New Features in this version of KEY 5.2 (2011)

  • Important for authoring teaching materials: the Hanzi-with-Pinyin horizontal layout gets preserved when copied into MS Word documents (RT setting), as well as in .html and .pdf files created from such documents.
  • Pinyin Proofing (PP) assistance: with pinyin text displayed, pressing the PP button on the toolbar will colour the background of ambiguous pinyin passages blue; right-clicking on such a blue-background pinyin passage will display the available options.
  • Copy Special: a highlighted Chinese character passage can be copied & pasted automatically in various permutations.

Improved number-measureword system: it now works with Chinese-character, pinyin and Arabic numerals.

  • Showing different tones through coloured characters (Language menu under Preferences).
  • Chengyu (fixed four character expression) spacing logic: automatic spacing according to the pinyin standard (Language menu under Preferences).
  • Option to show tone sandhi on grey background (Language menu under Preferences).
  • Full support of standard pinyin orthography in capitalization and spacing.
  • Automatic glossary building.

“KEY 5.2” Functions in Brief:



How/where to do it

Basics & Formatting


  • Open an existing KEY file


    • KEY5 can show a list of recently opened files

File | Recent Files

  • Save a document…
    • and when opening it next time, display the point in the document where the flashing cursor is currently.


Ctrl+S = “Save File” (unlike Word, this saves the current cursor position)

    • and when opening it next time, display the beginning of the document.

Ctrl+Shift+B = “Move Cursor to Beginning of File and Save”

  • Use the Zoom feature to make files more legible

On toolbar or in View menu

    • “Text Width” is usually the best zoom setting for editing and reading.


  • Change fonts (=typeface) and font sizes

On toolbar or in Format menu

    • Font and font size operate on Chinese and English (“Roman”) text independently.  Resizing and font changes operate only on the language that is currently active.

Click the  En  button or Ctrl+Shift+E before changing English fonts and sizes. Click the   S   or   T   button (hotkeys Ctrl+Shift+S and Ctrl+Shift+T) before changing Chinese fonts and sizes. 

    • English and Chinese font size (but not font face) can be unlocked/locked so that Chinese and English text can be resized either independently or in unison. 

Use the Font Lock icon   

(next to font size in toolbar).


  • Set paragraph properties

Format | Paragraph

    • Including indentation, alignment (“Justify”), line spacing.


  • Set tabs

On ruler or in Format | Paragraph

    • Create and delete tabs

Click on ruler to set a new tab; drag tab character () downwards off of ruler to delete it.

  • Set document margins

(on ruler or in Format | Page)

  • Add headers and footers

Under any Zoom setting other than “Text Width,” click directly in top or bottom margin of page 1, then add text. 

  • Add page numbers

In a header or footer (see above), add an English “#” (the pound sign).  You can set the starting page number and page on which to start headers/footers on the Format | Page window.

  • Hide non-printing symbols in a text (like “<” for Paragraph)
    • This makes a “clean”-looking file (screen display will look like the print output).

View | Hide Marks (this command toggles with “Show Marks”)




How/where to do it

Typing Pinyin & Pinyin-Hanzi Conversion


  • Input and convert Pinyin words into Hanzi


    • How to type the pinyin character ü?




Type the    key to produce ü; or type “v” instead (e.g., lvse will convert to 绿色).

    • Use numbers to represent tones when converting Pinyin words into Hanzi, e.g., shi4shi2 converts to .


    • Add tone marks to pinyin

Use tone buttons   1     2     3     4 

and   5  or Ctrl+1 through Ctrl+5. The number 5 represents the neutral or light tone.  

    • Input Chinese punctuation marks

Type a Chinese        then F9 to view all symbols and punctuation

      • Input a Chinese (full-width) space

Ctrl+o (versions after 7/30/2010); Ctrl+Alt+Space (before 7/30/2010)

      • Input a Chinese dunhao ()


  • “Undo” an addition, deletion, or edit that was made to the document text

  • Add a new word or an abbreviation to the PinyinàHanzi conversion engine

Language | Add Record

  • Convert text from Traditional to Simplified characters and vice versa via “Block Operations”

Language | Block Operations

  • Back-convert Hanzi text to pinyin

Use the  En  button or Ctrl+Shift+E

  • Make “unconvertible” text “convertible”

Language | Block Operations

  • Add interlinear pinyin to a text

Format | Hanzi with Pinyin

    • Toggle between Hanzi-only and Hanzi-with-Pinyin modes


    • Pinyin size relative to Hanzi can be user-defined. 

