Chinese Toolbox Files

This page describes all Chinese Toolbox files. Each file falls into at least one of the following categories.

  1. Files installed into the program directory.
  2. Files copied to the Chinese Toolbox documents directory.
  3. Files generated based on program usage.
  4. Files that are exported.

This page explains the purpose of each file and what you can (or can’t do) with each file.

If you accept the default location during installation, source Chinese Toolbox files are installed in a “Toolbox Coding” directory of your “Program Files” or “Program Files (x86)” directory. With the exception of cedict_ts.u8, these installed files must not be edited or removed. Chinese Toolbox will not run without these source files.

The first time you run Chinese Toolbox, four source Chinese Toolbox files (ChineseToolbox.dat, ChineseToolbox.cfg, ChineseToolboxLicense.txt, and readme.txt) are copied from the installation directory to a “Chinese Toolbox” directory in your main Documents folder. If this “Chinese Toolbox” folder doesn’t exist, the program creates it.

After running the program at least once, a few more files will exist in your Chinese Toolbox documents folder. These files, along with changes made by the program to ChineseToolbox.dat, represent your personal Chinese learning data.

Each of the three export commands of the File menu writes a file to your Chinese Toolbox documents folder:

Clicking on the “Analyze Document” button tab in the Reader will generate the file, DocumentAnalysis.utf8.

Pressing Ctrl-E in the Reader will exclude the current word from the word dictionary and WordDictionaryExclusions.txt will be written to your Chinese Toolbox documents folder.

File Formats

All Chinese Toolbox files are either binary (machine readable) or text (human readable). Most Chinese Toolbox text files are written in UTF-8 format. Those with an extension of U8 are UTF-8 text files. These can be edited with a program that understands UTF-8 text files. Not all programs that read UTF-8 files can write them correctly. According to my brief testing of Microsoft Word 2010 and Notepad (Windows 7) with UTF-8 files, both read and write UTF-8 files. WordPad apparently does not read or write UTF-8 files. Earlier versions of Microsoft Word could read UTF-8 files, but would write them as UTF-16. When working with UTF-8 files, I recommend BabelPad, downloadable from

Installed Files


Installed Files that exist in Program Files or Program Files (x86) folder

File Description


The Chinese Toolbox program. A binary file; not editable.


The main data file. Contains the character dictionary and the interface. A binary file; not editable.


Contains program configuration data. A binary file; not editable.


The Chinese Toolbox icon file. A binary file; not editable.

borlndmm.dll, cc3250.dll, cc3250mt.dll

Borland C++Builder 5 redistributable files. Binary files; not editable.

Encoding: UTF-8

The only file in the Program Files folder that can be edited or replaced. When an updated cedict file is available from MDBG, the file can be downloaded and placed in the Chinese Toolbox program folder, replacing the original, installed file.

Encoding: ASCII

Contains the End User License Agreement. You must consent to the terms of this document before installing or using Chinese Toolbox.

Encoding: ASCII

Essential information for getting started with Chinese Toolbox.


Copied Installation Files

Files copied from installation folder to Chinese Toolbox documents folder

File Description


Copied from the installation folder to the Chinese Toolbox documents folder at first launch. If removed from the documents folder, the source (installed) file is copied again to the documents folder the next time the program is launched. These files are required by the program. If one of these files in the documents folder is ever corrupted, the file can be deleted and a new copy will be made when the program starts. As the program runs, much of your learning data is stored in ChineseToolbox.dat.


Copied to the documents directory at program launch.


Generated Files

Several files are created after you begin using the program. All files with a “dat” extension are binary files and cannot be edited apart from Chinese Toolbox.

Generated File

File Description


Contains character frequency data and character timestamp data. This file is non-essential, but if removed, the data stored in this file will not be available to Chinese Toolbox. A binary file; not editable.


This file contains all the documents that exist on the Documents menu. If removed, these documents will not be available to Chinese Toolbox. A binary file; not editable.


The installed word dictionary (cedict_ts.u8) does not store user’s word dictionary note data. Any notes you create for the word dictionary will be stored in this (WordNotes.dat) file. If you remove this file, your word notes will no longer be available to the program. A binary file; not editable.

Encoding: UTF-8

This file lists word entries from cedict_ts.u8 that are not used by Chinese Toolbox. Typically, these entries include non-Chinese characters.


Export Files

Three files are export files. They are written by export commands on the File menu. These files can be edited in a text editor and re-imported back into Chinese Toolbox.

Export File

File Description

Encoding: UTF-8

This file is generated when you click on “Export character dictionary” of the File menu. This command exports the entire Unicode (Unihan) character dictionary, Chinese Toolbox Known character data and Chinese Toolbox Need-to-learn character data. Several import commands are available on the File menu for importing all or part of this file back into Chinese Toolbox. Dictionary Export and Import provides more information on this subject.

Encoding: UTF-8

This file is generated when you click on “Export known words” of the File menu. It can be edited and imported back into Chinese Toolbox, and it can be shared with other Chinese Toolbox users so they can incorporate the same list of known words into Chinese Toolbox.

Encoding: UTF-8

This file is generated when you click on “Export need-to-learn words” of the File menu. It can be edited and imported back into Chinese Toolbox, and it can be shared with other Chinese Toolbox users so they can incorporate the same list of need-to-learn words into Chinese Toolbox.




See the updates for
Chinese Toolbox and Toolbox Coding

especially the new Chinese Toolbox