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zh-CN:IBus zh-TW:IBus

IBus (Intelligent Input Bus) is an input method framework, a system for entering foreign characters. IBus functions similarly to Fcitx, SCIM and UIM.


Install the ibus package from the official repositories.

Additionally, to enable IBus for Qt applications, install the ibus-qt library.

Input method engines

You will need at least one input method, corresponding to the language you wish to type. Available input methods include:

  • ibus-anthy - Japanese IME, based on anthy.
  • ibus-pinyin - Intelligent Chinese Phonetic IME for Hanyu pinyin and Zhuyin (Bopomofo) users. Designed by IBus main author and has many advance features such as English spell checking. Package currently not maintained and partly broken with latest ibus base. Use ibus-libpinyin instead.
  • ibus-rime - Powerful and smart Chinese input method for Chinese (pinyin, zhuyin, with or without tones, double pinyin, Jyutping, Wugniu, Cangjie5 and Wubi 86).
  • ibus-chewing - Intelligent Chinese Phonetic IME for Zhuyin (Bopomofo) users, based on libchewing.
  • ibus-hangul - Korean IME, based on libhangul.
  • ibus-unikey - IME for typing Vietnamese characters.
  • ibus-table - IME that accommodates table-based IMs.
  • ibus-m17n - M17n IME which allows input of many languages using the input methods from m17n-db.
  • ibus-mozc - Japanese IME, based on Mozc. Part of mozcAUR package.
  • ibus-kkc - Japanese IME, based on libkkc.

To see all available input methods:

$ pacman -Ss ^ibus-*

Others packages are also available in the AUR.

Initial setup

Now, run $ ibus-setup (as the user who will use IBus). It will start the daemon and give you this message:

IBus has been started! If you cannot use IBus, please add below lines in $HOME/.bashrc, and relogin your desktop.
export GTK_IM_MODULE=ibus
export XMODIFIERS=@im=ibus
export QT_IM_MODULE=ibus
  • Although IBus uses a daemon, it is not the sort of daemon managed by systemd: it runs as an ordinary user and will be started for you when you login.
  • If, however, IBus is not autostarted upon login, then move the “export …” lines above to $HOME/.xprofile instead, and append this line to the same file: ibus-daemon -drx, and relogin your desktop. You can also try adding ibus-daemon -drx after the export ... lines in $HOME/.bashrc.

You will then see a configuration screen; you can access this screen whenever IBus is running by right-clicking the icon in the system tray and choosing Preferences. See Configuration.

If IBus doesn't work in Qt/KDE applications, ensure that the ibus-qt library is installed and define IBus as the default IME in the Qt configuration editor:

$ qtconfig-qt4

In Interface > Default Input Method, select ibus instead of xim.


GNOME includes IBus by default, so you should only need to install the package specific to your language. To enable input in your language, add it to the Input Sources section of the Region & Language settings. After you add your input sources, GNOME will show the input switcher icon in the tray. The default keyboard shortcut to switch to the next input method in GNOME is Super+space; disregard the next input method shortcut set in ibus-setup.



Note: You need to have east Asian fonts installed if you want to enter Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Vietnamese characters.

The default General settings should be fine, but go to Input Methods and select your input method(s) in the drop down box, then press Add. You can use multiple input methods if you wish. Once IBus is set up, you can press Super+space to use it (multiple times to cycle through available input methods). IBus will remember which input method you are using in each window, so you will have to reactivate it for each new window. You can override this behavior by right clicking the system tray icon, selecting Preferences, and going to the Advanced tab.


If you have decided to use the great ibus-rime IME, here are some help to install it and to configure it.

In order to work, Rime is based on schemas that should be edited by the user. However, it comes installed with a default pinyin input schema so you can use it as it.

If you want it for another input method, here they are:

  • Luna Pinyin (Standard Mandarin)
  • Terra Pinyin (with tones)
  • Bopomofo (Mandarin Phonetic Symbol)
  • Double Pinyin (Ziranma, MSPY)
  • Jyutping (Cantonese)
  • Wugniu (Wuu)
  • Cangjie5
  • Wubi86

For example, if you want to be able to type pinyin with tones, you want to use the Terra Pinyin input method. To do so, you have to first create a directory:

$ mkdir ~/.config/ibus/rime

In this directory, create a file entitled default.custom.yaml and add the following lines to it:

    - schema: terra_pinyin

Note that the indentation level is important. Your file says to Rime to replace the schema list with a list that only contains Terra Pinyin.

Eventually, if the changes aren't taken automatically, run:

$ rm ~/.config/ibus/rime/default.yaml && ibus-daemon -drx

Note: Tones are optionals but you can type them to filter the list very well. Here are how to type them:

1st tone: -
2nd tone: /
3rd tone: <
4th tone: \

Example: if one wants to type hǎo to display only Chinese characters that are pronounced this way, one must type hao< and it will be automatically converted to hǎo.


Rime provides some great features that allow you to write good Chinese and all its punctuation.

