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FAQ: How to select Cantonese Phonetic IME (CPIME) in Windows 10

Desktop only??? I *am* in desktop mode!
(Or worse, it's not even there.)

Taiwan HK IME simplified support


Q: When I go into Settings to add the Cantonese Phonetic input method, it is grayed out and I can't select it. It says "desktop only". I am in desktop mode. Why can't I select it?

A: CPIME, added to Windows 10 via an automatic update several months after the initial release, will work only in desktop mode, not in tablet mode. This is because it is licensed from a third-party, and was originally developed for older versions of Windows. But this is not why it is grayed out. For details instructions, please read on.


Q: I don't see the Cantonese Phonetic IME in Settings or the additional control panel, not even grayed out. My system has the latest updates. Is there a way to add it?

A: Go to Open new window and download the old installer. Some users have found it necessary to first install at least one other Taiwan/HK/Macau input method like MS Bopomofo (you may be able to remove this later). Run the CPIME installer by following the instructions in the accompanying ReadMe.txt file, and then it should appear in the Language control panel as described below. However, it may not actually work in the system until you apply one of the fixes listed at the top of the article below.


Q: I can't handle the workarounds you list below. Are there alternatives to CPIME?

A: While we wait for the developer of CPIME to adapt the program to the problems Windows 10 updates are introducing, you may want to consider alternative IMEs like RIME or others I've listed here: 3rd Party Chinese Input Methods


— CPIME Installation Fixes —


For the "2004" update (May 2020), yet another helpful reader has offered a solution! This is modified from the script provided by Calvin Li for the previous update.

  • First, download CPIME from Open new window and install it.

  • Then download this zipped script file: cpime-2004.ps1. Note that this script will uninstall any other Cantonese input methods in your system. Right-click and select "Extract All...", and then right-click and select "Run with PowerShell".

  • Then see my original CPIME installation instructions below if necessary.

I am unable to test these scripts, as I'm lucky enough to have CPIME install correctly for me every time. If this doesn't work or if you just don't want to deal with it, you may want to consider RIME or other alternative IMEs I've listed here: 3rd Party Chinese Input Methods


For the "1903" and "1909" updates (May 2019 and November 2019), two helpful readers have once again provided solutions for a missing or broken CPIME!

  • First, download CPIME from Open new window and install it. Then chose one of the following fixes.

  • Use this fix from Sunny Chan: go to Sunny's website Open new window to download cpimefix.xml and then follow the instructions to run the file from C:\ using cmd.

  • Or try this fix instead, from Calvin Li: download the zipped script file cpimefix.ps1 from here, right-click and select "Extract All...", then right-click and select "Run with PowerShell".

  • Then see my original CPIME installation instructions below if necessary.

If you are uncomfortable working on the command line, you may want to consider RIME or other alternative IMEs I've listed here: 3rd Party Chinese Input Methods

Thanks again to Sunny and Calvin!


The "1809" update (October 2018) requires a new workaround. You will download and install from the developer's site Open new window but you must also make a few system changes via the command line. Many thanks to "uccoffee" for staying caffeinated and figuring out an easy solution, as described here:教學/install-cpime-cantonese-input-on-windows-10-1809/ Open new window


The "1803" update (April 2018) requires a workaround. The Language control panel we need was "removed" from Windows as of this update, but apparently it's still hidden somewhere. Running a shell script will reveal it. That's not as technical as it sounds.

Just paste this into the Windows "Run" dialog, and the Language panel will appear:


Many thanks to reader Sunny Chan for finding this solution! See Sunny's video here: Open new window

See also my instructions for 1709 and earlier below, as the steps are the same after you get the control panel to appear, and I've also included additional background information and help resources there. Please let me know if you have any difficulties with this solution.


— Original CPIME Installation Article —


In version "1709" (Fall Creators Update, October 2017) or earlier, or after completing one of the fixes described above, the following instructions will show you how to find and activate CPIME.

I know you're in desktop mode, but in this case — in the infinite wisdom of Microsoft — the Settings control panels are the tablet side (or tablet-friendly side), and the "advanced"/"additional" settings control panels (which are very similar to Windows 7 control panels) are the desktop side. This is because CPIME is licensed from a third party and only works with the older-style control panels.

One way to get there is to go back in Settings one step, to "Time & Language".

Then in "Region & language", at the bottom under the "Related settings", select "Additional date, time, & regional settings".

(If you do not already have a Traditional Chinese region displayed in panel shown above, see the first Pinyin setup page for one way of getting started with this.)


In the control panel that appears, click "Language".


Now you'll be in the Language control panel. Click on the "Options" link for your Traditional Chinese regional settings (HK, Macau, or Taiwan).


In the next panel, under "Input method", click the "Add an input method" link. 


Then in the next panel to appear, select CPIME, hit the "Add" button, then back in the Language panel click the "Save" button.

You may be tempted to remove all other input methods. But even after CPIME is installed, if you try to uninstall all other input methods the system will try to make you keep one of those.

If you really want to have only CPIME in your menu, try deactivating all language settings and then activating them again. Although a first installation of CPIME requires that one of the Microsoft input methods be in place, at least one user reports that he uninstalled the Traditional Chinese region language settings and then after reactivating he found that CPIME could be installed alone.


You will also notice that there is no "Options" link for CPIME! Among other things, this means when they say "Jyutping" they mean only Jyutping. No other phonetic systems. You can download the Sydney Lau, Yale, and HK Education Bureau packages separately from the Open new window website, but when you install one it replaces any other CPIME package in your system. I have been unable to install these and still keep Jyutping. (Note: install at least one other Taiwan/HK/Macau input method like MS Bopomofo or the included CPIME Jyutping before trying to run any installer downloaded from the CPIME website. You may be able to remove that additional IME later, but for some reason it needs to be there during CPIME installation.)


You should now find CPIME in your Language menu!


If you use the old-style desktop language bar (see the Windows 10 Advanced Chinese Features page for more information), the Cantonese Phonetic IME will appear in there. Not in the "CH" language menu though. It will be in the "ZH" menu:

Cantonese CPIME

Cantonese characters

HKSCS - Hong Kong Supplementary Character Set

I believe the Hong Kong HKSCS character set is on by default when you use this input method. That would make sense, no? There are no options in the control panel, so I sure hope that's true. I've successfully tested CPIME for a few HKSCS characters.

When using the Mandarin "Microsoft Bopomfo" input method for Zhuyin or Pinyin, you have to enable Cantonese characters and Unicode Extensions separately, but there are no such controls for CPIME.

Please let me know if you are unable to bring up a character that ought to be available for Hong Kong users.



Need more help?

The first release of CPIME in Win 10 includes a Help menu, but that only opens a blank index! I'm tracking that issue on my page about Windows 10 English-Language Help features for the phonetic IMEs, but meanwhile there are other resources for you on the web: Open new window (select menu items for "Usage", "Pingjam Table", "Training", etc.)
Chinese Cantonese Forums > Tech Talk Open new window



Related Windows 10 pages:

Windows 8 and 10 Chinese features overview: fonts, IMEs, and more

Windows 10 missing, broken, and just plain lame Chinese features

Windows 10 Language and input method keyboard setup

Windows 10 Traditional character Pinyin input: two alternatives

Windows 10 Simplified character Pinyin input: the MSZY alternative

Windows 10 Chinese handwriting input, speech input, & language packs

Windows 10 advanced features: desktop language bar, IME Pad, and more

Windows 10 Help files - in English!


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