How to Type in Chinese on a Mac

By Robert Schrader

Apple computers are sold in countries around the world. One feature shared by all Mac computers, no matter where they are purchased, is the ability to accept and display input in multiple languages, such as Chinese. Whether you choose to type pinyin romanizations and select appropriate characters thereafter or simply draw each character on the trackpad if you use a laptop, setting up a Mac up to type in Chinese is not difficult.

Step 1

Choose "System Preferences" in the dock. Click the "Language and Text" option under the Personal tab.

Step 2

Click "Input Options." Scroll down through the list to "Chinese." Tick the box next to "Chinese Simplified" or "Chinese Traditional," depending on your intended audience; Hong Kong and Taiwan use traditional Chinese, while mainland China uses simplified characters.

Step 3

Click the flag icon in the upper right corner of the screen and select the desired Chinese input method: trackpad drawing or pinyin, which requires you to type in three-letter romanizations for each character and then select it from a list.

Step 4

Begin typing in Chinese as you would on any other computer and within any application or program.

Tips & Warnings

  • Just because you type in Chinese doesn't mean the person who sees your content will be able to read it. Check with your intended recipient beforehand to make sure his computer is capable of encoding Chinese characters. If not, consider writing your message in pinyin or zhuyin.