Chinese on Mac OS 9


Chinese is part of the "Language Kits" package that is included on all OS 9 Install CDs.

Updating the System

You should update to OS 9.1 (or 9.2, if possible). There are improvements in both Unicode support and the language kits.

To find out if your Macintosh is compatible with OS 9, see:

Installing on OS 9.1

From the OS 9.1 ReadMe: "If you use language kits, you must upgrade both your system software and your language kits at the same time using the Mac OS 9.1 CD. Previous versions of Apple's language kits are not compatible with Mac OS 9.1."

Reinsert the CD after you have installed the system and [1] double-click on the main "Mac OS Install" icon and then click "Continue"; [2] after you select your destination disk, click "Add/Remove"; [3] in the Installer dialog box, under "Software Components" check "Language Kits"; [4] under "Installation Modes" select "Customized Installation"; [5] check "Software for Chinese using (simplified and/or traditional) characters"; [6] click "Okay"; [7] click "Start".

There is a Traditional Chinese Language Kit update available for OS 9.1 at Apple Software Updates. It will also appear in the Software Update control panel.

Installing on OS 9.2

From the OS 9.2 ReadMe: "If you use language kits, you must upgrade both your system software and your language kits at the same time using the Mac OS 9.2 CD. Versions of Apple's language kits prior to Mac OS 9.1 (Language Kits 1.1) are not compatible with Mac OS 9.2."

For most users, the procedure is the same as for OS 9.1 (above). On later OS 9.2.2 CDs, the language kits can only be installed using an installer located in the CD Extras: Language Kits folder. On newer Apple machines with SuperDrives, there is one Install DVD for both OS X and OS 9, which places the installer for the language kits in the /Applications (Mac OS 9)/Apple Extras/Language Kits folder.

Chinese in the Finder

Use the Text control panel to control Chinese sort order in the Finder. There are two orders for Simplified Chinese: [1] sort by GB code and [2] sort by number of strokes. There are three orders for Traditional Chinese: [1] sort by Big Five code, [2] sort by radical, then number of strokes, and [3] sort by number of strokes, then radical.

Installing Unicode Support

Drag the contents of the CD Extras: Unicode folder onto your closed System folder and restart. The "About Unicode" document in the same folder is helpful, so you should also drag it to your hard drive.

To install WorldText (Apple's Unicode-savvy text editor for OS 9), go to the CD Extras: WorldText folder and drag the application to your hard drive. To install the WorldText help files, double-click on the installer icon in the same folder.


Use the Appearance control panel to select a Chinese font for displaying file and folder names in the Finder.

The Language Kits package installs a total of nine fonts in OS 9. The system fonts are Taipei (Traditional Chinese) and Beijing (Simplified Chinese). Three additional Traditional Chinese fonts are installed: LiSung Light, LiGothic Medium, and BiauKai. Four additional Simplified Chinese fonts are installed: Song, Hei, Kai, and Fang Song.

NiceTaipei was designed as a replacement for the Taipei font. It is easier to read in Chinese, and for Roman text it is the same as Geneva. You can download it at: [NewNiceTaipei98.sit.hqx and NewNiceTaipeiMono98.sit.hqx]

  • Download "NewNiceTaipei98_16896_patch.sit.hqx" if you want to replace Apple's Taipei as the Traditional Chinese system font. First run the patch, which changes NewNiceTaipei's ID number to that of Taipei (16896). Then remove Taipei from the System: Fonts folder, and replace it with NewNiceTaipei.

A selection of Traditional Chinese fonts in the Macintosh TrueType format are available for free download at: [The fonts have names that begin with "NTU"]

TrueKeys is the only utility that handles double-byte font conversion between the Windows and Macintosh TrueType formats. Can also be used to add Unicode support to older fonts that don't have it. We recommend using version 3.5 in OS 9/Classic. Note: TrueKeys 3.6 is broken in OS X 10.3 and above. See:

TrueEdit is a font editor that can be used to view a table of all the glyphs in a given font via the "Glyph Palette" command at the bottom of the Edit menu. Be careful and never use TrueEdit on anything other than a copy of a font. It is organized around tables, e.g. cmap and glyf tables, the building blocks of TrueType fonts. See:

Input Methods

Keyboard Menu

Keyboard menu

The Keyboard menu appears at the right end of the Menu bar.

Keyboards and input methods are arranged by script. Roman keyboards are at the top. In the example above, there are two icons in the Traditional Chinese script section. The first is Hanin 5, the second is Apple's Traditional Chinese input method. The next section contains Apple's Simplified Chinese input method. The last section is for Unicode keyboards.

