Windows IME - Writing Japanese with the Mouse

full article from Windows IME - Writing Japanese with the Mouse!

When it's about Windows IME, writing in Japanese on the PC is not synonymous with using only the keyboard. But also use the mouse to write the Japanese symbols on the computer.

Windows IME - Writing Japanese with the Mouse

When I talk about using the mouse to write in Japanese, I'm not just referring to drawing kanji in a similar way to Ajax IME, but in using a series of resources that allow you to search, find and select Japanese symbols without having to know their pronunciation. It is in this last article in the series Windows IME Tips that we are going to know many of these resources.

Windows IME tips already published

Below is a list of the articles in the series. Windows IME Tips that have already been published in the Japanese Language:

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Windows IME - Writing in Japanese with the Mouse

What is the IME Pad?

IME Pad is a program that allows you to write Japanese symbols on the PC through several different ways. Despite this, the main function of the IME Pad is to allow you to write any kanji, even if you don't know its pronunciation.

Briefly, IME Pad has six ways to write Japanese symbols on the computer:

  1. hand writing: It is the feature of Windows IME, or IME Pad, which allows you to write in Japanese on the PC using the mouse, pen with graphics tablet or similar resources.
  2. Character List: Allows you to write Japanese symbols by selecting kanji using the mouse. It presents a list of Japanese symbols or letters according to the selected letter (font).
  3. Soft Keyboard: Soft Keyboard is a kind of virtual keyboard, where we click on the keyboard keys to write Japanese symbols, whether in hiragana, katakana, romaji or kanji.
  4. strokes: It is an IME Pad program that allows searching by the number of kanji strokes. When you find and click on the desired kanji, it is immediately written in the text editor.
  5. Radical: As its name suggests, Radical is a part of the IME Pad where you can search for a kanji according to the amount of dashes and the radical it has.
  6. speech: This was the only part of the IME Pad that I couldn't test. It always gives failure to start errors. Despite this, it seems to be a very useful program that converts the pronunciation recorded on the computer into kanji. So, if you have a microphone, you can dictate a Japanese sentence for the computer to write for you.

If all these programs seem strange, or even complicated to use, we will see that they are simpler than you might think. Today's article is dedicated to five of these six ways to write Japanese using the mouse.

Accessing the IME Pad from Windows IME

The IME Pad is displayed in the Japanese language bar as a menu of options. This menu is triggered when we click on the button with the drawing of a yellow bucket full of pens and tools. The figure below shows the Windows IME menu open.

windows impad menu

Clicking on any of the options in the menu above will open the IME Pad window with the selected program. Note that the IME Pad window changes appearance whenever we select a different item in this menu. Because of this change in the appearance of the IME Pad, it is defined as a program with several different input methods (or Japanese writing).

Hand Writing – Writing in Japanese with the Mouse

The first IME Pad input method that we will get to know in today's article is the hand writing, or handwritten. Its basic operation is very similar to Ajax IME, which we know in previous articles. Therefore, those who already know the Ajax IME handwriting mode will not experience any difficulties with this program.

Below is an image demonstrating the parts of the IME Pad in Hand Writing mode, and then their descriptions.

windows ime write japanese mouse

  • Character input modes:

In the IME Pad window, you will always notice an icon panel on the right side. These icons symbolize each of the IME Pad's character input modes, having the same sequence that we present in the initial list, hand writingCharacter ListSoft KeyboarstrokeRadical and speech. By clicking on each of these icons, the IME Pad will modify its window to adapt to the selected character input mode.

  • drawing box:

The drawing box is where we draw the Japanese symbol we are looking for, using the muose or pen with graphics tablet. As you draw the kanji lines, the hand writing will display symbols similar to the drawing in the kanji list. An important tip is that if you follow the correct order of strokes of the desired kanji, the Japanese symbol will be found faster in the kanji list.

