Chinese Input in Microsoft Windows and Word

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Microsoft Windows comes with an East-Asian language option that allows users to input Chinese and Japanese text without additional software. I discovered about this Chinese IME when I was trying to figure out a way to input Chinese characters. Here’s how to do it:

Windows Vista

To install the Chinese IME in Windows Vista, go to Start Button >> Control Panel >> Clock, Language and Regional.

You should see the Regional and Language Options option. Then select Change keyboards or other input methods.

That will bring up the Keyboard and Languages tab in the Regional and Language Options dialogue. Click the Change keyboards… button. And in the “Text Services and Input Languages” dialogue box, add the Chinese IME and the Chinese Keyboard components.

Click the “Add…” button to see the “Add Input Language” dialog box. Select the Chinese (PRC) entry, expand it and select the Chinese keyboard that you would like to use. Typically, if you are using Simplified Chinese, you would use the Microsoft Pinyin IME.

Click the “OK” button, and you should see a “Chinese” entry under “Installed Services”. Click the “OK” button.

You may be asked to put your Windows Vista CD-ROM in the CD drive so that the relevant files can be copied to your hard drive. NOTE: You cannot install the IME without the CD.

That’s it. You should now see the IME icon in your task bar!

Windows XP

Go to Start Menu >> Control Panel >> Regional and Language Options icon. Then select the “Language” tab.

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Click on the “Install files for East Asian Languages” check box , then click the “Details” button. You should then see the “Text Services and Input Languages” dialog box.

Up to this point, your Windows machine is now enabled to read Chinese fonts! But to input and write Chinese in Windows requires a few more simple steps. Read on to find out…

In the same “Text services and input languages” dialogue box, add the Chinese IME by clicking the “Add…” button in the “Installed services” frame. The “Add Input Language” dialogue box should appear, so just click on the “Input language” drop down box and select “Chinese (PRC)”. PRC stands for Peoples’ Republic of China. This is the most popular choice for Simplified Mandarin Chinese.

Once you have select “Chinese PRC” click the “OK” button. Now you should see “Chinese (PRC)” as one of the listed Installed Services. Click the “OK” or “Apply” button to finish.

You may be asked to put your Windows XP CD-ROM in the CD drive so that the relevant files can be copied across to your hard drive. PLEASE NOTE: You can not install the IME without the CD.

All installed IMEs are accessed through the the language bar tray icon. Here we see the “EN” icon, showing that the English Input Method is active.

To switch to the other installed IMEs, simply click on the “EN” icon. Select the Chinese (PRC) item in the IME popup menu to see a new “CH” icon.

NOTE: The Chinese IME will only become active if there is software running in the foreground that will accept Chinese input.

You can view the full IME menu bar by right-clicking on the “CH” icon. A popup menu will appear, so just click on the “Restore the Language bar” option to show the IME bar.

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Alvin Poh lives in Singapore, and is interested in marketing, techy stuff, and likes to just figure out how the two can work with each other. He can also be found on Google+.

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