Easy Lookup Initials Index for Traditional Chinese Characters

The Easy Lookup System is designed to make Chinese Character lookup easier, even if you are new to learning Chinese characters. The Easy Lookup system is based entirely on the shape of a character. As a result, all you need is the character itself, (not its pronounciation, not it's radical, not even its stroke count) in order to look the character up.

The Easy Lookup system has two main types of index. One type is based on the initial element of a character. The other type is based on the final element of a character. The steps below are for character lookup via initial element. The steps are pretty much the same for final element lookup. All that differs is the part of the character that you use to access the index.

Steps for Chinese Character Lookup Using The Easy Lookup Initials Index

To lookup a Chinese character using an Initials index Easy Lookup system, the first step is to figure out it's initial element to identify the category the character belongs to.

For the character 飛 the first element is the top most ⺄ shape. This could be thought of as a Right shape 乛.

Once you've found the category of the initial element, you then locate the group.

乛羽弓已⺕廴乃了子水又癶龴疋⺄飛

In this case the character is in its own group, the very last one.

Click on the group then click on the 飛 link to be taken to the character entry for that character.

For the character 青 the first element is the top most shape 龶.

This could be though of as a Cross shape 十.

Once you've found the category of the initial element you then locate the group.

十車寸木扌青土士耂走聿韋乜大㐅犭

In this case the group is the 7th group and is represented by this character.

Clicking on that link you'll see the following characters: 青靖靚靛靜 of which the first is the target character.

For the character 韝 the first element is the 韋 shape of which the top most part begins with a 十 shape.

In this case it is the 12th group within the cross category: 十車寸木扌青土士耂走聿韋乜大㐅犭.

Clicking on it you'll see the following characters: 韋韙韓韜韌韔韝韐韘韎韍 of which the target character is 7th.

Generally the initial element of a character is the top most part, the left most part, or the surrounding part.

Figuring Out a Characters Initial Element

The characters below all begin with surrounding parts.

囗回回圆圜

The surrounding part is a box shape so they all belong to the Box category.

These characters also begin with surrounding parts:

凵 凶兇鬯

Their surrounding parts are a Bottom shape, so they belong to the 凵 or bottom Category. For these characters the first part isn’t the 㐅 shape, but instead the 凵 shape.

For these characters, the initial part is the top part,the 艹 shape which is a group within the Hat 八 category:

莒葺葭苠蔚

For theses characters the initial part is the left part, the 土 shape which is a group within the Cross 十 category:

埔城域墺埤

The initial element of these characters is also on the left. In this case it is the 木 shape, which is a group within the Cross category:

朳松槍榆檢

Sub groups (for Large Groups of characters)

Where groups of characters are large, they are further divided into sub groups.

Sub groups make it easier to find your target character by reducing the need to search through large groups. The key here is understanding how sub-groups are divided.

There are two main types of sub-group:
Initial element variations and
Second element categories.

Inititial Element Variations

In groups like the one shown below, the initial elements for each row of characters is slightly different.

寸才

囊蠹
專惠繫擊

These sub groups (corresponding to each row of characters) are based on initial element variations.

Second Element Categories

In the selection of characters in the first row below, all second elements begin with some variation of the Dot 丶shape. In the next row the second element begins with some variation of the Hat 八 shape.

棕檸棺桉櫥

朳松槍榆檢

This is an example of sub-grouping via Second element categories.

Alternative Indexes

Apart from a Traditional and Simplified Easy Lookup index, the Easy Lookup dictionary also includes a Finals Easy Lookup index.

This index also includes 12 categories each with up to 16 groups.

Where the Traditional and Simplified indexes are both based on initial elements, the Finals index is based on the final element of Traditional Chinese characters.

The lookup process is virtually the same using this Finals index, with the exception that you start at the tail end of the character, the bottom right.