Guide to Installing and Using Microsoft Chinese Input Method Editor (IME)

This page outlines the steps for installing Chinese language support on a computer running Windows 95/98/Me/NT 4.0, Windows 2000 Professional, Windows XP or Windows Vista so that you can both read and write in Chinese.

Table of Contents


Installing Chinese Language Support in Windows 95/98/Me/NT 4.0

Windows 95/98/Me/NT4 do not have built-in East Asian language support: users have to download the Asian language support and input editor files from Microsoft's Web site.


Installing Chinese Language Support in Windows 2000 Professional

  1. First open the Control Panel dialog box by clicking on the Start button, moving the mouse to Settings and click on Control Panel.



    Then double click on Regional Options to open its dialog box.

  2. Under the General tab in the Regional Options dialog box, check the languages you want supported (Japanese; Korean; Simplified Chinese; and/or Traditional Chinese) by clicking in the checkbox next to those languages listed under Language settings for the system. You may need to scroll down to see the language options you want. You may be prompted for a Windows 2000 Professional CD-ROM.



  3. Next, click on the tab for Input Locales, and then add the language input options you want by clicking on the Change... button under Input Languages and Methods.



  4. If you have used certain input methods before, you will probably want to choose those if they are available in Microsoft's menus. For traditional and simplified Chinese, there are many choices. If you are comfortable with the Pinyin romanization system for Chinese, you may want to choose Chinese (Simplified) - MS-Pinyin98. Note that MS-Pinyin98 allows toggling between traditional and simplified Chinese input, and so if you want to be able to write both traditional and simplified characters you may not need to install a traditional Chinese input option in addition.

    The next 3 sections illustrate the installation of this input editor. I have not provided examples here for installing Traditional Chinese language input, but the steps should be similar to those for installing Simplified Chinese.

  5. After you have clicked the Change button in the Input Locales tab as outlined in section (3), you get the Add Input Language dialogue box. Choose Chinese (PRC) from the drop-down list under Input Language, check the Keyboard Layout / IME button, and then pick Chinese (Simplified) - MS-PinYin 98. Then click OK.



  6. You are now back to the Text Services dialog box. Note that under Chinese (PRC) /Keyboard, Chinese (Simplified) - MS-PinYin 98 is now listed. Click Apply and then OK.



  7. After you have installed Chinese (Simplified) - MS-Pinyin98 input editor, you may want to fine tune its properties. To do this, first select Chinese (Simplified) - MS-Pinyin98 under Services in the Text Services dialog box by clicking on and highlighting it. Then click on Properties to bring up the Properties dialog box for MS-Pinyin98.

    For new users, it is strongly recommended that be checked (if it is not checked by default) and that the other default options be left in place. A prompt line interface will then be available to allow easy choice of the correct Chinese character(s) for the pinyin romanization just entered. (An explanation of how this prompt line interface works is found on the page for writing Chinese under Windows 2000 Professional.) Experienced users will want to pick and choose their options.



  8. Hurray! You are now ready to both read and write Chinese in your documents. You will see on the right hand side of the taskbar at the bottom of the Windows desktop the Language bar button , which allows users to change the input language in an application by left clicking on it to bring up the language choices available and then selecting and clicking the desired language. Note that within the same document you can change the input language by using the Language button. You can produce a document with a mixture of different languages.


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Installing Chinese Language Support in Windows XP

  1. First open the Control Panel dialog box by clicking on the Start button, and then click on Control Panel. By default the Control Panel is in the new Category View. If that is the case, click on Date, Time, Language, and Regional Options under Pick a Category. If not, you can either click on Switch to Category View to bring it up, or work in the Classic View (in that case just double click on the Regional and Language Options icon to open the Regional and Language Options dialog box; go on to section (3).



  2. The Date, Time, Language, and Regional Options opens. Click on Regional and Language Options under or Pick a Panel Control icon.



  3. You get the Regional and Language Options dialog box. Click on the Languages tab.



  4. You are now under the Languages tab for the Regional and Language Options dialog box.



    Check the box for Install East Asian Languages under Supplemental language support. Then click Apply and OK.

  5. Once the language files have been installed, click on the Details ... button under Text services and input languages while you are still under the Languages tab for the Regional and Language Options dialog box. You get the Text Services and Input Languages dialog box.



    Then click on the Add.. button under Installed services.

  6. The next 3 sections explain how to install Microsoft Pinyin IME 3.0 for simplified Chinese. (A number of other input methods for Chinese are available.) For installing Microsoft New Phonetic IME 2002a for traditional Chinese, skip to section (11).

  7. After you have clicked the Add .. button under Installed services in the Input Locales tab while you are in the Text services and input languages dialog box as outlined in section (5), you get the Add Input Language dialogue box. Choose Chinese (PRC) from the drop-down list under Input Language, check the Keyboard Layout / IME button, and then pick Chinese (Simplified) - Microsoft Pinyin IME 3.0. Then click OK.



  8. You are now back to the Text Services and Input Languages dialog box. Note that under Chinese (PRC) /Keyboard, Chinese (Simplified) - Microsoft Pinyin IME 3.0 is now listed. Click Apply and then OK.



  9. After you have installed Chinese (Simplified) - Microsoft Pinyin IME 3.0, you may want to fine tune its properties. To do this, first select Chinese (Simplified) - Microsoft Pinyin IME 3.0 under Installed services in the Text Services and Input Languages dialog box by clicking on and highlighting it. Then click on Properties to bring up the Properties dialog box for Microsoft Pinyin 3.0.



    Experienced users will want to pick and choose their options. For new users, it is strongly recommended that the default options be left in place.

