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How do I configure Ubuntu to input Chinese?

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I'm using Ubuntu 15.10, I use aptitude install the package ubuntu-keyboard-chinese-pinyin to get the pinyin imput method to be worked. – Yantao Xie Nov 5 '15 at 8:54
  1. click dash home, search for "language support"

  2. click "install/remove language" and add Chinese

  3. click dash home, search for "keyboard input method"

  4. under "input method",add Chinese input method

  5. enjoy!

hopefully it helps

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is this available through apt-get? – Scott混合理论 Apr 12 '14 at 14:11
Yes there is a way. I'll post an answer soon – Serg Aug 30 '15 at 4:42

My system had a similar problem: I was able to choose "Chinese", but it didn't really input any Chinese. The key step missing was to install a specific Chinese input method/package. E.g.:

sudo apt-get install ibus-pinyin 

After installing Pinyin in this example, go to System SettingsLanguage SupportChinese (Pinyin).

Now it works as expected.

This thread helped me to figure out this solution. It also suggests another input method:

sudo apt-get install ibus-sunpinyin


After either of those commands do not forget to restart the IBus daemon

ibus restart
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Although your answer is 100% correct, it might also become 100% useless if that link is moved, changed, merged into another one or the main site just disappears... :-( Therefore, please edit your answer, and copy the relevant steps from the link into your answer, thereby guaranteeing your answer for 100% of the lifetime of this site! ;-) You can always leave the link in at the bottom of your answer as a source for your material... – Fabby Aug 31 '15 at 19:58
Thanks @Fabby, I've added the key step into my answer :) – Samuel Li Sep 2 '15 at 2:50
Now the readability is even improved by @Fabby, thanks ;) – Samuel Li Sep 4 '15 at 2:17
  1. click dash home, search for "language support", check if " chinese" exist ? If not step 2. If have, transfer to step 3.

  2. click "install/remove language" and add Chinese

  3. click dash home, search for "keyboard input method"

  4. under "input method",add Chinese input method

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This method is through command line. It relies on installing ibus-libpinyin (which is known as Ibus Intelligent Pinyin) and adding it as input source to gsettings schema. This has been tested multiple times on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS as well as 15.04

First install ibus-libpinyin

sudo apt-get install ibus-libpinyin

Then, run the following command:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.input-sources sources "$(gsettings get org.gnome.desktop.input-sources sources | sed "s/]/, ('ibus', 'libpinyin')]/")" 

The command above takes output of gsettings get org.gnome.desktop.input-sources sources, gives it to sed, which removes the last square bracket and appends , ('ibus', 'libpinyin')] to its output. That particular schema has entries in format [(INPUTMETHOD1, LANGUAGE1), (INPUTMETHOD1,LANGUAGE2)], so this is the reason why sed has to be used to insert text in that fassion. Finally we use output of that as input for gsettings set command, through parameter substitution with $( . . . )

Alternatively the two lines can be combined into a simple script:

sudo apt-get install ibus-libpinyin
gsettings set $SCHEMA $KEY "$(gsettings get $SCHEMA $KEY | sed "s/]/, ('ibus', 'libpinyin')]/")"

Hope that helps other users! Chinese language by itself is great for web-surfing Chinese internet, but one of the most desired app for Chinese users of Linux is QQ, which of course isn't available, however check out my other answer on how to install Android version of QQ in Ubuntu.

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Well QQ has a web edition so android edition is not really necessary. – JI Xiang Sep 11 '15 at 10:06
@XiangJi at least for me, web qq lacks file transfer and video/voice calling features. Besides, it's laggy and doesn't keep history of my conversations. Hence, I prefer android version. A bit verbose, but works for me – Serg Sep 11 '15 at 19:59

setup instructions for chinese character support in ubuntu 14.04

1. Enable Chinese Language Support

a - Click System Settings, Click Language Support

b - Ensure that Keyboard input method system: is set to IBus

c - Click Install / Remove Languages..

d - Choose Chinese (simplified) and/or Chinese (traditional)

e - Click Apply Changes

>Logout Login<

2. Install Additional Chinese Input Systems

a - Open Ubuntu Software Center

b - Search for and install ibus-m17n

>Logout Login<

3. Select And Enable Your Input Systems

a - Click System Settings, Click Text Entry

b - Click the + button to add new methods

c - Select Chinese (Pinyin), click Add

this allows you to type characters 汉字

d - Select Chinese (SunPinyin), click Add

this also allows you to type chinese characters 汉字 (optional alternative)

e - select Chinese (hanyu pinyin (m17n)), click Add

this allows you to type hànyǔ pīnyīn (english characters with tone markers)

>Logout Login<

4. Test It Out


If when using Chinese(Pinyin) you have the bug where typing hanyu suggests ha nü sh and other similar, syllabic separation problems, first try this..

Open the terminal, Enter ibus restart

if that doesn't work here are a few other suggestions at Pinyin Joe

Random Tips

  • Press super key + space to toggle between language inputs.
    • super key is the windows key
  • Each language input has its own settings to customize usability.
    • Ex. On the language bar select Pinyin, click preferences.
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