Release Notes for KEY 5.2, 2011

(for Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, and for Mac OS X)


KEY version 5.2 is more than an upgrade to the previous KEY versions because it has been newly developed from the ground up. Its new design has an infrastructure that can accommodate the numerous new features. At the same time, most functions from the previous KEY versions have been significantly improved. The new and enhanced features are:



¨    KEY 5 has its own full-featured table function. Tables can be created in KEY, and can be copied & pasted between KEY and MS Word. The table feature allows teachers and learners to display vocabulary lists and any other text material in table form, with or without lines. It includes a “Convert Text to Table” feature. The new KEY table function is fully compatible with MS Word and its table features.


¨    A Font Size selection button has been added to the KEY 5 toolbar, with the same interface as the Font Size selection button available in Word (under Tools--Customize--Commands--Format).  The user is now able to select Font Sizes from the drop-down menu on this button, or can key in a desired size in the window of the button. 


¨    The “Copy Style” and “Apply Style” functions have been added to the KEY 5 Edit menu.  Copy Style will copy the text font, size and paragraph attributes of text at the cursor's current location.  Apply Style will apply the font, size, and paragraph attributes copied using Copy Style to any selected text, including text in Table cells.  Hotkeys are enabled for these two functions as follows:  CTRL+SHIFT+C = Copy formatting from text; and CTRL+SHIFT+V = Apply copied Style to text.


¨    Import of Chinese text from outside sources: in the previous version KEY 4.1, when copying and pasting Chinese text from outside sources (such as Internet texts) into KEY, before the "Paste" operation was carried out, the user had to specify the coding of the original text (GB, Big 5, Unicode), to assure that the text was correctly converted. The new KEY 5 version shows a small “Text Paste Preview” screen with a sample result of the actual text to be imported. In most cases the sample displayed is correctly encoded automatically; if not, the user can try out the other encoding options before doing the actual pasting.


¨    In KEY 5, the results of a C-E Dictionary search display as a drop-down list, with one dictionary entry listed per line, and showing as much of each entry as can practically fit onto one line.  The drop-down list displays 15 lines (15 entries) onscreen at one time; longer lists may be scrolled through.  From this list, the user can click on the desired dictionary entry, which will then appear in its entirety.  This is a major improvement to the previous arrangement, in which the user must use the "Next" button to flip through the entries one screen at a time.


¨    Modifications to "Convert to Glossary". "Convert to Glossary" has been modified to facilitate using KEY to provide real-time vocabulary assistance to an audience listening to a live speech. For example, when a school invites a Chinese guest speaker, the KEY program can be projected onto a screen. As the speaker talks, if s/he uses an expression with which the teacher believes the students might not be familiar, the teacher can input the expression and perform "Convert to Glossary" on it to project the glossary onto the screen. In KEY 5, the operation of the "Convert to Glossary" function has been modified to streamline this process as follows: First, "Convert to Glossary" automatically produces the glossary in Table form, with predefined column width suitable for display. Second, the hotkey Ctrl-G has been added for "Convert Line to Glossary". When pressed, this hotkey automatically moves the cursor back to the beginning of the current line, selects all the text on that line, and does a "Convert to Glossary" on the contents of the line only.


¨    Lexicon improvements: In KEY 5.2, approx. 10,000 new words from modern texts (news articles from Chinese Internet sources, etc.) have been added to the Chinese/English dictionary of both KEY and KEYTIP, and also to the hash tables of the internal conversion engine of the KEY word processor.


¨    Ctrl-F9, as a newly added toggle key combination in KEY 5, brings up the long forms of the numerals:

O    一壹                 二贰    三叁     四肆     五伍     六陸/   七柒      八捌/     九玖     十什


