How to Write in Chinese in Windows 10

My dad asked me how to write Chinese in Windows 10 and to my chagrin as a Microsoft fanboy, I did not know. I searched the web and YouTube, and while I eventually figured out what to do I surprisingly did not encounter one short and simple tutorial on doing so. Hence, this quick article and video.

As it turns out, writing Chinese in Windows 10 is exceedingly easy! Ignore the articles that say you need to download third-party software or buy some sort of specialized writing pad, or talk about IME (“Input Method Editor”)—whatever that is. If you have a Windows tablet or 2-in-1 like the Microsoft Surface, you can easily write Chinese using a stylus or finger and Windows will automatically convert your handwriting to typeface. Or, if you don’t have a touch screen, you can type in Pinyin instead.

Overview of the Procedure

  1. Add Chinese language to your device
  2. Either (a) click on the virtual keyboard in the taskbar, select Chinese and select the handwriting icon, then start writing Chinese with a stylus, or (b) select Chinese in the taskbar, start typing in Pinyin, and select from a list of Chinese character that could correspond to that Pinyin.

Here is a video of the above.

I actually prefer Option 2b (typing in Pinyin) above since I know how to write very few Chinese words, but know how to say some and can sort of recognize the most basic ones. Of course, a native Chinese person would probably prefer writing with a stylus or finger.

ni, Chinese character for you, Microsoft Surface Pro 4

Your Voice

  • karin says:

    Thanks Felix for the video, my dad asked me the same question. Gifted him a surface and he gave it back to me unable to understand how to use. Want to transition him and your video will go along way!!

  • Brett says:

    You rock!

  • jannet Lo says:

    if i dnt know PinYing, and don’t have Windows tablet or 2-in-1 like the Microsoft Surface, I only have a rugular laptop, no touch screen. can i still use Wrting Pad build in laptop?
    Do i need to download the Appl or change key broad to do Chinese Hand Writing?

    • Felix Wong says:

      Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your comment!

      Regarding your question, without a touchscreen, it still is possible to use do the drawing method as I showed in the video… but you would have to draw the character with your mouse or built-in touchpad instead of using your finger or stylus. As you can imagine, that would be a lot more awkward.

      That would probably work fine if you were infrequently entering Chinese characters.

      Another method I have used that is imperfect is to type English into Google Translate, find the Chinese characters I want, and copy and paste. Depending on what you are trying to do, that might be adequate also.

      If you do a lot of writing of Chinese, however, I would highly recommend getting a laptop with a touchscreen and a stylus. Most Windows laptops have a touchscreen nowadays.

Leave a comment