Network Computing
Issue 37 - Sep 2003
CKC Chinese Input Systemis Available at CityU
By Matthew Hung

When we talk about Chinese Input Method in the subject of "Chinese Computing", you will immediately relate this to the "Chang Jie ", "Pinyin ", "Quick " etc. input methods. Then, you might also have experienced the hardship when you start to learn using the keyboard and memorize keystroke combinations and complicated input rules. You may have an impression that most of the Chinese input methods are difficult to learn or use through keyboard inputting methods. Some may even prefer to use pen input method. In fact, each Chinese input method is designed for different targeted users. For example, pen input method is easy to learn but relatively slow in input speed, it is good for general users; whereas "Chang Jie" is difficult to learn but the input speed is fast for experienced users. Therefore, it is good for frequent users. And the CKC Chinese Input System[Ref: 1] is designed to provide the best of both the learning curve and input speed.

CKC Chinese Input Systemis developed by [Ref: 2] and . The software can run on Microsoft Chinese Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP environment. In particular, it can also run on the English Windows XP environment we currently supported in campus. We have made this input method generally available in both the CityU staff and student network.

The software plugs well into the XP environment and supports the Hong Kong Supplementary Character Set (HKSCS - 4702 Hong Kong characters) [Ref: 3]. After successful installation, an option of will be added to the available input methods under "Chinese (Taiwan)" as shown below:

When users have selected the as the current input method, the system will display an input method task bar:

This input method is a keyboard input one. Actually, it only uses a maximum of 4 digits ("0" - "9") to represent a character. Strokesof all Chinese characters are classified into 10 groups, each represented by a digit. For example, "0" represents "" and "1" for "" ...etc. Chinese characters can then be input by the combination of these digits. Users can use the formula below to remember this stroke representation:

In case users forget one or two digit mapping, they can always click on the"" button in the input method task bar to activate the hint as display below:

The main principle of composing "CKC" codeto form a single Chinese character is:

• Take the stroke of the upper left hand corner of the character as the first code
• Take the stroke of the upper right hand corner of the character as the second code
• Take the stroke of the lower left hand corner of the character as the third code
• Take the stroke of the lower right hand corner of the character as the fourth code

e.g

In the above example, the first code of the character "" is 4, second code 3, third code 1 and fourth code 7. Therefore the "CKC"code of "" is 4317. However, the "CKC"code of some Chinese characters may not necessarily be a 4 digit code.

e.g

In this example, the "CKC" code of "" is 320.

Users have to use the numeric pad to key in the code and complete the input with a space. If more than one character can be represented by the same "CKC" code, the system will show all the characters for selection. Users can use numeric pad "0"-"9" for selection, or use "PageUp" / "PageDown" to turn to the other pages.

One of the strengths of CKC Chinese Input System is that it caters for the input of phrases to increase input speed. The system has predefined more than 250,000 common Chinese phrases, such as ""

The principles of composing "CKC" code for Chinese phrases are:

• For 2-character phrase
• To get the first 3 digits at most of each character. It forms the 3+3 coding principle. The minimum number of digit of this phrase is 2 and the maximum 6.
• E.g. the "CKC"code of "" is 4804, and "" is 300. However, the code of the phrase "" is 480300.
• For 3-character phrase
• To get first 2 digits at most of each character. It forms the 2+2+2 coding principle. The minimum number of digit of this phrase is 3 and the maximum 6.
• E.g. the "CKC"code of "" is 5100, "" is 7770 and "" is 4297. The code of the phrase "" becomes 517742.

• For 4-character phrase
• To get the first 2 digits at most of the first character, then the first digit of the second and third character. Finally, the first 2 digits at most of the fourth character. It forms the 2+1+1+2 coding principle. The minimum number of digit of this phrase is 4 and the maximum 6.
• E.g. the "CKC"code of "" is 868, "" is 3367, "" is 800 and "" is 100. The code for the phrase "" becomes 863810.

• For Multi-character phrase
• To get the first 2 digits at most of the first character, then the first digit of the second, third, fourth and fifth character, and the rest of characters are ignored. It forms 2+1+1+1+1 coding principle. The minimum number of digit of this phrase is 5 and the maximum 6.
• E.g. the "CKC"code of "" is 06, "" is 3417, "" is 0450, "" is 6200, "" is 0120, "" is 1814 and "" is 7171. The code of the phrase "" is then 063060.

From the above illustration, you can see that if users input "" one by one character, they have to type in 06 3417 0450 6200 0120 1814 7171 with selections and a number of strokes for space bar in between. Now, they just need to key in 063060 and then they can select the right phrase. Beside providing a large number of pre-defined phrases, CKC Chinese Input System also allows users to define their own phrases, such as "". On top of that, there are many other features in CKC Chinese Input System to help users to input Chinese characters more easily and quickly, such as wild card key and associated key .