Occasionally I get questions about how to set up computers to study Chinese. Thankfully, it's gotten much much easier over the years. Modern operating systems like Windows 7 and Mac OS X have IME (Input Methods: a way to type non-latin based languages) built in. For languages like Chinese (and Japanese), they even have hand writing capabilities built in.

Unlike Macs, where the option is easy to find, PCs don't have an obvious way to let you write Chinese characters. But Windows can write Chinese, too! This small tutorial will show you how to turn on the Chinese character writing mode (IME pad) for  your Windows 7/Vista pc. Before starting, you should enable Microsoft's built in IME.

If your using windows XP, you'll need to enable Traditional characters first (for some reason, the hand writing tool is only available after enabling Traditional characters). After that the steps are pretty much the same.

Step 1:

Open the IME Pad.

Step 2:

Add the "Hand Writing" applet to the IME Pad.

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Step 3:

Turn on the IME Pad's Hand Writing applet.

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Step 4:

Write Chinese! Make sure you open the program you want to write Chinese into first (e.g. MS Word, your browser, etc.).

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Let me know if you have any more questions in the comments