¨    Automatically generating cloze exercises. In KEY 5, a cloze exercise function is available from the Annotations menu, which enables learners to do a contextualized word review.  With the words or expressions (phrases) one has saved in a glossary by double-clicking on them, the user can auto-create word review exercises (self-quizzes), as follows: With the double-click-generated vocabulary file displayed, the user should now point at the words to verify that the annotation tooltip displays the sentence context from where the expression was taken. Clicking the new Annotations menu item Create Cloze Exercise automatically creates a new window containing the source sentences with blanks for the vocabulary test item (character/word/phrase). Pointing at the blanks, the user gets progressive clues from the C/E dictionary tooltip to find the correct answer. --- As an option to finding the solution in this exercise, before accessing the correct answer (i.e., the expression that has been blanked out) the user can choose to see first, as a clue, either (1) the English definition of the term from the C/E dictionary, or (2) an annotation associated with the word (this annotation was automatically copied from the text being studied), or (3) users can enter a clue of their own making as follows: first highlighting the blanked-out space in the cloze text, then clicking the new Annotations menu item Create Cloze Clue and entering a clue as an annotation, finally hiding the annotations again. --- In addition, in order to facilitate studying word lists that were not derived from online texts, the user can input the word lists him/herself, then annotate the word list, putting in personalized clues as annotations, to use in these automatically generated exercises.  Users can also create progressive clues by using the existing mechanism of defining multiple annotations for the defined term.  They could set the order of the clues by the way that they are placed in the annotation list (at the end of the document).  They could then review the clues by pressing the Right Arrow when the Annotation Tool Tip is active.


¨    The “Timed Reading” function of KEY 5 has been streamlined in several respects (like “Hide marks”, disregarding Tab characters, colour coding of text parts).


The features described on the following pages were available in previous versions of KEY, but have been improved and streamlined within the new design of this version KEY 5.

Advanced features from previous versions that have been streamlined:



v  New Setting for character display: by default, the display of Chinese characters in KEY is using the “Edge Smoothing” features of Windows XP, Vista, and 7. This makes the edges of Chinese characters in all sizes appear smooth, but reduces the contrast of the characters, so they appear gray, instead of black. - If you prefer the Chinese characters to appear black on white with a strong contrast, right-click on your desktop, under “Properties” select “Effects” and turn off “Smooth Edges”. (In XP, the setting is under “Properties” / “Appearance” / “Effects”.)

v  Zoom: With “Edge Smoothing” (see above) turned off, Chinese characters at certain sizes may display on the screen with jagged edges. If you see characters with unclear outlines on the screen, click on the first item on the View menu “Zoom for optimal Hanzi display”, and make the characters look sharp by zooming in or out. (Alternatively, turn on “Edge Smoothing”.)

v  The teacher/learner can automatically create interactive multimedia lessons using authentic Chinese text from the Internet, or other electronic text sources, through the Timed Reading module (TR button on the KEY toolbar, details see page “For Teachers and Learners”, or on the “Help” menu of KEY).

v  The new menu “Annotations”: you can create annotations for a Chinese word or text passage, even indicating split grammatical structures. Your annotations to the text can be hidden, and will pop up in a Tool Tip window when pointing at the annotated item (when “Annotation Tool Tip” on the Annotation menu is checked). YOU CAN AUTOMATICALLY CREATE A LIST OF WORDS/CHARACTERS OCCURRING IN A CHINESE TEXT; YOU CAN COMPARE ONE TEXT TO ANOTHER (OR TO MULTIPLE OTHER TEXTS, E.G. PREVIOUS LESSONS); YOU CAN CREATE VOCABULARY STATISTICS FOR SINGLE OR MULTIPLE CHINESE TEXT FILES (new in 4.1).

v  The 300,000-term Chinese-English dictionary has been updated, and is now lightning-fast in Tool Tip dictionary lookup mode (on the View menu). The words in the homonym tables and the Radical/Stroke tables are also included in the Tool Tip lookup. The entire dictionary is now loaded into RAM when you start KEY (slightly longer loading time).

v  User contributions to dictionary: if you think a term should be included in the dictionary, please enter it under the newly added “Server” menu – it will be sent to us, reviewed and added.

v  Linguistic reconstruction: this is the process that automatically reconstructs the word boundaries when pasting Chinese text from outside sources (Internet, other electronic sources) into a KEY file. If you open older KEY files with a new version of KEY, it is recommended to highlight the entire file (“Select All”) and click “Linguistic Reconstruction” (on the KEY “Language” menu). This updates the linguistic infrastructure of your KEY file, thus enabling the Tool Tip dictionary to take advantage of the latest vocabulary improvements (which did not exist when the older file was generated).

v  Searching the Internet in Chinese: KEY Chinese text can be copied/pasted (with the toolbar “UNI” button depressed) into browser search windows (Netscape or IE; “Inplace Entry” is also available on the Netscape 6 platform, see next item).

