Characters

Stroke order:
Learnchineseez: learn low to write the 4000 most common Chinese characters.
Arch Chinese: animated stroke order with translation and words containing the character.
On the main page you can also find worksheets, flashcards and other learning tools
Mandarinstrokes helps you with stroke order. You can search for the characters by number of strokes, pinyin or character.
★ The MDBG dictionary includes stroke order animation.

Typing Chinese online:
★ If you need to type Chinese but cannot use a computer where it is installed, you can use quite a few websites. Most of them use the same software, some examples are: chinesetools, purpleculture, inputking, chinesebay. i2pinyin comes with a virtual keyboard.
★ I like this website because there you can type slightly longer phrases and select the characters afterwards.
★ If you know how the characters looks but have no idea how it is pronounced, then you need a dictionary with a handwriting recognition. Here are some choices, available online: hippodict (for iPhone), pleco (only downloadable).