Pinyin input with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS GNU/Linux

Here's how to enable pinyin input support on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, so that you can quickly type Chinese words using latin characters with tone marks - e.g. Nǐ jiào shénme míngzi?

  1. Open a terminal window (Ctrl-Alt-T) and install ibus-m17n:
    $ sudo apt-get install ibus-m17n
  2. Next, run ibus-setup:
    $ ibus-setup
  3. In the ibus preferences window that appears, under Input Method, select Chinese - hanyu pinyin (m17n), then Add.
  4. Log out of the desktop, then back in. (Yes, seriously.)
  5. Under System Settings…Text Entry, add Chinese (hanyu pinyin (m17n)).
  6. Log out of the desktop, then back in. (Yes, I'm still being serious.)
  7. Using the keyboard switcher in the top panel, find hanyu pinyin (m17n).
  8. You should now be able to type words with diacritics by following each vowel with a digit - i.e. a1 for ā, a2 for á, a3 for ǎ, a4 for à, etc. (for ü, use the v key).

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