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:

  Pinyin Tones (3,798 hits)

Type Pinyin

Otherwise, if you have to do a whole lot of typing pinyin I suggest using a tool at www.xuezhongwen.net. 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)


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  1. 10 Responses to “How to type pinyin (pīnyīn) with tone markings”

  2. Ian 何溢恩 CHINA said:

    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.

    Comment date: Dec 17, 2006

  3. jia qi UNITED STATES said:

    how do you type the “u” for pinyin words such as “nu ren”?

    Comment date: Apr 5, 2007

  4. Albert CHINA said:

    jia qi,

    I just figured it out. You have to type “v” and then a number. For example, “v5″ turns into “ü.”

    Comment date: Apr 7, 2007

  5. Nathan UNITED STATES said:

    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.

    Comment date: Feb 13, 2009

  6. Joel CANADA said:

    Making pretty pinyin just got super easy if you’re a firefox user. There’s a plugin, all you do it type with numbers, highlight, and click, and it instantly converts it.

    hěn bàng, hěn róngyì

    http://www.sinosplice.com/life/archives/2009/02/11/marks-new-pinyin-input-firefox-extension

    Comment date: Feb 14, 2009

  7. David UNITED STATES said:

    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)
    http://www.softpedia.com/get/Office-tools/Other-Office-Tools/WordToys.shtml

    Pinyin builder (small free ‘exe’) lets you type a line using the tone numbers, then you have to copy and paste what you type.
    http://www.language-power.cn/pinyin-builder.html

    Comment date: Jan 3, 2010

  8. Morgenthaler CHINA said:

    I use http://www.visualchinese.com Pinyin tools.

    Comment date: Jan 22, 2010

  9. TammyW said:

    I have used the following website quite often with much success to type pinyin with tone marks.
    (http://learningchineseonline.net/)
    Click on the “Typing Pinyin with tones online” in the left column.

    Comment date: Mar 31, 2010

  10. bubu GERMANY said:

    http://bu4.taipudex.com/pinyin.htm offers a convient method to select Pinyin. Especially it allows to access the dictionary entries with the arrow keys only.

    Comment date: Jun 19, 2010

  11. Tao Yue UNITED STATES said:

    I’d like to recommend PinyinTones, a Pinyin input method for Windows: http://pinyintones.codeplex.com/

    Since it installs itself as a Windows IME, it works across *all* Windows programs. So you don’t have to switch programs or copy-paste. It just works.

    Free and open-source.

    Comment date: Dec 17, 2012

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