Using Trackpad Handwriting with Simplified or Traditional Chinese

Learn how to use Trackpad Handwriting to enter Chinese characters into an OS X application. 

With Trackpad Handwriting, you can draw Simplified and Traditional Chinese characters using your finger. You can do this using a Magic Trackpad or an Apple notebook computer that has a Multi-Touch trackpad with a built-in button. You can enter Chinese characters in any application that recognizes the Chinese input method. For example, you can write documents in Text Edit, search the web using Safari, or compose an email message using Mail by drawing the characters with your finger.

Note: If you're using a Magic Trackpad with Trackpad Handwriting, make sure you've installed the Magic Trackpad and Multi-Touch Trackpad Update 1.0, which requires Mac OS X v10.6.4 or later. 

Enable the Simplified or Traditional Chinese character input method

  1. Choose System Preferences from the Apple () menu.
  2. Choose Language & Text from the View menu.
  3. Select the Input Sources tab.
  4. Enable the checkboxes for Pinyin, Wubi Xing, or Wubi Hua under Chinese - Simplified, or Cangjie, Dayi Pro, Jianyi, Pinyin, or Zhuyin under Chinese - Traditional.

You may find it helpful to enable the "Show Input menu in menu bar" option to place an icon in the menu bar; use this menu to change Input Methods without opening System Preferences. If you do not want Trackpad Handwriting to appear in the input menu, disable this option.

Activate the Trackpad Handwriting character window

After you select the Simplified or Traditional input method, press Control-Shift-Space Bar to activate the Trackpad Handwriting character window. You can also open the input menu in the menu bar and choose Show Trackpad Handwriting. To turn off Trackpad Handwriting, press Control-Shift-Space Bar again.

Write and delete with the trackpad

Control the mouse pointer with the tip of your finger and draw by moving your finger across the trackpad. As you write a Chinese character, similar suggestions appear to the side.  The closest match appears at the top.

To delete a character, touch the delete symbol.

If you find it difficult to select or delete a character in the character window, touch just the edge of the trackpad, then move your finger slowly upward or downward. If more than one selection is available after you write a character, scroll up or down by moving your finger over the right edge of the trackpad.

Enter a character into your application

To enter the character into the active application, highlight the character by moving your finger along the far-left or far-right side of the trackpad. When you release your finger over the character, it should appear in the active application.

Using the Space bar

Writing compound characters

Here are some examples of drawing and selecting compound characters:

Follow these steps to use different input sources on multiple documents—even if the documents are open at the same time.   

  1. Choose System Preferences from the Apple () menu.
  2. Choose Language & Text from the View menu.
  3. Select the Input Sources tab.
  4. Enable the option "Use the same one in all documents" or "Allow a different one for each document."


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