This app is an innovative index, indispensable for anyone who uses a Chinese dictionary, electronic or printed. It’s a valuable aid for everyone interested in characters.

Looking up a character you cannot pronounce? A pain no more! Simply tap components to display all matching characters. Tap 女 (woman) and 子 (child), for example, to find “好 hǎo”. No counting strokes! No looking in two tables!

Any dictionary can show you 12 characters with a 子 radical, such as 孩 and 孙, but Laokang also gives you 40 more where 子 is not the radical, such as 籽 and 孕.

Want to verify if a character is in use? This app includes all 8105 official characters approved by the China’s State Council in 2013. Or, limit your search to the 3500 characters in regular use. Students can further narrow the scope to 2000, 1000 or just the most common 400 characters.

Lookup characters with components in specific positions (e.g. first or last) or in certain combinations (e.g. 立 and 日). Lookup characters by pinyin (e.g. words beginning with “zh” or ending in “ang”). Or, combine components and pinyin (e.g. find all characters with “water” beginning with “ch”). You will discover how many characters match the search criteria, and a list of the characters with pinyin. Tap one to see details on that character, including a simple definition and a sample word to remember it by.

Interested in character components? The app includes the English meaning of all 170 (e.g. 车 is cart, 电 is lightning), and cleverly organizes them into a keyboard with exactly 26 keys! On the left are 10 fixed category keys which control the 16 dynamic keys on the right. Tap “knife” on the left to reveal all the tools and weapons on the right (e.g. 戈, 弓, 斤). Tap “hand” on the left to reveal all components related to hands and feet (e.g. 又, 止, 爪).

Laokang, who teaches Chinese at Wheaton College, has spent several years putting this app together, based on etymology research done by Ye Changyuan in Beijing.

If you love characters, you are going to love this app.


The app includes all official Chinese characters; it will well serve those studying in Mainland China or learning simplified Chinese. The app does not include traditional characters, which were used in Mainland China prior to 1954, and which are still in common use today in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

In translating the meaning of character components, this app does not attempt to give you an exhaustive list of all meanings, rather we select the one definition which is most representative. “Tree,” “wood” and “things made of wood,” for example, are all represented by the same component 木 which we translate simply “tree.” Likewise, we have selected older meanings of certain roots, because that is more useful when trying to understand how those roots are combined into words. The component 车 “car,” for example, we define as “cart”.

This app does not take the place of a dictionary. It is intended as a quick look up of how a character is pronounced and a simple definition. It is a tool for getting to know characters and their components better. Each character contains a link to the Apple dictionary and an online dictionary for further study.

A revolutionary, not evolutionary, approach to looking up characters, the keyboard takes a little getting used to. We have included together some components with similar shape and meaning. Many users know 心 goes with 忄 and 手 with 扌, for example, but we go farther. A search for 大 returns 天 and 太, while a search for 王 returns 玉 and 主.


What's New

Version 1.2

Bug fixes
Update to database

Ratings and Reviews

I ❤️ this app!


I use both this and the related "Conquer" app in my weekend learning! These are wonderful tools that really facilitates the learning process!


Kangjian Remote Services Ltd.
40.3 MB
Requires iOS 7.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
Age Rating
Rated 4+
© Paul Condrell


  • Family Sharing

    With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.

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