How to display Chinese characters in Stata in Windows 8

Researchers using Chinese data are often disappointed by the inability of Stata to display Chinese characters correctly. The solution from the most reliable source I can find online:

Most modern software (OS and applications) work with Unicode. Stata does not work with Unicode. Unicode encodes characters with 2 or more bytes. In Stata each character must be 1 byte only. You need to make sure the input CSV file is encoded in a codepage proper for your region, presumably 1252.

It’s actually simpler than that. If you’re using Windows 8 like I do, the steps are as follows:

1. Go to Control Panel->Language->Advanced Settings.

2. Click into “Apply language settings to the welcome screen, system accounts, and new user accounts”.

3. In “Administrative” tab, under “language for non-Unicode programs”, change it to Chinese (Simplified). You might need to change system locale if your computer wasn’t initially set to be “located in China”.

Note that you don’t need to change your preferred language or system display language. The above steps should also work for other languages as well. Hopefully my note can benefit other researchers.

P.S. I didn’t want my first post in the semester to be this technical, but this kind of reflects what’s on my mind.

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