This page explains the steps you need to take to install Chinese fonts and an Input Method Editor (IME) on your system.
The main pre-requisite to viewing Chinese characters with a browser is that you need is to have Chinese fonts on your system. There are a couple of ways to get this, and the procedure depends upon what operating system you are using. I strongly prefer the fonts and IME that Microsoft provides, as these will work with standard versions of Internet Explorer and Office 2000, and as an added benefit they enable you to browse Chinese web sites.
When you install fonts, you also usually have the option of installing an Input Method Editor (or IME for short). In the case of simplified Chinese, it is essentially something that lets you type in PinYin and it does a dictionary lookup to find the actual Chinese characters. This is useful if you want to send an email with Chinese characters, for example. The details about how to use an IME vary considerably from one IME to the next. For more information on how to use the Microsoft Global IME, please see the IME tutorial that demonstrates how to compose an email message with Chinese characters.
I should mention that you do not need to have a Chinese version of Windows in order to use this. The standard English version of Windows works quite well, and a standard U.S. keyboard also works great - even with an IME.
The Global IME from Microsoft is known to work with Internet Explorer, version 4 or greater, Outlook 98 or later, Outlook Express 4 or later (Email client that comes with Internet Explorer), and Microsoft Word 2000.
If you are using Windows 95, 98, Windows Millenium Edition(ME) or Windows-NT 4 (essentially everything except for Windows-2000), then you basically want to get the Global IME and language pack from Microsoft. These can be found at:
You can pick either the simplified or traditional Chinese (it is possible to install both, if you wish). You definitely want to pick the version with the language pack, however.
If you are using Windows-2000 or Windows-XP, the procedure for getting Chinese fonts is quite a bit different. The main reason is that the fonts and the IME actually do ship with the standard versions of Windows-2000 or XP, and really all you need to do is configure your system correctly.
I should also add that the IME support with Windows-2000 and Windows-XP is far superior to that which you get with Windows-9x, Windows-ME and Windows NT4. In particular, with Windows 2000 and Windows-XP, all Windows applications are capable of receiving Chinese input.
This page was last updated on 01/05/03.