v  Inplace Entry: when working with CJK files in outside applications, rather than in KEY stand-alone mode, you can either copy/paste manually, or use the automated feature of “Inplace Entry” (for MS Word, Corel WP, Outlook Express, Access,, Netscape,, see the KEY “View” menu). Inplace Entry allows you to enter CJK directly at cursor position in your MS Word etc. document, with KEY minimized in the background still performing tasks such as homonym lookup and replacement. Important for Inplace Entry: make sure that, from the MS Word etc. toolbar, to set one of the KEY GB (or KEY B5) Unicode fonts when starting to work in Inplace Entry mode in MS Word etc. (For Japanese, set MS Gothic; for Korean, set Gulimche). For Inplace Entry in Corel WP, leave the default font Times New Roman. – Further, please make sure that in MS Word under Tools / Options / Edit the item “Smart cut & paste” is turned off.

v  Colouring is now available, for both the text and/or the background of your document (on the “Format” menu).

v  Pictures supported: you can now import pictures into KEY, in all common picture file formats (on the “Format” menu). Once the picture is in your KEY file, it behaves like a character (it can even be annotated through the new “Annotations” feature).

v  Overview “Chinese Input”: clicking on “Chinese Input” on the “Help” menu opens a KEY file with a general overview of entering Chinese text. – For more details, open “Help Topics” on the “Help” menu, which contains a complete user’s guide to KEY. For immediate context-sensitive help on any KEY menu item, pick up the Arrow/Questionmark pointer on the far right of the toolbar, and click on the menu item you want explained.

v  The character rong (as in Zhu Rongji) is included (outside the GB code range, in the past could only be written either with the Traditional form of radical or the Simplified equivalent with the fire radical .)

v  A full system for Cantonese, available either in the Yale Transcription, or in Jyutping (Linguistic Society of HK), has been implemented (i.e. you can back-convert from Hanzi to either Hanyu Pinyin with tones, or to Yale / Jyutping with tone numbers). 438 special Cantonese characters were added, in all available font styles.

v  For Japanese text, the mode "Romaji with Kanji/Kana" is available, and now works just like "Pinyin with Hanzi" which has been available for Chinese.

v  The useful item "Block operations" has been added to the KEY Language menu: use it to make your entire text "non-convertible", or to convert your entire text between the Traditional and Simplified character modes.

v  For learners of Chinese who wish to immediately view the homonyms of a word during text entry, we have added the mode “Auto Homonym” (View menu). In this mode, the space bar displays the homonyms of the preceding word; in connection with the Tool Tip dictionary lookup, learners can now phonetically transcribe a Chinese text, and after each word look up the meanings of all homonyms by hitting the spacebar.

v  The double-wide Chinese hyphen “pozhehao破折号 has been added; it can be generated through Ctrl-P. (The dunhao hotkey is Ctrl-D). – For more shortcuts, hotkeys and other tips please open the KEY file “Chinese Input” on the KEY “Help” menu.

v  Tables are now fully supported in KEY, and can be copy/pasted bi-directionally between KEY and MS Word.


If you have technical questions or require assistance, please email us at, or (in North America) call our toll free technical support line


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For Teachers and Learners: two innovative features in KEY:


The Timed Reading module and the Annotation feature are the most recent enhancements to the KEY software package. These enhancements provide a CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning) tool for improving Chinese language reading and comprehension skills. By segmenting a Chinese text passage, such as text from the Internet or teacher-generated KEY text files, into manageable syntactic units, the Timed Reading module allows the reader of Chinese to practice word segmentation, phrase comprehension, eye movement, and thus enhances overall reading efficiency.



Automatic authoring of multimedia lessons with the TR button on the KEY toolbar


Write, or copy/paste the text you want for reading practice (from a Chinese website, or other electronic source). Press the TR button on the KEY toolbar, which automatically segments the text into manageable portions and takes you directly to the Reading Timer panel, where you can set the various options (like Pinyin, Tones, Sound etc.). Clicking on “Start” will begin the automatic reading cycle. Choose this fast way to time-read a Chinese text if you want to accept the default segmenting of the system.


If you wish to manually segment the text, do not press the TR button, but click on “Select Timed passage” on the KEY “Edit” menu. Enter your preferred segment length and click OK to view the segmented text. Before proceeding to the Reading Timer panel, you can now review and, if desired, change the segmenting – details see below.


