Chinese characters have their roots in calligraphy, so stroke order is vital in writing Chinese. Having the wrong stroke order would cause ink to fall differently and make Chinese cursive literally indistinguishable.
Follow these basic 7 tips and you'll be on your way to better Chinese handwriting!
TOP TO BOTTOM 从上到下
When a Chinese character is "stacked" vertically, like the character "立 (lì)", the rule is to write from top to bottom.
LEFT TO RIGHT 从左到右
When a Chinese character has a radical, the character is written left to right. The same rule applies to characters that are stacked horizontally. Take a look at the example "吃 (chī)".
SYMMETRY COUNTS 先中间后两边
When you are writing a character that is more or less symmetrical, the general rule is to write the center stroke first. Check out the character "小 (xiǎo)".
HORIZONTAL FIRST, VERTICAL SECOND 先横后竖
Horizontal strokes are always written before vertical strokes. Check out how to write the character "十 (shí)".
ENCLOSURES BEFORE CONTENT 先外后里再封口
You need to create the frame of the character before you fill it in. Check out how to write the character "日 (rì)".
CLOSE FRAMES LAST 大囗最后封底
Remember this step as, "You need to fill the closet before you close the door." After you write the middle strokes, close the frame, such as in the character "回 (huí)".
CHARACTER SPANNING STROKES LAST 切分汉字结构的笔画放最后
For strokes that cut across many other strokes, they are often written last. For example, the character "半 (bàn)". The vertical line is written last.
However, there are always exceptions to everything. In order to truly master stroke order, you need to increase your Chinese skill on a whole and be exposed to new vocabulary.
Translated from: tutorming