How to Install Chinese Input for Windows


Can you use an English version of Windows to write Chinese text? The answer is yes you can. By using the Windows Input Method Editor (IME), one can easily type Chinese characters into any field that accepts textual input. Windows IME's have been around for many years; however, in the days of windows 98, they had to be downloaded separately from Microsoft. Windows XP and Vista usually come bundled with the IME's but they need to installed and configured in order to use them.

Step 1: The Control Panel

Access the Windows Control Panel by using the START button at the bottom left hand side of the Desktop. Once inside, click on Change keyboards or other input methods in the Clock, Language, and Region section.

Step 2: Regional and Language Options

In this section, simply click on the Change Keyboards button.

Step 3: Text Services and Input Languages

Changing the Default input language will switch your input language to something other than English. Leave this at the default setting. Click on Add... to install a new IME.

Step 4: Add Input Language

Here is where you can select which input languages to install. You may choose more than one. In this case, we will install Traditional Chinese for Taiwan. If you wish to use BoPoMoFo (注音符號) you should select New Phonetic.

Step 5: Text Services and Input Languages

Once you are back at the Text Services and Input Languages screen, highlight Chinese (Traditional) - New Phonetic and click on Propeties...

Step 6: Microsoft New Phonetic IME Settings

Choose your preferred keyboard layout allows you to select which method you will use for entering Chinese.

  • Standard - BoPoMoFo or Zhuyin Fuhao (注音符號)
  • Hanyu Pinyin - Globally recognized Chinese romanization system
  • Taiwan Pinyin - Tongyong Pinyin for Taiwan
Step 7: Switching Between Languages

The IME installation is complete. Now you should see a language bar at the bottom right side of your desktop. EN should be displayed. You can use CTRL-Space to toggle between languages. CH will be displayed when Chinese input is available.

Step 8: Options Menu

If you right-click the Tool Menu icon on the Chinese language bar, you will see a list of options that you can play around with. A really cool feature is the IME Pad.

Step 9: The IME Pad

The IME Pad allows you to use the mouse or mouse pad to write out a character. This is really helpfu for those characters that you don't know. Simply draw out the character (knowing stroke order is useful) and with each stroke, the list of possible characters changes. If you hover over a character on the list, it will even give you the pronunciation using BoPoMo.

Resources and Links
  • Microsoft IME Information - There is a link to download IME's for Windows XP just in case they are missing or corrupt.
  • - This website has a cool tool to allow you to write Pinyin with tone marks.
  • 3 stars
    Comment from: kelmen
    08/29/10 @ 03:26:36 pm

    i like to IME Pad hand writing, but i couldn’t found IME Pad from regional and language options setting…

  • Comment from: Ah-Taiwan
    08/31/10 @ 01:53:03 pm

    kelmen, when you are ready to type in Chinese text, use CTRL-Space to change your input locale from EN to CH. You will know your locale by looking in the area around the clock (usually at the bottom right of your screen). From this point, you can follow from Step 8. Make sure that you have properly installed an IME (I use Chinese Traditional - New Phonetic because it is easy to use Pinyin or BoPoMo).

  • Comment from: all inclusive vacations
    10/29/10 @ 11:50:57 pm

    Now I can be a master Chinese blogger :) Pretty cool though; beats having to type everything in Google Translate first

  • 5 stars
    Comment from: Terry
    03/14/11 @ 01:14:55 pm

    Wonderful, it works great.

  • Comment from: wendy
    04/15/13 @ 09:27:12 pm

    i cant do it in window 8

  • Comment from: ch
    12/02/13 @ 01:04:02 pm

    how can it work on window 8? i need help thanks

  • Comment from: Michael
    12/26/13 @ 07:48:03 am

    Thanks for your very useful information. I follow you each step and got every thing, Except: after the step 7, I click the Zhuyin symbols, and click the enter, no chinese characters was shown, Do I missed some steps? Thank You Michael

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be revealed on this site.
(For my next comment on this site)
(Allow users to contact me through a message form -- Your email will not be revealed!)
This is a captcha-picture. It is used to prevent mass-access by robots.
Please enter the characters from the image above. (case insensitive)