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Typing Real Tone Marks for Chinese PinYin on My Mac

Being able to see pinyin in its purest form helps the brain process Chinese sounds better, so I was thrilled to discover keyboard tricks for typing the tones on my Mac computer. (There is some help for Windows users in the links below) Up until now, I have been just typing numerals at the end of the pinyin words. (click on any photo to enlarge)

First, set up the ABC Extended Keyboard

The first step is to make sure you are using the ABC Extended keyboard, NOT just the basic English keyboard. The ABC Extended keyboard can easily be added by going to

System Preferences >> Keyboard >> Input Sources, then clicking on the plus sign (+) near the bottom left.

Finding the ABC Extended keyboard on your Mac

Finding the ABC Extended keyboard on your Mac

When you do this, another box will drop down suggesting some keyboards. I found it easiest to just type ABC in the search bar and then ABC Extended showed up as one of the options. That choice is already gray in my photo, since I have already added it, so it wouldn’t let me choose it again. Once you have added it, it will show up in the top menu with the other keyboards you have added.

All your added keyboards should show up in a drop down menu in the upper bar, next to your internet connection symbol.

All your added keyboards should show up in a drop down menu in the upper bar, next to your internet connection symbol.

Next, learn the keyboard shortcuts

Now it is a matter of either memorizing or having a quick reference to the keyboard shortcuts. I have made a chart here and there is a printable one below that I have next to my computer:

Shortcuts for Typing Pinyin Tone Marks

Shortcuts for Typing Pinyin Tone Marks

Here is a printable pdf of the chart above: Shortcuts for Typing Pinyin Tone Marks

Here are the articles that I perused to figure it out:

How to Type Pinyin with Tone Marks (Mac OS X Yosemite)

Adding Accent marks for Pinyin El Capitan 10.11.5. (actually a discussion thread on an apple forum)

How to Type Toned Pinyin on a Mac

Tip: How to add pinyin tone marks (using Mac OS X 10.6)

Chinese Computing Help Desk (actually for Windows and everything except Mac’s, but helped get me thinking about it)

 

What about bopomofo?

Although I have been trying to use bopomofo more, pinyin is definitely useful for study and communicating learning of the language. It is good to have the tones right where they need to be pronounced, instead of waiting for a number at the end of the word. I hope this will enhance all your Chinese learning!

  • Emtiff

    The method I ended up using involved downloading an add on to a Japanese keyboard and choosing the Pinyin option. Using this one, I can simply use “v” for ü, and put the correct number 1-4 at the end of each syllable. The tone is automatically placed over the correct vowel.

    I’m glad you found a system that works for your computer!

    • lauraimprovises

      Thanks for sharing how that ended up!