Word97/2000/XP Chinese Input Macro

This input method macro is designed as a free alternative to other Chinese systems that claim to work with Word97/2000. This macro is not a way to view existing GB or Big5 files (though I'm working on that also), but rather a way to input Simplified and Traditional Chinese into Word97 and view and print it using free, high-quality, downloadable Chinese Unicode fonts. Using Unicode has the advantage of allowing both simplified and traditional Chinese characters in one document. It also makes editing Chinese text easier since Word now treats the character as one unit rather than two bytes.

Though written for Word97, several people have reported success in using this macro with Word2000. I have had some problems using it with Word2000 and Windows 98, but not with Windows 2000. I have recently updated the macro to incorporate the suggestions that users have sent in over the past few years. Font handling in particular has been improved. Macro users should never again encounter the "Can't find a Chinese font" message.

As a bonus, I've also made a separate macro that converts pinyin with tone numbers at the end, e.g. "wo3 shi4 mei3guo2ren2", to pinyin with tone marks above the appropriate vowels. Just follow the instructions below. I have also included a macro that can place pinyin above characters or bopomofo next to characters. See the Pinyin/Zhuyin Macro page for more information.


Automatic Install

First close Word if you are running it, then download and run this macro install program. It will place the macros in the appropriate directory. Then follow the directions at "Starting It Up" below.

Word XP

To use the macro on Word XP, you will need to change the security level for macro virus protection
  1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. Click the Security tab.
  3. Under Macro Security, click Macro Security.
  4. Click the Security Level tab, and then select the "Medium" security level.
  5. Exit Word.
  6. Install the Chinese Input Macro.
Now when you restart Word it will ask you if you want to enable macros in three files (chinput.dot, addtones.dot, BoPoMoFo.dot). Click yes for all of them and you will be able to use the macros as usual. You will not need to do these steps again.

Manual Install

Ming-Chuan Wu has written a web page on installing the macro that I really like. You might want to visit there first.

Before you start installation, please exit Word 97 if you are running it.

To use this macro, first download this self-extracting compressed file called chinput2.1.exe. You can probably do this just by clicking on the preceding link and then choosing to save the file. Or, on Netscape, you can click on the right mouse button over the link and then select "Save Link As". (If this file doesn't work, you could try the older version of the macro.) Either way, once the file dialog appears, save chinput.exe in this directory: "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\STARTUP". Depending on your computer, it may be the D: or other drive. This seems to be a standard location, but if your system does not have it, you can use the "Find" option off the Start button and look for "Startup". If you are familiar with the Windows Registry, you can look up the appropriate directory using the key: "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\8.0\Word\Options\STARTUP". Another easier way to find it is in Word itself. From the main menu select Tools, then Options, then File Locations, and finally Startup

After saving the file, select "Run" from the Windows "Start" button. Use "Browse" to go to the directory mentioned above and select "chinput2.1.exe". When you run, it will ask you where you want to place the unzipped file. Choose the Startup directory mentioned above. After running it, there should be a new file called "chinput.dot" in the Startup directory. You can delete chinput2.1.exe now to save disk space.

Note that if you do not want to install using the self-extracting executable, you can alternatively download the plain zip file or the original chinput.dot macro file. Either way, chinput.dot needs to end up in the Startup directory.

Chinese Fonts

To use this macro, you must have at least one Chinese Unicode font installed on your machine. The macro can input both simplfied and traditional Chinese characters and can use a separate font for each. These easiest place to get these fonts is on the Word97 (or Office97) installation CD where they are stored in "\valupack\fareast" directory and are called Chssupp.exe (simplified) and Chtsupp.exe (traditional). Thanks to Glen Wintringham for this tip. You can also download Chinese Unicode fonts off the Internet. A useful Simplified Chinese font for Windows 95/98/ME can be downloaded from Microsoft. It says it is for Internet Explorer, but it can also be used Word97 and other Office97 applications. Follow Microsoft's instructions for installation. To use the Traditional Chinese input method for Windows 95/98/ME, download and install Microsoft's Traditional Chinese Language Pack from the same location. Users of Windows 2000/XP can find information on enabling Chinese support at Chinesecomputing.com.

Or, instead of downloading two separate fonts, you can also just download the one "Bitstream Cyberbit" font from Bitstream. Finally, you can look in the Unicode fonts directory at IFCSS for most of the fonts mentioned above.

With the macro and the fonts installed, the input method should be ready to go.

Starting It Up

After installation, you can now start Word. If the installation went well, you should be able to press the Control button and Space bar at the same time and have a input window appear. If this does not happen, go to Word's menubar and select Tools->Macros (or press Alt-F8). The list of macros that appears should include "InsertUnicode". Run this and the input window should appear.

The first time that you run the macro, it will display a list of fonts on your system. You should select the Chinese font you want to use by default. It will ask for default fonts for both simplified and traditional Chinese. These can be different fonts or the same one. You will not need to select these fonts again. If you want to change the default Chinese font in the future, you can run the SetDefaultFontTrad or SetDefaultFontSimp macros (Tools->Macro->Macros)

The first window that appears after starting the macro is used to input simplified Chinese characters using pinyin. To get traditional Chinese characters, press Control-Space again. To exit the window, press Control-Space one more time. If you can't find the "InsertUnicode" macro at all, make sure that "chinput.dot" is installed in the correct directory.

