East Asian Scripts and ASCII Generator (under Windows XP)

ASCII Generator was created by Jonathan Matthews, and it available for home use, as freeware. Occasionally, it may be useful to show characters from East Asian Scripts, such as Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

For Chinese, there are two main character types, those called "traditional" and those called "simplified". The former is associated with Chinese language applications used in Taiwan and Hong Kong. The latter simplfied character set is associated with Chinese language applications used in China and Singapore.

Both Japan and Korea have historically used Chinese characters together with their natively created sound based glyphs. Chinese characters are called kanji in Japan, and there are two syllabaries known as hiragana and katakana. In Korea, Chinese characters are called hanja. Increasingly, hanja is losing importance in Korea, and hangul characters which is able to write Korean without Chinese characters is gaining ground. Hangul characters are composed from a set of letters known as jamo.

In creating ASCII art characters of these characters, one must select the appropriate font in which they are found. The following Windows fonts is listed with the character set and locale.

Language Font Character Set
Chinese Traditional MingLiU, NSimSum, NSimSun-18030, SimSun, Simsun-18030 Big 5
Chinese Simplified MS Song, NSimSum, NSimSun-18030, SimSun, Simsun-18030 GB
Japanese MS Gothic, MS Mincho JIS, EUC-JIS, S-JIS
Korean Batang, BatangChe, Dotum, Dotum Che, Gulim, Gulim Che, Gungsuh, Gungsuh Che, KX, EUC-Kr

When entering East Asian script characters, you have to activate the language bar and selecting the appropriate input language. You can download MS fonts from the Microsoft site, together with language packs for Chinese (both traditional and simplified), Japanese and Korean. These so called CJK language support packs is free. In WinXP, they are preloaded, and need to be unpacked. For earlier versions of Windows, you need to download them. In WinXP, click on the desktop, and press F1, then search for IME and the relevant procedures will allow you to select new languages for you to use for input. This is outside the scope of this page.

First, open a new temporary Notepad file. Then type the text you want using appropriate CJK input as mentioned above. Select the text you typed, and copy.

Then open up ASCII Generator. From FILE, select NEW then ASCII BANNER, and a pop up window will appear for you to enter text.

You now need to select the font to use. Click on the button called "Font"

So from the above table, if you are using Traditional Chinese, select the font called MingLiU and the font_size. I find it better if you select the largest size for maximum character clarity. Finally, you want the font to display the text in Chinese, and this you do by selecting SCRIPT and change it from "Western" to "CHINESE_BIG5" which is the encoding of the characters have used. Now click the OK button.

You are ready to paste the selected text into ASCII Generator. Click on the text edit window so that you can see the cursor flashing. And paste the characters in (control-v).

At the bottom of ASCII Generator are two boxes which are the "Number of Characters to Output". The default is the number characters per line by the number of horizontal number of lines it will output. I've found if you alter either one of these, the other automatically changes. Since the number of characters per line is a default of 100, you can use this a handy guage. In the left field, instead of 100 wide replace it by the number in the right field, the right field number or number of lines will change accordingly.

If you want characters which are larger, adjust these fields as appropriate.

Once you click OK, the program generates the banner, and you can just copy the banner [control a], [control c] and paste away [control v].


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This is the character for 'country': guo2 in Mandarin Chinese, gwok8 in Cantonese Chinese, guet5 in Hakka Chinese, koku in Japanese On-reading, kuni in Japanese kun-reading, gug in Sino-Korean, and quo.c in Sino-Vietnamese.

Something I downloaded on an on Win95 machine was ascii.zip which can be downloaded from this site. It is only 12kb in size and unzips to create ascii art from gif pictures. However, having tried ASCII Generator out, as demonstrated above, it supercedes the functionality of ascii.zip ascii art program, as it (ASCII Generator) can accept both text and pictorial input.


© Dylan W.H. Sung 2003

This page was created on Monday 24th March 2003