Basic configuration access

At any time, while running Rime, you can access some basic options with F4. The displayed options look like this:

1. Method name
2. 中文 -› 西文
3. 全角 -› 半角
4. 漢字 -› 汉字

The first one indicate the name of the method you can select (Ex: 地球拼音 for Terra Pinyin). If you want many methods, you'll have them in this menu.

The second one lets you select which language you want to type in.

The third one lets you select if you want to type the punctuation in full width (全角) or in half width (半角).

The last one allows you to type in traditional Chinese (漢字) or in simplified Chinese (汉字).

Chinese punctuation

You can access to all the Chinese punctuation thanks to Rime. Here is a little table showing you how to type some of them:

[ -> 「 【 〔 [
] -> 」 】 〕 ]
{ -> 『 〖 {
} -> 』 〗 }
< -> 《 〈 « ‹
> -> 》 〉 » ›
@ -> @ @ ☯
/ -> / / ÷
* -> * * ・ × ※
% -> % % ° ℃
$ -> ¥ $ € £ ¥
| -> ・ | | § ¦
_ -> ——
\ -> 、 \ \
^ -> ……
~ -> 〜 ~ ~ 〰

Rime allows you to change everything you can imagine and more examples are provided on the website of the project (in Chinese): https://code.google.com/p/rimeime/wiki/CustomizationGuide

Tips and tricks

Pinyin usage

When using ibus-pinyin,

  • First type the pinyin (sans tones) for the characters you wish to enter.
  • Press Up and Down repeatedly to select a character (going on to the next page if necessary).
  • Press Space to use a character.
  • You can also use PageUp or PageDown to scroll pages, and use the number keys 1-5 to select the character you need.
  • You can enter multiple characters that form a word or phrase at a time (such as "zhongwen" to enter "中文"). ibus-pinyin will remember which characters you type most frequently and over time make suggestions that are more tuned to your typing profile.



IBus main interface is currently only available in GTK+, but Kimpanel provides a native Qt/KDE input interface. The package kdeplasma-addons-applets-kimpanel is compiled to support IBus, but IBus needs to be launched as following to be able to communicate with the panel:

$ ibus-daemon --xim --panel=/usr/lib/kde4/libexec/kimpanel-ibus-panel

To get a menu entry for launching ibus this way, save the following file to ~/.local/share/applications/ibus-kimpanel.desktop:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=IBus (KIMPanel)
GenericName=Input Method Framework
Comment=Start IBus Input Method Framework
Exec=ibus-daemon --xim --panel=/usr/lib/kde4/libexec/kimpanel-ibus-panel

Then you can either let KDE autostart ibus, or set it as the input method application in Kimpanel, and manually click on the kimpanel icon to start it. In either case, choose Utility/Ibus (Kimpanel) in the Choose Application dialog.


If anyone has any issues with IBus and rxvt-unicode, the following steps should solve it.

Add the following to your ~/.Xdefaults (possibly not required, first try without):

URxvt.inputMethod: ibus
URxvt.preeditType: OverTheSpot

And start IBus with:

$ ibus-daemon --xim

If you start ibus-daemon automatically (e.g. in ~/.xinitrc or ~/.xsession) but used to use ibus-daemon & without the --xim option, make sure to kill the existing process before testing the new command.

GTK+ applications

Some users have had problems using Input Methods with GTK applications, because it seems that the gtk.immodules file can't be found. Adding:

export GTK_IM_MODULE_FILE=/etc/gtk-2.0/gtk.immodules

for GTK+ 2, or:

export GTK_IM_MODULE_FILE=/usr/lib/gtk-3.0/3.0.0/immodules.cache

for GTK+ 3, in addition to the three lines above in your $HOME/.bashrc seems to fix the problem.

Note: If you set it to GTK+ 2, then you can't use GTK+ 3 applications like gedit, if you set it to GTK+ 3, then you can't use GTK+ 2 applications like Xfce.

Chinese input

If you encounter problems when using Chinese input, check your locale setting. For example in Hong Kong, export LANG=zh_HK.utf8.

Note: There are large revisions after IBus 1.4, you might not be able to input Chinese words with ibus-pinyin or ibus-sunpinyin, which are written in C. So the solution is to install ibus-libpinyin.

To start ibus with GNOME, add this in ~/.profile and restart the GNOME.

export GTK_IM_MODULE=ibus
export XMODIFIERS=@im=ibus
export QT_IM_MODULE=ibus
ibus-daemon -d -x

Chinese users can refer to this page for detailed solution concerning this bug.


If IBus does load but doesn't see LibreOffice as an input window, add this line to ~/.bashrc:

export XMODIFIERS=@im=ibus

And then, you need to start ibus with --xim -d, for example, add this line to ~/.xinitrc:

ibus-daemon --xim -d

But the horrible thing is that you need to start LibreOffice in terminal.

If you're using KDE and the above doesn't work, install libreoffice-gnome and add this line to ~/.xprofile if you don't mind running LibreOffice in GTK+ 2 mode:

export OOO_FORCE_DESKTOP="gnome"

That will make IBus work with LibreOffice, and you can start LibreOffice from anywhere, not just the terminal.