If Control-Space does not bring up the input window, you can set Word to bring it up that way in the future. From the main menu, go to Tools->Customize and select the "Keyboard" button at the bottom. Under "Categories" select "Macros" and then under "Commands" select "InsertUnicode". Use the tab key or your mouse to go to "Press New Shortcut Key", then press the Control button and the space bar down at the same time. Finally, click on "Assign" at the right of the window and then "Close". In the future, you should be able to use Control-Space to toggle the input method on and off.

Note that the macro will now remember the font setting in effect before the macro was turned and will restore it when it is turned off. For example, if the font is set to "Times New Roman" and then you active the macro, the macro will type in the characters using a Chinese font, but when you de-activate the macro it will return to "Times New Roman".

For Word XP Users

Word XP users might get the message "The macros in this project are disabled." when they first try to run the macro. In that case try these suggestions I've found on the web:

  1. To change Office XP macro security settings
  2. On the Tools menu, point to Macro, and click Security. The Security dialog box appears.
  3. Click the Security tab.
  4. Click the Medium option.
  5. Quit and then restart the Office XP program, and try running the macro. The disabled macros message should not appear, and you should be able to run the macro normally.
  6. Tools-Macros, Macro security. Click on the SECOND tab. Tell it it's okay to run macros that are in addins and templates on your PC. I keep forgetting that setting in XP. THEN, if you choose Medium, it would ask if you want to enable.

Using the Macro

The first input window that appears after pressing Control-Space is for typing in simplified Chinese characters. If you want to input traditional Chinese characters, press Control-Space one more time. To exit the macro entirely, press Control-Space one more time beyond that.

Type in the pinyin (without tone) for the character you want. From the list that appears type the number of the character that matches the desired character. Pressing the space bar can be used as a short cut to select the first character. If the desired character is not among the first ten characters, use the period and comma (or right and left angle bracket) keys to move back and forth through the sets of characters. If no characters match the pinyin you have typed, a bell will sound. The characters are ordered by frequency of use, so the most commonly used characters appear near the start of the list. This should help speed up typing.

To enter the pinyin ü (u with umlaut) use a "u" followed by a colon ":". For example, the word for female (nü) would be entered as "nu:".

When the pinyin field is blank, any number or punctuation you type will input its wide equivalent. Pressing 5 will insert a wide 5, pressing the question mark will insert a wide question mark, etc. Not all punctuation is implemented yet. To enter the Chinese comma used in lists, press the Control key and the comma at the same time (Control+,).

When printing documents using this font, I've found sometimes that the printer properties need to be set to "Print True Type fonts as graphics". This can be done by:

  1. Selecting to print from File->Print on the menu.
  2. Selecting "Properties" on the dialog that appears (should be in upper right corner).
  3. In the new window that appears, select the "Font" screen.
  4. Select "Print True Type fonts as Graphics"
This is a problem with some printer driver's lack of support for printing Unicode. Microsoft knows about this problem and has a page with a more detailed description and some other solutions. Alert Macro user Ginger Canlas has also suggested going to the homepage of your printer manufacturer to see if it has an updated version of your printer driver. If none of the above solutions works, then I'm afraid I don't know how else to solve the problem. For example, Microsoft Fax doesn't have this option so it won't send the Chinese.

Some people with non-English versions of Windows have reported problems using the macro. One user reported that deleting the "Add_Tones" macro enables the "Insert_Unicode" macro to work. Unfortunately, I don't have access to other language versions of Windows to test this.

Pinyin Tone Marker

A separate macro file is also available that includes a macro called "Add_Tones" which takes pinyin with tone numbers and converts it to pinyin with tone marks above the vowels. First download the file addtones.dot by right clicking on the link and waiting for a menu to appear. On Netscape select "Save Link As..." and on Internet Explorer select "Save Target As...". Save the file in the same Startup directory as specified above for the input macro. Then restart Word. The macro doesn't actually add the tone marks to bare pinyin, all of the pinyin must have tone numbers already. For example, you must first type something like "Wo3 xi3huan1 wo3de5 dian4nao3" with the numbers (1-5) and then you can run the macro. To add a u with umlaut and tone mark, add a colon after the u. For example for "woman" type nu:3 .

The macro works with most major fonts such as "Times Roman", "Arial", and "Courier". Before starting the macro, either place the cursor before all the pinyin you want to convert, or highlight just the pinyin to which you want to add tone marks. Next, press Alt-F8 (or Tools->Macro->Macros from the Menu) to run a macro. Select the "Add_Tones" macro and then "Run". The macro itself might take a minute or two to finish. Once completed, all of the pinyin with tone numbers will be converted to pinyin with tone marks over the proper vowel.

Comments and Suggestions

This input and add tones macros are still under development. I welcome bug reports and feature suggestions. Write me by visiting my contact page.


If you find this macro useful, you might also be interested in these programs:

In case you came to this page directly, you may also want to check out my collection of on-line Chinese tools.