Most commonly used Chinese characters and idioms

The first is a list of 250 or so must-know idioms for high school graduate. I'm not sure where the list is from. It seems that the Ministry of Education of Singapore might have developed the list.

The second file has a list of 2200 most frequently used characters.

Note: Be sure to look at the flashcards already available (HSK vocab list, etc.) at


looking foward to using these lists. thanks for doing that. The first one will be great for learning those idioms, and the second is a great review one! once I start using them, I will let you know how they turned out for me


Staff member
Do you have an SD memory card for your Zire 31? If so, go to and install the demo version of their "Card Export" utility to your Zire. Run it (with your Zire still connected to your PC) and your Zire's SD card should appear as a disk in "My Computer". Open that disk, and copy the flashcard text file over to it - make sure you copy it to the disk itself and not to one of the folders on it.

After that, open up PlecoDict, go to the Import screen, choose Text File in the 'From" section and "UTF-8" as the "Encoding", and under "File Path" enter a / followed by the name of the text file (idioms260u.txt or vocab2200u.txt in this case). Press Import and the flashcards should begin importing.
Thank you, Gato

Thank you for posting these flashcards, Gato. I'm just starting to learn Mandarin and I'm hoping that your lists will help me get a jump start.
What is the source of these 2200 characters? Are they the same 2200 that are recommended by the HSCHDD for the first two years of study for the HSK test?


Staff member
The text file import format is pretty much unchanged, so all of these should work fine if you use the correct encoding - we haven't tested every list here but we've tested most of our premade ones from 1.0 and they work OK without any changes.
I haven't used PD yet so please forgive my lack of knowledge of how it works but the idiom flashcard list has no English translations. Does PD add the translations to the flashcards? If so, does it just do a character by character translation or does it recognize these as idioms and add the the appropriate idiomatic translations?
-thanks, tom
Ultimately, it will look up the definition and pinyin in the dictionaries present on the device.

Exactly what it does depends on if you're using 1.0 or 2.0. You'll almost certainly need the ABC dictionary for these lists to be of much use, as, for example, 百年树人 isn't found in Oxford. If it can't find it in the current dictionary (1.0) or any dictionary you've asked it to search (2.0), it will create a blank entry (I think. Can't remember exactly what 1.0 did).

So you'll end up with a list looking more like

百年树人 bai3nian2shu4ren2 It takes a century to rear talented people

Hope that helps.
thanks ipsi. i had a feeling that was how it worked. i'll be using pd2 and will try to get all but the c-c and specialty dictionaries so i hope that'll give me a good probability of getting things like those idioms right.