Setting Up Your PC for Chinese Word Processing



Free Online Tools for Typing Chinese

There are a few web sites that allow you to type Chinese without any Chinese software installation. All you need to do is to enter the pinyin spelling of a word and then just choose the corresponding character(s) from a list that pops up. Then you can save (copy/paste) your text onto your local computer or drive. Try these great web tools at:

Setting Up Your PC for Chinese Word Processing (MS Input Method/IME)

Windows XP (or a later edition) has a very powerful built-in Chinese program that allows you to do Chinese word processing with MS applications (e.g. in Word, Excell, PowerPoint, FrontPage) and other Windows compatible programs (e.g. Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash). With this program activated, you can also view and type Chinese on a web page or in your email.

Follow these steps:

  1. Start>Control Panel>Ragional & Language Options

  2. Languages (tab)>Install files for Asian Languages (your computer starts to copy files; or go to next if the files were already copied previously)

  3. (with the same window open after copying files) Details>Add> then from Input Language pulldown menu select "Chinese (PRC)".

  4. Check the box for Keyboard Layout/IME, then from the pull down list, select the following two common methods (you will need both of them!):

      a.(This is for both simplified and traditional characters, with more phrase support.)
      MicroSoft Pinyin IME 3.0

      (This is for simplified characters only, but faster; can create own phrase list.)
      Chinese (simplified) --Quanpin


You are done with the general setup! Follow the steps below to get familar with these input methods and their common settings.

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Typing Chinese with Windows Built-in Chinese Input Methods

I. Know the Language Bar

  1. Open a word document or a text pad.

  2. Press Shift-Alt a few times to see if you have a language bar at the bottom or on top of your screen. EN for English, CH for Chinese.

  3. If you see the minimized language bar, try the following to see the full bar:
  • Click on EN or CH, select CH (you should see a control center on the bottom left or right. That means you are ready to type Chinese.

  • Click on CH again, and select Show the language bar or Restore the language bar, then you will see a full bar on top or bottom of the screen with more options available.

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II. Settings

A. The Quanpin Method
Main features: This method allows you to see the characters as you type. Character itms are displayed in the vertical format, which makes the selection easier. As you become familiar with this method, you may try to build your custom phrases.

    a. With a Word doc open, select CH from the language bar, and click on the icon next to CH to choose the Quanpin input method. (A control center should appear on the bottom left of the screen.)

    b. Box 1 (with a Windows icon) toggles language modes between Chinese and English (A for English); Box 2 indicates the current method (Quanpin); Box 3 should remain in a half-moon shape, or the English words will be loosened; Box 4 is toggle between English and Chinese punctuation marks (e.g. Chinese period is a tiny circle instead of a solid dot). Box 5 is for soft keyboards for pinyin or other symbols (right-click to see options), and should be closed when typing (click on the box to open or close).

    c. With Box 1 on Chinese mode, test the set up by typing the following:

    中国 (=zhongguo/China) ,(= wo/I, me) ,(=ni /you),

    (=yi /one), (=er/two), (= san/three)

    (=lu/road) (=yu/fish) (=zhu/live)

    (=nü/woman) 绿 (=lü/green)

Note: Enter v for ü (when ü is preceded by L or N) , e.g. nv for (女), lv for lü (绿), etc.


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B. Microsoft Pinyin Input Method Editor (MS Pinyin IME)
Main features: This method gives you more features. 1) Choosing simplified or traditional characters at any time. 2) Using vertical or horizontal character display. 3)Using sentence mode (continuous typing until a sentence is finished) or word mode (word items are displayed right after a pinyin word is entered). 4) It has a large collection of commonly used phrases including idioms and set phrases.

1. Display Modes

    By default this method displays simplified characters with the sentence mode (i.e. you cannot see the characters until you finish a sentence). For the learner of Chinese the best mode is the Word Mode, which allows the user to see the character choices right after a pinyin item is entered.

    To change the sentence mode to the word mode, do the following:

  • Activate the MS IME method: Click on the icon next to the CH Chinese (PRC)and select MS IME.

  • Restore the language bar: If you only see the minimized language bar, click on CH and select Show the language bar or Restore the language bar (the full bar will appear on top or bottom of your screen)

  • On the language bar, click on Context menu>Properties; then choose Word mode; and then Row or List style (either will be fine depending on your preference); click OK.

  • Try this method by typing out the above character items again. Switch to the Quanpin method and compare (click on the colorful button labeled MSPYnext to the CH button and select ....Quanpin).

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2. Toggle between Simplified and Traditional Characters

  • At the end of the language bar after the question mark you can see a little triangle for a pulldown menu. Click on that, you will see the features available for your language bar (checked ones are shown)

  • The fourth one in the pulldown list is the toggle button for character set. for the simplified and for the traditional. Click on that will have it on the language bar for you to toggle between the two anytime you choose.

3. Correcting a wrong character

When you spot a wrong character, you can make corrections either by deleting and retyping that character, or by using the Correction button to display a list of candidates with the same sound.

To put the Correction button on the language bar, click on Options (a little triangle at the end of the language bar). Then select Correction.

Try typing a few characters in your Word document. Select one character, then click on Correction.

If you have other questions, use the MS IME Help button (a question mark displayed on the language bar or from the Options list.)

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Using Other Input Methods (Taiwan, HK, Singarpore)

If you prefer an input method other than pinyin or developed by Taiwan, Hong Kong or Singarport, you can also activate the program from the Settings. For example:

  • Right click on EN or CH>Settings, and Add> Chinese (Taiwan), then select from the Keyboard Layout/IME:

    Chinese (traditional) --phonetic
    (for traditional characters only; with multiple input methods)


Typing Chinese in Your Email

After setting up your PC for typing Chinese as described above, you can basically type Chinese in your email system. However, Chinese characters sometimes might not be displayed properly--whether from your own typing or from a received message. For example, your email window seems to display characters perfectly but the recipient's doesn't. Or the other way around: you may receive a message with strange symbols or numbers or even unusual Chinese characters that you don't understand.

There are several factors that may cause wrong character display or viewing. One of them has to do with your own Internet settings. To minimize display problems, you should set your Internet View/Encoding option to Unicode (UTF-8).


    If you need assistance, please contact the following student helper:

  • Jonathan:

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