I've been for some time learning chinese characters along with the Zheng Ma input method. I found it convenient for coming with Windows and being able to easily convert to my Dvorak touch-typing, as opposed to Wubi.

The only resource I ever found in english, and have been using extensively, is this pdf guide on scribd (thanks MEGATRON COOKIE whoever and wherever you are). Especially the table at the end. But sometimes I find it incomplete and I then have to spend minutes on end trying every possible alternate combination to get to my character. Some characters have provided me with at least half an hour of frustration and I recall one which I never got to type and just gave up.

I have always thought more material on Zheng Ma should exist in chinese (or in english, who knows), but alas, I have to get up to baidu searching skill-level first. So the chinese.SE proves the perfect opportunity to find out what's out there.

5 Answers 5


If you use Windows 7, there should be a text document within the Program Files that contains a comprehensive list of Chinese characters and their ZhengMa codes. On my computer it is found at C:\Program Files(x86)\Windows NT\TableTextService; it is called TableTextServiceSimplifiedZhengMa.txt

I don't know if this exists on other operating systems. Hope it helps!

  • I can't believe that actually exists a raw hash table for all zhengma combinations for taking like this. Now I can even roll out my own implementation for mac and for a web app. Thanks so much for the pointer! May 20, 2012 at 6:00

ZhengMa is a very powerful IME, as it doesn't really distinguish between 'simplified' and 'traditional' so one can type both scripts without having to switch between modes. It's designed to be a system which can include all HanTzu漢字 used in China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, so it's really convenient for people who enjoy reading old literature and want to type out phrases in Classical Chinese or in dialects.

(Yes, there are people on the Internet who actually learn and communicate in Classical Chinese. I found such people online - foreigners, not Chinese - (for example this room here https://discord.gg/Mn2Mcy3 ), and there are also blogs like this one https://kuiwon.wordpress.com/. On QQ groups also one can find Chinese people who are learning 古文 and 文言文. )

ZhengMa is not mainstream, and the reason for this is its power ;) Just like the LISP programming language is not mainstream. (and at the same time the 'mainstream' languages keep pilfering decades old features from LISP and present them as 'new' and 'cool' :D )

As someone in the 20th century said:

"My whole religion believes it; so many people cannot be wrong." This argument I have heard so many times that I have made my own argument: If there are so many people agreed on something, they MUST be wrong! So many people cannot be right. Right belongs to very rare people: crowds cannot be right, they cannot have the truth.

Here's the most comprehensive guide available: https://pan.baidu.com/s/1mgFsuA8 (ZM_PDF(2010).rar or 郑码实用手册2010.pdf) and really you don't need more teaching materials. Just get the basics then start practicing, it'll get into your bones and you'll love it and appreciate it more and more as you discover how much it helps you to learn and remember the Chinese characters.

(UPDATE: here are some oldschool tuts in EXE and XLS format which teach you ZhengMa and help you to practice it: http://www.soongsky.com/zm/

From that website you can also download the tutorials in swf format and other ZhengMa related tools )

Other useful links:

http://zhengma.911cha.com use it to display one or more characters' ZhengMa code

http://www.zdic.net an online dictionary that doesn't suck too much and shows the ZhengMa code along other useful info about the 漢字

John Cikoski in his Notes for a Lexicon of Classical Chinese said:

Reading Classical Chinese we rely heavily on character dictionaries that vary in quality from poor to execrable.

for a good reason. Btw I recommend his book, it is VERY non-mainstream. Just reading the introduction can make one tremble.

https://zhengmashurufa.51240.com/ an online ZhengMa IME for people who are in some desperate circumstance and need to type something without having the IME installed

https://www.augsky.com/860.html more ZhengMa lessons & stuff

PS: Of course other IME's are great and useful too. Pinyin has its uses, handwriting IME's can sometimes be very _handy as well ;) It's best to combine all these tools and methods.

ZhengMa鄭碼 is one of the best tools available to help a Chinese student learn faster.

If you go to hospitals in China you'll notice they use ZhengMa, not pinyin.


I'm answering from an old memory, and can't know whether this is correct in any modern Windows system. Nevertheless: I think to remember that I installed ZhengMa for windows years ago. Then I changed the language to Chinese and got a help file in Chinese. This wasn't available in English. I'd assume that this help text is the best you get. But I just assume.

  • I'll try that as soon as I'm confident enough to change the OS language. Thanks! May 20, 2012 at 6:11

You can find some Chinese manual in its official website http://www.china-e.com.cn/main/zhengma/xz-1.htm. Its a half dead input method,Even the developer don't maintain its website.


ZhengMa is rarely used in chinese.se, more people use PinYin and WuBi. ZhengMa have never been a mainstream type-in method.

And One more thing, please use www.google.com.hk in Chinese to search what you want, not Baidu, which search result sorted by money website pay

  • 4
    "ZhengMa is rarely used" would be more accurate, since chinese.se has just started, and yes I know that. But stating it doesn't answer my question. Dec 14, 2011 at 1:46
  • 1
    I can give you some forum/group in chinese.se you can participate. Like douban or Baidu Forum ( not like Baidu search, it is find and interesting ) if you want. Maybe I should comment you question instead of answer, my bad.
    – Alex Chen
    Dec 14, 2011 at 1:51
  • No problem, sorry if I seemed harsh. By the way, when I said "chinese.SE" I was referring to this Chinese StackExchange website, not to chinese language/websites in general. Thanks for the links, but I still don't know enough chinese to be able to read them. Dec 14, 2011 at 2:14

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