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Chinese Pinyin Setup in
Windows 7 and Windows Vista

« Introduction / Simplified    Traditional    Language Bar & Shortcuts »   English User Guide »»

2. Adding Traditional Chinese Pinyin Input

There are your two primary options for Traditional character Pinyin input methods in Windows Vista and Windows 7:

  • The Microsoft New Phonetic IME, developed in Taiwan. This is the most common choice. Unlike the PRC IME, this one allows you to enter tone numbers after syllables (as in "pin1yin1") or not ("pinyin").

  • The Microsoft Pinyin (MSPY) IME, developed in Harbin. Even though this is normally used for Simplified characters, you can set the Options to Traditional characters. This has a lot of potential but also a few very serious drawbacks. Jump to this »»


Using the Microsoft New Phonetic IME for fantizi Pinyin input

To use the Microsoft New Phonetic IME as your Pinyin input method for Traditional characters, you first select it and then set the input preferences for Pinyin.

Windows 7 Start menu - select Control Panel

Windows 7 Start menu buttonClick on the Windows Start menu button, then click "Control Panel".


Then, in Control Panel find "Clock, Language and Region".

Click on "Change keyboards or other input methods." (See screen shot below.)



Windows 7 Control Panels

Or, double-click here if you are using the Control Panel's "Classic View":

Control Panels Classic

(The above is a screen shot from Vista. Windows 7 offers a list-based view that is also intended to ease your transition from XP.)


    When "Region and Language" appears:

  • Click the "Change keyboards..." button. (Don't worry, despite the name of this button your English keyboard will remain available at all times after we're done.)

Windows 7 Region & Language


     When "Text Services and Input Languages" appears:

  • Click on the "Add..." button:

Windows 7 Text Services and Input Languages window: add button

     When "Add Input Language" appears:
  • In Windows Vista, scroll down to "Chinese (Taiwan)".
    In Windows 7, this is "Chinese (Traditional, Taiwan)".
  • Click on the plus sign there and next to "Keyboard".
  • Click the checkbox to select "Chinese (Traditional) - New Phonetic". You may also select other input methods if you are familiar with them. After you install the 2010 update for this IME, New Phonetic and other input methods will be labled "2010", and under Hong Kong you will find Cantonese Jyutping input.
  • Click the "OK" button here and then click "OK" in Region and Language as well.

Windows 7 Add Input Language - check Chinese (Traditional) - New Phonetic


The default for this IME is Zhuyin Fuhao, not Hanyu Pinyin. To set this to Pinyin, do the following in "Text Services and Input Languages":

  • Click once on the name of the "Chinese (Traditional) - New Phonetic" IME to select it, then click on the "Properties" button. (Note: These settings can also be accessed later via the Options menu in the Language Bar.)

Windows 7 Text Services - Keyboard Properties


In "Microsoft New Phonetic IME 10.x Settings",

  • Click the "Keyboard" tab
  • In the pull-down menu under "Choose your preferred keyboard layout", select "HanYu Pinyin"
  • Click OK, and then click OK in "Text Services..." and click OK again in Region and Languages.

Windows 7 Microsoft New Phonetic IME Settings


In the Taskbar, in the Language bar at the lower-right of your screen, you will now find a "CH" option for "Chinese (Traditional, Taiwan)":

Windows 7 Language Bar - Chinese (Taiwan)


After you install the 2010 Update for this IME, you can install these input method choices: MSPY 2010 download button


As you begin using Microsoft New Phonetic IME, you may be interested in the following:

FAQ: The 2010 update to the Traditional Chinese IME

FAQ: How do I enter the letter "ü" ("u" with an umlaut, the two dots above the letter)?

FAQ: How do I get the "candidate list" to appear in the Windows Taiwan (Traditional) IME?

FAQ: The characters in the Windows Taiwan/Traditional candidate list are really tiny! Is there a way to adjust the size of the text in this window?

HELP: English-language user guide for the Microsoft Chinese Input Methods.


