Jump to content
Learn Chinese in China

Pinyinput - Type Pinyin with Tone Marks


Recommended Posts

  • 1 month later...
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.


I'm doing some writing and needed to input in pinyin with the tone marks and worked on a macro to do this.

I've created a macro that will work in MS-Word (2002,2003,and 2007). It will allow you to type the vowel and the charcter and then with one key stroke, convert it to the vowel with the tone mark.

Please try it out at http://MarkLindenOMeara.com Check out the menu on the left hand side for the "As you type Pinyin Macro"

I've included a video and instructions. I'd welcome any feedback on it - especially improvement and any problems with the instructions!

Thanks, and hope it's of help!

Mark O'Meara

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
  • New Members

Hey all,

First, imron - thanks for this amazing tool!

I've used it for a while on XP and recently switched to Windows 7.

There is a strange phenomena which also happens when running a program in XP compatibility mode -

When the IME of a program is set to Pinyinput, whenever I switch to that program (i.e. ALT+TAB into it) - it takes about 1 second until the textboxes redraw themselves and the window becomes usable. It seems to happen in every program (e.g. notepad). It doesn't happen when the IME is set to anything other language (including Chinese).

While the textboxes are undrawn (that 1 second of delay), the blue Pinyinput window is also not shown, and the IME indicator in the taskbar is also empty (i.e. no language is showing).

Has anyone run into this issue?

Imron - I've seen that you were willing to send the code over to someone to port it to 64 bit.

If there is no easier solution to this problem, I will be happy to try to solve it myself. I'm not sure the fix will be as popular as a port to 64 bit, but I for one would love to have one...

Thanks you!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd like to announce PinyinTones, a new Windows text service for typing Pinyin with tone marks into any Windows program. To find out more, please head over to the PinyinTones thread on Chinese-forums.

  • Works on 32-bit and 64-bit Windows.
  • Composition strings show up inline in the body of the text, so that you can see it in context.
  • Registers itself as a Japanese text service so that the infamous Word font bug doesn't bite.
  • Uses the most modern Windows APIs for language text services.
  • Simpler design than Pinyinput. Fewer features. Intended to get out of your way so that you barely notice it's there -- no floating toolbar, no checked mode, no settings UI. Just type.
  • Open-sourced under a permissive license.
  • Designed for Windows Vista and 7. Not recommended on Windows XP.

I've been in touch with Imron, and we both agreed that I should make my program available separately, so that the Pinyin-typing community can take advantage of the different design decisions made in the development of the two programs. Use whichever one best suits your needs. If you're running on XP or need checked mode, then you should use Pinyinput. If you're running Vista or 7, or prefer a simple program with fewer features, then use PinyinTones.

The simplicity has benefits, since there's less stuff that can go wrong. For example, in the post above, obe pointed out a redraw delay in Pinyinput. This can't happen in PinyinTones, because it doesn't actually do any drawing -- it lets the Windows Text Services Framework handle all the display.

I don't want to hijack the Pinyinput thread -- just wanted to let the people who are following this thread know that a new program is available. To discuss PinyinTones, please head over to the PinyinTones thread on Chinese-forums.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nǐ hǎo! Pinyin input is possible with minimal effort on Ubuntu Linux, as is input in just about any major language. Actually, there are several Chinese input methods, but I don't know all of them. I just know Pinyin, Pinyin-character, and Pinyin-tone-character (Like ni3 hao3, etc.).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
  • New Members

I just want to thank you for letting me know about this pinyin input program. I installed and worked just fine. I work with a Chinese Immersion school and have many teachers struggled with the input pinyin, this is a much better tool compare what we used before. I even donate $20 to this developer.

Thank you again for your support.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Just letting everyone know that after a long delay (almost 3 1/2 years!), a new, updated version of Pinyinput is finally available.

Major features in this release:

*64bit compatibility - Pinyinput is finally compatible with 64bit Windows. It seems to mostly work, however I've only tested it under Windows7, so if there are any Vista problems, be sure to let me know.

*Unified 32bit/64bit installer - No need to download separate binaries for 32/64bit systems. The Pinyinput installer detects whether you are 32bit or 64bit and installs the correct binaries as appropriate.

*Custom Locales - You can now install Pinyinput as an IME under the following keyboard locales: Chinese (PRC), Chinese (Taiwan), English (Australia), or the default locale for your computer.

*MS Word Font Change Workaround - Custom locales mean that if you install Pinyinput in a non-Chinese locale then MS Word will not automatically switch to a Chinese font for vowels that contain tone-marks. This was probably the biggest complaint most Pinyinput users had over the years, and hopefully this is now addressed (although it does mean you will need to install the IME under a non-Chinese locale).

