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Windows 10 Chinese Pinyin Setup:
Simplified Character Input Alternative

 Example of MS Zhuyin using Hanyu Pinyin to type Simplified characters

Other pages:
Overview ◊ Input methods setupTraditional character Pinyin input
Simplified character input alternative (this page)
Handwriting, speech, & language packs
Advanced features ◊ Help files - in English!
Missing, broken, and just plain lame Chinese features


Using MSZY for Pinyin Input for Simplified Characters

Microsoft PinyinWindows offers a built-in alternative to Microsoft Pinyin, the standard Pinyin input keyboard for Simplified characters, also known as "MSPY". Instead of MSPY in "Chinese, Simplified" setup, some users go elsewhere.

Microsoft Bopomofo keyboardMS Bopomofo, available in the "Chinese, Traditional" region setup, supports Hanyu Pinyin input for both Traditonal and Simplified characters. I've taken to calling this one "MSZY" based on its Chinese name, 微软注音.

There are very good reasons why some of you will want to use MSZY instead of MSPY for Simplified characters. You may prefer MSZY's Pinyin input method features, which allows for narrowing down the candidate list by tone number, and displays a larger candidate list when needed. MSZY's rival, the mainland-developed MSPY, is in contrast meant for fast phrase-based input and very little else. And as far as I can tell, in this mode MSZY makes use of the same default SimSun font and mainland China GB-18030 encoding used in in MSPY.

There are drawbacks as well. The MSZY IME Pad will be disabled in this mode (although at the Windows 10 launch the MSPY IME Pad was missing entirely), and switching between Simplified and Traditional requires going into Settings each time.


Language menu - MSZY - language preferencesReady to try this? OK, here we go.

We begin once again at the Language menu. Open this by first clicking/tapping on the IME icon. In this screen shot, that's the "Bo" for Bopomofo.

When the menu opens, select "Language preferences".

(If you are using the classic desktop language bar - I show how set that up on the advanced features page - you can click here to jump to that section.)



This will take you to the Time & Language settings panel. On the left, click on "Region & language". Then on the right, under "Languages", select the Traditional character region ("中文(香港特別行政區)" if you've selected Hong Kong as I've recommended, or Taiwan, or Macau) to reveal the buttons:

Time and Language - Regional - HK selected


Click on the "Options" button there. Then on next panel scroll down to "Keyboards" and select "Microsoft Bopomofo" to reveal its buttons, and click "Options" again:

HK - Bopomofo options


In MS Bopomofo settings, select the "Select an output character type" menu, and choose "Simplified Chinese characters":



Changing MSZY to Simplified from the desktop language bar

MSZY desktop language barIf you're using the desktop language bar (which I show how to setup on the advanced features page), you'll need far fewer clicks to get where we're going.

If you look at this screen shot carefully, you'll see that I'm actually already finished: the Chinese/Latin button - third from the left - is a red (jian3) character, and in the Tool Menu the IME Pad is grayed out and disabled.

To get the character set selection, open the Tool Menu and select "Properties".



That will take you to the classic control panel for this IME. At the bottom of the General tab, under "Select an output character type", choose "Simplified Chinese", then click the "OK" button.

MS Bopomofo classic control panel


OK? That's the basic setup. See the list below for information on "advanced" features like the desktop language bar, the IME Pad, and other features.


Previous pages:
Overview of Chinese features in Windows 8 and 10: fonts, IMEs, and more
Language and IME/keyboard setup
Traditional character Pinyin input: two alternatives

Next pages:
Chinese handwriting input, speech input, and language packs
Advanced features: desktop language bar, IME Pad, hotkeys, and more
Help files - in English!
Missing, broken, and just plain lame Chinese features

Frequently asked questions:
How to 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
How to select the Cantonese Phonetic IME (CPIME)

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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