In Chinese environment, beautify chinese-english and digital mixed input

One of the problems that troubles many Chinese users is the unsightly style of mixing Chinese with English or numbers in most editors, mainly because of the spacing between characters and letters or numbers. Word has the appropriate spacing options:
But in bear, it looks like this:
CleanShot 2022-12-12 at 7.08.25@2x
It seems very tight.
Some text editor, such as Word, automatically adjust the spacing between characters and letters or numbers to make the style look better. So I would like bear to include this style setting: when it comes to mixing Chinese characters with letters or numbers, widen the space between the characters and the other two. Some Chinese designers think the spacing should be about a quarter the size of Chinese characters. At the moment, I can only manually type spaces between them, which can achieve a similar effect, but is still not pretty and cumbersome.


I had this problem too (I was going to post about it, but I didn’t expect anyone to say anything.)
It would be nice to be able to do this to automatically insert spaces between Chinese and numbers and English, but there are times when adding spaces is not a good idea.

Hi Bocchi,

Many thanks for the feedback. We really care about the text composition for non-latin script language like Chinese. We understand that the standard spacing is not aesthetically perfect for you when mixing Chinese and English languages. To solve the problem, here’s a few options: Adjust the spacing in between; add auto space in between; keep the standard. To find out what the best solution for Bear, we did some research on the topic, and here’s our result:

We read the official document Rules for editing Chinese publications interpolated with English《中文出版物夹用英文的编辑规范》and they didn’t mention the spacing; In W3C Requirements for Chinese Text Layout 《中文排版需求》, it says:

In horizontal writing mode, the basic approach uses proportional fonts to represent Western text and uses proportional or monospace fonts for European numerals. In principle, there is tracking or spacing between an adjacent Han character and a Western character of up to 1/4 em, except at the line start or end.

We also did some research on the Chinese social media platforms and Chinese tech medias including SSPAI少数派 and a lot of blogs regarding the issue, it seems adding space in between text is the trend now and for the future, a lot of people are adopting this method when mix typing Chinese and English for aesthetic and readability reasons. However, there are also people who don’t mind at all.

Back to our options, from our research above with some of our experience in note taking app development, here are some of the issues we find in adopting the auto space and adjusting spacing in between methods:

Auto space affects people who are already used to manually typing space in between, and will be a pain when typing special names or terms like Bear熊掌记 . In addition, it will also cause caret jumping when the auto space is added which severely interrupts the writing experience.

Adjusting spacing avoids some of the issues above, but it is hard to know if there is a space in between, which might be an issue for writers when they work on formal documentations. Unfortunately export is another problem for adjusting spacing. We believe in standard and we don’t want to lock in our users, this allows our users to export the note to anywhere they want while keeping the standard format. Adjusting spacing means we give up the standard and it might affect readability and cause further editing issues when they export to another app or for printing.

To sum up, unfortunately we don’t think these two options work for Bear. We highly recommend our users to adopt the space method when mixing Chinese and English languages. We also heard there are some third party keyboards that adds auto space which could be a good help for you.

Thank you again for giving such a detailed feedback, you truly made Bear better and helped us understand more about Chinese text composition. Please let us know what you think and do not hesitate to tell us more about your Bear 2 experience. :bear::heart:

Best Regards.

1 Like

As a Chinese user, I would like to thank the bear team to look into this issue in details. Here are my two cents:

  • I would absolutely hate Auto Space, or any non-standard auto-modification that will change the underlying (markdown) source. It makes it very hard to move between different editors and softwares.

  • Having nicer space rendering between Chinese and English would be nice. But this is also a challenge task, which many more sophisticated softwares (e.g. browsers, or most ebook readers) did not have yet. I agree there are probably other issues with much higher priority that the team would focus on.

Actually, speakin gof mixed Chinese / English editing. I think one bigger issue that bear have is incorrect rendering of Chinese punctuations. Consider the following sentence:

子感觉很不错,能有很浅的灰色再加上还能一定程度地 blend,看起来很好

Notice the two (Chinese, full-width) comma are rendered differently in my Bear (I’m still using Bear 1 as beta cannot sync).

The first comma is rendered incorrectly, with a vertical location in the middle. The second, probably because it follows an English word (?), is rendered correctly. It’s probably depends on different behaviors of font fallback: for example, Avenir Next would behave like this, but Helvetica Neue would render both correctly. If Bear allows using any fonts installed in the system, then this issue would probably be automatically gone as CJK users would be able to choose proper font’s that have the correct rendering for the respective CJK characters and variants (and potentially similarly for other non-Latin languages as well).

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Hello, developer, thank you for your reply.

Like you and other users, I don’t agree with the Auto Space.

