Chinese Input in Microsoft Windows and Word

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.

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.

14 responses to “Chinese Input in Microsoft Windows and Word”

  1. Hi Alvin,

    The PRC Chinese (Simplified) is not found in the Add Input Language.
    I am on Vista and used to have it and used. But, it’s gone! How do I get it back. I don’t have the problem on my notebook.

    Thanks fo urgent help.


  2. Hi Alvin,

    Thanks, but this describes the standard procedure when the PRC Chinese is found in the Add Input Language menu. It is not found in the Add Input Language menu in my desk-top! How do I get that into the menu? Do I re-load the Microsoft Office service pack or what?

    More help please.


  3. That’s exactly the problem. I proceed up to Step 4 and cannot find PRC Chinese in the list. Whereas in my notebook I have no problems.

  4. Could be any number of reasons, I can’t tell without having the computer and more details. If all else fails, you’ll probably need to re-install Windows (not Office)

  5. Well, I am in Australia.
    Is there anywhere else you can refer me to? Could it have been a viral attack? I am with Norton and was recently informed that my homepage was automatically reset to Norton as a result of it removing a potential viral attack. Shall I ask Norton?

  6. Afraid not buddy, I’m not in the IT support field. Would love to help if I could, but this isn’t something that I specialise in. You could try norton, but I’ve never dealt with that company before too.

    • Hi TB,

      That’s fantastic, I’m glad your problem got solved. I’m sure that that page would also be helpful to others who visit this post.

  7. Hey there!

    I’ve tried installing Chinese on my system, and it just doesnt seem to happen. I’ve installed the files required for the east asian languages to run, but it doesnt give me the option to select from the keyboard inputs. Please note, i want to avoid re-installing the OS, due to some softwares installed.

    I would be glad if you are able to help me in this regard.

    Thank you.

  8. Hey TB & Alvin

    Thank you so much for the links you guys posted, to download the MSPY file. I am able to type chinese now..!! Feels great after all the trouble..:P ?? (thank you!!)


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