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Windows 8 Chinese Pinyin Setup

2. Traditional Chinese Pinyin Input in Windows 8

Other pages:
Overview  ◊  1. Input Methods Setup  ◊  3. Handwriting and Display Languages

Related FAQ:
Which Chinese features are missing or broken in Windows 8 and 8.1?


After enabling Chinese input methods by following my instructions on the previous page, if you plan to work in Traditional characters then (since you're on "Pinyin Joe's" website) you probably want to use Hanyu Pinyin instead of Zhuyin Fuhao.

There are two ways to use Hanyu Pinyin to enter Traditional characters in Windows 8:

Microsoft New Phonetic IME logo The Microsoft Bopomofo IME, developed in Taiwan and formerly known as New Phonetic until Windows 8.1, will allow you to enter Pinyin with tone numbers (as in "pin1yin1") or without ("pinyin"), and will allow you to set your underlying encoding to Big5 or Unicode. But last time I checked, the Pinyin option was not available for tablet apps! Pinyin only works on the desktop. I'm looking for a fix...please let me know if you find one first. But meanwhile it works great on the desktop. This is the most common choice for Traditional character Pinyin input outside of mainland China. Since the Windows 7 2010 update this input method has also worked in Simplified characters, but while in that mode it can't predict associated phrases (聯想), so it's best to use this input method only for Traditional characters.

MSPY IME logo The Microsoft Pinyin (MSPY) IME, developed in Harbin, will work in Simplified characters, Traditional characters, or both. But if you do use this for Traditional characters, the invisible "ones and zeros" that your computer uses to store Chinese characters will still be in the official mainland GB encoding, and that can cause problems when exchanging documents outside of mainland China. Also, while this IME is in Traditional character mode it disables dynamic ranking and self-learning. Therefore it's best to use this only for Simplified characters. Jump to this »»


Hanyu Pinyin Input in the MS New Phonetic IME

Input method menuTo set the New Phonetic IME to Hanyu Pinyin input, now that you've setup your Chinese IME(s) you'll find an input methods menu on your Desktop Taskbar. It includes an item at the bottom called "Language preferences". Select that, and you'll find yourself at the Language control panel.

Another way to get there is, also from the Desktop, press <Windows>+I, select Control Panel, and then under "Clock, Language and Region" choose "Change input methods".

As explained on the previous Pinyin setup page, I recommend using only desktop control panels, especially in Windows 8.1, as some desktop-only language feature settings may not be accessible in the Modern UI preference screens.)

In this case, the Hanyu Pinyin option is not even available on the tablet side, and even if you change it on the desktop side it will not work in tablet apps. I'm searching for a solution to this problem...please let me know if you find one first. Otherwise, we can only wait for the next IME update.


When the Language panel appears, select "Options" for Traditional Chinese:

Windows 8 New Phonetic IME Options


Then select the Options for Microsoft Bopomofo (previously New Phonetic):

Windows 8 New Phonetic options


In Microsoft Bopomofo Settings (previously Microsoft New Phonetic Settings), on the "Keyboard" tab, select "Hanyu Pinyin" from the pull-down menu. (Not "Taiwan Pinyin", unless you are sure that is what you want. I explain more the various pinyins and their predecessors on my About Pinyin page.)

Windows 8 New Phonetic Settings Hanyu Pinyin

Click "OK", then back on the Language panel click "Save", and you're done! Or are you?


If you have a tablet with no external keyboard, you'll be depending on the Touch Keyboard. But even after setting Microsoft Bopomofo (New Phonetic) to Hanyu Pinyin, when you first open the Touch Keyboard it will still work only in Zhuyin:

Windows 8 Touch Keyboard Zhuyin

This had me stumped until someone pointed me to this tip on another website:
Enable the Full Virtual Keyboard open new site in new window

Full keyboard in Touch Keyboard menuThose settings only show up on my RT tablet, and not in the versions of Win 8 Pro that I have installed on PCs with permanent keyboards, so for a while I was using the old-style Software Keyboard on the Desktop, which is buried deep in the old Language bar/band. I show how to enable that on my handwriting page, but if you have a tablet then all you need to do is enable the full virtual keyboard shown below.

Full Touch Keyboard


OK? Now this should work in any desktop app. Last time I checked, it did not work in tablet apps. In tablet apps, it stays in Zhuyin anyway. Please let me know if you find a solution to this before I do.


Traditional Chinese input candidate list step 2If you're not familiar with this input method, see also:

FAQ: How to make the candidate list appear in the MS New Phonetic Traditional Chinese (Taiwan/HK/Macau) IME (now called Microsoft Bopomofo as of Windows 8.1)

FAQ: How to increase the candidate list font size in the MS New Phonetic Traditional Chinese (Taiwan/HK/Macau) IME (Microsoft Bopomofo as of Windows 8.1)



Next page:

Windows 8 Chinese handwriting and display language packs

See also:

Windows 8 Chinese features summary

Windows 8 and 8.1 missing/broken Chinese features



Traditional Characters in the MSPY IME

Microsoft Pinyin can give you Traditional characters or an extended character set that contains both types, but at the cost of some convenience and encoding compatibility as I explained at the top of this page. Changing this setting is simple, but there is no hotkey or other fast method to quickly switch between Traditional and Simplified after making this selection.

In Windows 8, you can enter the Language panel as shown above and then select select the Options for your Microsoft Pinyin (MSPY) input method as shown below. In Windows 8.1, this control panel went missing, so you'll need to go into the tablet interface to get at these feature. See my FAQ on missing/broken Chinese features in Windows 8 & 8.1.

Note that "self-learning" (sorting candidate lists by your frequency of usage) does not work when only Traditional Chinese is selected. As of Windows 8.1 that "Extended character set" that mixed the Traditonal and Simplified sets together is gone, but I never liked it much anyway.

Windows 8 MSPY Options - Traditional Chinese

Click or tap "OK", then on the Language panel select "Save", and you're done!


Next page:

Windows 8 Chinese handwriting and display language packs

See also:

Windows 8 Chinese features summary

Windows 8 and 8.1 missing/broken Chinese features


Frequently asked questions:
How do I enter the letter "ü" ("u" with an umlaut, the two dots above the letter)?
How to open the candidate list in Microsoft Bopomofo
How to open the candidate list in Microsoft Pinyin

See also:
Zhuyin input, symbols, & Zhuyin/Pinyin "ruby text" (Win7, but universal. Includes discussion of the MS Word Phonetic Guide and ruby fonts.)


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