After decades of research and development, Chinese companies and professionals have invented much great software to input Chinese on computer, and most of them are Free. Here we introduce some of them.
1) Hand-Writing Input Method Software: By this software, you can use your mouse pointer to draw the Chinese character you want to input, and the software will identify your drawing and list the possible characters and phrases which you can select to input it. This software is suitable for those people who just know how the Chinese character looks like, and do not know how to pronounce it and its stroke order.
Download a great FREE Chinese hand-writing input method software. (Right-click the link and select "Save Target As..." to download.)
2) Stroke Input Method: This method categorizes all kinds of strokes used in Chinese characters into 5 types: horizontal stroke (一), vertical stroke (丨, 亅), left-falling stroke (丿), right-falling stroke (丶) and turning stroke (乛, 乚, 乙, etc.). dot stroke (、) and rising stroke, which we said in the "Construction of Chinese Characters" section, have been respectively put into the right-falling stroke and the horizontal stroke categories.
You can click on the strokes on this software's input pad in the Chinese character's stroke order, and this software will list the possible characters. After you select the character which you want to input, the software will list the following characters in the possible phrases which begin with the character you select.
This software is suitable for those people who know how to write the Chinese characters and their stroke orders, but do not know how to pronounce them or their Pinyins.
Download a great FREE Chinese stroke input method software. (Right-click the link and select "Save Target As..." to download.)
3) Pinyin Input Method: This method is very popular among the common users in China. You can type the Pinyin of a Chinese character or the first letter of each character's Pinyin in a phrase to input them. This method can be very fast, and is suitable for those people who know the Chinese Pinyin.
Download the FREE Google Chinese Pinyin input method. (Right-click the link and select "Save Target As..." to download.)
4) Wubi Input Method: The software of this method is generally used by professional Chinese typists, and this method can be very very fast. But learning this method is not easy. It needs knowing the Chinese stroke order, remembering some rules, and needs some exercises. If you are interested in this method and understand Chinese, here is a good Wubi input method tutorial. Also, you can read the English introduction of Wubi input method on Wikipedia.
Download a great FREE Chinese Wubi input method software. (Right-click the link and select "Save Target As..." to download.)
5) Universal Input Method Software: This software seamlessly integrates many input methods, and when inputting, you need not any manual switches among these methods. The integrated input methods include Wubi method, Pinyin method, stroke method, Pinyin plus stroke method. And more interestingly, it also integrates the English input method, by which you can just type English words to input Chinese characters and phrases.
Download this great FREE Chinese universal input method software. (Right-click the link and select "Save Target As..." to download.)
Please note, the language used in most of these software's installations is Chinese. Generally, the installation can be finished by just pressing the "Enter" key. But in few cases, you will have to select to agree the software's license agreement to continue the installation. In these cases, you can click on the label of "我同意此协议", which means "I agree this agreement". If you understand Chinese, you can also select not to install some extra programs or functional parts during these software's installations.
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