How to Type Chinese on Mac

Alicia Santos

Mac, Tutorials

Are you struggling to type Chinese characters on your Mac? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

In this tutorial, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of typing Chinese on a Mac computer. Whether you’re learning Mandarin, need to communicate with Chinese-speaking friends or colleagues, or simply want to explore a new language, being able to type in Chinese can be a valuable skill. Let’s get started!

Setting Up Your Mac for Chinese Typing

Before we dive into typing Chinese characters, let’s make sure your Mac is properly set up for it. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Open System Preferences

To begin, click on the Apple menu located at the top-left corner of your screen and select “System Preferences” from the dropdown menu.

Step 2: Select Keyboard Preferences

In the System Preferences window, locate and click on “Keyboard.”

Step 3: Add the Chinese Input Source

In the Keyboard preferences window that appears, click on the “Input Sources” tab. Now, click on the “+” button at the bottom left of the window to add a new input source.

  • Note: If you don’t see the Input Sources tab or can’t find it, make sure that you’re in the Keyboard preferences window and not in another system preference pane.

Step 4: Choose Your Preferred Chinese Input Method

A list of available input sources will appear. Scroll down until you find “Chinese” and select it. You’ll see various options for different input methods such as Pinyin, Simplified Stroke Input Method (Simplified), or Traditional Stroke Input Method (Traditional).

  • Note: Pinyin is the most commonly used input method for typing Chinese characters. It allows you to type in Romanized letters that correspond to Chinese characters.

Step 5: Enable the Input Source

After selecting your preferred Chinese input method, make sure the checkbox next to it is checked. This enables the input source on your Mac.

Typing Chinese Characters

Now that you’ve set up your Mac for Chinese typing, let’s explore how to actually type Chinese characters using the Pinyin input method. Here’s how:

Step 1: Activate the Input Menu

In the top menu bar of your Mac, you’ll find an input menu represented by a flag or an abbreviation indicating the currently selected input source. Click on it and select your desired Chinese input source from the dropdown menu.

Step 2: Type Pinyin

With the Chinese input source activated, you can start typing Pinyin to generate Chinese characters. For example, if you want to type “hello” in Mandarin, you would type “ni hao.”

  • Note: As you type Pinyin, a list of suggested characters will appear. Use the arrow keys to navigate through the options and press Enter to select a character.

Step 3: Choose Characters from Suggested Options

If multiple character options are shown based on your Pinyin input, use the number keys on your keyboard to select the corresponding character. For example, if you see “你好” as one of the options when typing “ni hao,” simply press “1” on your keyboard to choose it.

Step 4: Edit and Confirm

If the selected character doesn’t match your intended meaning, you can press the spacebar to cycle through alternative options. Once you’ve found the correct character, press Enter to confirm and move on to the next word.


Congratulations! You’ve successfully set up your Mac for typing Chinese characters and learned how to type them using the Pinyin input method.

With practice, you’ll become more proficient in typing Chinese and communicating effectively in Mandarin or Cantonese. Keep exploring this fascinating language and embrace the opportunities it brings!

Now that you know how to type Chinese on your Mac, go ahead and start practicing! Happy typing!

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