Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Monday, January 30, 2023 at 00:13

This tutorial will help you configure Ubuntu computer so you can write Chinese input () using keyboard. This is not to be confused with switching desktop language to Chinese as it has been documented in another tutorial. In this tutorial, we will use IBus technology and Noto CJK font provided built-in on Ubuntu. Lastly, we use Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa for this tutorial. Let's start!

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  • IBus (preinstalled)
  • English keyboard




Step 1. Install Required Tools

Run Terminal. 

Write this command line and press Enter.

$ sudo apt-get install ibus-libpinyin

Let the installation process goes and finishes.  

Once installed, now your Ubuntu computer has a new input method called Chinese (Intelligent Pinyin)

Step 2. Chinese Input Configuration

Run Settings. 

Open Region and Language

Under Input Sources section, click Add (+) to add new input.

A dialog will open with many choices of languages. 

Select Chinese (China) > Chinese (Intelligent Pinyin) > Add.


A new input method will be added to the Settings under Input Methods. 

Notice the top panel now includes two input choices or more namely "English" and "Chinese". 

Step 3. Write Chinese Characters

Click the input switcher on the top > select Chinese (Intelligent Pinyin) > type something using the keyboard in a document. Alternatively, press Windows+Space to quickly switch input method. To write alphabet characters, do Step 4. 

This example shows how user can write 紫禁城(zijincheng)in the web browser and search engine returns search results about Forbidden City in China.

This example shows how user can write Chinese words in LibreOffice Writer document using Simplified Chinese mode such as  中国(zhongguo: China),  北京 (beijing: Beijing),上海 (shanghai: Shang Hai)and many more. Note that the font used is Noto Serif CJK SC


Step 4. Write Alphabet Characters

Click the input switcher again > select English > type something with keyboard. Alternatively, press Windows+Space to quickly switch input method. To write Chinese characters, repeat step 3. 

See Also