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Old 10-29-2006, 10:02 AM   #1
iamback
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Default Finally, Chinese fonts! But now I can't use them...

I posted before asking for freeware Chinese fonts - not the basic "providers of characters" that Microsoft provides, good enough for rendering the characters on a web page or in a word document, but "fancy" fonts as seen in packaging and shop signs: calligraphed, or clunky, bold or rounded.

I found some providers of professional fonts - but they are expensive and I don't have the money or inclination even to pay for fonts that I'd only rarely use for a few "illustration" type graphics.

Now, thanks to poking around on the site of the makers of that wonderful little "Chinese Tools" application with its "speaking dictionary", where they also have a forum, I found a link to another interesting site, which includes a page with a whole collection of of downloadable freeware Chinese fonts! Just what I was looking for (but couldn't find with repeated googling)!

I was initially confused a bit by the font samples, but they are actually the font name in the font itself. One link was dead, but I downloaded all the others. And then the fun started... not!

I started by installing one of the fonts in my Fonts directory; interestingly, it shows up there with its font name in Chinese. Next, I fired up Paint Shop Pro 7 and tried the text tool, attempting to select the new font - it's not there!

A whole series of applications further, I find I get one of these things in a font selection list:
  • nothing at all: the font seems not to be there
  • five question marks: it is recognized that there is a font with a name consisting of five characters but they are not rendered and with this unrecognized name the application has no "hook" to actually use the font (or even complains that '?????' is not a valid name - duh)
  • three times five question marks, as well as three times '@?????' - but other than that the font is not recognized
  • Finally, in a standard Windows Font dialog, three font names in Chinese as well as the same three preceded by @ - but while selecting one of these was seemingly possible, entering/pasting a Unicode character was not (in the application that used this dialog)

Note for those who don't know: the "@" indicates its a Truetype Combination font (several fonts in a a single file) - and although the file extension is TTF instead of TTC it does seem to be that: where I could select the font from a list of three options in the Windows dialog, the sample text in the dialog actually showed Chinese text in different fonts. This (TTF instead of TTC) could also be the reason for the "invalid" qualification from another app (though it's more likely it just doesn't support the Chinese name, or expects a piece of information in the font that's not there).

That's the short story - I tried many other tricks and approaches; none of my font viewers are capable of seeing it or rendering it, or complain it's not a "valid" truetype font (though Microsoft's extended font properties applet has no problem with it - it shows many data, and also bits "not there" but that doesn't necessarily mean it's not valid; and it shows each has many thousands of glyphs, though the numbers vary; all are "embeddable and installable" as well, as would be expected of freeware.)

Interestingly, if I right-click and choose "print" the font is supposedly "displayed" (and a print dialog appears) but that has onli only the standard Latin sample text. even more interesting, the font suddenly seems to have another name: HanDing-CS-Fonts - but all the downloaded fonts show with the same name when I do that. (The file names all start with "HD" though...). Since I had only one font installed I also tried using that name in a bit of HTML or CSS - without success.

So now I'm stuck - I tried graphics apps, HTML, CSS, Word... only one even showed selectable Chinese font names - and then didn't support entering (pasting in) a Chinese character.

Anyone any hints for how to use these nice fonts?
Would it be possible to (somehow) replace the embedded font name in Chinese with another name in Latin characters?

Help!

   
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Last edited by iamback; 11-03-2006 at 10:26 AM. Reason: ypot
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Old 10-31-2006, 11:09 AM   #2
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*bump*

Could someone with a Mac, and/or with a pro DTP application please try to download and use one of these fonts? (Preferably HDZB_86.TTF which is the one I tried.)

Surely there must be a way to use these?

Feeling lost in Amsterdam...

   
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Old 10-31-2006, 12:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamback View Post
Could someone with a Mac, and/or with a pro DTP application please try to download and use one of these fonts? (Preferably HDZB_86.TTF which is the one I tried.)
Okay, I tried.

The Mac believes these are dangerously damaged fonts. It often over-reacts, but I do not know how to override its refusal to install the font.

I was able to open two of them (86 and 70, which appeared to be much smaller) in Fontographer and FontLab. But I could not generate fonts with so many characters (nearly 8000).

So: impasse.

I am not a whiz kid with font technology. The characters are all there, with unicode designations. Many, many characters: roman block alphabet, many forms of figures (in circles, normal, roman numerals, more), semaphores and an extensive collection of symbols, roman, greek, cyrillic, accents for roman characters, and on and on. HanDing is the publisher, as I guess you noted. The fonts do not seem to have individual names, at least not here.

Maybe a font techie with a Windows machine could unravel this. They seem competently done; someone must be able to use them!

Sorry.

   
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Old 10-31-2006, 01:48 PM   #4
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Thanks for trying, Kathleen!

Disappointing - but at least it's not just my tools.

But a Chinese font must necessarily support many glyphs - including Roman letters is normal (required even as brands, international abbreviations etc. are often written in roman characters, treated exactly like Chinese characters), and "competent" reading skills in simplified Chinese requires already some 3000 characters (more if you use traditional Chinese). Add a load of other glyphs like you mention (including greek, cyrillic? wow) and 7000-8000 glyphs does not seem excessive.