The Timed Reading features in detail:


1.      Selecting the passage for Timed Reading and segmenting it into units for practice. Display the text which you want to practice in Timed Reading mode on the KEY Edit screen. You may write the text yourself in KEY, or you may copy/paste the text into KEY from an outside source, such as a Chinese web page. Now select (=highlight) the text passage you want to practice in Timed Reading mode.  Then, on the KEY “Edit” menu, click on “Select Timed Passage”, which brings up the Auto-segmenting panel. Here you can set the length of the Timed Reading units within the passage. The default setting is 10 characters. For example, if you leave the setting of 10 in place and click OK, your text passage will be auto-segmented into units not longer than 10 Chinese characters, through the insertion of BLUE half-spaces. The auto-segmenting algorithm cuts the text into reading units based on linguistic reconstruction, and thus avoids splitting polysyllabic expressions (such as words and idiomatic expressions 成語 chéngyǔ. At the same time, the entire passage selected for Timed Reading is marked with a yellow background. - If you are satisfied with the auto-segmenting as it appears in the text (BLUE half-spaces), you can now proceed to setting the parameters, and to the reading practice (details see 2. below). In case you want to modify the existing segmentation, you can manually add more segmentation points and/or delete existing segmentation points. To add a segmentation mark (BLUE half-space) manually, place the cursor at the desired new segmentation point and click the “Seg” button on the KEY toolbar; this inserts a BLUE half-space at cursor position. To take out an existing BLUE half-space, just delete it like any other character.

2.      Setting the parameters for Timed Reading in the selected passage. With the segmented Chinese text on a yellow background displayed on the KEY screen, click on the item "Reading Timer" (on the KEY "View" menu). This brings up the Reading Timer panel on which the display time per Hanzi can be set (scale from 100 ms - 3 sec per Hanzi), together with other Timed Reading parameters.

3.      Notes on the Reading Timer panel:

a)      The punctuation delay applies to comma, semicolon, full stop, question mark and exclamation mark; it does not apply to the Chinese serial comma 頓號 dùnhào .

b)      If “Display Word Boundaries” is checked, a GREEN half space is inserted between the Chinese words, to assist the reader in recognizing the word boundaries in the text.

c)      Read-aloud practice mode is set by “Sound check”: in this mode, another phase is added to the Timed Reading of each segment, during which the reader hears the segment read out aloud by the TTS module of KEY.

d)      With “Pinyin check” enabled, another practice phase is added to the Timed Reading of each segment: the reader sees the Pinyin-with-tonemarks version of the segment displayed in a second line above the Hanzi text.

e)      With both “Sound check” and “Pinyin check” enabled, the loud model reading through KEY and the Pinyin-with-tonemarks transcription of the segment go hand in hand, in the additional phase.

f)       Checking “Enable Tool Tip” activates the Chinese/English tool tip dictionary. This allows the reader to query the English meaning of a Chinese word by moving the mouse pointer onto the word (DO NOT CLICK, just hover). While the tool tip window with the English meaning is displayed, the timer is temporarily halted.

g)      If you have made annotations to the text, you may want to enable “Annotation Tool Tip”, which will display the annotations when pointing at the annotated word.


Summary: Enabling all features in the checkboxes of the Reading Timer panel allows you to thoroughly analyze a Chinese text passage, within the self-imposed time constraints of the Reading Timer. Thus, the Timed Reading module of KEY is an interactive learning tool for reading and comprehending Chinese text, by teaching word boundaries, pronunciation, Pinyin-with-tonemarks transcription and the English meaning in a dynamic and integrated multimedia lesson.


Overview of other operational features:

·         Segmentation memory: the system automatically recognizes pre-segmented texts and preserves the segmentation for a file that is saved.

·         Segmentation marks: for reverting from the “selected for Timed Reading” text (yellow background, with blue segmentation marks) to the regular text display (white background, no segmentation marks), click on “Select Timed Passage” on the KEY “Edit” menu without having any of the text selected. If you do not want to lose existing segmentation, select the passage in which you want to preserve the segmentation marks before clicking on “Select Timed Passage”. (If you want to make the blue segmentation marks more permanent, and not subject to the “Unselect Timed Passage” command, press Ctrl_ which makes the blue segmentation marks turn red. The red segmentation marks can only be deleted manually, like regular characters.)

·         During Timed Reading, the one-line-at-a-time text display appears in a window separate from that of the original text, and the original text window is hidden from view.

·         The user can set the typeface and character size for the Timed Reading display.