*Spacebar for confirmation - You can now optionally use the spacebar to confirm input (another common request), although enter will still work too (see the configuration options in the config dialog).

*Numerous other bug fixes - A number of other small bug fixes and improvements have been made to fix up some of the other long-standing issues (accidental installation of EN-US keyboard layout for non EN-US users, composition window not showing in MSN etc).

*New Toolbar Skin - Pinyinput now has a new skin for the toolbar. If you prefer, you can always swap back to the old skin in the configuration dialog.

*Source Code released under the GPL - This was actually done a number of years ago in response to a couple of requests for the source code. Although it's always been up there on sourceforge, I never made any public announcements about it until now :-) It compiles cleanly under Visual C++ Express 2008, although if you want to build it from source, you'll need to make sure you configure VC Express for 64bit compiles. You'll need to have the Windows DDK installed for an IME related include file. For those interested, I've written a brief document that explains the basic structure of the source code in more detail, just drop me an email if you'd like to know more. There are also a few other things to look out for when building it from source (especially the installer, or when building on 64bit machines), so if you have any questions be sure to let me know.

*New Home - Going forward, the pinyinput download and project page will be hosted on sourceforge, with the official project page being: http://pinyinput.sourceforge.net - please update any links you might have. A big thanks to Chinese-forums and Roddy for their support over the last 4 years!

*Sponsorship - Development of the 64bit version is being sponsored by the nice folks at East West Connection. They're based in Beijing and provide high quality study in China programs. The owner is a friend of mine, and I believe the school's overall philosophy and teaching methods are very effective. To this end, the Pinyinput toolbar now carries a small advert for their school, and if you sign up for one of their programs after learning about it through Pinyinput, then I'll get a thank you :-) I know some people don't like advertising (and I'm usually one of them), however over the past 4 years (and over 15,000 downloads), fewer than 20 people have ever made a donation, and the incentive for me to work on Pinyinput just hasn't been there. This small ad is what makes this version possible.

Note for Vista/Windows 7 Users: After downloading and extracting the zip file, you will need to right-click on the exe file and select "Run as administrator" in order to be able to install.

Anyway, that's about it for now. The download link for the new version can be found at: http://pinyinput.sourceforge.net - if you have any problems or suggestions, please let me know. Email is probably the best way to get a response (see the pinyinput "about" dialog), but I'll also be keeping an eye on this thread.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

just FYI - an alternative approach.

I've just had the need to input pinyin on Windows and not knowing about Imron's tool, I used "Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator" (free tool you can download from MS support) to create a custom keyboard layout for pinyin input. It does not provide one-size-fits-all as I understand Imron's program does, but it creates a key mapping only for a single particular keyboard layout. The result is an installation program for "real" MS keyboard layout, simple and stable.

I had to take Swiss French keyboard as a base (as that's what my real keyboard is) and define "dead" keys for tone marks - I defined ' for 2nd, ` for 4th (these 2 already existed for Swiss keyboard, so I just added tones for ü), ^ for 3rd and - for 1st tone. So typing `a will make à, etc. It took about half an hour to define all the characters with tone marks and AFAIK it is compatible with Vista and Windows 7, even if use it only on XP (but I've used the tool before for another keyboard that I had used also with Vista). When installed it shows up as an additional switchable keyboard for the Swiss French. The only remaining thing is to use the font supporting all the characters, such as Times New Roman or MS Arial Unicode (we are talking only Windows here of course).

If you prefer, the same approach can be used to define the other way around - with letters as dead keys (define aeiou as dead keys) that combine with numbers, say typing a1 will make à.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember playing around with that initially before creating pinyinput, but one of the things I didn't like about this or other similar approaches such as macros is that you then have to remember which tone mark takes the vowel. Which is not particularly difficult, but I just find it easier to type hao3 and have the tone automatically placed over the a, than typing ha3o.

Incidentally, Pinyinput also supports using the Swiss keyboard (or any other keyboard layout you have installed) as the base layout for typing (set it up in the configuration screen) and the latest version will allow you to install Pinyinput under your machine's default locale. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I understand your approach, that makes sense for lots of use cases, but in fact my need was exactly the opposite. I was editing some OCRed documents and I had to correct particular tones/retype a single wrong character, not type a fresh text where tones on syllable level makes sense.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Luckily, Pinyinput also includes unchecked mode that allows you to do just that :-) Just click the 'tick' mark on the toolbar to switch between checked and unchecked mode, and you can then put tones over whatever character you like.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...