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Chinese Language Guide


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Which Input Methods Should I Activate?

If you're just getting started with Chinese, we recommend:


  • Simplified Chinese - ITABC


  • Chinese (PRC) - Microsoft Pinyin IME

Most computers at MHC have all of the following input methods:


  • Simplified Chinese:
    • ITABC
    • Wubi Hua
    • Wubi Xing
  • Traditional Chinese:
    • Zhuyin
    • Pinyin


  • Chinese (PRC) - Simplified:
    • QuanPin
    • ShuanPin
    • Microsoft Pinyin IME 2010 (including ABC, New Experience, and SimpleFast)
  • Chinese (Taiwan) - Traditional:
    • New Phonetic 2010
    • Phonetic
  • Google Pinyin (谷歌拼音输入法)

(Note: Google Pinyin doesn't come with Windows, see Additional Links at right for instructions to download and install it.)

Setting up Your Computer to Type in Non-Roman Languages

Setting up Your Computer to Type in a Non-Roman Language

Whether you're using Windows or Mac, you will follow these three basic steps to get started:

  1. Activate/install the keyboards or input method(s) that you want to use.

  2. Turn on the menu that allows you to switch between languages for typing.

  3. (Optional) If you are using an input method that involves a non-US keyboard layout (e.g., hiragana keyboard layout for Japanese), you may also want a way to see what characters are associated with each key.

See the Windows and Mac boxes below for details about how to do this on each system.

Windows Links

Activating Keyboards and the Language Bar in Windows

First, activate the keyboards or input methods that you want through the Control Panel:

  1. Click on the Start button > Control Panel > Clock, Language, and Region > Region and Language.
  2. Click the Keyboards and Languages tab, and then click Change keyboards.
  3. Under Installed services, click Add.
  4. Double-click the language you want to add, double-click "Keyboard," and select the options you want. Then click OK.

Next, turn on the Language Bar:

  1. While you still have the "Text Services and Input Languages" window open (or open again following steps 1-2 above), click on the Language Bar tab.
  2. Make sure the "Docked in the taskbar" option is selected. Click OK to close all control panel windows open.

Use the Language Bar to select which language you want to type in:

  1. The Language Bar should now appear in the lower-right corner of your computer screen.
  2. Click on the 2-letter language abbreviation (e.g., EN for English), then select the language you want from the menu.
  3. Some languages have multiple keyboard options. After you select the language, click the small keyboard icon to select further options.

When using another keyboard layout, open the On-Screen Keyboard to see what characters are associated with each key:

  1. Click the Start button > All Programs > Accessories > Ease of Access. (In Windows XP, it's called Accessibility.)
  2. Then click On-Screen Keyboard to open the On-Screen Keyboard.
  3. The On-Screen Keyboard will show you what letters are associated with each key. You can type the letters with your keyboard, or you can click on the letters on the screen.
  4. When you press/click Shift, Ctrl, Alt, etc., you'll see what new characters can be typed by using these combination keys.

Need help? Contact the LRC, or check out the links below for more detailed, step-by-step instructions.

Windows - Additional Links for Chinese

Additional Links for Chinese on Windows

Mac Links

Activating Keyboards and Keyboard Viewer on a Mac

First, activate the keyboards or input methods you want:

  1. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences.
  2. Click Language & Text, and then click Input Sources.
  3. Select the checkbox(es) next to the input sources or keyboards you want to use.
  4. Be sure to check the "Keyboard and Character Viewer" box as well.
  5. At the bottom, select the “Show Input menu in menu bar” checkbox.

To use these keyboards:

  1. At the top-right of your screen, you should now see the Input Menu. Click on the "U.S." option, and choose your prefered language from the drop-down list that appears.

  2. Your new language should now appear:

  3. You may also want to choose "Show Keyboard Viewer" from this menu to see what characters match each key in this keyboard layout.

Need help? Contact the LRC, or check out the links below for more detailed, step-by-step instructions.

MHC Accessibility Barriers Form