How to type pinyin (pīnyīn) with tone markings

Copy and Paste

The easiest way I’ve found to do it (in small doses) is to copy and paste. I personally have a Word document call “pinyin tones” and that’s all that’s in it. Download it here if you want it too:

[Download not found]

Type Pinyin

Otherwise, if you have to do a whole lot of typing pinyin I suggest using a tool at After you get past the splash screen, click on “拼音 Type Pīnyīn” in the menu inside the left side-bar. You type “hao3” and you get “hǎo.” Very cool.

There is also apparently a tool called Wenlin that let’s you type pinyin with tone markings, but I’ve never used it (see Mark Swofford’s post about Wenlin).

Web Site Encoding

If you want to put pinyin on a website, and you want to be able to tweak the settings, use this tool by Mark Swofford. It will take “hao3” and convert it to “hǎo”. The only bad thing about it is it doesn’t remember your line breaks–but I’ve learned to cope.

MS Word Macro

(see Wanted: Convert Tone Numbers in Microsoft Word)

Other Tools

(see comments below for other suggestions from readers)

16 Replies to “How to type pinyin (pīnyīn) with tone markings”

  1. The “U.S. Extended” keyboard input allows you to enter in all the necessary accents for pinyin by simply holding down the option key when hitting certain vowel keys.
    This is most likely only of any help if you are a Mac user, but may actually work for windows users too, if you are able to find that input method included in your system.

  2. To add to what Ian said, you can re-configure the shortcut keys for those characters, so that instead of pressing (for example) Alt+0112 or something equally ridiculous, you can simply press Alt+[tone number]+[vowel]. It saves ginormous amounts of time if you’re typing lots of Pinyin.

  3. WordToys 2.0 (free) lets you add any version of characters available like this

    Type ‘a’, then F10, then click on the version of ‘a’ displayed you want.

    Ok, it’s not only pinyin..

    Install WordToys from (say)

    Pinyin builder (small free ‘exe’) lets you type a line using the tone numbers, then you have to copy and paste what you type.

  4. years later… if anyone is having an issue with this…
    simply enable your Chinese Simplified keyboard, then there are two options “Chinese Mode” and “English input.”
    English input allows you to type freely in “English”
    after any Chinese word, you can type a number and it will turn that word into the respective pinyin (add a tone), not the chinese character.

  5. I’m recommending “combining diacritical marks” for adding tone marks to Pinyin. Then you only have to remember two decimal or hexadecimal codes. Just enter the vowel first and then add the combining diacritical mark.

    The dec and hex codes for macron are 772 and U+0304.
    The dec and hex codes for caron/hachek are 780 and U+030C.

    In MS Word you can either use the ALT+C function with the hex code or the ALT+[number] function with the decimal code.

    In MS Word (under Insert–>Symbol) you may even add shortkeys for the two tone marks when going to the “Combining Diacritical Marks” section.

    On my German keyboard I use [alt gr] – for macron (1st tone) and [alt gr] ^ for caron (3rd tone). The 2nd and 4th tone I can enter with the dead keys ´ and `.

    If you don’t have the umlaut ü on your keyboard you can enter 776 or U+0308 as combining diacritical mark and then combine it with the tone marks.

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