DimSum: Chinese Reading Assistant and Dictionary
Chinese Tools with Something for Everyone
Many people have requested versions of the tools on this website that
can be run locally. DimSum is the answer to these requests. I'm
currently integrating most of the tools on the website into one
package: DimSum. Right now it supports adding pinyin to text files,
Rich Text Format files, and web pages.
Please be aware that program is currently only at version 0.7.9 and
there's still a lot of improvement to be done. The program may run
slowly and some characters may appear as boxes. Your suggestions (and
critiques) are welcome. If Chinese does appear as boxes, users can solve this by upgrading to Java v1.5 (aka J2SE 5.0).
Questions or comments? Visit the DimSum Discussion Board.
If you haven't already installed Java on your system, you can get it
from the Sun Java
site. If given a choice, be sure to get the JRE version for all/multiple languages.
Important Note: Recent versions of the JRE installer require an additional step to get Chinese support. During installation select Custom installation and make sure "Support for Additional Languages" will be installed to the hard drive.
A quick solution for an existing installation would be to go to "Control Panel", then "Add or Remove Programs", select J2SE Runtime Environment 1.5, then click "Change". Then select "Modify" and then make sure "Support for Additional Languages" will be installed to the hard drive.
Also install Chinese support for your computer if you haven't already done so.
Automatic Install (Windows Only)
Download and run the DimSum
setup program. It will create a entry for DimSum under
"ChineseTools" on your Start menu.
If another program such as WinRAR or similar compression software comes up when you try to start DimSum, run the jarfix program from www.jonelo.de and then try running DimSum again.
To install the program yourself, download
DimSum. On Windows, the easiest thing to do is save it to your
desktop. Once the download finishes, there should be a new icon on
your desktop called DimSum. You can double click on the icon to start
You can download the DimSum jar
file and save it to your desktop. Then double-click it to start
I have successfully run DimSum on a Linux machine with Java 1.4
Thanks to Francois, a DimSum Linux package is now available.
To install and use DimSum without the above package, download the DimSum JAR
file. To use DimSum you will also need to have some Chinese TrueType
fonts installed. To get Chinese fonts working, you can also copy
a Chinese Unicode True Type font to the lib/fonts subdirectory where
Java is installed.
The simplest way to run DimSum on Linux is go to a
command prompt, cd to the directory with the JAR file, make sure java
is in your path, and type "java -jar DimSum.jar".
Running the Program
See the (currently out-of-date) DimSum Help page.
- Working on adding customizable study lists, ability to print flashcards, and ability to edit dictionary.
- July 15, 2006 (v0.7.9) Some changes in this release:
- New "character data pop-up window". Hold down the shift key while moving the mouse over a character to get detailed information about that specific character
- New vocabulary quiz. The flashcards have been moved up to be one of the main DimSum tabs. A new part of the flashcards is a vocabulary quiz where users can be shown Chinese, Pinyin and/or English, and then choose from a multiple-choice quiz of the correct matching Chinese, Pinyin and/or English. For even more difficulty, users can choose fill-in-the-blank instead of multiple choice
- New character searching options. Users can search for characters by their Cantonese pronunciation, total number of strokes, or the character's components. Click on a component in the component's field to look up all characters with that component.
- New help system. Now DimSum has extensive help files for the annotator, dictionary, flashcards, and supporting programs.
- New sound support. Thanks to pinyin sound files from Chinese-lessons.com, users can hear pinyin pronounced in the dictionary and flashcards. Click on "Enable Sound" from the Tools menu and follow the directions.
- New "append definitions" options. Append a vocabulary list to the end of a file, sorted by order of appearance in the document or by pinyin.
- New "Corrupt Chinese E-mail Fixer". I've added a version of the Chinese E-mail fixer to DimSum, available under the "Programs" menu. Actually, it should also work with corrupted Japanese and Korean e-mails.
- New encodings for Encoding detector. Now detects major Japanese and Korean encodings.
- Improved Chinese number handling. Now handles a much wider range of Chinese numbers and number types.
- New calligraphy paper printer. Print your own calligraphy practice paper. Available from Programs menu.
- Improved dictionary results. Now shows as many or as few results as were returned by the dictionary search. Results now have an indicator for how they are sorted (by Chinese, pinyin, English).
- New flashcard options. When using "delay" in flashcards, you can select with a check what fields will be shown first and what are shown after the delay.
- Lots and lots of bug fixes.
- December 10, 2005: (v0.7.8) Mostly bug fixes, especially for MacOS. Also:
- Under Tools, now have option of creating an appendix of definitions for all words in text
- Flashcards now remember the last card viewed.
- October 29, 2005: (v0.7.7) Many improvements "under the hood"
- Rewrote segmenter. Should be better (though not perfect) at finding words.
- Annotation now occurs automatically whenever the text changes.
- Simplified/Traditional character conversion now context-sensitive. Should improve quality.
- Added more stroke animations.
- Polished and cleaned up the user interface.
- Automatically checks for new fonts.
- Added much improved Find dialog.
- Created separate Preferences dialog, accessible under "Edit"
- Included option to automatically check for updates.
- Various bug fixes in file and web annotator.
- August 24, 2005: (v0.7.6) Mostly bug fixes. Latest version of CEDICT. The Chinese Name tool can now print out a summary page of the name.
- July 17, 2005: (v0.7.5) Now shows all definitions available for a word. Web pages are now all handled in the regular browser (Java's own web browser is too lacking). Now list character components in dictionary. Made some default font sizes bigger. Included latest edition of CEDICT. "Search by Writing Character" now recognizes a much larger set of characters. Various bug fixes.
- November 15, 2004: (v0.7.4) Added handwriting recognition from HanziDict and stroke animations from EuroAsiaSoftware. Improved font handling (esp. for dictionary). Added more keyboard shortcuts. Pinyin input now preserves case. Added basic find function. Various bug fixes.
- October 14, 2004: (v0.7.3) Fixed problem with running on MacOS X. Added Chinese GIF generator. Various other fixes. Users are now highly encouraged to upgrade to Java 1.5 . Added Tongyong Pinyin as romanization option.
- June 25, 2004: Fixed display problem with pop-up definitions. Updated dictionary to latest version of CEDICT.
- June 1, 2004: Added revised flashcards. Dictionary settings (and searches) now remembered from session to session. Various bug fixes.
- March 26, 2004: Added dictionary interface, annotate web pages in separate browser, convert web page encoding, see individual abacus add/subtract steps, various bug fixes.
- March 7, 2004: Added undo/redo.
- March 6, 2004: More definition display fixes, added toolbar icons for common operations, added traditional/simplified character conversion, added pop-up menu to use on selected text (right click for it on Windows), made open/saving file types clearer, fixed some file saving problems, still working on font issues, general bug fixes
- Feb 27, 2004: Users can now edit documents. Added "Type Pinyin" mode, moved "Difficulty" to Preferences menu, fixed more resizing issues.
- Feb 25, 2004: Added Chinese measures converter. Fixed resizing issues and some definition display problems.
- Feb 23, 2004: Added Chinese Name Generator, Chinese number converter. Combined everything back into one jar file.
- Feb 20, 2004: Improved font handling. Added Chinese/Western calendar converter, Encoding detector, Family Titles
- Feb 17, 2004: Added Program menu with Abacus, Currency Converter, Encoding Converter, and Romanization Converter
- Feb 16, 2004: Added ability to choose transliteration to use,
added better font choosing,
improved pop-up definition English display.
DimSum now remembers preferences from session to session
- Feb 11, 2004: Added ability to print pages