Use the Keyboard control panel (accessible via Customize Menu...) to control which Roman and Unicode keyboards appear in the menu. Input methods appear or disappear (after a restart) when their components are added to or removed from the System: Extensions folder. To activate a keyboard or input method, choose it from the menu. Its icon will appear in the Menu bar and it will have a check mark beside it in the menu. You can use the command-space keyboard shortcut to cycle through the menu. The Command Space control panel lets you specify which languages are active when you use the shortcut.

OS 9 Language Kits

The Language Kits package installs two Chinese input methods in OS 9, both of which include a variety of input modes:

Input Window

The Input window is the first step in entering Chinese characters and words. As you type the input keys for a character, they appear in the window with a line under them to indicate they are in the active input area:

Input window

The Input window can be resized and moved. You can change the font that appears as you type the input key sequences, using Preferences... or the pop-up menu at the right end of the window. Also in Preferences... is the Keep Input Window Open [Shuru chuang chang zai] option, which keeps the Input window open after you enter a character. If not, it closes each time. It has no effect when the application you are using has inline input turned on.

Inline Input

Inline input eliminates the Input window and causes the input area to appear in place in the text of your document. As you type the input keys for a character, they appear in the text with a line under them to indicate the active input area. When needed, the Selection window appears immediately below the inline space.

Not all applications support inline input. Some applications allow the user to turn it on or off.

Selection Window

Selection window

If there is more than one possible match for the input keys that have been entered, then the Selection window is used to find, select, and enter the correct character. Characters are arranged in rows. Use the up or down arrow keys to move between rows and the right arrow (or space bar) or left arrow (or shift-space bar) keys to move within a row, or use the mouse.

There are three ways to enter characters:

  • Press the return key to enter the selected character.
  • Point and click directly on the character to select and enter it.
  • Type the number next to the character you want.

The window can be resized to show more than one row. You can adjust the font and font size in the Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese Preferences.

Roman Input

The Chinese input methods allow you to directly enter Roman characters as either single-byte (a.k.a. "half-width") or double-byte (a.k.a. "full-width") characters:

  • To enter single-byte Roman characters, press the caps lock key and type as you normally do.
  • Double-byte Roman characters align with Chinese text. This is a useful property in certain contexts, such as tables and forms. To enter double-byte Roman characters, choose "Use Two-Byte Roman Characters" from the Pencil menu.
  • To enter one lowercase double-byte Roman character, press the tilde (~) key, then press the key you want. Useful for numbers.

Hanin 5

Hanin 5 is a phonetic input method that comes bundled with the Traditional Chinese Mac OS. It uses a combination of dictionary data with character frequency data to perform a rolling conversion of the input string as you type. It features an extensive set of specialized dictionaries which can be turned on and off, giving you more control over the choices it presents. To download it and learn how to use it, see the Hanin 5 Tutorial.

Cihui WS

Cihui WS (WorldScript) is a Pinyin input method application that allows you to type in whole words or phrases before selecting them from a palette. Cihui WS is composed of four basic components: the Cihui input method application, the Cihui extensions, the dictionaries, and the Cihui Dictionary Utility application. The Cihui extensions must be placed in your System/Extensions folder. You can install either Traditional or Simplified Chinese, or both. The "dummy" extensions enable you to quit Cihui, in two steps. You absolutely MUST switch to the dummy before you quit Cihui. You can also switch to another input method instead, but the dummy extensions are a useful reminder. If you don't switch before you quit Cihui, your system will soon crash.

Cihui WS was last updated in 1995 for System 7.5, but it still works in OS 8 and OS 9. You can download it here: Cihui_WS.sit [1.0 MB download]

See also:


  • In Word 2001 you must turn off inline input. In the Edit tab of Preferences, uncheck the box "Enable IME inline input".
  • You must be careful to always quit Cihui (a two-step process, see above) before you leave Nisus Writer, even if only for a moment, or else the system will soon crash.
  • Cihui was first released for Macintosh System 6, before WorldScript was introduced. The original instructions (1990) are helpful as a basic introduction:

Advanced Chinese Input Suite

Released in October 1996, the Advanced Chinese Input Suite (ACIS) works in OS 9. Comprised of three input methods: Chinese Handwriting Kit 1.0, Chinese Dictation Kit 1.5, Cantonese Dictation Kit 1.0. The dictation kits only work on Macs that support 22 khz audio input. For more information, use the WayBack Machine to go to the following URL:

Note: USB-equipped Macs do not support 22 khz audio input.


