How to type in Asian languages in Windows

I know there are a lot of tutorials on the intertubes that show you how to do this but here’s another one. Here’s how to type in Chinese using pinyin (you can also install other languages this way, like typing in Japanese using hiragana and katakana).These instructions are for Windows XP but it should be pretty similar in Vista.

  1. In the control panel, there should be an icon that says Region and Language options or something similar. In this window, there should be a tab called languages. Make sure the Install files for East Asian languages is checked.
    Make sure you have files for East Asian languages installed.
  2. Now in the same tab,there should be a section called text services and input languages with a button labeled Details.Click that button to show a list of available keyboard languages to install.
  3. If you haven’t installed any other languages, you’ll probably only see English. Add a new language by hitting the add button and search for the language you want to install.If you don’t see the Asian languages listed here, you may have to hit OK out of all the windows for the languages to show up and come back here.
    languages/keyboards installed
  4. If you want to just right in simplified Chinese, add the Chinese (PRC) language with the Microsoft Pinyin IME keyboard.It should probably be the default.If you want to write in traditional as well, add the Chinese (Taiwan) language with the Microsoft New Phonetic IME keyboard.The names of the keyboards may be a little different but you should be able to find one that’s distinct and similar to these.
  5. Now you should see a little language bar on the bottom right of your taskbar.If you don’t, try right-clicking on your taskbar and in the toolbars menu, make sure language bar is the language toolbar
  6. If you just want to type in simplified Chinese, you should just be able to click on the EN button and choose Chinese (PRC) and you’ll be set.The default settings are Hanyu Pinyin.The EN icon will change to CH (that button shows the currently selected language).
    • If you want to type in traditional (for all you Taiwanese folk), you have to change one more setting. First, change the language to Chinese (Taiwan). Then, if you click on the CN button, there should be an option that says show the language bar. Click that to expand the toolbar.
    • One of the last buttons on the right should say tools. In this menu, click on properties, and then go to the keyboard mapping tab. Choose Hanyu Pinyin and click OK and you’re set.Taiwanese language optionsKeyboard mapping
  7. Now, to actually type, open up notepad or Word or anything else that lets you type.Choose the language you want to type in.Start typing in pinyin the characters you want to type and it should intelligently select which character you want.It’s best to toy around with it to get a feel for it.After you finish typing the pinyin for one character, you can use one of 3 ways to make the character show up.
    • If you start typing the next character, the system will intelligently select a character for the pinyin you just finished. This is the probably the fastest way to type.
    • If you type in a space or enter after a complete pinyin letter, it will also fill in the character. This is handy for finishing off a sentence.
    • If for some reason the system gets the character wrong, you can manually set the tone by typing in a number after you type in the pinyin. You can use 1,2,3, or 4 for their respective tones, and I think 5 does a neutral tone if there is one. Generally this is unnecessary but in some cases it can be. This is also helpful if you want to see what the character for a particular pinyin word looks like.

There you go.Also, one very handy tip.If you want to toggle between different character sets, you can hit left alt + space.This is very handy for switching quickly between English and Chinese or any other 2 languages, especially when typing something in real time like IM.  You can change the hotkeys for this and other actions by hitting the “Key Settings” button on the Text Services and Input Languages window.  Hope these instructions were helpful and not too confusing.

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