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Chinese Pinyin Setup
in Windows 7 and Windows Vista

A Quick Start Guide to Using Pinyin Input for
Simplified AND Traditional Chinese Characters
in Western Versions of Microsoft Windows 7 and Vista

This page is for anyone who needs the Pinyin input method to type Chinese characters into Western versions of Windows Vista or Windows 7.

Windows 7 Chinese Pinyin input method example

These versions of Windows include several Pinyin input methods for Simplified and Traditional Chinese characters, including the Microsoft Pinyin (MSPY) IME and the Microsoft New Phonetic IME. Here's how to set these up:

1. Adding Simplified Chinese Pinyin Input (this page)

2. Adding Traditional Chinese Pinyin Input

3. Adjusting the Language Bar and shortcuts

4. English User Guide: the Microsoft Pinyin IME Help Files

If you only want Pinyin with tone marks, you may be interested in these free downloads:

1. Pinyin tone mark macros for Microsoft Word and Excel

2. Pinyinput tone mark IME (see my survey of third-party applications)

1. Adding Simplified Chinese Pinyin Input

For Simplified characters, set up the "Chinese (Simplified)" "Microsoft Pinyin IME", also known as "MSPY". (A 2010 update to the "Chinese (Traditional) IME added options for Simplified characters and Unicode there, and I show how to setup one of those input methods on the next page, but that is not a common choice.)

Start menu

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 Home

Or, double-click here in if you are in the Control Panel's "Classic View" used by many after they first upgrade from XP to Vista:

Control Panels Classic


    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:
Text Services and Input Languages window: add button

     When "Add Input Language" appears:
  • In Vista, scroll down to "Chinese (PRC)".
    In Windows 7, this says "Chinese (Simplified, PRC)".
  • Click on the plus signs there and at "Keyboard".
  • In Vista, click the checkbox next to "Chinese (Simplified) - Microsoft Pinyin IME". In Windows 7, it's called "Chinese (Simplified) - Microsoft Pinyin New Experience Input". You may also select other input methods if you are familiar with them.
  • Click the "OK" button here and then click "OK" in Region and Language as well.
Windows 7 Add Input Language


Done! MSPY is now ready to use for Simplified character input. Later we'll come back to this same place and look under "Chinese (Traditional, Taiwan)" when we install Hanyu Pinyin for Traditional Chinese and Zhuyin Fuhao for Traditional Chinese.

You will now find the Language Bar at the lower-right of your screen, in the Taskbar.

Windows 7 Language Bar - English and Chinese (PRC)

When "CH" is selected, if you click the Options icon at the far right, you can click "Options..." in the menu to adjust this IME's settings. (If that icon is not appearing on the Taskbar, select "Show the Language bar" for quick access.)

Chinese (PRC) Options menu

If you install the MSPY 2010 update, this is what your keyboard options will look like in XP, Vista or Windows 7:

MSPY 2010 download button


OK? As you begin using Microsoft Pinyin (MSPY), you may be interested in the following:

FAQ: MSPY 2010 Chinese Pinyin IME update

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 PRC (Simplified) IME, and how do I adjust the list's appearance?

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


Previous page:
Chinese features in Windows 7 and Windows Vista

Next steps:
Setup page 2, adding Traditional Chinese Pinyin input
Setup page 3, adjusting the Language Bar and shortcuts
Setup page 4, English User Guide: the Microsoft Chinese IMEs Help Files

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