·         While viewing the selected text in Timed Reading mode, the reader can toggle-halt the timer through the Spacebar. The halted state of text in Timed Reading mode is identified through a yellow background. (As an alternative to the Spacebar, such halted text can be re-activated by right-clicking on it.)

·         “Continue immediately to next phrase”. At any time during Timed Reading of a text, pressing the “C” key aborts the reading of the presently displayed segment and advances the Timed Reader to the next segment.

·         "Restart Timed Reading of the entire passage”.  At any time during Timed Reading of a text, pressing the “R” key aborts the reading of the presently displayed segment and jumps back to the beginning of the entire selected Timed Reading passage, where it automatically resumes Timed Reading from the beginning.

·         "Quit Timed Reading”. At any time during Timed Reading of a text, pressing the “Q” key aborts the reading of the presently displayed segment and displays the full KEY screen with the Timed Reading passage.

·         As an indication to the reader that the viewing time of the segment is approaching its end, the displayed text segment begins to gradually fade away into white. During this final stage of viewing the text, pressing the Spacebar (or right-clicking on the text) will halt the timer and at the same time restore the text to its original contrast.

·         At any time during the Timed Reading process, the user can copy any word from the Timed Reading text to a word list, for automatic glossary building by KEY, for study and review at a later time.  Clicking on a Hanzi word during the Timed Reading process prompts the user to either copy the word to an existing file, or to open a new glossary file for building a glossary. Successful copying of the clicked word is confirmed by an acoustic signal at time of clicking, and the clicked words are being entered in the glossary file that was indicated, or newly created, by the user. If words were copied to a glossary file, at the end of the Timed Reading phase the glossary file window will appear, tiled over the window with the source text, so that the user can easily set focus on either window and either continue to practice in the source file, or work with the glossary. – Working with the glossary, the user can now, for example, select (=highlight) the words copied during the Timed Reading exercise and automatically generate a glossary (with Pinyin-with-tonemarks and English meanings) by clicking “Convert to Glossary” on the KEY “Format” menu. If desired, the user can further add comments, notes or other information, or edit the glossary in the KEY file, using the word processing functions of KEY.

·         The Pinyin-display and Text To Speech (TTS) features allow the users to compare their reading of the phrase to the correct pronunciation.

·         Word lists can be sorted through the “Sort” function of KEY (“Edit” menu). Besides alphabetical sorting according to pinyin, sorting of word lists according to radical/stroke is possible. Ascending, Descending and Random Sorting are available.  The lists can be printed to a printer or exported to an HTML or MS Word file.


Overview of the Annotation feature:


You can make an annotation to a word or text passage ("object"), hide the annotation and automatically retrieve it through the annotation tool tip feature. Annotation objects are marked through the item "Create Annotation" with a colour background (10 pre-set colours plus Underline available). The colour background/underline feature allows you to mark the annotations according to different categories you may want to create, such as grammatical, vocabulary-related, associated meanings or any other category you have in mind. Also, multiple annotations can be made on the same object, either in the same file or in different files, by single or multiple users. If such multiple annotations have been made, pointing at the colour-marked object will search all currently open KEY files for annotations and display them in a tool tip window. Cycle through multiple annotations in a displayed tool tip window with the right-arrow key. The annotations are also accessible in Timed Reading mode, if the annotation tool tip is enabled.

·         Marking a word or text passage as an "annotation object" is achieved through selecting it, then on the "Annotation" menu clicking on "Create Annotation", and choosing the settings. Clicking OK copies the highlighted object into a new line in the same KEY text file: enter your annotation at the end of the tab leader. Continue marking annotation objects and writing the annotations for the entire source text in your file. Note that the system assumes you are writing your annotations in English, and therefore reverts automatically to the "E" mode each time after you "Create Annotation".

·         Marking, annotating and displaying multi-part grammatical structures. When annotating a Chinese electronic text for study in general, and for Timed Reading in particular, you may want to mark certain parts of a multi-part grammatical structure as belonging together, such as ... , ... , or 不是 ... 就是 ... 要不然就, and annotate them in one annotation, while visually indicating that they are parts of a structure.

·         To create such a “split structure” annotation, highlight the first part of the multiple structure, click “Create Annotation”, fill in the panel and click OK. Now immediately highlight the second part of the multiple structure and click “Add Second Part of Split Structure” (and so on, for more parts if applicable). When the parts of the structure are in place on the dotted annotation line, write your annotation. - Your annotation will appear in a tool tip window whenever you hover the mouse pointer on any one of the parts of the multiple structure. At the same time, a flashing orange background indicates the parts of the split structure that belong together.

