Chinese Language Features
in Chrome OS
No Google Pinyin? I was surprised to find that Chrome OS, like the original Chromium OS project, relies only on standard IBus Chinese input methods common to most versions of Linux including Ubuntu, with no sign of Google's own Pinyin project.
These input methods are more stable in Chrome. Whether you will like them is a separate question, as they generally track Microsoft and Sogou features (for better or for worse) while being just different enough to avoid legal issues...and perhaps just different enough to annoy you. :-)
The Chrome OS support site offers brief instructions for setting up your input methods and language display (you'll find that here ) but I thought it might be useful to post screen shots and guide you through this step-by-step.
In the original Chrome OS, start by clicking the wrench icon at the upper right of the Chrome browser, circled in the screen shot below. In the menu that appears, click "Settings":
In the new "Aura" Chrome OS, start by clicking your account icon at the lower right of your screen (a globe is the default picture), circled in the screen shot below. In the menu that appears, click "Settings and Help":
In the original Chrome OS, under "Settings" in the left column, click "System". Then in the "Language" section, click the button that says "Customize languages and input...":
In the new Chrome OS Aura UI, this is hidden a little deeper inside. At the upper left, click "Settings", and then down at the bottom of the Settings page click "Show advanced settings..."
Then in this version you will also see the "Customize langauges and input..." button.
The screens are similar enough from this point on that I can use only my screenshots of the original Chrome OS.
"Languages and Input" will open. Click the "Add" button at the lower left:
You'll be rewarded with a language list, from which you can select Simplified and/or Traditional Chinese:
The Traditional Chinese Zhuyin/Pinyin IME is called "Chewing" as in "Zhuyin", get it? It initially defaults to a standard bopomofo keyboard. To set this to Hanyu Pinyin, click on "Chinese (Traditional Han)" and then under "Input Method" click the "Configure" button:
In the Chewing Input Settings window, click the Keyboard Type menu and change it from "Default" to "Hanyu". (Thank you Google for not letting them use a camel case capital "Y" again.) When you're done, just click the "x" at the upper left - not shown here - to close and save these settings.
The Simplified Chinese Pinyin IME - which also does traditional characters - defaults to a keyboard labeled "MSPY". (Can they do that?) It works sort of like the Microsoft SimpleFast and Sogou input methods.
The Pinyin input method settings are accessed via the "Configure" button in the same way as shown for Chewing above. The one special item I'd like to point out in here is that you can tell it to use traditional instead of simplified characters by unchecking this box:
Now you can type Chinese!
The current input method will be displayed at the top right of your screen in original Chrome OS:
Or in the new "Aura" Chrome OS, it will be at the lower right as well as in the menu:
Even if it does not initially show up there, pressing <alt-shift> will make it appear. Repeating <alt-shift> will cycle through all input methods you have activated. Pressing <ctrl-space> will switch between the last two input methods used. You can also click on that icon to open a menu, where you can select input methods or get back to "Customize languages and input".
Chinese fonts in Google Docs
Chinese fonts on the web are normally limited to basic Songti (宋體/宋体) fonts, and Google Docs is no exception.
Many traditional character web sites specify Songti (宋體), but often in the Microsoft Song fonts MingLiu (細明體) and/or PMingLiu (新細明體).
On simplified character websites it's more often simply Song (宋体), which calls Microsoft SimSun or the equivalent on your end.
The "new" (新) versions of these fonts offer proportional spacing between Western characters, which is nice if for example you want to type English words in a Chinese font instead of switching to something like Arial.
Google Docs supports only those basic Chinese web fonts. If you go to File > Language and select Chinese (Simplified) or Chinese (Traditional) as the language of your document, you will see those fonts appear in your font menu:
I have a more detailed article about Chinese fonts on the web here if you're interested.
And how did I take screen shots on a Chromebook?
I made these screen shots by pressing <ctrl> and the "page flipper" button on a Chromebook keyboard. To make partial screen shots, press <ctrl-shift> and that button.
To find the saved images, in original Chrome OS press <ctrl-M> to find the images in the File Manager, under "File Shelf". In the new Chrome OS Aura UI, cick the File Manager icon in the apps list. From there you can transfer the files to a USB stick if you wish.