I want to type romanized Mandarin Chinese in Pinyin spelling system, attached to Chinese character texts. Are there any direct input method to type roman characters with full diacritics (without converting to Chinese characters, and not deviating to symbol-insertion methods using ctrl and alt keys)?
E.g. 明月千里寄相思
míng yuè qiān lii jì xiāng sī
tone 3 on "i" should be "i" ripped off with its upper dot and replaced by a hacek, but I don't know how to get that single pre-composed letter from the usual English keyboard.
My second best compromises are:
1. using doubled vowel letter to show its being in the third tone as shown above (orthographically a odd-ball) ; or
2. shifting to Gwoyeu Romatzyh, like MING YUEH CHIAN-LII JIH SHIANGSY.
When I was using GlobalWriter on windows machines, I used to switch the keyboard to IPA input layout and type directly macron/acute/hacek/grave + vowel letter to get appropriate tone-marked vowel letters. All the needed diacritics were allocated the top row of keyboard, as "dead keys" to be followed by vowel letters on which they are added to.

Any similar shortcuts in iPad circumstances?
Thank you.

1 Answer 1


On the standard Chinese Simplified - Pinyin keyboard on the iPad, if you hold down a letter key for about 1 second, it will popup a panel with the 4 diacritics for that letter, letting you pick between them.

If you type pinyin with diacritic marks, it will not transform the pinyin into actual Chinese characters.

Pinyin input

  • Thank you. But my real problem is that holding down the vowel keys do not show the third tone letters with hacek. Also, I don't need conversion to Chinese characters. It would be ideal if someone can tell me any add-on to enable touch type accented pinyin romanization. Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 6:46
  • It sure does on mine. Are you sure you are using the pinyin keyboard and not the English keyboard? If you type pinyin with diacritic marks, it will not transform the pinyin into actual Chinese characters. If you do not include the diacritics, it will attempt to transform.
    – vykor
    Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 7:00
  • @JoshuaYoshiteruYamashita I'm assuming you need the ǐ character. In order to type that character you need to install the Chinese Simplified - Pinyin keyboard in Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards > Add New Keyboard… That should give you the keyboard 'vykor' described and is accessible via pressing and holding the "globe" key. If you use the English keyboard you only get ì, į, ī, í, ï, î Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 8:14

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