  • Kanji list:

As its name suggests, the kanji list is a list of Japanese symbols displayed according to the kanji drawn in the drawing box. Also, when you click on a symbol from the kanji list, the symbol is immediately added to your text editor. When the kanji is added to the text editor, it is in edit mode, showing the special underline and with the possibility to use the spacebar to change the current kanji to another symbol.

  • Kanji list options:

The kanji list options are buttons that allow us to customize or further refine our search for Japanese symbols. The first button in this list allows you to switch between the autocomplete mode (autocomplete) and multiple drawing boxes (multibox). In multibox mode, Hand Writing now displays only drawing boxes, where you can draw the kanji that will be added to the text editor.

As there is no longer the kanji list in multibox mode, the IME Pad will wait a few seconds before recognizing the design in the design box and adding the symbol to the text editor. Also, as the IME Pad now features more than one drawing box, you can use the other boxes to write multiple Japanese symbols at the same time. Below is an image of the IME Pad Hand Writing in Multibox mode.

ime pad hand writing multibox

The Recog button (Recognize) recognizes the drawing in the drawing box and adds the most similar Japanese symbol in the text editor; Revert erases the last line drawn in the drawing box, and Clear erases the drawing made in the IME Pad drawing box.

  • Keyboard buttons:

Keyboard buttons are buttons that simulate some computer keys. That way, you won't have to switch between mouse and keyboard. Just draw the kanji in the drawing box, add it to the text editor and then use any of the keyboard buttons if needed. Below is a list with the description of each of the buttons.

  • BS: It is an abbreviation of Backspace and it erases the character (symbol, letter or number) that is on the left side of the mouse cursor in the editor and texts.
  • From: Short for Delete, which deletes the character to the right of the mouse cursor in the text editor.
  • Enter: Execute the same key command enter from the keyboard.
  • Esc: Escape, normally it is used to cancel some command or exit some program.
  • Space: Does the same thing as the keyboard spacebar.
  • Conv: I don't quite understand it, but it seems to do the same as the Space button, but it doesn't add space between symbols.
  • Arrows: Arrow buttons work in the same way as keyboard arrow keys. They are for us to be able to move between the symbols that have already been added to the text editor, or navigate between the options of the character conversion menus (those popup menus with kanji selection options).

Character list – The kanji list

The character list is one of the simplest character input modes in the IME Pad. It only displays a list of Japanese letters, numbers and symbols according to the selected Japanese letter. There are some advanced options like JIS or Unicode encoding, letter width format (half or full width) and keyboard buttons. But these options are not always used.

The most important thing about the character list is the fact that you can navigate between the characters of a Japanese letter file and select the symbol you want. By clicking on the symbol, it is added to the text editor. I didn't particularly find it very useful, preferring to use the hand writing of the IME Pad.

windows impad character list

Soft Keyboard – Windows IME Virtual Keyboard

As mentioned above, soft kayboard is a character input mode of the IME Pad that works like a virtual keyboard. This virtual keyboard can be used to write words in romaji, hiragana or katakana. After writing the hiragana words, you can use the spacebar to convert the hiragana letters to kanji.

As soon as we open the virtual keyboard, it appears with the common letters of our keyboard, more or less as shown in the figure below.

windows im soft keyboard

On the left side, between the character input mode icons and the virtual keyboard buttons, we have a list of radio buttons for the keyboard. Below is a description of each of these buttons:

  • Keyboard icon: It's the first button in the list. The one with the drawing of a keyboard and a black arrow pointing down. What this button does is change the position of the buttons on the virtual keyboard, as well as modifying the function of each button on the keyboard. In this way, we can change the keyboard from alphanumeric to hiragana or katakana.
  • Shift: It works in the same way as the key shift of the computer keyboard. Note that when you press this button, the letters on the virtual keyboard change to uppercase and some other buttons change their function presenting new symbols.
  • Caps: This button has the sole function of changing all lowercase letters on the virtual keyboard to uppercase letters.
  • Full: It concerns the dimensions of the letters, using the full or partial width, according to the font used in the text editor.