·         You have the choice to either hide or display your annotations. To hide the annotations, pull down the "Annotation" menu and un-select "Display / Hide Annotations". This hides all the Annotations, and only the source text with the colour-marked object will remain visible. You can now test the dynamic annotation Tool Tip function by pointing at any of the (colour-marked) annotation objects in the source text: the (presently hidden) annotation is displayed in a tool tip window.

·         With "Annotation Tool Tip" and "Dictionary Tool Tip" enabled in Timed Reading mode, Timed Reading is paused when you point at an annotation object, and the annotation is displayed in a pop-up window. Pointing at words that are not annotation objects will pause the Timed Reading and display the dictionary tool tip.

·         Priority of  "annotation tool tip" over "dictionary tool tip". The dictionary tool tip and annotation tool tip are independent of each other and can be turned on/off separately. If both the dictionary tool tip and annotation tool tip are enabled at the same time, the annotation tool tip overrides the dictionary tool tip: pointing at a word colour-marked as an annotation object will display only the annotation tool tip (not the dictionary tool tip), while pointing at words that are not colour-marked as annotation objects will display the dictionary tool tip. - To view the C/E dictionary entries for a colour-marked annotation object, it is recommended to use the regular "Dic" lookup button on the KEY toolbar.

Creating word/character lists for a given text file, comparing files regarding vocabulary, and generating vocabulary statistics are new features available from the Annotations menu. à

Creating word/character lists for a given text file. This feature automatically analyzes the vocabulary of a given Chinese character text, at the level of compound words / characters.  With a Chinese text in a KEY file displayed, clicking “Create Word List” highlights the distinct words of the text at their first occurrence, in the colour chosen. When a specific word recurs later in the text, the background remains white. At the same time, a list of all distinct words is appended to the text, in Annotation format. The list can be hidden or displayed (through the Annotation menu’s “Display / Hide Annotation”); if desired, the terms in the list can be annotated by the user. Before a vocabulary comparison between this file and another file can be done, the file must be saved. In order to preserve the original text file and prevent overwriting it, the file with the highlighted vocabulary and the appended word list is saved automatically under the new file name <filename.W.key>, “W” standing for “Word”. (If a “Create Character List” was done on a file, it is saved under the file name <filename.Z.key>, the “Z” standing for “zi”, single character.)

Comparing files regarding vocabulary.

Import List / Annotations.

Use this feature to compare your Chinese text against another text that was processed with “Create Word List” (or Create Character List). Clicking this item displays the “Open File” panel. Highlight the name of the file containing the Word/Character list (the filename should include either .W. or .Z.) and click “Open”. This imports and super-imposes the words from the previous file on your text. Thus, when a “Create Word List” (with a different colour) is done on the new text, the words that occurred in the previous text are excluded from being highlighted / listed as new words. Existing annotations from previous files will also be imported with this action.

(Note: Use this feature to compare one text file to one other text file, as described in detail in the illustrative example below. Ctrl+Shift+W and Ctrl+Shift+Q are hotkeys that combine the Create List and Import List actions, for the incremental buildup of lists in successive files. Use “Compare Words / Characters to Multiple Files” to compare one file against a batch of several files.)

Illustrative example:

Let’s assume you have 4 texts (lessons) named Lesson1.key, Lesson2.key, Lesson3.key and Lesson4.key. Your goal is to find out what distinct new words (or characters) occur incrementally in each of these lessons. You are especially interested what new words occur in Lesson 4, compared to the first 3 lessons. There is a manual way to achieve this, using the “Create Word List” (or “Create Character List”) and “Import List / Annotations” features mentioned above. There is also a streamlined, more automated way to achieve this, using the hotkey combination Ctrl+Shift+W (combines the two actions “Import List / Annotations” and “Create Word List”) or  - for the single-character level – Ctrl+Z (combines “Import List / Annotations” and “Create Character List”).


A. Manual step-by-step operation. To convey a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms, we first walk you through our four-lesson example using the slower, step-by-step method:

· Open the text Lesson1.key. On the Annotation menu, click “Create Word List”. Choose the colour “blue” and click OK. The distinct words in the text are highlighted blue at their first occurrence, and are also appended in form of a word list in Annotation format (you can display / hide the word list). SAVING this file will automatically save it in the same directory as the source file Lesson1.key, under the new name Lesson1.W.key.

