Windows IME Tips - Getting to Know Windows IME

Windows IME Tips - Getting to Know Windows IME deeper!

Despite being well known to many Japanese students, the Windows IME It still seems to me to be underexplored by most people. Because of that, I thought it would be interesting to write a series of articles about the features found in windows Japanese support, also known as Windows IME.

Windows IME Tips - Getting to Know Windows IME

The objective is to increase people's knowledge about the resources found in windows and how to use them in our day-to-day with more ease and convenience. In addition to helping those people who use the computer to learn Japanese, showing methods that can help to write in Japanese on the PC in a much more productive way.

In today's article, we'll understand what Windows IME is, find out how to use the Japanese language bar, and get an overview of its main features. In addition to some initial tips on how to use it on our computer.

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Windows IME Tips - Getting to Know Windows IME


What is Windows IME?

Windows IME is a set of programs that allow us to write in Japanese on the PC (Personal Computer or Personal Computer). With it, we can use any program that allows text editing to write using the Japanese letters, whether in hiragana, katakana or kajis.

The words and phrases written in Japanese letters on this site, for example, were written using the Windows IME and a simple text editor such as Microsoft Word.

The most important thing about using Windows IME is not the fact that you can see Japanese letters on websites, text files, eBooks, etc., but that you can write on your computer as well. In this way, we can interact with virtual communities and converse with native Japanese, even if we do not live in Japan. Through this interaction, we can learn more Japanese and make new friends.

How do I get Windows IME?

Windows IME is usually not installed on the computer. Because of this, it is necessary to install it from the Windows installation CD itself or download an installation program from the Microsoft website.

Remember that there is a specific installation program for each operating system. This means that if your Windows is Vista, then you must download the appropriate program for it.

In my case, as my computer's operating system is Windows XP, I used the Windows XP installation CD itself to install Windows IME.

I don't have the Windows installation CD

If you don't have the Windows installation CD, you can download one of the installation programs from Microsoft's own website. But be careful. If your Windows, or Office, is pirated, Microsoft can find out and your Windows IME may only work for a short period of time.

Because of this, I recommend using your own Windows installation CD. If you don't have one, and you still want to use Windows' Japanese support, I suggest you buy it.

In Japanese Language there is a specific article on how to install Windows IME on your computer. Despite being an article created using Windows XP, it follows the same pattern used in all other versions of Windows, with slight variations between versions of Microsoft's operating system. Click the link below to access the Windows IME installation guide.

How to install Windows Japanese support ( Windows IME ).

Is there another way to write in Japanese on the computer?

Yes there is. Thinking about the difficulty of many Japanese students, some people started to create other ways to write in Japanese on the PC without the need to install Windows IME.

As these programs are used to write in Japanese on the computer without Windows IME, their limitation is that you will only be able to write in Japanese through these same programs. After that, you will have to copy and paste the text. Think of them as your favorite text editor with specific functions for writing in Japanese.

Some of these programs have already been recommended in the Japanese language, but in case you want to review some of them or meet them for the first time, just click on any of the links below:

Wakan – Free tool to learn Japanese

JWPce – Write in Japanese in a Japanese text editor

Ajax IME – How to write in Japanese on the internet

How to use the Windows IME language bar

For those who still don't know, the taskbar is the horizontal bar that is usually found at the bottom of the monitor. This bar also has the Windows start button, buttons representing open windows or programs, and other options.

On the right side of the taskbar, next to the clock, you can find the language bar. It usually appears as a small button with two capital letters. The two letters represent the currently selected language.

simple japanese language bar

On my computer, the language bar does not appear…

On some computers, the language bar is not visible. This is common, due to your operating system settings. I've found cases where users installed Windows IME and still couldn't use it, since the language bar didn't appear.

If this is your case, just right-click on an empty region of the taskbar, click on the options toolbar and then on language bar. After that, the language bar should be visible on the taskbar.

show windows ime language bar

Selecting and switching languages

To change or see all the languages installed on the computer, just click on the button with the two capital letters. After you click, a list of languages available on your Windows will appear.

language list language bar

Note that the language marked with a “v”, is the language currently selected in your operating system. Also, each language is represented by two capital letters.

As we have already installed Windows IME with Japanese support, the Japanese language appears as available for use.

To select any other language, simply click on an item in the list. And if you want to return to the previous language, just repeat the procedure, clicking on the button with two capital letters in the language bar on the taskbar and selecting the previous language.

Expanding and adjusting the language bar

On Brazilian computers, the default language is PT, or Portuguese. In the case of this article, I will select the option Japanese or JP.

In many cases, selecting the Japanese language does not change the appearance of the language bar much. This is because it appears without options or with summarized options. To expand the language bar, showing all its options, just right-click on the two capital letters and select the option Adjust the position of the language bar.

adjust language bar

Once this is done, new buttons should appear in the Japanese language bar. Still, all Windows IME options may not appear. To display the complete options, we will still have to click on the option Additional icons on the taskbar from the same menu.

To do this, right-click on the language bar button (the one with capital letters) and select the option Additional icons on the taskbar.

Your language bar should now look similar to the one shown in the image below, showing all the Windows IME options.

full japanese language bar

Each icon displayed on this taskbar represents configuration options or different ways of writing Japanese on the PC. This is what we call Windows IME, or windows japanese support, and we'll talk about many of these options during our article series.

Moving the language bar and docking it to the taskbar

For those who like to customize their windows, the language bar can be moved to other places on the desktop. But as long as it is minimized on the taskbar, it will not be possible to move it.

To move the language bar, just click the maximize button, a small button with two overlapping squares at the end of the language bar.button maximize language bar

After that, the language bar will undock from the taskbar, allowing you to drag it anywhere on the desktop.

When you want to add the language bar to the taskbar again, just click the minimize button, the button with a dash at the end of the taskbar, or drag the language bar to the taskbar.

button minimize language bar

The Japanese Windows IME and Its Top Options

Although many Japanese language learners use Windows IME to write Japanese on their PC, most of them still don't know the options that Windows Japanese support offers us.

In today's article, we found out how to use the language bar and display options for the Japanese language. Now let's have an overview of the many options that the Japanese Windows IME offers us and that we will get to know in the next articles.

Write in Japanese on PC

This is the option most used by Japanese students using Windows IME. The first thing we notice when we select the Japanese language in the language bar, and we type some text, is that it is underlined and as we type, the text changes to hiragana.

In addition, we can use some commands, such as the spacebar, to convert the text between hiragana, katakana, kanjis and the letters of our alphabet. During our series of articles, we will get to know some shortcut keys and commands that can be very useful for students of Japanese.

Writing in Japanese using the mouse

Most Japanese learners are not aware of this Windows IME option, but it allows you to write in Japanese using the mouse to draw Japanese symbols. In addition to being an interesting option when you don't remember the pronunciation of a kanji, it can be a way to practice writing by memorizing the stroke order of Japanese symbols.

In this series of articles, we will learn how to use the Windows IME to type using the mouse, along with many options related to the subject.

Other Windows IME Tools and Features

In addition to providing options to write in Japanese on the PC, Windows IME also offers us a set of additional tools, such as a virtual keyboard (which simulates the functioning of a Japanese keyboard), search for kanji by stroke order, radicals and much more.

During this series of articles with tips about Windows IME, consider sending messages with your questions, tips or suggestions on the subject. Your participation can help improve upcoming articles and other Japanese learners like you and me.