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How to write Chinese characters on the computer
Input of Chinese characters
Of course you don't use a keyboard of some thousand keys to write Chinese characters on the computer. One rather uses a regular keyboard and the pinyin transcription respectively the zhuyin transcription on Taiwan for the input. After entering the pronunciation of a character all characters with this pronunciation show up in a bar. Every character has a number and you choose the desired character by typing in the number. That sounds rather complicated but you quickly get used to it. In addition the characters that show up in bar are sorted according to their prevalence so that the most commonly used characters are the first.
How to show Chinese characters on the computer
If you enter a page that contains Chinese characters it is necessary to install the according code on the computer. When hitting such a page for the first time you usually get a message that the code has to be installed which then happens automatically. Otherwise it is also possible to download the code from the Windows update.
Special software is required for the input of Chinese characters. With older Windows versions additional software such as NanjiStar, Chinese Partners or Richwin for example is necessary. Now Windows offers support for East Asian languages which can be installed when Windows is installed. It is possible to download and install the Microsoft Global IME 5.02 for 32- bit Windows for Windows98 from the Microsoft support pages.
Most programs contain 6000 characters maximum which leads to the problem that when writing scientific texts certain characters might not be available. When writing an email the transcription or a character with the same pronunciation can be used to replace the character. With some programs it is also possible to write characters yourself but anyone who uses the program on another system will not be able to display them.