- Contents -
  Q What is a personal computer?
  Q How do personal computers output Kanji?
  Q What is a font?
  Q What is a character code?
  Q How are Kanji input?
  Q Is it impossible to use characters not in the character set?
  Q Do I only need a user-defined character editor to use user-defined characters?
  Q How do I input user-defined characters with IME?
  Q Is it possible to use characters from mainframes?
  Q What is the JIS code?
  Q What is the Shift JIS code?
  Q What is Unicode?
  Q How long will it take for Unicode to become available?
  Q What is XKP?
  Q Can user-defined characters be transferred using XKP?
  Q Is it possible to use more user-defined characters than the number of character codes available?
  Q Can XKP user-defined characters be printed?

Japanese Processing Guidebook


Q Do I only need a user-defined character editor to use user-defined characters?

A A user-defined character editor alone is not sufficient

A user-defined character editor has two main functions.
- Character design (and font file creation).
- The ability to register the font file created as user-defined characters.
The character editor that comes as standard with the Windows OS allows character design, and also provides functionality for registering the font created as a user-defined character font. This means that it is possible to make characters and use them immediately under the Windows OS.
However, there is no information on readings or radicals provided in user-defined character fonts, so input is only possible through direct specification of the character code. In order to input a reading and convert it into Kanji, it is necessary to register the reading in IME's dictionary.
When using user-defined characters professionally, design (font file creation) and actual registration of the characters on the PC where they will be used are two completely separate procedures. For this reason, professional user-defined character tools are divided into design software and registration software.
For example, when using a professional-level industrial user-defined character system such as XKP, work is carried out not with a single user-defined character editor, but with several pieces of software suited to each task.
User-defined fonts, as with other fonts, may be either butmap fonts or outline fonts. For bitmap fonts of low point size, it was once common for the user who needed the font to design it themselves; however, design of outline fonts, which are expressed with fine lines and curves, is almost impossible for amateurs, and it is now usual for these to be ordered from specialized companies.

User-defined character editor included with Windows NT 4.0