The Language Kits package installs three Chinese tools in OS 9:

Chinese Text Converter

Installed with the Language Kits package. Converts plain-text documents between Chinese encodings. Includes a built-in text editor that allows you to edit the documents to be converted, and create new documents.

Input Method Plug-in Converter

Installed with the Language Kits package. Converts plain text (.txt) source files into Chinese plug-in input method plug-in data (.dat) files. Simply drag the source file onto the Input Method Plug-in Converter icon or an alias, or use File > Open..., and follow the on-screen instructions. To install an input method plug-in, place the .dat file in a folder named "Input Method Plug-in" in your System/Extensions folder and restart your computer.

TrueType Font Editor 1.5

Installed with the Language Kits package. See the introduction to TrueType Font Editor 1.0. This works in conjunction with the "Show User Defined Characters" command in the Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese Pencil menus.

Language Register

Comes with OS 8 and OS 9. Language Register forces localized Chinese programs to display menus, dialog boxes, help, etc., in double-byte Chinese rather than single-byte gibberish. Choose the language (script) you want from the pop-up menu, then click "Register." Find the name of the program you want to register, select it, and click "Register." Then click "OK." If you change the name of a program's icon, you will have to language-register it again.

Chinese Text-to-Speech

Chinese text-to-speech is available free online from Apple Taiwan, at:

If you have the CLK or OS 9, you can download this and have your computer talk to you in Mandarin. The download comes with a good set of instructions, in English and Chinese. Chinese text-to-speech is used just like English text-to-speech, though the CLK must be installed for it to work. There are two voices: one for Traditional Chinese, ShiauJau TC, and another for Simplified Chinese, XiaoZhao SC. Using a speech-aware application (such as SimpleText), you select the appropriate voice for the flavor of Chinese you're using and then have it speak either the whole document or selected text. Both voices sound identical to each other: they just operate in the different scripts. The voice is a little flat and somewhat unclear but it is a little easier to understand when slowed down a notch in the Speech control panel.

If you have a document with mixed scripts (say English and Traditional Chinese, or Traditional and Simplified Chinese), you have to switch back and forth between the voices. If you use a voice to speak a selection of text in the wrong script, you'll have your Mac speaking gibberish!

Command Space

For OS 8.1 to 9.2. The Command Space control panel lets you specify which languages are active when you cycle through the list in the Keyboard menu using the command-space keyboard shortcut. You can check or uncheck languages on the fly.

  • Main Window, Left: "Application" ... Default means across the board. You can also set preferences for the languages available to each application when keyboard switching. Add "applications" by clicking on the button in the lower left. Remove application settings by selecting a setting in the upper left window and clicking on the other button.
  • Main Window, Right: "Script" ... You should be able to tell from the icons and text in each entry in this window that these are all the keyboards you have available. Check and uncheck them to make them available/unavailable.
  • Menus: File > Close, Quit; Edit > Undo, Cut, Copy, Paste, Clear, Select All.



For OS 8.1 to 9.2. TomeViewer allows you to view Installer tomes (like those for the Chinese Language Kits, Chinese-language system updates, and so on). See How to use TomeViewer for more information. Note that you can use the Language Register to enable TomeViewer to view Chinese file names. See:


ResEdit is a powerful resource editor available as a free download at the Apple Support Area (ResEdit_2.1.3.sea.bin). Documentation:

Acrobat Reader

Free. Acrobat Reader 5.05 handles Chinese text well. If the author of a PDF file embeds Chinese fonts in the document, Reader will be able to display and print the document on any system. If the author uses Chinese fonts but does not embed them in the document, then you will need to take two steps in order to view and print the file:

  1. Use the Custom Installation option during installation of Reader. This allows you to install Chinese, Japanese, and Korean fonts inside the Reader package.
  2. To print the file, select the Download Asian Fonts option in the Advanced Print Setup dialog box (requires a PostScript Level 2 or higher printer).




WorldScript-savvy, OS 8.1 to 10.4. AppleWorks can be used for word processing, graphics, databases, and spreadsheets. It handles Chinese, Japanese, and Korean text well, although inline input is not supported.


