Characters and phonics

At my kindergarden there are signs with both Chinese characters and the bopomo. Great for the kids to learn Chinese. I thought that it would also be a good way for me to study Chinese and practice vocabulary.

I am wondering how you get the bopomo symbols to pop up beside your characters when you are typing in Microsoft Word?

Do you need another program or something? Right now I input the bopomo but all I get is the character. Any ideas?



In Word, go to
Format --> Asian Layout --> Phonetic Guide

But you’ll need to make your text pretty big to see the zhuyin fuhao clearly.

thank you. I totally missed looking at that! oh when i went to monkey around with it I noticed that you can change the size of the bopomo very easily. Thanks again!


Cranky: wow, cool, this looks interesting. There isn’t any way to display Hanyu Pinyin as well, is there?

Thanks anyway

Don’t know about in Word, but there used to be a nice program called “Bamboo Helper” around that would take a text file in Chinese characters and convert it to Pinyin, Pinyin with tones, Wade-Giles or whatever you wanted, with or without characters. It would also learn the characters you “knew” if you wanted to work with it, so that it would output phonetic guides only for “new” words.

Take a walk on Google and see if it pops up, and if it’ll work on the new OS. The one I had was a couple of years ago, but used to use it to batch convert glossaries I’d stolen off the Net so as to add phonetic guides in a separate column for databases.

Is there any other (freeware) tool for the conversion of characters to Hanyu Pinyin? I’ve just downloaded bamboo helper from here. But it’s a DOS application and a bit hard to use and seems slow (haven’t quite figured it out yet).

I used to have “Hanzi to Pinyin” from But you have to register through the net every time you use it. And you can only use it for a couple of weeks for free.

It’s not something I need urgently. It just comes in handy once in a while. Any hints?


You might try the Web-based services I have listed on my new links page. Try the first one under “Language-related sites.” But be sure to read my note there first to save yourself some time.

Wow, that worked. Thanks!!!