Word97/2000 Chinese Pinyin/Bopomofo Annotation Macro

This macro allows users of Microsoft Word 97/2000 to put the pinyin pronunciation for a character underneath the character OR to put the bopomofo for the character to right of the character. The user must supply the pinyin, the macro merely formats the pinyin to annotate the character. Users with Word 2000 might want to use the new Asian formatting features in that version (see "Format", then "Asian Layout", and "Phonetic Guide" from the main menu of Word 2000). A similar effect can be achieved in HTML using the RUBY tag.


First close Word if you are running it, then download and run this macro install program. It will place the macro in the appropriate directory. Then follow the directions at "Using the Macro" below.

Word XP

To use the macro on Word XP, you will need to change the security level for macro virus protection
  1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  2. Click the Security tab.
  3. Under Macro Security, click Macro Security.
  4. Click the Security Level tab, and then select the "Medium" security level.
  5. Exit Word.
  6. Install the Pinyin Annotation Macro.
Now when you restart Word it will ask you if you want to enable macros in BoPoMoFo.dot. Click yes and you will be able to use the macro as usual. You will not need to do these steps again.

To use this macro (for the Chinese characters and the bopomfo), you must have at least one Chinese Unicode font installed on your machine. These easiest place to get these fonts is on the Word97 (or Office97) installation CD where they are stored in "\valupack\fareast" directory and are called Chssupp.exe (simplified) and Chtsupp.exe (traditional). You can also download Chinese Unicode fonts off the Internet. A useful Simplified Chinese font can be downloaded from Microsoft. It says it is for Internet Explorer, but it can also be used Word97 and other Office97 applications. Follow Microsoft's instructions for installation. To use the Traditional Chinese input method, download and install Microsoft's Traditional Chinese Language Pack from the same location. You can also download free simplified and traditional Chinese character Unicode fonts from TwinBridge and UnionWay . (Note: Someone has written me saying that the TwinBridge fonts will only work if you already have other TwinBridge software installed on your computer.) Or, instead of downloading two separate fonts, you can also just download the one "Bitstream Cyberbit" font from Bitstream. I recommend using the Bitstream Cyberbit font.

With the macro and the fonts installed, the annotation formatter should be ready to go.

Using the Macro

After installation, you can now start Word. To use the macro, type or copy in the Chinese characters to annotate. Next, to the immediate right of each character type in the character's pinyin pronunciation, with the tone indicated by a tone number at the end of the pinyin. To add a u with umlaut (ü), type a "u" followed by a colon (:). So the pinyin for woman would be nu:3 . If you going to convert into zhuyin (bopomofo), use "v" instead of "u:". Don't put a space between the character and its following pinyin. A useful program for this is Chinese Annotator web page. To make the resulting annotations legible, I recommend using at least a 14 point size for the characters or even 16 point. Once the conversion has taken place, it is not not easy to change the size of the characters again. I've found that the "MingLiU" or "MS Song" fonts works best for the bopomofo while the "Lucida Sans Unicode" or "Bitstream Cyberbit" fonts work best for the pinyin.

Once you have characters with pinyin, you can put the pinyin underneath the character, resized to fit properly and with the tone number converted to a tone mark over the appropriate vowel or you can choose to convert the pinyin to bopmofo and have that bopomofo appear vertically next to the character.

Before starting the macro, either place the cursor before all the pinyin you want to convert, or highlight just the characters and pinyin that you want to process. Next, press Alt-F8 (or Tools->Macro->Macros from the Menu) to run a macro. For pinyin annotation select the "Move_PY_to_Underneath" macro and then "Run". The macro itself might take a minute or two to finish and you won't be able to type in Word while it is running. Or for bopomofo, select the "Convert_PY_to_ZY" macro.

When printing documents using this macro, I've found sometimes that the printer properties need to be set to "Print True Type fonts as graphics", but not all printers have this option. This can be done by:

  1. Selecting to print from File->Print on the menu.
  2. Selecting "Properties" on the dialog that appears (should be in upper right corner).
  3. In the new window that appears, select the "Font" screen.
  4. Select "Print True Type fonts as Graphics"
This is a problem with some printer driver's lack of support for printing Unicode. Microsoft knows about this problem and has a page with a more detailed description and some other solutions. Alert Macro user Ginger Canlas has also suggested going to the homepage of your printer manufacturer to see if it has an updated version of your printer driver.

If none of the above solutions works, then I'm afraid I don't know how else to solve the problem. For example, Microsoft Fax doesn't have this option so it won't send the Chinese.

Comments and Suggestions

This pinyin/bopomofo macro is still under development. I welcome bug reports and feature suggestions. You can reach me at my contact page.


In case you came to this page directly, you may also want to check out my collection of on-line Chinese tools.