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3k Top Chinese Characters

3k Characters available on App Store

The app that teaches you the most commonly used chinese characters in order of frequency. Now with flashcards.

40% off the price for a limited period!

To leave feedback, request a new feature or report a problem, please contact us. Otherwise, please leave a review on the app store.

3k Characters for iPhone and iPod Touch helps you learn Chinese the fast way: you focus on the most useful characters and their Pinyin and English equivalents, filling gaps in your vocabulary knowledge. Once you know the popular characters, more complex words can be learnt more easily.

3k Top Chinese Characters iPhone App intro video
Updated Flash version

According to the statistics, knowing the most common 100 characters gives 42% understanding of a Chinese newspaper. Knowing the top 3000 characters takes you to 99.2%. 3k Characters is a learning resource based on the 3000 most commonly used Chinese characters. The characters are ordered with the most common at the top.

Ideal for students of Mandarin or for language enthusiasts, keen to brush up on character knowledge.

You color-code any character to reflect knowledge level, and highlight those you need to learn, to shortlist the commonly used characters which are most important to you. You can then test your knowledge as 3k Characters generates a flashcard game based on your shortlist.


Tap the Character Workbook, to see the most popular characters listed in order.

If you recognise a character, touch it to reveal the details, if it's a word you need to learn, touch "Must learn" to put a tick mark next to it, then touch its knowledge level which is probably set to "unclassified", and select how well you know this character.

As you repeat the operation a few times for different characters, they get color-coded in the main list to reflect your knowledge of them. The words that you must learn appear with an "L" to the left. You're organising your knowledge characters.

3k Top Chinese Characters iPhone app 3k Characters categorised list

To view only the characters you've marked to learn, tap "To Learn" on the tab bar.

To look for more characters which you haven't yet categorised, tick "Remaining" on the tab bar.

Now lets focus on learning. Go back to the main menu, and select Test Yourself: Flashcards. You will be presented with a series of flashcards with the characters from your shortlist, one at a time, so you can try and remember their meaning.


  • Runs without an internet connection, you can use it abroad
  • An effective alternative approach to studying Chinese
  • Quickly translate back and forth between Chinese characters/Pinyin/English for common words using the Search feature (please note: this app is not designed to be used as a dictionary)
  • Search for characters or translations using the iPhone OS Chinese hand-drawn recognition input method
  • Maintain a short-list of characters to learn
3k Characters search 3k Top Chinese Characters handdrawn search 3k Chinese Characters knowledge level

The developer would like to thank the following people who have provided input for this application: