When I input hiragana ちょう into the IME I get over 50 different kanji. I understand why. What I want to know is this.

Is there a way to thumb through the list and QUICKLY find the kanji I am looking for (Looking for radicals?) or is this just something you have to get used to?

  • Another possible method is (for some IMEs) to list the results by radical. I can do this on my MAC IME, but I couldn't on my Windows one, so it's not universal. The fastest way is probably still just to write it using the 訓読み and choose from there, or trackpad handwriting as broccoli forest mentioned.
    – sqrtbottle
    Feb 4, 2015 at 20:22

3 Answers 3


If you're looking for uncommon kanji, one strategy is to type common words containing the kanji you need and then deleting the kanji you don't want. This saves you from having to look through long lists of single kanji with a common reading (like カン). If there are words you use often, but which aren't recognised and converted correctly by your IME, you can add them to the dictionary of your IME.


Assuming you're using MS IME (I personally no longer use it, though):

...thumb through the list and QUICKLY find the kanji...

Press TAB key while you see the candidate list. It'll expand wider.

...Looking for radicals?

Click the brush vase-like icon on your language bar. You can handwrite characters or search from Unicode, radical and strokes. See here. (If you're using Win8, follow this one.)


Another kind of hackish way you can do this (particularly if it is a kanji you use a lot) is to register your entry and its input into your IME dictionary. It usually ends up at the top of the list when converting the hiragana.

Otherwise, the Microsoft IME usually remembers your most used kanji out of a subset. You will have to find the kanji in the list first but the next time you try to convert, it should appear at the top of the list.

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