I'm trying to find a pinyin input method for traditional chinese that works on Ubuntu 20.04. A lot of similar questions on askubuntu are from around 9 years ago, and the answers no longer seem to fully apply.

If I go to the language support panel and use Ibus as my input method system, the Chinese options available are either for China (simplified) or Hong Kong (traditional). When adding input methods in the Region and Language menu, China's version (i.e., simplified chinese) has intelligent pinyin which seems to work fine, but it's for simplified chinese, and the Hong Kong (traditional) version does not list intelligent pinyin as an input method. The other methods seem to either not function or not be pinyin.

Is there a way to switch the Intelligent Pinyin from simplified to traditional? Or is there an Ibus traditional chinese pinyin input method I'm unaware of?

I tried switching from Ibus to fcitx, and added input methods using fcitx-configtool. However, the pinyin options I found were either simplified (with google's input method), or they didn't work. Is there a way to get google's pinyin input to support traditional characters? Does fcitx have a working traditional pinyin input method? Any help would be appreciated.

  • 1
    Under Region & Language, I click +, the three vertical dots, and then Other. From there, I see Taiwanese as an option. Does that work for you? There is more than you might need to do, but I wonder if just choosing this solves your problem?
    – Ray
    May 6, 2021 at 8:30
  • That might work, although I just found another solution and will post my answer. Taiwanese typically uses Zhuyin instead of Pinyin though
    – bug_spray
    May 6, 2021 at 8:38
  • Welcome to AskUbuntu, This might be the same question. May 8, 2021 at 1:09
  • @SadaharuWakisaka Almost. My question was how to get fcitx (or an alternative) to use traditional chinese. I didn't realize Ctrl + Shift + F would toggle google pinyin between simplified and traditional.
    – bug_spray
    May 8, 2021 at 16:33

3 Answers 3


Actually, you can indeed configure intelligent pinyin to show only traditional Chinese characters. So instead of switching to another input method, you could just do the following:

  1. Go to Settings > Keyboard > Input Sources
  2. Find Chinese (Intelligent Pinyin)
  3. Click on the three-dot options button and go to Preferences
  4. In Initial State change Chinese from Simplified to Traditional

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  • This is one of the simplest and comes out of box, with using ibus. Thanks.
    – j3ffyang
    Jan 13, 2022 at 0:09
  • fcitx doesn't seem to have this option... ? Sep 23, 2022 at 6:06
  • But on 22.04 it doesn't even show Intelligent Pin Yin, how to install it exactly? Aug 28 at 5:19

I just figured out how to switch Google Pinyin with fcitx to traditional.

First, follow the instructions on this blog to install fcitx and add Google Pinyin as an input method:


After installing fcitx:

  1. Open the config tool:

  2. Click on Google Pinyin so it's highlighted.

  3. Click on Addon on the bar at the top.

  4. Scroll down to where it says Simplified Chinese To Traditional Chinese. Select it and click the button that says Configure.

  5. Click OK.

Now, when using Google Pinyin, you can use Ctrl+Shift+F to toggle between Simplified and Traditional Chinese.

  • I cannot get the add-ons specific for Google Pinyin... when I click on "Addon" it only shows add-ons for fcitx? Sep 23, 2022 at 6:08

I'm not sure about Google pinyin, but

if you add the standard fcitx pinyin, you should be able to toggle between traditional & simplified by using the 漢/汉 button on the input bar.

fcitx-configtool will help you select the option to have the input bar always show.

Btw, you don't need any language support files.

Also, if you install fonts-hanazono it will ensure that most all characters, even rare variant ones display correctly.

And, since you referenced Hong Kong, and are talking about traditional characters, you may be interested in fcitx-table-cangjie5.

With it, you can input:

  1. Traditional Chinese
  2. Simplified Chinese
  3. Variant Chinese characters
  4. Japanese variants
  5. Cantonese characters.
    (~70,000 characters)

You can learn the method in about a month & there is a pinyin option if you forget what a character looks like. You input the ` symbol followed by pinyin.

Once you learn:

  1. You can type very fast & accurately without having to scroll through lists of characters
  2. You can type any character you see or visualize.
  3. You can easily work with dialects because you're not having to code-switch back into Mandarin to type pinyin.
  4. You can use sites like http://chinesecj.com/ime/cj5.php (cutt.ly/oiar) from any computer to type any character.

Anyway, hope that helps and best of luck to you!

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