· Now open the file Lesson2.key, on the Annotation menu click “Import List / Annotations”, and import the previously generated file Lesson1.W.key by double-clicking it. Any of the words already known from Lesson1 are highlighted blue in the text. In order to find out all the new words in Lesson2, the next step now is to click “Create Word List”, select a different colour (gold) and click OK. All the first occurrences of the new words in Lesson2 are now highlighted gold, and at the same time they are appended as a list in gold (if “Display Annotations is on”). Viewing Lesson2 at this point shows which words were introduced earlier in Lesson1 (the blue ones), and which ones are being introduced in Lesson2 (the gold ones). Saving Lesson two will automatically save it under the filename Lesson2.W.key.

· Now open Lesson 3.key, on the Annotations menu click “Import List / Annotations” and import the combined word lists of the first two lessons by double-clicking “Lesson2.W.key”. Any of the words that occurred in the first two lessons are now highlighted in the text of Lesson3 (the ones from Lesson1 in blue, the ones from Lesson2 in gold). In order to find out all the new words in Lesson3, the next step again is to click “Create Word List”, select a different colour (green) and click OK. All the first occurrences of the new words in Lesson3 are now highlighted green, and at the same time they are appended as a list in green (if “Display Annotations is on”). Viewing Lesson3 at this point shows which words were introduced earlier in Lesson1 (the blue ones) and Lesson2 (the gold ones), and which ones are being introduced in Lesson3 (the green ones). Saving Lesson three will automatically save it under the filename Lesson3.W.key.

· This Import / Create can continue as often as required. If the new lesson, after several cycles, gets too cluttered with different colours, there is a way to remove the previous colour markings – this can be done at any time through “Colours” on the Format menu: highlight the colour-marked file, click “Colours” and “OK”, which re-sets the colours to the default black & white. For example, opening Lesson4.key and “importing” Lesson3.W.key will show the previously occurring words in the three colours blue (from the first lesson), gold (from the second lesson) and green (from the third lesson). To prevent colour overload, before creating the word list for Lesson4, you may want to “Select All”, click “Colours” on the Format menu and click OK, to remove all the colour markings. Now the path is cleared for creating the word list of Lesson4, choosing – for example – lilac, which will display only the new words in Lesson4 in lilac, without showing the (colour-coded) history of the previously introduced words.

· Creating and importing character lists (single characters) is analogous. The character-level-coded files are automatically saved as, for example, Lesson1.Z.key etc. Thus, creating / importing word lists for a given set of lessons generates a parallel set of “W” files (containing the history of vocabulary introduction on the word level), as well as a set of “Z” files (containing the history of vocabulary introduction on the character level), without the original text being overwritten.

B. Streamlined operation with the hotkeys Ctrl+Shift+W (word level) and Ctrl+Shift+Q (character level). These hotkeys automatically do both the “Import” and “Create” actions together. In our example:

· Open Lesson1.key and press Ctrl+Shift+W. The Import panel appears, but as in the first lesson there is nothing to import, you can close it (click the x in the upper right corner). Choose blue and click OK. The distinct words of lesson 1 are highlighted blue (in hotkey mode, the appended word list is hidden by default). Save it (automatically saved as Lesson1.W.key).

· Open Lesson2.key and press Ctrl+Shift+W. Double-clicking on the file “Lesson1.W.key” will do two things (a) import the word list from Lesson1 without the colouring (b) highlight the new words of Lesson2 and append the word list (hidden by default).

Thus, using the hotkeys, one can move rapidly through a succession of Chinese language lessons and quickly check what new words are occurring in each lesson, in comparison to the previous one(s).

Note that in this step-by-step approach the word lists from the previous files will be carried over into the new file, so that the word list of each new file is incrementally growing. However, when comparing the vocabulary of a (new) text against other (older) texts to find out what words (or characters) are new, it is not necessary to append the word lists of all files.


Therefore, if you just want to highlight and list the new words in a Chinese text file compared to other text files (e.g., new lesson compared to previous lessons), it is recommended to use the batch mode “Compare Words to Multiple Files” (or Compare Characters to Multiple Files), which automatically compares your presently displayed file against a batch of files.


Compare Words / Characters to Multiple Files.

