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Old 10-29-2006, 10:02 AM   #1
iamback's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Amsterdam, NL
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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?


Marjolein Katsma
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Last edited by iamback; 11-03-2006 at 10:26 AM. Reason: ypot
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