What most caught my attention in this IME Pad input mode was the button with the keyboard icon. By clicking on it, you will find five virtual keyboard options: Alpha/Numeric (QWERTY layout)alpha/Numeric (ABC layout)hiragana/Katakana (JIS layout)Hiragana/Katakana (Syllabary layout) and Numeric Date and Time (Numeric with Date and Time).

windows ime keyboard layout

  • Alpha/Numeric (QWERTY layout): It makes the virtual keyboard very similar to the computer keyboard. The problem again is that the virtual keyboard is in the international standard and not in the Brazilian standard with cedilla and other symbols of our keyboard.
  • Alpha/Numeric (ABC layout): It leaves the virtual keyboard with the same buttons as the option above, but their organization changes, starting to be in alphabetical order.
  • Hiragana/Katakana (JIS layout): In this input mode, the virtual keyboard simulates a Japanese keyboard, distributing the hiragana and katakana symbols throughout the virtual keyboard.
  • Hiragana/Katakana (Sillabary layout): Changes the arrangement of Japanese symbols on the virtual keyboard. The buttons are now in Japanese alphabetical order.
  • Numeric/Date and Time: In this input mode, the virtual keyboard is modified so that we can enter dates and times using Japanese symbols.

Note that when selecting a virtual keyboard input mode, the virtual keyboard option buttons also change. In the case of modes Alpha/Numeric, the buttons have already been explained above, but the modes Hiragana/katakana and Numeric/Date and Timedeserve some explanation.

in mode Hiragana/Katakana, new buttons with Japanese symbols are presented:ひら小字 and Full.

The button ひら informs you that the symbols used on the virtual keyboard are the Hiragana symbols. When we click on this button, the Hiragana symbols are exchanged for the katakana symbols and the button ひら change to カタ. When we click on カタagain, the virtual keyboard changes to hiragana and the button カタ change to ひら.

The button with the symbols 小字 are related to the size of the letters of the Japanese alphabet. When you click on it some letters get smaller, and when we click again on the same button, the letters go back to normal.

Finally, the Full button is related to the width of Japanese symbols, making them wider and of equal or narrower sizes.

windows ime japanese keyboard

When selecting the mode Numeric/Date and Time, the virtual keyboard changes its buttons to allow typing of Japanese symbols for dates, numbers, times, eras of Japanese emperors and other related resources. If you have read the articles in the list below, you will know how to identify and use all the buttons on this virtual keyboard.

windows ime keyboard date time

Stroke – Amount of kanji strokes

This is a simple to use IME Pad window. Its function is to allow you to find a Japanese ideogram from its number of strokes. Below is a screenshot of the IME Pad using this input mode.

windows im stroke

At the top of the window, we have two checkboxes with an arrow pointing down. In the box on the left, we select the amount of strokes, and in the box on the right, we select the Japanese font. After making this selection, various Japanese characters are displayed in the central box of the window, according to the Japanese font and number of strokes selected previously.

When you click on any ideogram in the kanji list, it is immediately added to the text editor. Thus, we can search and find Japanese symbols by their number of strokes.

Radical – Number of strokes of kanji radicals

Radical is the input mode of the IME Pad that allows you to select a Japanese ideogram according to the number of strokes a radical has. After selecting the number of strokes and the desired Japanese font, in the same way as in the stroke, the kanji list box shows a list of radicals with the same amount of dashes. When selecting a radical, the kanji list changes, showing the Japanese symbols that have the selected radical.

Although this window is very similar to the previous one, its focus is on the kanji radicals and not on the number of strokes in Japanese ideograms.

In the same way as the way stroke, just click on a kanji from the kanji list and it will be added to the text editor.

windows im radical


Despite being an overview of how to write in Japanese using the mouse, this article is a bit long. Even so, I hope you enjoyed it and expanded your knowledge on how to write in Japanese on the PC.

This was the last article in the series Windows IME Tips and I hope that all of you have taken advantage of the knowledge shared in these articles. Even though I have finished the series, whenever I have any tips about the features of Windows IME, I will write about it again, adding the new article in the category Windows IME of the Japanese Language.