I have some comments on Adjusting spacing:

I think the most attractive aspect of Bear is ease of use and beauty. Compared with professional text editing schemes such as Word, Bear lacks functions such as font adjustment, randomly adjustable paragraph format and display of invisible elements, including line breaks and spaces, which makes bear unsuitable for professional text workers. Throughout the text creation process, Bear is more in the early stage of collecting inspiration, summarizing inspiration, and acting more as a sticky note and notebook role. Bear is so easy to use and beautiful that it is pleasant to record with Bear. I think this is Bear’s core competitiveness, so issues related to convenience and beauty should be given priority (of course, the most important thing is stability and availability).

I don’t think this is a serious problem for exporting. Unless it is plain text, any style may have problems when exporting to other editors. The more complex the style, the more serious the problem is. For example, Word and Chinese software WPS, which are also designed to edit .docx files, will also experience the problem of inconsistent display effects in the face of the same document. Adjusting spacing is an adjustment to the display effect. When exporting, it can be considered that there is nothing between the two characters. The effect of this is nothing more than that it looks better in Bear and not good in software that does not support Adjusting spacing. Bear’s carefully designed themes and fonts will cause the same problem, which is the advantage of Bear. If you are worried, you can add a default off option to the settings for users to choose from.

I am not a professional developer, so I can’t predict the feasibility of the above ideas in practice.

Best Regards.

Hi pluskid,

Thank you for your feedback on the spacing topic, we will definitely take it into account. :slightly_smiling_face:

Regarding the incorrect rendering issue, yes it is a known issue and it will be (already!) solved in Bear 2. This is due to the fact that most of the latin fonts like Avenir Next only support Latin alphabet, they do not support Chinese scripts. When the system detects that the scripts you typed in are missing in the font you are using, it will use the “backup” font instead, and the order is Japanese → Traditional Chinese → Simplified Chinese. For example in the case you gave above, the character and looks a bit weird (almost like a wrong character in Chinese) because they are actually Japanese scripts, not Chinese scripts. Same as the punctuation, the comma in the middle is actually how Traditional Chinese (Taiwan) punctuations work. Fortunately like you said, in Bear 2 we successfully fixed the issue. No more strange characters or punctuations! :wink: In Bear 1, for now we recommend our Chinese users to change the font to “system” so all the characters and punctuations will be rendered correctly.

That being said, if you notice anything strange in Bear 2 beta, please do not hesitate to let us know. We hope you enjoy Bear 2!

Best Regards.

1 Like

Hi Bocchi,

Thanks for the reply and all the kind words.

One of the biggest reasons we don’t support as many customized styles is that, unlike Microsoft Word or WPS, Bear is not a rich text editor but a Markdown editor, and Markdown is a lightweight markup language for creating formatted text using plain text. Any text style we implement in Bear follows the same rule in any apps that supports Markdown. Just like adding text colors, having customized space between characters cannot be formatted with CommonMark (the standard Markdown majority text editors adopt) either.

Indeed, as you said, “Bear is more in the early stage of collecting inspiration, summarising inspiration, and acting more as a sticky note and notebook role”. We believe a lot of our users use Bear the same way as you do, which is also why we support various export formats that allows you to do further edit in other apps. We don’t believe in all-in-one, we want to do best in what we focus on as a Markdown text editor. In fact a lot of Chinese users shared with us that they usually draft in Bear and then export to Pages or Microsoft Word for further style edit for their college thesis/assignments or company reports because there are certain rules or formatting requirements they need to follow, e.g. formal document font needs to be Kai (楷体).

In addition to the reason above, adjusting spacing in between is actually more complicated than it sounds in both design and development. We understand adjusting the space can be a good solution in some cases, but it doesn’t solve all the problems, and in fact it might bring more. For example, different font has different weights, the customized spacing might work for Kai (楷体) but not Song (宋体), or it goes well with all Chinese fonts but not Japanese or Korean fonts. It’s almost impossible to keep the consistency. The change in space also affects how the caret works when certain text applies, and it might cause unbalance of text composition if an extra space needs to be inserted. Therefore, we believe a simple space is the most standard and probably the easiest way to keep consistent in any case while solving the tight spacing problem. Based on our research, this method is also adopted by Apple and a lot of other companies that are well known for their “design perfection”.

Unfortunately for now we don’t have a perfect solution for you, and we are very sorry we are not considering adding adjusted spacing at the moment. However, if it does create a lot of issues for our Chinese users, we will look into it again and hopefully find a better way to balance the function and UI while keeping the standard in the future. :smiling_face:

Best Regards.

Hello, developer, thank you for your reply.

I have fully understood your ideas, and I think this matter really needs more consideration. Since I am a graduate student of science, this problem will appear when I summarise a lot of knowledge. Manually adding spaces make me tired😩.

I know that Bear2 has other more important tasks to complete, so thank you very much for your investment in this matter.

Best Regards.

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