  • If you select some text and then hold down command-option as you change the font, AppleWorks will change the script along with the font. This is useful when you have garbage text that needs to be forced into a Chinese script.
  • In version 6.0 in OS 9, if the Language Register was used to register AppleWorks as a Chinese or Japanese application, you could then create documents containing vertical text. You can still edit vertical-text documents in versions 6.1 and 6.2, using a template created in version 6.0. Download a vertical-text Word Processing template here: Chinese_Templates.sit [15 kb download]
    • A vertical-text object is also included in the download. The template opens as a Drawing document, but the object can be copied for use in Painting and Presentation documents as well.
    • Templates should be placed in the Starting Points > Templates folder. They will appear in the Templates tab of the Starting Points palette. You can also create another folder inside the Starting Points folder, which will appear as another tab in the Starting Points palette.

Note: iWork '08 can open most AppleWorks 6 documents. ClarisWorks 4 and AppleWorks 5 documents must be converted to AppleWorks 6 beforehand.

Microsoft Office 2001

WorldScript-savvy, OS 8.1 to 9.2. You must use the Language Register to enable Word 2001 to edit Chinese text. Afterwards, it will handle Chinese text correctly, no matter which East Asian language you choose. East Asian features enabled in the Format menu include phonetic guides (ruby/furigana text), combined characters, enclosed characters. Support for changes in text direction (i.e., vertical text) is available in both the Format menu and the Formatting Palette. Chinese can be used for numbered lists, page numbers, footnote/endnote numbers, and so on.

Entourage 2001 and PowerPoint 2001 are able to handle Chinese text without being language-registered. Excel 2001 does not display Chinese text properly.


  • There is a gap between the Unicode encoding of the MS Word document format (.doc) and the WorldScript-savvy text engine used by Word 2001. The .doc format sees a multilingual document as Unicode text with multiple fonts. The Word 2001 text engine needs information about scripts for WorldScript, but the .doc format doesn't provide that information. Word 2001 attempts to compensate for the gap, but problems arise when character sets overlap. The best way to avoid the issue is to use the Format > Style... feature. Define styles for each East Asian language (Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese, Korean). Then you can change the font for a given language by changing the attributes of the style.
  • Word 2001 can't handle Chinese text in documents from Word 5.x for Macintosh. You can use SimpleText as an intermediary:
    1. Open the Word 5.0 or 5.1 document in Word 2001 and above.
    2. Copy-paste the formerly Chinese text into a new SimpleText document.
    3. Change the font to a Chinese font.
    4. Save the document as a SimpleText document. SimpleText documents are limited in size.
    5. Copy-paste the text into a new document. You can include Latin (English, etc.) text in your selections, so you don't have to do every little bit of Chinese by itself, but you will have to reset the Latin font afterwards. You can select the whole document and reset the Latin font. The Chinese text will stay in Chinese.

Note: Word 2001 can read files created by any version of Word for Windows, including the localized Chinese versions of Windows 95 and above. Word 2000 and above for Windows can read documents created on Word 2001. You must name the file according to Windows file-naming rules and use the .doc extension in the filename. Chinese text is not a problem.

Mariner Write

WorldScript-savvy, version 3.5.1 is still available for OS 9.

Mariner Calc

WorldScript-savvy, version 5.2.2 is still available for OS 9.

Nisus Writer

Nisus Writer 6.5 is WorldScript-savvy, for OS 8.5 to 9.2. Works well with Chinese, although its advanced East Asian text-handling and search features are limited to Japanese and Korean. Note that if you select some text and then hold down shift as you change the font, Nisus Writer will change the script along with the font. This is useful when you have garbage text that needs to be forced into a Chinese script.

VivaPress Professional

For OS 8.1 to 9.2, VivaPress has been WorldScript-savvy since its inception.

Text Editors

All of the following are WorldScript-savvy:


As of January 2008, iCab is the only currently-maintained (and thus the most secure) browser available for OS 9.

Mozilla 1.2.1 (released December 2002) is Unicode-savvy and includes a browser, email client, and text editor. You can use Mozilla to replace Netscape in OS 9.

Microsoft Outlook Express 5 and Internet Explorer 5 are WorldScript-savvy. Both come with OS 9.

For FTP file transfers, use Fetch 4.0.3. In Preferences: Misc, the "Translate ISO characters" option affects files containing Chinese and other double-byte text. You should disable this if you are moving files that contain Chinese text (unless they are mapped by their extensions to specific applications). You can also simply tell Fetch to upload the file as binary, rather than text.

Language Tools


See Language Tools.


See Language Tools.

Studycard Studio

See Language Tools.

Fool's Lexicon

Provides a Big Five/GB interface with CEDICT. Free! See: