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Pinyin Mandarin Chinese Keyboard Help


Overview
Using this Keyboard
Quickstart
Examples
Keyboard Use Details
Step by step
Syllables with many possible Chinese characters
Accented Pinyin
Abbreviations for place names
Typing ahead
Editing existing text
Entering Latin alphabet text
Closing the IME window
Troubleshooting
The IME window is not visible
After I started typing, the IME window disappeared...
My text was erased!
Technical Information
Further Resources
Authorship

Overview

This keyboard is designed for the Chinese language, especially Simplified Chinese as used in mainland China and elsewhere. Input uses the standard pinyin method of representing Chinese syllables with Latin alphabet characters, with an "input method editor" (IME) window showing a list of matching Chinese characters.

The keyboard works best with a QWERTY (English) keyboard.

The keyboard has been developed and tested using the standard Unicode Chinese fonts distributed with Microsoft Windows, but any font that includes Unicode Chinese characters may be used. If square boxes are displayed instead of characters, either when using this keyboard or in the examples below, please read our troubleshooting guide.

Using this Keyboard

Quickstart

Type each pinyin syllable or word (without tone numbers) then select the wanted Chinese character from the displayed list of suggestions by typing the digit shown by that character. For example, 拼音 is typed as pinyin1pinyin1.

If more than nine Chinese characters are represented by the same pinyin string, use PageDown and PageUp to scroll through the list.

Example

LanguagePhraseMeaningType the following keys
Chinese我非常喜欢学汉语"I really like studying Chinese"wo3feichang1xihuan1xuepgdn3hanyu1wo3feichang1xihuan1xuePgDn 3hanyu1

Keyboard Use Details

Step by step

The following step-by-step example showing what happens as each letter is typed will help explain just how the keyboard is used.

ppThe KeymanWeb IME window appears, and a list of some of the most common characters starting with p is shown with a grey background, indicating that the character is not an exact match for the typed letter.
iiThe list changes and now shows those characters exactly matching pi, with a white background.
nnOnly Chinese characters for pin are now listed.
yyAs there are no Chinese words written as piny, the list again shows words that start with piny (against a grey background).
iiThe IME now displays the only two Chinese words (in its dictionary) that start with pinyi.
nnThe exact match for pinyin is now shown with a white background, and one other word starting with pinyin is shown with grey background.
11Typing 1, or clicking the first box, will immediately replace the entered pinyin string by the Chinese word for that string, and hide the IME window.

The IME will usually display more frequently used characters or words before other characters or words matching the same input string.

When the IME is showing a list of suggestions, pressing the space-bar or typing Enter will also replace the typed pinyin letters by the first character or word currently shown. Typing any punctuation key will similarly cause the IME to insert the first listed character or word, followed by the typed punctuation character. If Space, Enter or any digit or punctuation key is typed before the IME is showing a list of suggestions, it will be output directly into the document.

Syllables with many possible Chinese characters

Where a green arrow is shown in the rightmost box, it indicates that there are more Chinese characters or words that match the entered string. Clicking on that box, or pressing PageDown, will show the next nine matching characters or words. Exact matches are always shown first, followed by up to twenty common characters or words that start with the entered string. Typing PageUp (or clicking the left-arrow box) will move back through the list, nine suggestions at a time. Typing Home will move immediately to the start of the list (the most frequently encountered words matching the typed letters).

Accented Pinyin

The accented pinyin for each character or word shown in the IME list can be seen by moving the mouse over that character:

Abbreviations for place names

The widely-used standard two-letter abbreviations for provinces and some cities and regions are also recognized by the IME:

Typing ahead

You do not need to wait for the IME to display the list of possible Chinese characters after each key-stroke. The IME recognizes if more characters have been typed and will only display the suggestions for the complete string that has been entered. If you know which character you will want from the final list for a typed string, you can type the selection digit and keep on typing. In most cases, the IME will remember what has been typed and process the entire input sequence correctly.

If the IME for any reason does not process the string at the insertion point correctly, press Escape to close the IME window, re-position the cursor as required, then continue entering text normally.

Editing existing text

Chinese text already entered into an input area may be edited in the normal way, using cut and paste or the Backspace and Delete keys, and moving through the document with the cursor (arrow) keys. But once a Latin letter is typed at any point, the IME will use any Latin characters immediately before that character to try and find matching Chinese characters or words. Do not use the IME to enter a Chinese character or word immediately following Latin text if that text must remain unchanged.

Entering Latin alphabet text

If more than one or two letters (in Latin alphabet) are to be typed into the input area, the KeymanWeb keyboard should simply be disabled, then re-enabled (after white space or punctuation) when continuing to enter Chinese text.

Closing the IME window

Type Escape to close the IME window and leave the typed Latin alphabet characters unchanged in the input area.

Troubleshooting

The IME window is not visible

If the IME window does not appear when a letter key is typed, then either the site has not been configured to use KeymanWeb, or else the input area you are entering text into cannot accept Chinese text. For example, it is not yet generally possible to use email addresses written with Chinese characters, so email address fields will not accept Chinese.

After I started typing, the IME window disappeared...

If the IME window disappears after typing some letters but before the Chinese characters have been inserted, check:

  • Has the focus been moved to another input area? If so, click back at the correct insertion point and the IME should re-appear.
  • Has the keyboard been disabled? Check the KeymanWeb toolbar - the selected language should be Chinese, Mandarin.
  • Is the input area near the bottom of the screen? If so, the IME window may be off-screen, so scroll down so that the input area is no longer near the edge of the screen.

My text was erased!

If the mouse is used to position the insertion point anywhere in a string of Latin characters, as soon as another character is typed, the IME will try and process the entire string (up to and including the typed character) as a pinyin string. If it does not match any recognized pinyin word, the string may be deleted, as normally happens when entering text and an unrecognized sequence is typed. The solution to this is to always insert a white-space or punctuation character before using the IME to enter text into existing (Latin-alphabet) text.

Please read the KeymanWeb troubleshooting guide for further information.

For any other questions, contact us.

Technical Information

System Requirements

It is recommended that you use an English QWERTY hardware keyboard with this keyboard.

Unicode Version

This keyboard complies with Unicode 5.1

Further Resources

Keyman Desktop can be supplied with a Simplified Chinese IME keyboard, allowing use with a large number of Windows applications, not just web pages. Download a trial version of Keyman Desktop - Simplified Chinese and evaluate it freely for 30 days.

Keyboard Authorship

This keyboard was created by Tavultesoft. Tavultesoft graciously acknowledges the use of some Chinese character tables and information provided by Dr. Peter Hauer of Linguasoft.

All Documentation Versions


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