Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How to type chinese characters on your computer

PC computers sold in China have built-in Chinese character input program. But English Windows computers require an additional installation of Chinese character typing program. I used to think I need to purchase some kind of software in order to input Chinese character on my computer. I even thought of asking relatives in China to buy me an input program. But after an hour of online research, I finally figured out how to type Chinese on my computer--absolutely free.

A little bit of background:
My computer is running the Windows XP service pack 3 operating system.
I want to input Traditional Chinese character using ChangJie method.
*For users who want use Taiwanese pinyin and for users who want to use Mainland Chinese Bopomofo, skip to to the bottom of the page. I'll tell you how.

1. First, visit your control panel. Select "Date, Time, Language, and Regional Options." Then select "Regional and Language Update" (the globe icon).

2. Select the Languages tab on the top. Under "Text services and input languages," click on "Details..."

3. Click the "Add" button; select Chinese (Taiwan)
. For some reasons, I couldn't apply the ChangJie program to Hong Kong SAR, so just pick Taiwan. They both use Traditional Chinese font.

4. Click OK and OK.

5. Go online to http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=f2a55210-4cc1-4040-b710-625a45f2594d&displaylang=en

6. Read. Select your internet speed/estimated download time. Then Scroll down to the bottom. You will see 3 options:
TINTSETP.MSI: Microsoft New Phonetic IME
CINTSETP.MSI: Microsoft New ChangJie IME
Pick the "CINTSETP" one for ChangJie method.

7. After you save it, just click on it (it should be on your desktop) and install. No rebooting necessary, YEAH!

8. After you are done, go back to the Regional Languages place in control panel following the same steps above.

9. You should now see "Chinese (Traditional)-New ChangJie" under the "Keyboard" of "Chinese (Taiwan)." There is a little button on your taskbar (the bottom left of your screen close to the clock). You can toggle back and forth between English and Chinese by click it.

10. It's time to take a test drive; open up a word document.

11. Select Chinese using that button in step 12. Now type something! (eg. a+b+spacebar=明) By the way, you can now type Chinese virtually anywhere on your computer (browser, excel, etc.).

**For Taiwanese PinYin and Chinese Bopomofo users:
Follow the above same steps but go to here to download Microsoft Global IME instead:
After you download, hightlight "Microsoft Global IME" under the keyboard icon (Languages) and click "properties" button. Pick the second tab on the top and you will see a list of different intelligent phonetic input methods, select the one you prefer.

Additional link:
A list of different input methods (Japanese, Chinese, Simplified & Traditional) that Microsoft provides:

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