Saturday, November 12, 2011

MacOs Snow Leopard and the disappearing pinyin candidate window

This post doesn't have very much to do with programming, but it did take me forever to figure this out, so maybe this will help out others who have had this problem.

I occasionally need to use the Pinyin-simplified on MacOsX Snow Leopard to type Chinese. I'm still fairly new to using Macs... so I've found myself accidentally pressing combinations of keys that I am used to on the Windows, that unfortunately map to entirely different things on the Mac. (I know, bad fingers ... bad). Most recently, I was in the middle of writing up a presentation for a class in Chinese using the Pinyin - Simplified input. It was late, I was tired, and somehow I pressed some combination of keys, and the little window that shows up with the different options of Chinese characters based on the pinyin typed disappeared! I have since learned that this window is called the candidate window.

I googled and googled, and came across suggestions like:

  1. In the preferences for the input, switch the orientation of the input box from horizontal to vertical and then back again.
This didn't work for me.  At first, as I typed the pinyin, my letters came out like regular Roman letters.  And then after some futzing with the different preferences options, I ended up with getting letters like this:

As it finally turns out, it seems I somehow I pressed the Caps Lock while in the Pinyin mode, which according to this link means I switched on the single-byte Roman character.  Everything went back to normal after I reset my input preferences to the default.  

So now I know how to be able to type regular Roman characters (i.e. English) while in Pinyin mode, which is to press the Caps Lock.  As for the funky looking Roman characters I got, that happened when in my futzing with the preferences Options I selected "Use double-byte Roman characters":

I have to say, I do like how Windows manages this particular input style.  In the tool bar, Windows will tell you whether or not you are typing in English or Chinese when using the Pinyin input.  There doesn't seem to be any indication on the Mac to show you this, unless you know that's what the Caps Lock is about.  

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