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Pinyinput - Type Pinyin with Tone Marks


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IMEs like Google and Sogou have massive dictionaries for helping them do sentence prediction. They must also have a set of mappings for pinyin->characters, however they don't make these things publicly available. From a programming perspective, Pinyinput is about as simple as it gets. It's far simpler to just replace a vowel with vowel+tone than it is to have to worry about which characters map to which pinyin etc. Pinyinput was never designed to be a fully-fledged Chinese IME, just something that fills a small gap in the Chinese IME market.

For Macs, see here.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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  • 1 month later...

Hi Imron,

Thanks for a great tool. It installs fine on my company laptop, however I can't get simplified Chinese on it. I've compared the company laptop with my personal laptop (which has simplified Chinese) and can't see any extra .ime files. Its probably something to do with working for a Japanese company.

As you've worked out how to install pinyintool, perhaps you might know what registry settings/files I need for Simplified Chinese? Can you help?

PS: The "add support for Asian fonts" is greyed out, so I can't use the normal method of adding Chinese.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Oh thank the maker for you, imron!!! I've been dying today trying everything I can think of to get pinyin tone marks into Excel... I had a nice method that was workable for MS Word (using Shortcut keys, such as Ctrl--+a, Ctrl-'+a, Ctrl-+a, Ctrl-'+a for ā á ǎ à) but I've been stumped in Excel... it doesn't have shortcut keys and the macros don't seem to support Unicode! I was getting ready to write my own plugin for Excel...

This program is wonderful! I'll be writing up a document to present to the Chinese School that I attend - I wouldn't be surprised if you get several more downloads over the next few weeks.

I do have one question / request... I notice in Excel that if I just start typing, the IME seems to have difficulty knowing where the input is occuring, so the IME text appears somewhere near the upper left corner of the screen (about 2 inches from the top.) If I'm actually editing the cell (say with F2) then it places the IME text exactly where it should be - just below where I am typing. This is OK as I've set my font pretty big, but it would be nicer if it could better judge where the input is when I'm not in 'edit' mode... I figured this might just be a problem with Excel and IMEs in general, but the Google Pinyin IME doesn't seem to have the same problem, so I'm sure it is possible to do. If you can fix this, it would just be the cherry on top - if you can't then have no fear I still LOOOOVE the IME and I'm going to recommend it to everyone!

Also one other question... let's say I was interested in writing my own IMEs... can you point me to any documentation on doing this (obviously, yes, I am a programmer.)


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Documentation is pretty sparse. If you are familliar with COM, you can use the Text Services Framework. The framework I used for Pinyinput is the older IME/IMM stuff. I have a copy of this documentation from an older version of the MSDN (from VC++ 6). It's located in the DDK section. This doesn't seem to be available publicly anymore as microsoft is trying to promote the Text Services Framework for all future IMEs. Have a good read through the TSF stuff though as it will give you a good grounding in the basics and the terminology. I only went with the older framework to keep things small and light (the TSF appears to be based on this framework anyway).

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Yes I would like to agree that it Brilliant.

I wanted to ask, since you have programming skills if you could write a better character to pinyin parser. I know there are already other tools .

But these usually either put the pinyin text right after the character disrupting the flow or delete the characters completely.

If you could parse it and format it so any character text file imputed would result in a top line of pinyin and under it the corresponding characters.

You would need to do something with formatting as ping can be 2 to 4 letters and characters are always single characters.

Since you are the master this could be cool. Pop ups like rikai.com are good to but this might be nice as you could print it out and read it on the go and would have the pinyin if you get stuck on a character.


Good job,


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@linsook, it's always possible, however I'm unlikely to have the time do this anytime soon. I'll keep it in mind for future updates though.

@simonlaing, Personally, I think that writing the pinyin above the word is a good way to never actually learn the word, because it gives you a crutch that stops you from spending that extra time to learn the word properly. Combine this with all the difficulties involved in doing accurate character-pinyin conversion plus the above-mentioned lack of time, and it's unlikely that I'll produce such a tool. Maybe someone else reading this will take you up on the idea though.

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Oh yes, I forgot how many characters have 2 correct pinyin translations depending on what other characters it is pair with.

Still it's an idea, I have been suprised how many computer scientists or engineers have also undertaken the study of Chinese. Talk about choosing to very different time consuming subjects that have almost no cross over.

This tool is still pretty cool. Good job Imron.

Do you think if I gave an incentive to do it like 500 or 1,000 yuan, would people be more interested in doing it?


have fun,


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If you're looking for anything like that, you might want to submit a request to Adsotrans. They've got the huge database of words, rather than characters, mapped to pinyin which you would need to do it. Once you've got that, the actual formatting it should be fairly simple. Apologies to Adsotrans for creating potential work :twisted:.

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