Chinese Keyboard Entry (Mac)

Setting Up a Chinese Keyboard in Mac OS

  1. Open the System Preferences Panel by clicking on the Apple Menu in the upper-left-hand corner of your screen.
  2. Select System Preferences.
  3. Select the Keyboard icon.

    System Preference Pane
  4. Click on the Input Sources tab.
  5. In the lower-left-hand corner of the panel, click the + button to add a language keyboard.

    Input Source Pane
  6.  In the list of languages presented, scroll down until you see Chinese, Simplified and click on Chinese, Simplified.

    If you are an advanced learner of Chinese and are using traditional characters, then you will want to select Chinese, Traditional as your language option. For these instructions, however, we will focus on the Chinese, Simplified layout and settings.

    Chinese Language Selection Pane
  7. In the window to the right, select the Pinyin - Simplified keyboard. 

    Chinese Keyboard Setup - Selecting Pinyin

  8. Click the Add button
  9.  Once you have selected your keyboard layout preference, you will see a list of options in the right-hand pane.

    In this window, you can customized how big you want your candidate window to be and whether you would like to see horizontal or vertiical formats, shor predictive completions of kanji, and select regional dialect influcences. 

    You can select how you want the Caps Lock key to function, for example as a quick and convenient way to switch between English letters and Hiragana/Katakana

    Chinese Configuration Menu

  10. Go ahead and close the System Preference panels once you have selected your language keyboard.
  11. In the upper-right-hand portion of your screen, you will see that some language selection options have appeared. Click on the Text Input menu option to select your input.

    Input Method Window Chinese layout selection

  12. Along with the various input methods shown, additional options will be directly available to select should you need to change customizations:

    Chinese Submenu customizations window

    Note: for detailed explanations of each option, click the Help submenu item and an Apple Help window will appear to give you assistance.

Using Pinyin

As you begin typing in Chinese Mandarin phonetically, a candidate window appears to give you various options of Mandarin. When you see the candidate you need, press the number key corresponding to the candidate and then press the space key to confirm the candidate. Your conversion then appears on the page you are typing in.

Enter Chinese characters using Pinyin - Simplified

  1. On your Mac, switch to the Pinyin - Simplified input source.

  2. In an app, do any of the following:

    • Enter Pinyin: Type the input codes for the characters you want to use, then select the characters in the Candidate window. For example, to enter , type “ping”, then select in the window.

    • Enter Full Pinyin (Quanpin): Type the input codes for the characters you want to use, then select the characters in the Candidate window. For example, to enter 西安, type “xi’an”, then select 西安 in the window.

      Use an apostrophe to separate syllables that have ambiguous parsings. Full Pinyin has modifications that make typing more convenient; for example, “v” is used to replace “ü” (so to enter 绿, you would type “lv”).

    • Enter Abbreviated Pinyin (Jianpin): Type the consonant of each syllable in an input code, then select characters in the Candidate window. For example, to enter 计算机, type “jsj” (the input code is “jisuanji”).

      You can use both full and abbreviated Pinyin in the same conversion. For example, if you type “pingguogs” with “gongsi” abbreviated to “gs”, the result is still “苹果公司”.

    • Enter Structural Pinyin (Chaizi): Type a Chaizi input code with two or more syllables, then press Shift-Space bar. For example, type “jiji”, then press Shift-Space bar. The Candidate window opens, and the first candidates shown in the Composition pane are , , and .

      With structural Pinyin, each syllable of the input sequence is treated as the Pinyin for one of the components in the character (in order from left to right and top to bottom).

    • Show the keyboard layout: Click the Input menu in the menu bar, then choose Show Keyboard Viewer.

Enter Chinese characters using Stroke with Pinyin - Simplified

  1. On your Mac, switch to the Pinyin - Simplified input source.

  2. In an app, use a prefix key (u), followed (without a space) by the stroke input code for a character. For example, you can type the following:

    Stroke within Pinyin

    Keyboard key











    If you type “unnzzsh”, you get as the first candidate.

You can also add words to your user dictionary to save time when you need to type the same word again.

For example, you may need to change preferences to show predictive completions, enable regional dialect support, or change the orientation of the Candidate window.