Making Your Own Chinese Characters


You can make your own characters to add to spaces reserved for them in a Unicode font. The MS Private Character Editor is EUDCEDIT.EXE, found in the WINNT/SYSTEM32 directory.

1. The simplest way to fire it up is Start, Run, eudcedit. If you are going to use it often, you will save time by finding the file and making a shortcut on the Desktop.

2. When it opens, you will see either the Edit or Reference window. If the Edit window is not visible, do Edit, Select Code.

3. Start Chinese input (usually Alt-Shift). When the Language Bar appears near the regular cursor, which you use to make language settings, click on the Properties icon (the next to the last one, just before the Help icon). When it opens, unselect the "At caret 光標跟隨" option. That will produce a floating input bar near the bottom of the screen.

4. You now want to choose a couple of characters that will let you combine parts of them to make the character you want. Type in the pinyin of the first character you want, and hit Enter or whatever you to do to choose it. On the Edit menu, click Copy Character, OK.

5. When the dialog appears, click in the Shape box so that you get a blinking caret. Then go back to the character in the input bar and do Enter. It should appear on the Edit grid. Use the {dotted} rectangular selection tool as usual with graphics to move it where in the window you want it. You will also want to stretch it vertically to fill the grid. Even so, it may turn out slightly smaller than regular characters in the same font size.

6. Choose the second character that you want, do Window, Reference, and in the Reference dialog box, proceed as in step 5. That will put the character into the Reference window.

In the Reference window, select the character you want to copy, using the rectangular selection tool. You can then drag it and drop it where you want it on the Edit grid. If that doesn’t work, on the Edit menu, click Copy, and then on the Edit menu, click Paste. That will put it into the Edit window. Drag the wanted part into place, move it where you want it, and stretch it if necessary to the size you want.

7. If you have compressed any part of the new character, you may have to trim it to get the proportions right. Use the erase tool to get rid of pixels, and the pencil or black rectangle tool to add them.

8. When you have the character pretty much the way you want it, do Edit, Save Character. When you close the editor, you will see it in its box on the Unicode grid.

9. To insert the character in your text, Click Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Character Map. In the Font list, click the font that is linked to the private characters you want to use. You will find the words "(private characters" after the name of the font. If you linked it to "all characters," choose all characters (private fonts). When the character box appears, find the first character you want to use, and double-click on it to put it in the "Characters to Copy" box. When you have gathered all the ones you need, do Select, Copy. You can then go to your text and paste them in as usual.

Keep in mind, by the way, that your private characters will not be readable or printable in other people’s computers or on the web.

10. Note: Please report to me any idiosyncrasies of this procedure on your computer. One I might mention is that, if you use an LCD monitor in portrait mode, the editor is likely to crash. I recommend that you pivot to landscape mode for making new chacters.

If you need instructions for Chinese input in Word text files, see "Chinese Input under Windows 2000 and Word 2000 or 2002."

(With grateful acknowledgements to Jeffrey Y. Kao and Li Feng)

Copyright reserved by Nathan Sivin. Please email
nsivin! at sas! dot upenn! dot edu! (but use normal form and omit the exclamation points)
with comments and corrections.

Back to Nathan Sivin's home page Back to the Department of History and Sociology of Science home page

Use your browser's "back" button to return to your last location.

Last Modified 2003.8.22