  10. Microsoft Pinyin 3.0 allows toggling between traditional and simplified Chinese input, and so if you want to be able to write both traditional and simplified characters and you are comfortable with Pinyin romanization, you may not need to install a traditional Chinese input option additionally. (Skip this section if you don't want or need to enable toggling between simplified and traditional characters.)

    After you finished installing Chinese (Simplified) - Microsoft Pinyin IME 3.0, you should see a floating language bar near the top of the screen.



    If instead of the floating language bar, you see a language button on the taskbar on the bottom of the screen, click on the button to bring up a list of languages installed, and then click on Show the Language bar to bring it up.

    Once the language bar is up, click on it to bring up a list of languages installed, and select Simplified Chinese (PRC) by clicking on it. The Chinese lanuage bar comes up.



    By default the toggle button for switching between simplified and traditional does not appear on the language bar for Simplified Chinese in Windows XP (unlike the menu bar for MS-Pinyin98 under Windows 2000 Professional). To enable it, click on the select button (the bottom part of at the right side of the language bar) for additional user selectable settings.



    Move the mouse to the option Charset to highlight it, and then click to select it. Now the option menu contains a button for toggling between simplified and traditional characters.

  11. This and the following 3 sections explain how to install Microsoft New Phonetic IME 2002a for traditional Chinese. After you have clicked on the Add .. button under Installed services in the Input Locales tab while you are in the Text services and input languages dialog box as outlined in section (5), you get the Add Input Language dialogue box. Choose Chinese (Taiwan) from the drop-down list under Input Language, check the Keyboard Layout / IME button, and then pick Microsoft New Phonetic IME 2002a. Then click OK.



  12. You are now back to the Text Services and Input Languages dialog box. Note that under Chinese (Taiwan) /Keyboard, Microsoft New Phonetic IME 2002a is now listed. Click Apply and then OK.



  13. After you have installed Chinese (Taiwan) /Keyboard, Microsoft New Phonetic IME 2002a, you may want to fine tune its properties. To do this, first select Chinese (Taiwan) /Keyboard, Microsoft New Phonetic IME 2002a under Installed services in the Text Services and Input Languages dialog box by clicking on and highlighting it. Then click on Properties to bring up the Properties dialog box for Microsoft New Phonetic IME 2002a.



    Experienced users will want to pick and choose their options. For new users, it is strongly recommended that the default options be left in place.

  14. In my case because I am familiar with Pinyin romanization but not with other Chinese language input methods, I clicked the radio button for Legacy IME under the Settings tab of the Properties dialog box for Microsoft New Phonetic IME 2002a, and the HanYu Pinyin radio button under the Keyboard Mapping tab.



  15. Hurray! You are now ready to both read and write Chinese in your documents. You will see near the upper right hand corner of the Windows desktop the Language bar button , which allows users to change the input language in an application by left clicking on it to bring up the language choices available and then selecting and clicking the desired language. Note that within the same document you can change the input language by using the Language bar. You can produce a document with a mixture of different languages.


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Installing Chinese Language Support in Windows Vista

  1. First open the Control Panel dialog box by clicking on the Start button, and then clicking on Control Panel. By default the Control Panel is in the Category View. If that is the case, click on Clock, Language, and Region. If, instead you are in the Classic View, click on Control Panel Home on the left side to bring up the Category View. Under Clock, Language, and Region, click on Change keyboards or other input methods.


  2. In the Regional and Language Options dialogue box that opens, click on Change keyboards ...


  3. In the Text Services and Input Languages dialog box that opens, click on the Add ... button.



  4. The Add Input Language dialogue box opens.



  5. Scroll down the list until you find the language you want to add. Skip to section 6 if you only want to add traditional Chinese. If you want to add simplified Chinese, scroll down to Chinese (PRC), and click on the + button to expand the list of keyboards available. Select the keyboard(s) you want to use by checking the corresponding box. In this example, the Microsoft Pinyin IME and US keyboards are selected. Click on the OK button if you are done with adding languages. Otherwise continue to select additional languages and keyboards.



  6. If you want to add traditional Chinese, scroll down to Chinese (Taiwan), and click on the + button to expand the list of keyboards available. Select the keyboard(s) you want to use by checking the corresponding box. In this example, the New Quick and Phonetic keyboards are selected. Click on the OK button if you are done with adding languages. Otherwise continue to select additional languages and keyboards.



  7. After you have finished selecting the languages and the keyboards you want to add, click on the OK button in the Add Input Language dialogue box. Then, in the Text Services and Input Languages dialog box that opens, click on the OK button to finish the installation.



  8. The Regional and Language Options dialogue box opens. Click on OK to exit.



  9. You should now see a language button in the taskbar on the bottom of the screen. If you left click on the language button, the list expands into all the languages you have installed. You can switch to another language for inputting by left clicking and selecting the corresponding item on the language list. Note that within the same document you can change the input language by using the Language button. You can produce a document with a mixture of different languages.



  10. For example, if you click on Chinese (PRC), then the Chinese language buttons show up on the task bar at the bottom of the screen.



  11. Clicking on the Chinese language button expands the language list, with Chinese (PRC) now checked as the selected inputting language.



  12. If Show the Language bar is clicked, then the language button changes to a language bar floating near the top of the screen. On the Chinese language bar are various toggle buttons for switching the input mode, input style and other options.

  13. To the far right of the language bar are two buttons . Clicking the top button (a small rectangle) minimizes the language bar to a language button on the taskbar at the bottom of the screen. Clicking the bottom button (an inverted triangle) brings up some additional options. Checking Charset from the list of options adds a toggle button on the language bar for switching between simplified and traditional characters, as shown in the figure below after the button for Character Set has been clicked.


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