NOTE: All the names for menus and the locations might be slightly different depending on the devices.
Android users will have to download the “Google Pinyin Input” app Chinese in the Google Play store. This will allow you to use a Chinese keyboard and type in Chinese.
Once the keyboard is installed, go to your phone’s settings and select “Language & input.”
Under “Keyboard & input methods,” select “Current Keyboard.” For example, this might be “English (US) - Android Keyboard.”
Select “Choose Keyboards.” Look for “Google Pinyin Input” under the list of keyboards and input methods. Switch it on.
When you go back to “Keyboards & input methods,” you’ll notice there is now a tab for Chinese. From there, you’ll find lots of settings and options to chose from, but for the sake of simplicity, leave those settings as-is.
To use the keyboard, select the little globe on your keyboard’s left side when you open an app. There will be a 中 (zhong) - China and EN tab. Select the “中” tab and the “QWERTY” layout, as it is the easiest to use.
You can switch between keyboards using the globe icon on your Android device.
Typing - When you type the Pinyin for a word, for example, ‘ni hao,’ a space between ‘ni’ and ‘hao’ will be added automatically, so you don’t need to add one yourself.
After typing in the pinyin, the character list appears at the top of the keyboard, so you might need to recognize basic characters, but helpfully, the characters are shown in the order of how frequently they are used.
To select a character, press on the character you want.
Install the Google Handwriting Input from the Play Store.
Open and enable the Google Handwriting Input. Go to Configure language under Optional, select Google Handwriting input, and enable the additional language (Chinese). Scroll down. There will be options for Chinese, Traditional, and Simplified.
Go back and click on “Download languages.”
Exit Google Handwriting Input. You will now be able to practice Google handwriting in Chinese.
Use your finger to draw characters in the box that appears. Tap on the characters you want from the options that appear at the top of the box.
You are now all set to go and start practicing typing in Chinese!
NOTE: The Pinyin and Handwriting keyboards allow you to type the Chinese language by spelling out the Chinese characters’ pronunciation with the Roman alphabet or drawing the characters with your own handwriting.
Tip: Some Chinese pinyin words are spelled using ‘ü’ which you might not have on your keyboard. To type ‘ü,’ type the letter ‘v’ instead. For example, if you want the character 女 (nü), typing ‘nu’ won’t bring up the right character, you will have to type ‘nv.’ J, Q, X, and Y are never followed by an ‘ü,’ so you don’t need to type ‘v’ after these letters.