ChangJei / Cangjie / ChongKit
倉 頡 輸 入 法
Input Method

 Dylan W.H. Sung 2002


The Cangjie input method 倉 頡 輸 入 法 was invented by Chu BangFu [ 朱 邦 復 Zhu BangFu ] in 1979 designed first for input of Chinese characters in Taiwan. It is based on the traditional form of Chinese characters [ 繁 體 字 fantizi ], moreover, for certain characters where more than one traditional character exists, that is there are variants [ yitizi 異 體 字 ], only one particular form is taken as the standard traditional characters. Subsequently, these are known as "computer characters" [ 電 腦 字 diannaozi ]. Its popularity has since grown, since he has placed it into the public domain. It is used for inputting of Traditional Chinese character text via a qwerty keyboard. For consistency, the method is abbreviated and called Cangjie throughout.

Cangjie KeyBoard Layout

Key Q W E R T Y U I O P
Mnemonic 廿
Key   A S D F G H J K L
Key     Z X C V B N M  

Summary of the bases for each Mnemonic

Character Shapes

The following is a non-exhaustive list of character 'descriptors' with examples.

Left and Right

Top and Bottom

Outer and Inner


Linked characters are those where there is one or more linear link running through a character in such a way that they do not fall into the first three categories. This linear link may not necessarily be a straight line though.

There are also portions of characters which wrap other portions as follows, rather like the Outer to Inner characters


Extraction of Mnemonics

Some definitions first:

Chinese Name Description Examples
character hanzi, Chinese character, logogram
字 首 lead outermost, leftmost, or topmost partis the lead of
字 身 body everything other than the leadis the body of
連 體 字 linked no space exists between portions 正 白 禾 卓 業 並 貝 犬
分 體 字 partitionable space exists between portions 草 男 明 語 間 因
連 體 字 身 linked body body where no space exists between portionsis the linked body of
分 體 字 身 partitionable body body where space exists between portions is the partitionable body of
次 字 首 secondary lead body's lead is the secondary lead of from the body
次 字 身 secondary body body's body is the secondary body of from the body

Extraction Principle

Chinese English CharacterCangjie
由 左 至 右 from left to right
由 上 至 下 from top to bottom 十 田 十
由 外 至 內 from exterior to interior 田 戈 口 一

Mnemonic Extraction Rules

In order to limit the number of keys or mnemonics used to enter a Chinese character, Cangjie has a maximum of five mnemonics. Not every single character has this many keys though. The limiting of keys ensures that there is good speed of typing for experienced users.

Cangjie defines that mnemonics should be extracted from the character by splitting the character into portions, and then considering the total number of mnemonics that can be extracted first from each portion, before finaly extracting them.

Other Extraction Rules

Rules for Omission of Character Parts [ 省 略 原 則 shenglue yuanze ]

Other characters [ 列 外 字 liewaizi]

Speed Cangjie

Now that you've understood the main points of Cangjie, it is possible to cut out the bulk of the work using the method called Speed Cangjie. In Chinese characters, the input method is known as 簡 易 [jianyi] or 速 成 [sucheng].

The method is simple, you take the [first mnemonic][last mnemonic] or 首 尾 and if there is more than one character, the input editor will give a list from which to select from.

The End.

Bibliography and Further Reading

Big5 Version : Index

© Dylan W.H. Sung 2002

This page was created on Wednesday 10th April 2002, and last revised on Sunday 28th April 2002