The best way to use Pleco to read texts


I learn Chinese mostly by going through short texts or articles with a dictionary.
If I understood correctly, the main ways of using Pleco to achieve this are the following:

  • using the OCR/screen reader function to get definitions directly in the phone browser (I don't find this very practical, unless I misunderstood how the function works)
  • transforming webpages into epubs on PC with browser extensions and using a cloud service like Dropbox to have them on the phone. Or doing it on the phone directly, but it seems faster/easier to do the initial search and collection of material on PC
  • Back and forth from the browser to Pleco with the clipboard monitor
I find the last one to be an amazing feature, but I'm wondering if there isn't a better way of doing this with the Android/PC combination. Or perhaps my method of learning Chinese is flawed to begin with?
Hello Yaqub,

I think you're right, these are the three most common ways on Android. iOS has a few others. (PDF and the Web Reader come to mind.)

On your learning approach: It pretty much depends on the level you're already at. If you're a beginner, it's probably a lot more efficient to stick to a textbook containing simplified texts and clear explanations of grammar first. The more advanced you become, the less instruction you will need, and the more information you can add yourself to what you’re reading. Reading something more complex without being able to add necessary, unstated information—even if you can translate all the words—wouldn't be all that useful, of course.

For textbooks, have a look at this thread:

Hope this helps,

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Staff member
using the OCR/screen reader function to get definitions directly in the phone browser (I don't find this very practical, unless I misunderstood how the function works)
Which browser are you using? Screen Reader (non-OCR) works best in Chrome, where it should be able to match the positions of characters on the screen more-or-less perfectly on a newer device at least.

At whatever point we roll out our long-awaited sync service (2020? 2021?) there will likely be an easy way to grab some text on a PC and send it directly to your phone, but we don't really have a way to make the PC-to-Android pipeline more streamlined until then. (I am hoping that Apple's iOS-apps-on-Mac "Project Marzipan" does well enough that Google/Microsoft are forced to work together and come up with a similarly streamlined/official/reliable system for running Android apps on Windows, but I'm not holding my breath...)
Currently using OCR in Chrome. In OCR, you can two finger press the box and move it around the screen. (This may be a beta feature? I only discovered it after switching to beta channel, so I can't say for sure)

I'm using ClipSync to send my clipboard contents across wifi.

Using Samsung Sidesync (sometimes testing Flow) to screen mirror Pleco to my PC and performing searches directly from there.
I have a somewhat (remotely?) related “Using Pleco To Read Texts” question. I have just downloaded one of the Rainbow Bridge graded readers and the associated MP3 file. I am using Pleco Reader on my iPad to read the story, and I am playing back the MP3 file on my iPhone (in Readdle’s Documents app, for no particular reason, it was the default suggestion when I downloaded the MP3 file). I am using the 2 devices at once as I like to be able to stop the playback at any time, and if I have to move from Pleco Reader to my MP3 app on the same device, then I waste a lot of time and lose my place. Is there an elegant way to do it all on one iOS device? The current system is OK for my study area, but not great for planes, trains, automobiles. Thanks, David Mars, Keats School student, Kunming, China.
This is the Android forum, but I've been experimenting with switching to iOS recently, so by chance I may be of help here:

You might be able to get the iPad results you want by opening the two apps in the 'side by side' view, or if yours doesn't support that, then the 'slide over' view.


Staff member
FWIW, you could also open the file in an app that supports background audio playback (e.g. a podcast player like Castro or Overcast) in which case you wouldn’t need to leave it visible at all and could control it from Control Center.
Mike, the split screen with 2 active apps on the iPad gives me a ‘real time’ control which I like a lot. Your Control Center idea is what I will use on my iPhone, it is not ‘real time’ but is still very convenient, thanks.
Thank you all for the helpful replies!

Mike, I was currently using Firefox but if it works best on Chrome I don't mind using it too.

Shun, these textbook suggestions are great, I've subscribed to ChinesePod as it looks promising.