Maybe they require Chinese Windows after all - but the site publisher doesn't realize this?

Sigh - and I was sooo excited to find these fonts!

   
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Old 10-31-2006, 05:04 PM   #5
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Interesting. I downloaded HDZB_10.TTF and installed it under XP Pro.

It doesn't show up at all under CharacterMap (unless it's under some far from obvious name)

In wordpad, it appears in the font list as a couple of unreadable characters.
If I apply it to some text, the "encoding" dropdown shows CHINESE_GB2312

Doubleclick the TTF file and the font viewer tells me it's HanDing-CS-Fonts

MS' font extension tells me it has no name and no other properties worth mentioning.

It appears (I'm assuming so, since it appears in Chinese characters) at the bottom of the font list in Office 2007 beta, but when I try to apply it to some selected text, PowerPoint ignores me and reverts to its default font.

Out it goes before it causes more trouble than its worth.

   
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Old 10-31-2006, 09:22 PM   #6
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That's about what I found - only I tried much more! Indeed totally invisible in CharacterMap (which surprised me) and several others.

MS font properties tells me more though - including encoding and the number of glyphs.

I still suspect the Chinese font name is the clincher. Maybe I'll tinker with one and try to replace that with a hex editor or something.... I've already found the font name seems to be near the end of the file (at least in the few ttf fonts I looked at).

(And, of course, I can see if the font names themselves make any sense to me - using my little Chinese tool or other dictionarie(s) )

   
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Old 11-01-2006, 04:15 AM   #7
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Default Chinese Tools

Quote:
Originally Posted by iamback View Post
Now, thanks to poking around on the site of the makers of that wonderful little "Chinese Tools" application with its "speaking dictionary", where they also have a forum, I found a link to another interesting site, which includes a page with a whole collection of of downloadable freeware Chinese fonts! Just what I was looking for (but couldn't find with repeated googling)!
That Chinese Tools web site is very interesting. My wife is busy learning Mandarin reading and writing from a native speaker, she already speaks Mandarin. I am supposing that these fancy Chinese fonts are not needed to use the Swedish tools, just the ones Microsoft provides.

As for using the other fonts, maybe it would be required to use Chinese Windows. My wife's Mandarin speaking friend has a laptop with Chinese Windows instead of US Windows.
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Old 11-01-2006, 11:07 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by dthomsen8 View Post
That Chinese Tools web site is very interesting. My wife is busy learning Mandarin reading and writing from a native speaker, she already speaks Mandarin. I am supposing that these fancy Chinese fonts are not needed to use the Swedish tools, just the ones Microsoft provides.
Oh, no - any Unicode font with the glyphs for Chinese (the tools supports both simplified and traditional Chinese) will do. I've been using that little tool for years now, I first got it in 2002 or 2003 - while I only just discovered these fancy fonts last week! In the tool, I prefer using SinHei or SimSun - roughly corresponding to sans-serif and serif thoiugh those terms do not strictly apply to Chinese glyphs - which you'll get when you install Asian language support (for instance by browsing to a Chinese language website with IE and follow the prompts. Mostly, I use SimHei at size 22 so I can clearly see the strokes (compared to the Latin font set at size 12).

Quote:
Originally Posted by dthomsen8
As for using the other fonts, maybe it would be required to use Chinese Windows. My wife's Mandarin speaking friend has a laptop with Chinese Windows instead of US Windows.
That's what I'm beginning to suspect, although the site suggests otherwise. Maybe your wife's friend could have a try with one of these fonts (one of the "fancier" so you can clearly see whether an application is actually using that font and not falling back on its default)? It would be interesting to find out.

   
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Last edited by iamback; 11-01-2006 at 10:22 PM.
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Old 11-01-2006, 09:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamback View Post

Maybe they require Chinese Windows after all
I think so. From what I know of Japanese Windows systems these fonts are double byte and cannot be handled by Western versions of Windows. Buying a separate licence and setting up a PC with that system is another thing. You could try making a dualboot system to save getting double hardware.

Now that you specified the font I will try loading it in a Linux system and see what happens there.

   
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Old 11-01-2006, 10:22 PM   #10
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I think so. From what I know of Japanese Windows systems these fonts are double byte and cannot be handled by Western versions of Windows.
All Unicode fonts are that - and all NT-based versions of Windows natively support Unicode. All my Unicode fonts work just fine, or I wouldn't be able to read a lot of web pages (including my own!) and use the "Chinese Tools".

But there's something different about these fonts and the most obvious (visible) thing is that their names are in Chinese. Which, BTW, shows up just fine in the Fonts folder and also in a Windows font selection dialog in some applications. To that extent my Win2000 supports them nicely at least.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jvecht
Buying a separate licence and setting up a PC with that system is another thing. You could try making a dualboot system to save getting double hardware.
I'm not going to buy a separate license of Windows either. (That would nullify having freeware fonts to use just for a few illustrations.)

First priority really is to determine exactly why I can't use them - in various "grades" of not being able to be used.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jvecht
Now that you specified the font I will try loading it in a Linux system and see what happens there.
That would be interesting, thanks!

   
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