Character Introduction 3 – Writing vs. Typing

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How to Type Chinese Characters with Pinyin Input?

Thanks for joining ChineseFor.Us Hands-on Writing Course. In this introduction we will talk about how to input Chinese characters using Chinese Pinyin input. Nowadays even native Chinese speakers type Chinese characters a lot more than they would write them, so you don’t necessarily have to memorize how to write them by heart. And as long as you can recognize Chinese characters and know their pronunciation (Pinyin spelling), typing them cannot be easier. Let’s watch this video lesson and learn how to input Chinese characters right away!



  • type Chinese characters
  • Chinese Pinyin input
  • Chinese input
  • recognize Chinese characters


  1. How to input Chinese characters?
  2. Why is it important to recognize Chinese characters?
  3. What’s the difference between typing Chinese characters and writing them?
  4. How to use Chinese Pinyin Input?


How to input Chinese Characters?

When you write Chinese characters, you write them stroke by stroke (unless you’re writing 草书 [cǎo shū] cursive style).

When you type Chinese characters, you use Chinese Pinyin Input: type Chinese Pinyin syllables, get a list of all characters sharing this Pinyin sound and select the character you want.

How does writing help us recognize Chinese Characters?

To input Chinese characters cannot be easier, but for you select the correct Chinese characters, you will have to be able to recognize Chinese characters at least.

Memorizing the look of the characters could be easy as long as:

  1. you know the stroke and element construction of the characters—this is the understanding part
  2. you practice writing each character a few times—because this helps in memorizing them.

Typing in Chinese

How to Type Chinese Characters on Any System

For those who are just starting to learn Chinese, we recommend using the default Chinese Pinyin Input that comes with your device. Most devices already have this input method installed and it is easy to use, making it a great option for beginners.

When selecting the input language, be sure to choose "Chinese Pinyin (Simplified)" to ensure that you are using the correct input method for simplified Chinese characters.

If you are already familiar with the Chinese system and want to explore other input methods, there are some third-party input methods that work well. However, these input methods may not have English settings, which can be difficult for complete Chinese beginners to navigate. As a beginner, it is recommended that you stick with the default Chinese Pinyin Input on your device to make it easier to operate the input settings in your own language.

For those who are more experienced with the Chinese language, there are other desktop/laptop Pinyin input methods that we recommend, including Google Pinyin Input, Baidu Input, Sougou Input, and QQ Input.

In addition to Pinyin input, there is also the Wubi method (五笔输入法, wǔ bǐ shū rù fǎ), which is another popular Chinese input method. This method places different Chinese character components onto the computer keyboard, allowing you to type any character by typing its components. While the Wubi method may take more time and practice to pick up than Pinyin input, it can be a great option for those who are more comfortable with this method.

Remember, as you continue to learn Chinese, it is important to explore different input methods and find the one that works best for you. With the right input method, you'll be typing Chinese characters with ease in no time.

Collapse Comments
John TynesPremium Student November 26, 2021 at 9:43 pm

OMG!I’ve been hitting “enter” every time I typed the characters. I didn’t know all I had to do was type the pinyin and then the number of the right character in the drop-down list! Is my face red!
I really enjoy the lessons. I had been working on Mandarin for about six months when I found this site. I’ve found that, even when a lesson talks about characters I’ve already encountered, I learn a lot about usage, character construction, and radicals. This is all very helpful.
I also do language exchanges with Mandarin speakers. I’ve started using these lessons to provide structure for those exchanges. Also very helpful!

When typing as long as what you want to type is in the first slot you can just press space, you can also use “<” and “>” to navigate the pages as well if the character you’re trying to type doesn’t appear in the first page.

WilliamPhuketPremium Student October 7, 2021 at 6:17 pm

Hi. I use a french keyboard (AZERTY). How can I make the french and pinnyin keyboards suit to each other? At the moment, I can only use the english one.


Kelly FindlayPremium Student September 27, 2020 at 9:13 pm


I love Chinese language I am from Egypt I have a lot of friends in China I learn Chinese
Really thank for everything

Marina SantosPremium Student July 20, 2020 at 4:43 pm

你好! 我 姓 Santos, 叫 吗里那。

samangeloPremium Student June 15, 2020 at 7:57 pm

Hello, I loaded the Google Input Tools extension to translate pinyin to characters. There are 8 options available to use. What is the difference between the option and is it necessary to load all options? All are listed below and I am guessing the first one if for general use:
Chinese (Simplified, China)-Pinyin
Chinese (Simplified, China)-Shuangpin (Smart ABC)
Chinese (Simplified, China)-Shuangpin (Microsoft solution)
Chinese (Simplified, China)-Shuangpin (Little Crane)
Chinese (Simplified, China)-Double Pinyin (Pinyin Plus)
Chinese (Simplified, China)-Shuangpin (Ziguang)
Chinese (Simplified, China)-Shuangpin (natural code)
Chinese (Simplified, China)-Wubi

ChineseFor.UsAcademic Team June 20, 2020 at 10:26 pm

The first one should be fine. It is the most widely used one by native speakers.

I am unable to understand the characters..
I wanted to learn Chinese lang. Can you pls help?
I am a process trainer, wana learn Chinese lang asap.
How many days it may take to learn lang. I can dedicate 2hrs a day?

Hello, I wanted to ask what the difference is between simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese? Xie Xie,

Traditional characters are more complicated, while simplified characters are much easier in writing and have fewer strokes than traditional have. For example xiǎo lán in traditional 小蘭 and simplified 小兰 Chinese.
I also heard that in simplified Chinese two different characters are written with the same character, dàn wǒ bù zhīdào zhè shì zhēn de…

You’re right. In the next lesson we explain how Chinese characters are simplified.

anaekwesolumtochukwu@gmail.comStudent August 24, 2018 at 9:31 pm

pls fellows,i want to download hanping lite in my laptop but to no avail.pls if anyone knows how to do it,iam all ears.xiexie

SierraPremium Student June 29, 2018 at 4:43 am

Google input comes up error every time.
I just found one in the phones store to download.

Really? I never knew.

SierraPremium Student June 28, 2018 at 3:57 pm

你 好. I am trying to figure out the keyboard and basic characters. 我 爱 中。”I love Chinese”. Still learning how to construct a sentence s*v*o system so I can’t wait to get more into the lessons. 谢谢 ahead of time.

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