This item allows you to compare the vocabulary of a given Chinese text file with multiple other files, in “batch” mode, at the word level. For example, you want to know which words in a Chinese text file are new in comparison to a number of older lessons. Open the Chinese text you wish to analyze in KEY, and on the Annotations menu click on “Compare Words to Multiple Files”. The “Open File” panel is displayed; select the older lesson file(s) - to select multiple files, hold down the “Ctrl” or “Shift” keys respectively - and click “Open”. KEY now contrasts all the distinct words from the selected multiple files against the new text, and highlights the new words in the new text at their first occurrence in the specified colour; a word list is appended to the text, consisting of the already known words (white background) and the new words in the text (in the specified colour).

NOTE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THIS BATCH MODE AND THE STEP-BY-STEP MANUAL “CREATE WORD LIST” / “IMPORT LIST / ANNOTATIONS” MODE: in batch mode, the word lists from each of the multiple lessons are only temporarily created in the background, but they are not physically appended to the text of the files, as this is incrementally done in the step-by-step “Create / Import” mode.

Through the items “Create Word statistics” and “Create Character Statistics” on the Annotation menu you can automatically generate a statistical overview of the occurrence of vocabulary in a file, or in multiple files. Click the item on the Annotations menu, and in the “File list” display the names of the files you wish to analyze statistically. (With “Enable Annotation Tool Tip” being checked, you can view the legend of the statistical data.)

Creating a computerized multimedia Chinese language lesson with the KEY Timed Reading module


The fast and easy way to create a Chinese multimedia lesson is to copy/paste Chinese text from the Internet or any other electronic source into the KEY screen, and press the “TR” button on the KEY toolbar. The text will be auto-segmented into manageable strings for reading, using the default setting of approx. 10-character-long individual passages.


However, if you want to take advantage of the authoring functions of KEY for electronic lessons and have more control over segmentation of the text, you can prepare the reading lesson manually (like customizing the length of reading passages, adding annotations etc.) in the following steps:


(1)      Copy (or input) the text into a blank KEY file.  Save this file under the desired name.  Put the text into the desired typeface, size, etc. 

(2)      Select All and choose Format, Hanzi with Pinyin.  Modify the Pinyin spacing, capitalization, word breaks, etc. as you wish. 

·           Aside from using the Toggle Space button on the KEY toolbar, there are two ways to modify the parsing of words in Hanyu pinyin:

·           First, you can select (highlight) adjacent syllables that should be together as one word, then type Alt-L and L again.  This performs Linguistic Reconstruction on the selected syllables and - provided the word is contained in KEY's dictionary - strings them together. 

·           The second way is through the tooltip dictionary.  Use the arrow keys to select the definition appropriate to the context, then type Ctrl-F (stands for "Fix"), then OK.  This approach will add the string to the User Dictionary and cause it to be permanently registered in KEY's memory so the same error in parsing will not be made again in subsequent work. 

(3)      Add in your annotations to the text.  Within the annotations themselves, you can use English, Chinese, or a combination of the two.  Within the annotations, you can use italics and boldface (Ctrl-I makes selected text italicized, and Ctrl-B makes selected text bold). You can also use the Hanzi plus Pinyin mode within an annotation - useful if your note contains Chinese characters that students might not recognize.  Note that the same word canNOT be annotated twice (e.g., once by itself and once as part of a longer string).  Also note that if you annotate the same character, word or expression in two places within a text you do not need to write the same note twice - just leave the annotation for the second occurrence blank and your first note will show up attached to the second occurrence of the word.  But if you want to give a different annotation for each occurrence (e.g. lái in one place means 'for the past...' and in another place means 'in order to'), you must make the two occurrences different somehow (e.g., for the second occurrence, select an adjacent word in addition to lái) or else both notes will show up in each place. 

(4)      Select the entire text via Edit, Select Timed Passage, and select a string length that is manageable for your students (usually 8 to 15 characters for students at lower levels of proficiency).  Modify the segmentation as you wish - breaking the text up into sense groups. Try running the Timed Reading module to see whether your segmentation is viable in practice. 

(5)      When you have finished modifying the segmentation as you wish, make it permanent by pressing Ctrl_ (Control-underscore). 

(6)      Hide Annotations, Hide Marks, press Ctrl-Home (to make sure the file will open next time showing the first screen), and Save. 

(7)   To run the prepared text as an interactive multimedia lesson, click on “Reading Timer” (View menu), set the desired parameters on the Timed Reading panel and press “Start”.