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When I type Chinese via a Pinyin IME, I can write "nihao" to get "你好". Writing out "ni3hao3" is not required.

But when I try to write "ㄋㄧㄏㄠ", the IME interprets this as "ㄏㄧㄠ". Basically I'm forced to type out the tone for every single character: "ㄋㄧˇㄏㄠˇ" before the IME will give me "你好", and I find this too cumbersome.

Is there some kind of setting to change this IME behaviour? If there's an IME for Windows that supports this, I be happy to learn about it.

Side note: I know that Linux Zhuyin IMEs support this "optional tone" behaviour, and I was quite surprised to find that Windows Zhuyin IMEs are so pedantic by default.

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  • You can look for some IMEs labelled ciyin (詞音), which will enable you input in words instead of single characters. Some of such IMEs provide toneless input mode.
    – Shou Ya
    Sep 11 '14 at 21:08
  • I looked the settings inside my 新自然輸入法 IME for something called "詞音", but didn't find anything. I also did a Google search for "詞音 输入法" and only found 1 IME called "gcin". Is there really only one IME that supports this feature for Zhuyin?
    – Dan Cecile
    Sep 12 '14 at 13:38
  • Microsoft New Phonetic Input Method allows you type in words instead of characters. Not sure if it has toneless mode.
    – Shou Ya
    Sep 12 '14 at 17:56
  • Oh, just reminded. Why don't you try out rime? It has a port to Windows and allows "optional tone" in Zhuyin mode. You may download it at: code.google.com/p/rimeime/wiki/Downloads (Chinese)
    – Shou Ya
    Sep 12 '14 at 17:58
  • I use Rime on Linux, and it works fine on Windows too, thanks! (I'll wait a few days to see if anyone else has any other suggestions.)
    – Dan Cecile
    Sep 12 '14 at 20:54
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At least on Windows 7 you can configure the New Phonetic IME to not require tones, although you will still need to press the space bar to separate characters.

  1. Go to Control Panel - Region and Language - Keyboards and Languages - Change Keyboards
  2. Choose the New Phonetic IME and click Properties
  3. On the Advanced tab, switch the "Toneless" option to ON
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This question was asked some time ago, and the answer still seems tricky to find. In Windows 8 this can be achieved without installing anything extra by going to the settings for the "Microsoft Bopomofo" input method and adding a "Toneless key" which acts as a tone wildcard, that is to say you press the key if you don't know which tone to enter.

Microsoft Bopomofo Settings dialogue window

This isn't quite as convenient as the iPhone keyboard which allows you to skip tones altogether (or, even, to just type initial sounds) but it can get you by as a learner.

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Rime IME's zhuyin allows toneless phrase input, just like pinyin.

Unlike most pinyin IME's, however, it will require you to make some list selections and will not be as accurate -- I guess because its zhuyin is inherently designed to work with tones.

I tried typing a phrase without tones and selecting the right characters. It didn't remember the phrase the next time and I had to select them again.

However, after entering the phrase with all tones and selecting the correct characters, I was able to type the phrase without tones and even type it with just initials.

So, it seems Rime might provide the fuctionality you want if you're willing to type full zhuyin with tones the first time you use a phrase.

https://rime.im/

https://rime.im/download/

I've used some phones that allow zhuyin w/o tones, which seemed to have the same intelligent phrase selection as their pinyin IMEs. But I can't remember the names of those specific IMEs and you're wanting this for a windows computer anyway. (I'm pretty sure those were proprietary IME's available only on that manufacturer's phones)

I guess rime is the only Windows option I know of for that, though it's not great.

I've become a cangjie typist myself, so I've long since abandoned phonetic IMEs.

But I wish you good luck with that and I will be interested to see if someone else knows of a better option!

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