I realize this sounds like a very subjective question, so I will try to ask it very carefully:

I'm learning to speak, read, and write Mandarin. A lot of times (particularly on the web or in e-mail) I read or write text that has English and simplified Mandarin characters intertwined. It seems to me that the font size that is comfortable for reading English is too small for reading Mandarin. I'm not sure if this is because I'm still learning, but it seems to me that Mandarin characters have far more complexity than English characters. I end up jacking up the font size so that I can visually resolve the detail in the Chinese characters.

My question is: in the US, a "default" font size in many cases is 11pt or 12pt. (E.g., if you start up Word, it's "body" style is around 11pt or 12pt.) Do Chinese readers use the same font sizes by default? If I start a Chinese version of Word, will the characters be in the 11-12pt range?

  • 1
    I've wondered this myself too. I also need characters to be displayed quite large (~14pt) so I can make out the detail.
    – Cocowalla
    Commented May 16, 2012 at 13:14
  • Good question, I guess the distance from the monitor may also play a role. Commented Oct 17, 2013 at 18:06

4 Answers 4


The default font size in MS Word(or other soft) is 12pt, and that's quite ok to be read.

If you want to make it easier, 14pt is quite acceptable.


It is very likely because you are still learning.

When I started learning I had the same experience. At a regular font size, some characters that were different looked indistinguishable. As you become more familiar with the characters, you will find that you are comfortable reading them at smaller font sizes.

My suggestion is to use whatever size feels most comfortable to you. As you become more familiar with the words, the larger font sizes will probably begin to feel too large.


This doesn't solve the root issue of not being familiar with enough characters, but if you often have trouble reading small Chinese text online, you can install a Chrome/Firefox extension called Hanzisize which will allow you to enlarge Chinese Characters without changing other elements on the page.

Chrome:https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/hanzisize/jcljolcajgicemckjlgndbmoaeoobodk Firefox:https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/hanzisize/


IMHO if you use fonts at the same size people use them in China, you'll strain your eyes a lot (urban legend has it that the tiny characters are the main reason so many studious Chinese and Japanese sport glasses, but IMMV).

I've checked my browser settings - 16pt. When I want to learn a character/word, e.g. in Anki etc - it's 24pt++

If your question is purely about Chinese versions of Word - it's 12pt.

  • I suspect you may confuse the common default browser size 16px (12pt) with 16pt (21⅓ px)
    – gnucchi
    Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 19:37

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