Lesson 1, Topic 2
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Typing characters

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In order to most benefit from this course and be able to discuss with other learners through the discussion forums, you must first set up the relevant Chinese language input method on your computer or phone. We would recommend using a pinyin input method, this means that you simply need to type the pinyin (pronunciation) of the word, then select the appropriate characters from the shortlist.

The exact approach to set up the keyboard will vary depending on the device and operating system, but we have provided some general guidance below:


On Android smartphones, you will need to install “Google Pinyin Input”, which can be found in the Google Play Store and activated in your phone’s language input settings. You can easily toggle between languages by clicking on the world symbol on the keyboard.


If you have an iPhone, you can switch on the Chinese keyboard by going to settings -> general -> keyboard -> add new keyboard -> Chinese simplified pinyin. You can easily toggle between languages using the drop down menu on the keyboard. You can view Apple’s official guide here.

Windows (PC)

On a Windows PC, go to Settings -> Time & Language -> Region & Languages -> Add a language -> Chinese (simplified, China). You can easily toggle between languages using the language bar in the task bar or using the Alt+Shift shortcut.

iOS (Mac)

On a Mac, go to System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Input Sources -> Add -> Chinese, Simplified. You can easily toggle between languages using the keyboard button in the top menu. See Apple’s official guide here.

You may also wish to experiment with the handwriting input options if you are using a smartphone and would like to particularly improve your handwriting skills!