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Using FCITX to input Chinese

Before you can take use of FCITX to input, you have to set up some environment firstly, however it's quite simple.

  • Open .bashrc file in your home directory, add following lines:
 #setup XIM environment, needn't if use SCIM as gtk-immodules
 export GTK_IM_MODULE=xim
 export QT_IM_MODULE=xim
 export XMODIFIERS="@im=fcitx"
  • Re-login to make such environment effective.

After you re-login, open your favorite terminal, type:

  fcitx &

To see if fcitx has been correctly running, open an application such as leafpad, press CTRL+Space to invoke fcitx and input some words.

If anything goes well, I guess you want to automatically start FCITX whenever you start X, which also is highly recommended since if you start FCITX after X, which may crash gnome-panel for example sometimes (not seriously but annoying). Open .xinitrc file in your home directory, add line before starting your WM:

 killall fcitx
 fcitx &

that's it.

If you use any type of XDM (gdm for example), you should set up such environment in ~/.profile instead of above two files.


Fcixt with KDM

Let Fcitx auto start with KDM Add following line into /usr/share/config/kdm/Xstartup

 export LANG
 export LC_CTYPE
 export XMODIFIERS=@im=fcitx
 #pkill fcitx

Add following lines into /etc/profile

 export XIM="fcitx"
 export XMODIFIERS=@im=fcitx
 export GTK_IM_MODULE=xim
 export QT_IM_MODULE=xim
 export XIM_PROGRAM='fcitx &'


You possibly can't invoke FCITX by press CTRL+Space keyboard combination, but FCITX runs in background without problem, please check firstly your locale:

 [ganlu@A ~]$ locale

Above is what I get from command 'locale', so you can know for sure FCITX does support utf8 (en_US.utf8 at least) locale without problem. If you locale output shows you having set up a utf8 locale correctly, then I suggest you check if your bash does support utf8 locale:

[ganlu@A ~]$ locale -a

to see if your current locale in there, if not, don't worry, make it yourself:

[ganlu@A ~]$ localedef -vci en_US -f utf8 en_US.utf8

then, relogin to see if that works. If terrible things continue, I have to suggest you try any locale with "zh_CN", for example:

 export LC_CTYPE=zh_CN.GBK

more information about locale, please find it in google.

  • Note:

However, you don't need to change your locale (such as LC_CTYPE) to a chinese locale, ie: zh_CN.GBK, if you edit /etc/gtk-2.0/gtk.immodules, and modify this line:

 "xim" "X Input Method" "gtk20" "/usr/share/locale" "ko:ja:th:zh"


 "xim" "X Input Method" "gtk20" "/usr/share/locale" "en:ko:ja:th:zh"

Very easy.

2. You can trigger FCITX, but the charactors on it is displayed as blank boxes. Modify ~/.fcitx/config or ~/.config/fctix/config since version 3.6.3, change the line:



显示字体(中)=AR PL ShanHeiSun Uni

I am using uming font here, so be sure you have installed ttf-arphic-uming. Restart FCITX:

[ganlu@A ~]$ pkill fcitx
[ganlu@A ~]$ fcitx &

If you have no config file after setup 3.6.3, you could generate it by:

fcitx -c

All configuration of FCITX, please find it in ~/.fcitx/config however you'd better understand Chinese, :- )