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Setting up a Workspace

Set up the Workspace

You may be going through this tutorial again some time in the future, and the Pinyin project may be non-existent, or modified by yourself or another person. In any event, let's take a quick check of the user preferences critical to the next section.

Start with an Active Window

Smart Characters preferences come in two kinds: project or user preferences that affect all the document windows, and preferences that affect only the current document window, and are saved with the document. Having an active window open allows the menus and dialogs to report on your document preferences. The user dictionary(4- 7) window preferences are particularly significant, because automatically generated lists are displayed according to these preferences.

Alphabetic and Hanzi Input Modes

Unlike English word processors, in which pressing the "A" key types the letter "A," Chinese and Japanese typing using a standard keyboard requires a way to control and indicate what the keys mean when you press them. Smart Characters distinguishes between two kinds of text input: alphabetic and hanzi (kanji in Japanese). Alphabetic input mode(4- 2) is controlled by the Keyboard menu, while the Chinese character input method is controlled by the Translate menu.

Check the Keyboard

Alphabetic input converts your keyboard typing into alphabetic text such as English, pinyin, or bopomofo (hiragana or katakana in Japanese) according to the active alphabetic input mode (or keyboard) setting. You can switch keyboards using the Keyboard menu, the speed menu (press the Right Mouse button), the keyboard function keys, or by typing a control key. Restricting input mode access is important for rapid text entry. If every alphabetic input mode had access through F12 or the side keys, it would take too long to skip over modes you didn't care about for the F12 key to be useful.

Check the Input Method

Hanzi character input requires selecting a correct hanzi or hanzi compound from a list of hanzi that match what you are typing. A front end processor (abbreviated FEP) converts keystrokes into Chinese characters, and is the way most Chinese and Chinese computer operating systems implement Chinese character input methods. Taking a more general approach required for a multi-lingual word processor, Smart Characters comes with two internal input methods and the capability to install external front end processors.

The internal input methods On Request and Incremental Match provide rapid text entry for users who require language assistance. Fluent users who do not require language assistance can install their own preferred input method.

All methods create and select from a list of hanzi that match the pronunciation you have just typed or selected. On request creates the list at your request (using the menus or function keys). Incremental match creates the list automatically, with a variety of options for display and selection. External FEPs can operate in either fashion. We will begin the tutorial demonstrating the on request method:

If the list window had been minimized, it will now appear with the title Adjust Position and Size. This window is used to select Chinese characters, and, for speed, should not overlap the window containing the document you are typing.

Check the Required Dictionaries

Smart Characters dictionaries are used to lookup and translate between English (or another roman language), alphabetic text, and Chinese characters. The internal input methods use these dictionaries in the text entry process.

Optional Dictionaries

You may have entries for Translating and Reverse dictionaries, which accelerate English word and Chinese character queries. Both the Radical and the Stroke dictionaries support input methods for users who cannot or will not learn standard pronunciations, but are willing to learn and use even more complex systems for entering Chinese characters! All Japanese learn a standard system for pronunciation, so these dictionaries are generally not used for Japanese text entry.

On the other hand, a radical and stroke(4- 8) dictionary makes a handy rapid reading tool, and is typically installed into Smart Characters as a Reference dictionary.

User Dictionary & Dynamic Glossary

All formatting settings, including annotations formatting, are properties of a document, and are saved with the document. They are not properties of the project or environment (unlike in Smart Characters for Students). Your user dictionary(4- 7) and dynamic glossary(4- 6) are themselves documents. Consequently, if a dictionary or glossary is set for pinyin display (while being used in a pinyin project), it will retain that formatting even when used in a bopomofo project.

Formatting does not affect usage of the user dictionary or dynamic glossary, so it is not necessary to synchronize the formatting of these windows to your other preferences. If you or another user browse these windows, you would then set the formatting to taste. For illustration, do so now: switch to your user dictionary and dynamic glossary and set the annotations formatting.

Formatting does affect usage of the list window, so you should synchronize its formatting to your other preferences. Do so now:
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Last Modified: March 23, 1996

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