A Chinese dictionary program with a lot of extra features. Along with the usual dictionary capabilities you can click on any word or character to bring up its entry. The greatest amount of detail is provided for characters. The entry for each character gives its history and derivation, the stroke order to write it, and all the words that use the character. You can look at the stroke order in static form or watch the character be written so that you are sure of the direction of each stroke.

Wenlin has several ways to enter Chinese. The easiest is to type the pinyin and then hit the slash key. You will get a list of all characters that match the pinyin. As you wave the pointer over each word you will see the definitions on the bottom, which is helpful if you don't know the character.

You can also enter Chinese by writing the character itself. As long as you know the proper stroke order, you can write the character with your mouse and Wenlin will recognize it. This is not only useful for looking up words but also for testing yourself on writing the characters.

There are other features:
  • A flashcard program to test your knowledge of the characters. It lacks the adaptability of Supermemo, but it does the job.
  • The dictionary includes frequency levels for the words, so that when you get a choice of matches the more common one will come first.
  • You can add your own words to the dictionary.
  • The interface includes a text editor, so you can use it for some basic Chinese document editing.
  • You can click on a character and hear its pronunciation.
  • Supports both simplified and traditional characters.

There are a few shortcomings:

  • When entering English words to find the Chinese equivalent, Wenlin won't understand 2-part words like "ice cream".
  • While the character dictionary is excellent, the word dictionary could be better.

The shortcomings are minor, and shouldn't deter anyone from buying this excellent program.

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