How to Enable Hanzi Recognition for Your Mac

Apple's Best Kept Secret

 Did you know can use the trackpad on your Apple Computer to write Chinese characters with your finger? This is a  very useful feature that - I think - few people know about. 

Here’s how to enable this feature.

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Click on 'Keyboard' (which is a little confusing)
  3. Open the ‘Input Sources’ tab
  4. In the bottom left, click on the ‘+' button, and find ‘Chinese, Simplified’ (or ‘Chinese, Traditional’). Select ‘Trackpad Handwriting’, and click on ‘Add’.

To turn on ‘Trackpad Writing’ you can use the standard keyboard shortcut, Shift+Control+Space, or use the Input Sources menu next to the clock in the top right of the screen. 


Kevin writes columns for the GoEast Blog on studying Chinese, Chinese culture, and life as a foreign student. He has studied China and Chinese for over five years, first in his home country the Netherlands, then in Beijing, and now attends Fudan University's Chinese Society department.