Previous page:

1. Simplified Chinese Pinyin input setup

Next pages:

3. Adjusting the Language Bar and shortcuts
4. User Guide: the Microsoft Chinese IMEs Help Files

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Using the PRC/Simplified MSPY input method for fantizi Pinyin input:

Jian-Fan-Ext button

Microsoft Pinyin supports Traditional! if you haven't done so already, first return to step #1 and set up the PRC IME for Simplified characters. Then look at your task bar.

   If the 简 / 繁 / 大 button shown above does not appear in the Taskbar, look in the little menu at the far right of the language band (the one marked by two windows / rectangles, next to the Help("?") menu. After selecting this option once, it should move to the taskbar.

If it's still not there, install the MSPY 2010 update. You can also get this started and find more preferences via the Options menu, as I'll show below. But first, a bit of information for you.

For those of you that exchange Traditional character messages with people in the mainland, using this feature this a good idea because mixed encoding eventually causes emails to get scrambled. But for everyone else, the fact that this PRC input method will default to PRC GB font encoding instead of Big 5 even when writing Traditional characters will be what we call in business a "deal-killer".

When Windows Vista was released, I was very excited with Microsoft Pinyin (MSPY) version 10, because it included support for Traditional characters. However, when I wrote up the instructions I found myself listing far too many disadvantages to recommend it.

As of the Windows 7 launch, MSPY still has those same problems, so I won't work too hard to convince you to try it. Although I believe the MSPY "New Experience" is a better input method than Microsoft New Phonetic, there are still too many drawbacks:

  • Most important, in Traditional Chinese mode it does not support "Self-learning" (sorting character and phrase candidates according to your frequency of usage). Notice that in this slice of an Options window screen shot below, "Enable Self-learning" is grayed out. For me, this is a deal-killer! The accuracy of a Pinyin input method depends heavily on the characters automatically sorting as you use it.

MSPY Options - in Traditional Chinese, Enable Self-Learning is grayed out

  • I've also tested the third choice, "Extended Character Set". This contains both Simplified and Traditional and does support Self-learning, but getting this to favor Traditional characters requires many many hours of training and user-defined phrase dictionary editing, and even then it will probably mix the two sets together far too often to allow fast and convenient typing if you are trying to use only Traditional Chinese.

  • You will not have other input methods available in Taiwan, including Zhuyin / Bopomofo, Cangjie, etc. (This does not mean you cannot write out standalone Zhuyin with the PRC keyboard however. It is in the soft keyboards, as I explain on my Windows 7 Zhuyin setup page.)

  • There are times when the system gets confused, especially when you are also working in Simplified characters: it starts out in a Simplified font anyway, and won't let you change that line to a Traditional font. For many people the easiest solution is to erase the entire line or even open a new document and start over. (This has also happened to me when switching between "Chinese (PRC)" and "Chinese (Taiwan)", so I probably shouldn't blame "Chinese (PRC)" for this alone.

  • As I mentioned above, you will be working only in GB encoding fonts, not Big 5. But as I said, this is not a drawback for anyone who exchanges Traditional character messages with people in the mainland, because mixed encoding eventually causes emails to get scrambled. On the other hand, if you try using this MSPY feature while writing to people in Taiwan, you run the risk of your messages turning into a bunch of garbage characters with no way to recover the original content.

To get at the options for this feature:

(If you haven't done so already, return to step #1 and set up the PRC IME for Simplified characters.)

Windows 7 CH MSPY Options menuWiith the Language Bar set to the PRC "CH" and in one of the "MSPY" input method (as showin in this screen shot taken before before the 2010 update),

  • Click the Options menu icon and then in the menu click "Options..."

In "Microsoft Pinyin New Experience Input Style  Options":

  • Click the "Advancd" tab
  • Select the options you prefer

Windows 7 MSPY New Experience Options

If the "Traditional Chinese" option is grayed out, try installing the 2010 update for Windows XP/Vista/7, or reinstalling the Windows 8 IME (which also fixes the problem of not having Simplified in the Win 8 Taiwan/Traditional IME, so that's why this last link leads to an FAQ page on that topic).


Previous pages:
Chinese features in Windows 7 and Windows Vista
Setup page 1, Simplified Chinese Pinyin input setup

Next pages:
Setup page 3, adjusting the Language Bar and shortcuts
Setup page 4, English User Guide: the Microsoft Pinyin IME Help Files


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