for example the regular, bold and black versions of the Kaiti SC font.
5. download, install and run DFontSplitter from https://peter.upfold.org.uk/projects/dfontsplitter
6. I get 5 files. I don't know what they all are, but some render 明确 well, while some don't.
Finally I selected file 4 as regular and file 1 as bold (file 0 was rendering well, but too bold for me).​

- For information, here a good explanation of the different type of chinese fonts (kaiti, heiti, songti, etc) :
http://webdesign.tutsplus.com/articles/the-complete-beginners-guide-to-chinese-fonts--cms-23444

- @ Mike: as Arphic and Noto fonts are free, could you include them in Pleco as free add-ons, to make it easier to install for the users?
 
Last edited:

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Neither of these fonts works reliably on all devices, that's the problem - on some devices, in fact, they get Pleco stuck in a perpetual crashing loop, one which (because it happens at the OS level) can't even be caught with an exception, so all we could do is notice we're in a crashing loop + stop loading the font, but at that point people have already panicked and uninstalled our app or written support for help. So it's too much of a support + pissed-off user risk to for us to consider making it accessible to non-technical users. (maybe at whatever beautiful distant future point we start requiring Android 6...)

Also, legally distributing Arphic's fonts is iffy anyway - they've been released under a couple of different licenses but it seems like Arphic's current attitude is that they don't want them getting used commercially and we'd rather not run afoul of that. With Noto, the stylistic differences between that and the XinGothic font we're already using are pretty subtle, so the benefits to including it in Pleco are minimal in any case.
 

Xiaoju

Member
Finally I used the fonts from OS X.
The free Arphic from internet font was rendering wrongly some characters on my phone (while rendering them well on laptop, probably some prioritization wrongly setup on my phone, maybe japanese coming before chinese?)
I edited my original message above.
 

mecoconat

秀才
Thanks so much Xiaoju! You've made my day!

Kaiti TC worked exactly as you described and I was even able to install HanziPen TC from OS as a non-cursive handwriting font I can trace in flashcards to improve my out of proportion handwriting!

DFontSplitter had trouble unpacking the HanziPen font, but Fontlab worked. Thanks again!
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Iffy - we use PUA in a few other places in Pleco at the moment, and while in theory PUA used in a user dictionary entry shouldn't matter because we don't use PUA for any official features of those, it's not something we've tested, and I suspect that at some point along the way PUA characters would get interpreted as / translated into something else.
 
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