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FAQ: How to use the Microsoft Bopomofo (Microsoft New Phonetic)
Chinese Input Method Candidate List

Getting Chinese to Work in Windows Shouldn't Be This Hard...


How do I get the "candidate list" to appear in the Taiwan/HK/Macau Chinese (Traditional, Taiwan) IME?

I get this question a lot. This certainly is not an intuitive design, but pressing just two keys will get you the basic list.

  1. After you type a character using Pinyin (or Zhuyin, etc.), press the <space bar> or a tone number (1, 2, 3, 4, or 5). The first character in the list will appear, with a dotted line underneath.
  2. While the character is underlined, press <down arrow> and the candidate list will appear:

Traditional Chinese input candidate list step 2

Select your choice (more on that in a moment), and then back on the sentence line press <Enter> to confirm and move on.

Most of us use just those two keys, <space bar> or a tone number, and then <down arrow>.

Using <Up arrrow> instead will let you do this inline, without opening the whole list. But only for a few characters, and then it will open the list anyway...and if you keep hitting <up arrow> you'll be moving up from the bottom of the list.

Using a tone number narrows the candidate list to only characters with that tone, but will only work when there is at least one character with that tone.


If you are typing a cizu or phrase of two characters or more, you can also press <left arrow> to move to the beginning of those characters before pressing <down arrow> to see if the list has the entire word or phrase:

Traditional Chinese input candidate list step 3

If you're not seeing those "associations," go to the taskbar, open this IME's Tool Menu and select "Properties".  When that control panel appears, in the General tab select "Prompt associated phrases of the input character", then click "OK".


Navigate the candidate list by pressing <down arrow> or <Page Down> to proceed through the list up to nine at a time, or press <right arrow> to fully expand the list:

Traditional Chinese input candidate list step 4


To select a character press the number next to it, or navigate to it with your arrow keys and hit <Enter>, or click it with your mouse. The numbers move with you as you change columns with the cursor.

And see the the little pull-down menu at the bottom of the candidate window? That allows you to filter by poyin zi (alternate pronunciations).


The IME can will learn from you and soft the candidate list according to your frequency of use: your most frequent character for each sound will show up as the first choice, with the next most frequent character next in the list, and so on. If it's not doing this sorting, go to the taskbar, open this IME's Tool Menu and select "Properties", then in the Dictionary tab select "Enable personal regulating" and "Dynamic candidate order based on usage".


Related FAQ:

Why are the characters so small? Enlarging the characters in the Windows Traditional Chinese input method candidate list


Need more help?

For more information on using this IME, see my pages for help in finding English language "user guides":

English-Language Help Files for Windows 10
English-Language Help Files for Windows 7 and Vista

For Windows 8, to get to the Help files and the rest of these settings in the first releases, turn on the old-style Language bar (on the desktop Taskbar), as explained towards the end of my page on Windows 8 Traditional Chinese Pinyin input (search for "Advanced Settings". Then follow the instructions for Windows 7/Vista.

For Windows XP, see the Windows 7/Vista Help page and you'll get the general idea. Sorry, never got around to doing a separate page on that.

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