Format | Hanzi with Pinyin |

    • Capitalize first letter in a sentence (toggle on/off)


    • Select a different pronunciation for multi-reading characters


    • Proofread the pinyin for errors in linguistic reconstruction (segmentation)

   PP   then click on any colored character and use the context menu (right-click the mouse) to choose the correct segmentation. (Note: Sometimes it takes two steps to correct segmentation.)



Copying and Pasting


  • Set Clipboard properties

File | Preferences | Clipboard

  • Copy and paste Internet text into KEY. 


    • Paste preview window can be bypassed

Check “Bypass Paste Preview” option in File | Preferences | Clipboard

    • Cursor can be positioned either at beginning or end of text after a paste operation. 

Option in File | Preferences | Clipboard

  • Copy one form of script (e.g., Traditional character) and paste it as another form (e.g., Pinyin, or Simplified)





How/where to do it

Dictionary Lookup


  • View Chinese-English Dictionary entries for words in a text, using the Dictionary Tool Tip

Hover (not click) cursor over a Chinese character. 

    • The magnification of text in the Tool Tip window (and Dictionary Search window) is user-definable.

File | Preferences | General | Tool Tip / Palette /Dictionary Search…

  • Use the Dictionary Tool Tip to show alternative segmentations for a string of Chinese characters

Press the à key for more

  • Look up the individual characters in a compound word

Hit  F9  twice

  • Find different pronunciations for the same character in a Tool Tip dictionary entry

Press the à key for more

  • Search through the Chinese-English dictionary for all relevant entries containing Chinese characters, pinyin, or English

Click the  Dic  button and enter your Search criteria.

  • Use “Fuzzy Search” to find entries similar to a given string of characters

Click the  Dic  button; choose Search Type: “Fuzzy”


Timed Reading Module


  • Select a passage for Timed Reading and start Timed Reading

Select text, and click the  TR  button

    • Size of text in Timed Reading is determined by the current display in the KEY editor window.


  • Set Preferences for Timed Reading:
    • segment the text “by sentence” or “by paragraph”
    • maximum number of characters per segment

Edit | Timed Passage | Select


  • Abandon the Timed Reading preferences previously set for a text

Edit | Timed Passage | Unselect


  • Pause, restart, rewind, fast forward, or quit during Timed Reading

Buttons in Timed Reading module

  • Use a pinyin “check” phase in Timed Reading

Change setting in Preferences | Timed Reading Module

  • Review a word list in Timed Reading

Select word list (one word per line), and click the  TR  button



Automatic Glossary Building


  • Automatically copy words and phrases you select from a text and paste them into a word list.  The word list can be appended to the text or placed in another file that you designate. 

Double click a Chinese character (current Tool Tip display determines which segmentation is glossed)


Highlight the expression you want to gloss and select “Add to Glossary” on the shortcut menu (=right mouse button menu).

  • Instant Word Glossing (“Convert Current Line to Glossary”):  Instantly paste into the document a Chinese-Pinyin-English glossary for an expression (that expression must be the only text on that line of the document)—especially useful when a term comes up in the course of teaching a class. 


  • Convert a list of words (one per line) to a glossary with Chinese-Pinyin-English

Glossary | Convert Word List to Glossary




How/where to do it



  • Create Annotations to a text

Annotations menu

    • Annotating a split structure—use this if you want both parts of the structure to flash simultaneously when the mouse is hovered over either part.  (Also works for three-part structures.) 

2-step process: 

--Create annotation for the first part of the structure, then press Ctrl+M to jump back to your place in the text;

--Use “Add Second Part of Split Structure” to create annotation for the second part of the structure

  • Cloze (=Fill-in-the Blanks) Exercises


    • Blank out a word or expression in a sentence, to turn the word into a cloze item. 

Select the word and then select Annotation | Create Cloze Clue

    • Insert into the document all the solutions for a cloze exercise (which has been created by using “Create Cloze Clue”). 

Annotation | Insert Solutions

  • Quick method of creating a cloze exercise for a document:  Use double-clicking in a document to create a glossary list of items which are to be made into cloze items.  Then, in the document that contains the glossary list, automatically generate the cloze exercise by selecting the menu item “Generate Cloze Exercise.” (Note: Only those sentences from which expressions were added to the glossary list will be displayed, not the entire text.)

In a glossary list created from a document by the double-click mechanism:

Annotation | Generate Cloze Exercise