How do I type Chinese pinyin text with the tone marks into any application in Windows?

I am aware of the Chinese IME in Windows, which converts pinyin text I type into the Chinese stroked characters. This is not what I want. I want to type and view pinyin text, like rì chū for example, with all the proper tone marks (diacritics).

  • You can mark the tone at the end instead of the accent. wo3 = I, ta1 = he/she, etc.
    – WVrock
    Mar 12 '17 at 6:15

10 Answers 10


The U.S. international keyboard that comes with Windows makes typing some accents easy, but apparently not macrons (the bar over the "u" in "chū"). The Māori keyboard has support for those; maybe you can hot switch between the two? Someone claimed to have made a derivative of the international keyboard that permits typing the macrons as well as other accents easily, but I haven't tried it out.

You could try using a tone converter that takes in numeric-based tones and spits out accent-based tones.


I found an explicitly pinyin keyboard layout that should do what you want.


May I suggest my own PinyinTones IME, which does exactly what the OP was looking for:

It's a Windows IME that outputs Pinyin with tone marks, rather than Chinese characters. Type 1, 2, 3, or 4 after each syllable to add a tone mark -- just as people have been entering Pinyin since the days of ASCII characters:

Pinyin IME to type Pinyin with tone marks into any Windows application

Key features:

  1. Uses the Text Services Framework, so it works everywhere that the Microsoft Pinyin IME works. Including desktop and Universal applications.

  2. Uses in-line text composition, just like the Microsoft IMEs. This means that it behaves well in TSF-aware applications -- for example, when inserting, text will reflow as you type.

  3. Automatically places tone marks on the correct vowel in a combination, according to the rules of Pinyin orthography. (e.g., hao3 becomes hǎo -- with the tone mark on the "a" rather than on the "o")

  • What does this do when you press the TAB key? In notepad it seems to defer tabbing until you press enter. When you're in a combo box it seems to make it impossible to change focus using your keyboard. Is this a standard IME 'feature' and if so what is the purpose of it?
    – fostandy
    Jan 12 '14 at 12:16
  • Also, it's constantly in "insert" mode, so you cannot move the cursor to the middle of a sentence, it will overwrite any following characters Aug 12 '16 at 6:54

You can use the Keyboard Layout Creator to create such a keyboard layout yourself. Off the top of my head I don't know a layout which enables you to type all the tones. As Bkkbrad mentioned, you can't type a macron on US International (which is what I'm using here). But modifying US International to add another dead key for macron shouldn't be too hard.


I've used a couple but in the end I went with QuickPinyin because it's the only one that didn't need to be installed. This is kind of cool because I can run from a USB stick on any PC, for example, the library computers which don't let me install software on them.


I came across the same problem today while trying to set up my Windows installation. There is a much better solution under Linux using ibus. Namely, you can set the output to traditional, simplified, or pinyin. This way you can take advantage of the built in recognition algorithms - they place the tone mark on the correct vowel, etc. It would be great if someone has a similar solution for Windows.

  • The ibus solution sounds good, but I can't find any documentation of it. I only see the Simplified and Traditional output options and no pinyin output under Ubuntu 11.10. Do you know if it's documented anywhere?
    – Don Kirkby
    Nov 30 '12 at 17:37

I like the online converter at http://www.mdbg.net/chindict/webime2_pinyin.php

Just type e.g. hao3 and it directly becomes hǎo.


I like the pinyinput input method editor. Just type the letters for the syllable followed by a tone number, and it will combine them in the usual way.


this is old, but anyway, you could use the us international keyboard, in which you can type: á à ã â

They're not the exact pinyin tone marks but resemble them very closely


I just created https://www.pinyin-editor.com/ a couple of days ago, maybe it helps if you're still looking for a tool. Big advantage to other older web based Pinyin editors is that it's responsive, so works great on mobile


You can type Toned-Pinyin at: www.TypingChinese.com

Pinyin with tone marks can be type in SHIFT-style in 1-step.

I invented/implemented this tone pinyin input method and hope this helps.



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